Posted by: twistsoffeet | May 27, 2011

Swimming Uphill on a Bicycle


Today started like most others: up just before dawn, then pack up and hit the road as soon as it is safe enough to ride.

And today was also like others in other ways. I had difficulties, and I met incredible people who helped me in ways I could never imagine. This morning’s ride started with a change in route. The people who operated the campsite I stayed in last night showed me a gentler route that would avoid the evil twin of the beast from yesterday.

I backtracked six miles and took Hwy 79 north towards Scottsborro, AL. It started to rain soon after leaving the campground, but then got sunny. That did not last long, though, and soon the sky was black and ominous with lightning and thunder getting closer.

I saw a restaurant called the Twin Oaks Grill located on Hwy 7\9 between Guntersville and Scottsborro . I could not afford it, but went inside and ordered a Coke. Soon, some people started asking me about my ride. They asked me what I was eating and I advised it was not in my budget and was just having a Coke.

I was promptly informed that the inquirers were also the owners and wanted to feed me.

I was amazed and once again in shock over the kindness of strangers. I ordered a delicious Philly Cheese steak sandwich and introduced myself to the owners, Robert and Jennifer, and Robert’s brother, Chris. We sat around and chatted for a couple of hours until the weather cleared up, and then I was on my way again.

I had not gone more than a mile when the storm returned.

Personally, I think it just circled around to have its fun at my expense, since I had largely escaped the first round. This time there was no escape. No place to go, I was on a two lane highway with large trucks whizzing past at 65 MPH and a drop off on the side of the road.

And when the drop off ended, there was either the woods– but the lightening changed that thought– or the causeway, which meant I could go swimming but of course my bike couldn’t join me. I finally reached the other side of the causeway and suddenly saw a park with pavilions and picnic benches.

Actual dry places where I could stop swimming uphill in the rain!!!

I parked my bike under one metal pavilion and myself under a wooden pavilion. I called my mother because I wanted her to know I was okay, and also because sometimes it is just nice to hear another voice… and this was one of those times.

I did not even notice the pickup truck pull up and park at first, and when I did finally notice it, I thought it was just another person trying to sit out the storm. Suddenly, the door opened and Jennifer from the Twin Oaks Grill got out with her 17 month old daughter. It turns out Jennifer had been worried and came out to find me. She offered to load my gear in her truck and take me back to her home, where I could camp and get dry.

Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity. We loaded up and went to her home, where I cleaned up and dried off.  She then took me back to their restaurant for dinner   The chicken marsala was delicious. We stayed at the restaurant until closing, then went back to their home. It was then that Robert looked at my trailer and decided that it  might be prudent to do some additional repairs.

Out comes the drill and welder and hardened steel bolts.

The trailer is now, I believe, much stronger than when new.

This day went from miserable, where I was making no forward progress and riding in extremely uncomfortable and even very dangerous conditions, to a day where I met incredibly caring and giving people who took care of me and fed me and gave me a place to camp.

We had good conversations, improved the repairs on my trailer, and I received good directional advice and assistance.

No one can ever tell me again that the people of this world are all bad and greedy or dangerous and dishonest and uncaring.  Because every twist of the pedal on this trip has brought me into contact with incredibly kind, friendly, caring and helpful people. People who have gone out of their way to help me a total stranger. There are still those people who are the proverbial rotten apples. but most people I have met on this trip are the type it is an honor to meet and get to know.

So today, I thank again my new friends Robert and Jennifer as well as others at the Twin Oaks Grill on Hwy 79 between Guntersville and Scottsborro, AL for all of their assistance kindness, and of course the great food.

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