Day 66

Middleville, MI to Mendon, MI
$210 :: Front tire, shoes, pedals, BF, dinner, ice cream
64.18 mi :: 5.56 hr :: 27.1 mph :: 10/6 mph :: 4637 mi

I left Ralph’s house just after the kids took off for school. It was cold. Settled down in Delton for breakfast. A nice long, lazy, breakfast. Contacted the Hilda to announce my arrival tomorrow, Nathan to find out if he’s road trippin to Goshen to meet me. Maybe.

Roadside

On the ride to Galesburg I thought my ride would make a terrible book. I felt the opposite of drama-total, quiet, blissful peace. Just sun, flowers by the road, parks, almost no traffic. My mind even got quiet for a while. There was no hurry, so I let it last.

I decided to check Billy’s bike shop in Galesburg. Billy is a trip. He has a fast southern Texas patter that is full of well earned cycling knowledge. He refers to me as son and seems determined to make sure my bike is running smooth and sweet before I leave his shop. He takes a tire off a bike on the floor for me. I decide to take the opportunity to replace worn out shoes and toe clips with some clipless pedals. Billy sets me up with just what I want. Talking the whole time about is mountain bike team, hunting in Wyoming, injuries and doctors, and local politics. I only catch about 80 percent of the words flying by, but benefit from those. Billy takes pictures of me trying out the new gear. As I leave he tosses me a pair of new socks off the rack. A guess he noticed me washing my dirty old ones in his bathroom. He comes out twice with parting words of advice. What a guy.

It’s getting on in the day when I reach Scotts, and tentatively scout for a place to overnight. Nothing too good, so I ride another hour or so to Mendon. Scouting again, I see some possibilities. There are two kids jumping off a bridge over the St. Joseph River, and I join them. They tell me about another park. Then I stop in the police station/village center, meet the mayor, and about everybody there offers to let me stay in their yard. The mayor gives me permission to sleep in the park. Feeling happy from all the friendliness, I stop at Red’s sandwich and ice cream shop and have a burrito. Then Red invites me to stay behind his place, a nice little spot on the river with a deck and picnic tables. I have some ice cream to celebrate. Then I meet Stephen, who is fishing from beach below. He has a childlike simplicity about him. He shows me how to fish with a worm, we watch the bats as the sky goes from red to black.

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