Chance encounters or fate?

17Oct09

As we travel along we find ourselves rather exposed.  It’s much easier to approach someone on a bicycle versus someone in a vehicle, especially if the windows are up!  There are folks who come up to us and know exactly what we’re doing, they can name all of our gear and they want to know details of our route.  Some people give us crazy looks and even jeer at us “Are you homeless?”.  Luckily it’s easy to pedal away or put the kickstand down and chat for awhile.

Some individuals have stood out for us.  There was Britlee, a woman biking on the Hudson River Greenway in Manhattan who told us all about her bike trip 2 years prior that took a similar route to ours.  There was Fred, we met him on the Asbury Park boardwalk in NJ.  He was inspired by our adventure and told us of his dreams to do the same.  We had a long conversation with Frank the “bike cop” outside of the Tom’s River library in NJ.  The three of us chatted together next to our bikes and swapped stories of cycling.

When we rolled down the Atlantic City boardwalk we were approached by Bruce.  He said “Are you riding a Surly….if so I definitely want to talk to you!”.  We had great conversation with him about folding bikes, trains, and bike paths.

We met Mark on Route 404 in Maryland at an outlet shopping center.  We had stopped after some highway riding to get some coffee to get us through the rest of the ride.  Remarkably enough, we ran into Mark AGAIN three days later near College Park, MD as we were leaving an REI.  That was amazing considering we’d had a chance meeting with him miles prior!

All of these people have shared with us helpful information, great stories, and plenty of laughs.  We’re learning that there are friendly people wherever we go and we welcome these interactions.  They give us hope and energy.  Thank you!

Lastly, I want to mention Sandhi.  We met him on the Boardwalk in Ocean City, NJ.  He was interested in our bikes and as we shared our story he excitedly told us about his love for Vermont and that he had written a poem about his time there.  He shared it with us in a comment on the blog, but we thought it deserved to be shared with everyone front and center.

Green Mountain

When a place is this pristine,
the sweetness in the air follows you.
It coats your soul and sticks white to your heart.

Now I’m changed forever…
Vermont you surely will
send me away silly and dejected…

Lust will hanker after my dreams of you.
With premeditated aspirations and shiny boots full of broken shells and sand,
shameless and guilty, I will lie to my other love to be with you… milieu.

This white witch has cast a spell on me,
and then she hung me from a birch tree.
Up there my eyes are opened finally…

I can see who has been untrue.
Bright light shines thru clouded preconceptions.
Past bric-a-brac makes no sense or reason.

Happily I let the past go to bed.
That’s mothers old ripped, wrinkled bag now,
a dead man who can’t even march in-place.

The people in these mountains emancipate you.
With howdy-dos,
and where are you tryin’ to get at?

They serve you coffee for free.
This surely must have been a railroad stop.
It’s stopped me…

It’s so white here, my dear…
even the muddy river is white.
The folks are pallid and glow with a confident hospitality.

Beer is free too…
Tempered Belgium white, organic, delicious and at no charge.
Served-up to you by an oracle who already knows your thirst.

You can’t buy fake dear here,
but the real ones will pose for you
At the side of the road, a “Cliffside” pose… their best side.

No one’s for sale in this heaven,
but like church groups they welcome donations.
I think they give the offerings away to Connecticut though.

The trees are green, but in winter they wear wedding dresses.
Sometimes their veils get blown off, so they peek about,
like their lovers might ever change.

People cry over the trees in Vermont.
Their tang and sweet nectar will make you pass out and see white.
Powdered poles, like angels wing to wing protect them from a plummet.

Jagged peaks with faces like giant macaques.
New world monkeys, with a harmless see-you-again smile already painted on.
The rocks even seem to know your dilemma…

You become addicted to her and all that is this white place,
the pace, the people, the smell.
You become addicted to the white over green, addicted…

-Sandhi Galloway

Amazing…..thank you.

Debi and Bryan

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