Saturday, June 13

Rest Stops and a Few Pictures (more below too)

The 49th mile came and, just as the four before it, took forever to pass. I felt I had been riding uphill on the heavily trafficked road for far too long. Thankfully, I was way out on the shoulder, watching car after car pass speedily along. I had decided to make it to 50 miles before I took another break. The thought of the grapes, cheese, and crackers I was about to consume kept me going. As I finally hit the 50 mark, I realized the strip mall I was passing through had a picnic table at the edge of its parking lot shaded under one of the buildings.

I sat down, unlatched my shoes, dropped my helmet, and began to enjoy a great rest stop. Reaching into the trailer, I pulled from it a sandwich, orange, those grapes, cheese, and crackers I had been dreaming about, and began to prepare myself a great snack when a man walked out through a door on the side of the building I was resting beside.

"Can I get you a drink?" he asked.

"Nah, I can't afford it today. I should be alright - I've got plenty of water," I exhaustively responded.

"No, it's on the house. What can I get you? Soda? Juice? Wine?" Let's just say at that, he had my ear. But before I could respond, he jumped in again, "Why don't you come in. Bring your food too. There's air conditioning!"

Reluctant to get up but excited for air conditioning, I followed the man who introduced himself as Trevor. Once through the side door, I froze as before me were about six people all formally dressed - pant suits, ties, the works - sitting in tall chairs at a couple of bar tables put together.

"I think there's been a mistake," I said backing up towards the door. But Trevor and now the others kept insisting, motioning me forward. "But you see, I'm stinky, and sweaty. And you... you're all... I mean... I just am out of place." Still, they insisted it was ok. I looked beyond the pant suits and noticed I was in some kind of nice restaurant, accepted my invitation, introduced myself, and and sat down. The folks did likewise as well as introduce the event I was now attending - a wine tasting by several wine reps who were trying to get their bottles with the other 500 bottles that lined the shelves of this wine store/bistro.

The group exchanged questions with me, asking about the ride - how far I ride, where I sleep, how much preparation I put into it, why I'm doing it, what my mom thinks about me doing it, etc. Between the questions I would hear a "Oh, I taste the spice in that" or a "Yes, we now own the xyxyx vinyard" and other fancy business talk. It was quite humorous actually - though it was a business meeting, because they were tasting wine it was so laid back.

"Do you drink wine much?" one woman asked. I thought about responding something like: "I'm about a year removed from Franzia, I've had my share." But instead shared that though I like wine, I am not one who knows much about wine. She poured me a glass of Pinot Noir.

"Swirl. Smell. Sip." I followed suit. Delightful.
"Your tongue can taste about four flavors. Your nose can smell 1000s of smells. A good wine is all about the smell." I nodded.

After tasting a few wines, I headed out but not without first getting a picture with them and sharing the blog address. Once on the bike, I felt rested and strong - must have been the antioxidants.

Currently, I'm in Fredericksburg, VA. Thursday evening and Friday morning I rested in D.C. at the home of my friend Danielle. We met at a Young Life camp back in Minnesota - she was my boss and I didn't steal the boat so I'm still in good standing (Take that Ash! Laugh hard Grace!)... Checked out the White House, saw the Washington and Lincoln memorials, saw the Vietnam Wall, crossed into Arlington and saw the Cemetery and the Pentagon. In fact, I got lost as hell at the Pentagon. Tomorrow I'll pass the 500 mile mark in the morning. Two great things are also 500 miles: 1)The Indianapolis 500, of which I have never been to and really just put it in the list so there was more than one, and 2)El Camino de Santiago, of which I walked in January 2007.

Tomorrow I'll also make it to Ashland, VA where I'll head west, finally, on the TransAmerican route. And then before you know it, I'll be at the Pacific. Crazy to think.


Anonymous said...

You are in my prayers. I love what you are doing and enjoy your updates! Keep going strong! Peace -- Rob Cortegiano

Anonymous said...

Go Nate! You need to look us up when you get to southern California! We'll take you out to eat and give you a place to rest if needed! - Josh Husmann

Gruntled said...

Maybe you can get invited to a root beer tasting. Or a jerky festival. I will fly over you tomorrow.

Corky Crimmins said...

See Nate, many understand this mother's concern for her son's safety and well being. But I must admit you certainly have been blessed wonderfully in your encounters. And a shout out to Josh Husmann for his kind offer! Ditto to you Josh should you find yourself in Greencastle!

Patrick Noltemeyer said...

Nate, I'm outside on the porch drinking in the sounds of the Brass Band Festival here in Danville. Hope that your tunes are treating you well...I'll share some with you when you're here in town to keep you going on the road.

Anonymous said...

ashland is a quaint neighborhood w/good ice cream & a great coffee joint--ashland coffee & tea. good people in va. may you run into more of 'em.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Corky! We may have to take you up on that at some point! - Josh Husmann

Laura said...

Hi Nate!

I'm one of the "nicely dressed" people drinking wine that one random afternoon. Just finally getting to your page to check out the pictures. Hope your ride is going well!