I've told you my husband, Randy, is an avid bicyclist. Well, he is as avid on anything bike related as I am quilting. Wednesday evening Randy was riding with Bike Burlington (he's the president) on a dinner ride to West Point for chicken. I never have to cook on Wednesday nights until the snow flies and I know he won't be home till around 10 PM so I can sew all evening uninterrupted and look forward to it. About 6:30 PM I get a phone call from Randy and I can tell by his breathing and wind noise that he's riding. He doesn't like to talk on the phone when he's riding so I was surprised. He said, "Hey, what are you doing tonight?" I said, "Well, I'm quilting of course, why?!" He went on to tell me he just met a biker while riding outside of Burlington who was riding from New York to California and had everything strapped to his bike for the trip. " How would you feel about driving towards Burlington to find him and ask him if he wants to spend the night at our house? I'll ride to West Point and be home by 10 PM. Otherwise the poor guy camps out somewhere." Obviously he wanted me to feel sorry for the guy and take him in! We have done this twice before and once was a nightmare scenario and once was a wonderful experience. Randy doesn't ask a lot of me so I said, "Ok, I'll see if I can find him, but I'm only going as far as New London (8 miles). If I don't see him I'm coming home to sew. I drove to New London without seeing him and was on the way home thinking I'd dodged the bullet. Not so fast...2 miles out guess who I saw coming off a side road onto the interstate? Yep, my evening was gone. I pulled over and flagged him down and said, "You know that bicyclist you talked to outside Burlington? That was my husband and he sent me to invite you to our house." He took me up on it and said he'd be there in about 20 minutes. I sped home, but called my friend, Kayla, and asked her if she would come babysit me for the evening explaining what was happening. Being the great friend she is, she said ,"Ok, is a half hour from now soon enough?" The plan was for her to show up casually for an evening of quilting as if it had nothing to do with this stranger in the house. She arrived before he did which was great. He ended up being a nice guy, 25 yrs. old and a vet (as in Marine) who had had a lung removed just before he was scheduled to go to Afghanistan and received a medical discharge instead. After recovering he decided to build his own bike and see the country while he's still young and carefree. I fed him a big plate of leftover pasta with meatballs and you'd have thought it was a feast. He was so grateful. I offered to do his laundry and he was really excited, since he'd been hand-washing what few articles of clothing he had ever since leaving New York. Then he took a lonnnng hot shower...a real luxury for him. The rest of the evening he was content to watch the weather channel on TV while Kayla and I quilted. Randy got home at 10PM so Kayla was relieved of duty and the guys spent the next couple hours talking bicycle lingo. The biker's name is Rex Hazard and he's on Facebook. If you're located between Mt. Pleasant, Iowa and California via Nebraska, Colorado, and Nevada and you see a young guy on a very tall bike that looks really dangerous to ride, you might take him in for the night or offer him a couple of dollars...he's a good guy. He did offer to do yard work or any chores to pay us for our hospitality, but we declined. It's not a good deed if you expect to be rewarded, right?
Here are pictures of Rex and his homemade bike. Have you ever seen anything like it?!
It's over 5 feet to the seat and he's 6'3" so think how tall he is when seated! It scared me just watching him get on it.
The bike weighs 100 pounds fully loaded with his gear. Randy's bike weighs 20 pounds by comparison and he says Rex would be working very hard riding his even on flat land.
Oh, to be young and foolish, huh? I was young like that, but I still wouldn't attempt that bike trip even then! I have the house to myself again and I'm back to sewing Bear Tracks, but it was an interesting few hours.
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