I awake as the sun enters the horizon and begin to get dressed and packed. My two sleepy cyclists friends are in their tents. Anin hears me packing and comes out. I do not want to wait for them to get ready, so I offer to meet them at McDonalds. But we never conect there, so I ride on. It’s fine. I was tired and only covered 75 miles today, but they stop at 60 and I have never been a good waiter.
A car honks and waves in passing. Miles down the road the same car is parked. A father and daughter get out and run toward me with a big paper bag extended. They have shopped and bought a bag of snacks for me! Wow! They want to know about Loop the USA, and we talk. Dad wants Lily to be inspired. I note that he is the one who is teaching her by modeling such consideration and gnerosity, not me.
The country is gently rolling residential and farmland, with towns every 25 miles or so along highway 57. The shoulders and trucks come and go. The people that I overhear are talking about the great weather and comparing it to the snowy wintertime.
Here is proof, gas pumps with furnace oil and mineral spirits.
The crops are much more diversified with lots of small apple and u-pick blueberry orchards.
A field of shy sunflowers.
I stop at a Menonite farmstore for some fresh produce. The owner, a Menonite woman in her 60’s and I are alone in the shop for a while, and I am priveleged to have her share with me. She says that the biggest issue they have these days is the internet and the devices that access them. She and her community feel that it is much to easy to access porn with an internet connection and so do not use it. She also will not use a dedicated word processer to keep track of her stores inventory, because someone could put a usb stick in with pornography on it and view it. The internet is a gateway for Satan to slip into their lives.
She says that another problem is worldliness. Bankers are eager to offer them loans, and if a memenber of the community decks out their house with new furniture, cabinets, etc., the other younger members want to do the same thing. So they incur too much debt.
A third problem is getting land. Practicing their traditions is almost senseless without the farming lifestyle, but land is hard to get and expensive relative to the income it can produce. Her family moved to this area when she was young, and now there is no more readily available land for their children. The next generation will have to relocate somewhere else, but where? She says that her children will probably not live as well as she has. I share that this is a nationwide problem.
Her 20? year old daughter has heard the conversation and comes down the stairs to join in. Mom and daughter are wearing simple blue muslim dresses with white bonnets. When I say goodbye Sarah Anne the daughter follows me out and announces that she is an adventurer too. Surprised, I hang out to talk.
She has been to BC., Mexico, the Maritime Provinces and wants to go to Florida to help with disaster relief. Everywhere she goes she volunteers and works. She can’t just hop in a car and go, she must pay someone to drive her. So she teams up with about half a dozen young women and they share expenses. Surprising and charming me, she is outspoken and confident, and says she may never get married and anyway, this is a good time of life to travel.
I ask her if her community would allow electric bikes. She says that self propelled vehicles are not allowed. I show her how you have to spin the pedals to make it go, and how it only goes bicycle speeds, and coasts if you stop pedaling. She is intriqued and considers it. “It would have to be discussed in the community” she says, “but it is possible it would be allowed.”
Her “special” brother Jacob joins us, swaggering up with thumbs in outstretched suspenders. I tell him I like his suspenders and he smiles and extends a rough hand and we shake. He asks if I like puppies and kittens. Then he asks for a ride on my bike. Sarah Ann saves me saying “Some other time Jacob.”……..
I have a new first, and they are getting hard to come by. This is the first time I have camped and charged up in a baseball dugout! I am seeking new and more daring ways to camp and charge for my own amusement… All suggestions considered.