Glenda and I hosted a couple last night who are biking around the world. That’s right, bicycling the world. The U.S. is part of the world, so they came through Vero on their way from Los Angeles (several months ago) to Delray Beach. They have been across Australia and New Zealand before arriving in the States on May 5th. They hail from Ireland and England. Next up is Canada (east to west), then on to Vietnam and the final journey across Asia and Europe to get back to the U.K.
Christy is a physician who has completed her residency and wanted to take a break. Jamie is an engineer, who was talked into taking a break. They ended up at our house because their travels took them through the Harding University campus. Our good friends, Jim and Susan Carr, ended up in conversation with them about their adventure. Jim gave us a heads up that they would eventually be traveling south on A1A, and the connection was made with them, and a plan for an overnight stop at the Wild house.
They have great stories, and I am sure that more great stories await as they continue their travels. I don’t have the space and time to relate all those, but here, in their own words, is one typical story.
(July 3rd) “We…arrived at a small town called Apalachicola. We went to the shop to get supplies for dinner as the plan was to visit St. George’s island and then head off in search of somewhere to stay.
Job done, next on the list, COFFEE. We found a great little independent spot right on the coast. Here we got chatting to Danny. He told us that this is where it is all happening tonight and we should stay here. After a 43 second conversation Danny generously offered us his caravan [RV] to stay in tonight so we could stay and watch the 4th of July Eve celebration. It was unbelievably kind of him and his family.
It’s a very modern caravan with a shower and aircon. It’s incredible. He then headed back to the festivities. He said if he doesn’t see us again have a great trip. We showered, cooled off and then headed to the event. It was awesome, food, beer, live band, parade, etc etc.
We ate, drank and enjoyed the music. Then we headed to the edge of the water where we dangled our legs off the edge to watch the sunset. The band was playing and the place was buzzing. Then in the distance a massive electrical storm was in the air. Lighting up the entire sky with massive veins of light smashing at the earth. Then the fireworks display started. It was incredible, it lasted for 18 minutes and rivaled anything that Disney has to offer. It was so loud you could feel the banging in your chest. Then when all was said and done the storm picked up a notch and really stole the fireworks thunder (pardon the pun). This combined with live music and chatting to two lovely ladies really finished off an amazing evening. The storm then headed right for us so we retired to our abode for tonight.”
Tracy, Kirsten and Lacee joined us for dinner with Jamie and Christy, and we had a lot of questions for them. They travel an average of 58 miles per day. Their expenses average $15 per day. They have pitched the tent in all kinds of places, from actual campgrounds to firehouses and big box store parking lots. Every once in a while they find a friendly couple (well, Glenda) who invites them to stay in a soft bed and cool A/C. Their go-to stop is McDonalds (wi-fi and unlimited tea for $1).
Then, the question about what has been learned and how have you been affected. They heard about us (Americans) the same things we read and hear about us on a daily basis. Americans are pretty rough and tumble, and rude. However, it hasn’t been that way. In fact, they have been blown away. This is a great, big country. They have traveled thousands of miles. They have not had one bad experience with anybody. They cannot believe how kind, generous and friendly we Americans are. Christie said she has been brought to tears by the kindness of strangers. Jamie says that he wants to be more like those he met on his travels, always willing to help someone out (something he had not previously given much thought to). Both said they had heard about “southern hospitality”, but they had no idea what that really meant. They have loved their trek across our country. More importantly, they loved Tasty-O. I am sure it was the highlight of their trip.
We can be proud of our great country. We need to remember that we do make a difference in our own way and in our own communities. As they say, bad news sells papers. The good news from our traveling couple is that, far and away, the vast majority of the people of our country are good-hearted and kind, people that should make us proud to be Americans. We may not get that from the media, but let’s not forget it ourselves.