There has not been a ride that has provided as highly contested a Citizen of the Day Award as this. Normally a free meal will do the trick, but on a day where I received two free meals, the Hardison family pulled the trump card. I've heard it said that if you're not first, your last (Ricky Bobby's dad). Even if that's the case, I'd still like to award the black angus beef farmers sponsorship of today's award. My ham and cheese omelet and toast this morning was on them. If you'd like to support someone who has supported me, buy an angus burger next time you stop by your local fast food joint.
So that trump card turned out to be a place to stay for free. I always have love for the Good Samaritans that will let me pitch a tent in their back yard, but this was so much more than that.
Bob & Violet Hardison have been providing meals, shelter, and access to laundry facilities to cyclists passing through for over 30 years. Because of their generosity I was able to have my fill of a home cooked meal and a place to sleep inside the First Baptist Church of Sebree, Kentucky.
The church is fit to be marketed as some sort of Holliday Inn Bed and Breakfast. They've got pool, ping pong, a big screen, couches, and two bed rooms.
On this day I was lucky enough to cross paths with three other groups of cyclists. There was Mike and Joan, a couple from Cincinnati headed along the same TransAm route I am. I had actually been following their blog so it was quite the surprise to meet them in person. There was Tony and Emily, riding from San Francisco to DC, hopefully they make it with enough room to spare for their move to New Orleans. There was also Adam and Sara, two photojournalists if you will, who had just started two days ago in Bowling Green, Kentucky and will hopefully arrive somewhere to be determined in the state of California. They're documenting their trip online with a website called the DreamerProject.org.
I've met a lot of interesting people today; it's going to be hard to top this one moving forward. All of this was made possible because of Bob and Violet, who have truly centered their lives around God. I'm grateful that I had the chance to meet them, hear their stories, and the stories of these other cyclists from around the country. Bob and Violet are the type of people that make this life as special as it is, not just on the road but in general.
In between breakfast and dinner I made it somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 miles from Falls of Rough to Sebree. I ran into some serious rain and was setback just over an hour in a gas station in Whitesville. A disgruntled pizza customer sparked a conversation between me and the clerk for most of the time. We laughed at how misplaced the guys anger was at the time it took to bake the pizza, the 14 year old buying condoms, and before you know it he was showing me pictures of his 2 year old daughter who is still with her mother in India; good times in Whitesville.
Tomorrow is Illinois. Those little state line victories are the difference between regular and premium unleaded. I'm looking forward to that next state line with much anticipation. It's nothing personal Kentucky, it's just our time to go our separate ways.