Day 160

Susan makes oatmeal for us this morning. As usual, my appetite exceeds the capacity of a normal family breakfast. I ride to a bagel joint for another small meal, then head for another bike shop to look for a tire. No luck, so I ride to the last bike shop I can find in the yellow pages. They usually stock what I want, but are out. I go home to see if Paul is there for lunch, but he’s held up at work.

I fuss a little more with the bike. I’m not too worried about the tire. The one I have still looks decent 5,000 miles down the road from Billy’s Bike Shop in Michigan where I bought it. I’ll find one soon enough. I also remember that I’d wanted to replace some spokes in the rear wheel, but it’s too late now. The bike is really running pretty sweet at this point. I even find the problem in my headlight generator and get that working again. To celebrate I ride out to St. Armand’s Key for ice cream. It’s nice, but to be honest I’m getting tired of attractive, wealthy spots on the ocean. The ice cream is good, but expensive. I check out the beach, then head back.

I stop for a bottle of Rabbit Ridge Merlot, a bottle Susan mentioned she likes. I haven’t bought thank-you gifts for my other hosts, but this is too easy to resist. Bikesenjava is around the corner, so I have another perfect cappacino. Man, I am livin’ large. Paul is home when I get back, and he lets me use his computer. Happy day! The website is back up. Nathan has come through. I spend several hours updating it.

We go out to pick up burritos for dinner, and stop at some delis on the way. Paul spends a small fortune on tasty things: marinated dried olives, monster spiced green olives, fresh seasonal mozzerella, etc. I offer to chip in for the burritos but he refuses.

We feast, then Susan takes Jason to his guitar lesson. I get the story behind the 3 successful restaurants Paul has run, often because he was offered deals that were too good to turn down. He’s tired of the food business now, though, and ready to move on. To what? He’s drawn to investing more in the piano, but doesn’t seem entirely sure yet.

I also get some more details on his 1973 vacation from Goshen, when he visited David in Seattle, hitched to Berkeley to visit Annemarie, then spent all his remaining money to embark on a 10-day backpack trip into the Flattop mountains in Colorado. He showed up in Goshen broke, with no money left for school. A few times he mentions his parents divorce, but never hints at the painful story Hilda told me.

I realize when I get up to go to bed that I won’t see Paul in the morning. I give him an awkward hug and try to say goodbye.

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