Friday, June 13, 2014

Keaton and Kate

Keaton and Kate arrived on June 9th. They were just starting out on their cross country trip. In fact, they planned to ride 5,000 miles! Keaton had lived the last year and a half in Baton Rouge working as a pedicab driver. The couple decided to move to Denver together and ride from their homes in Ohio on a route through the upper Northwest of the country, California and ending in Denver.

Both Keaton and Kate were photographers and planned to document their trip with photos and blogging. The day they arrived I had to work and didn't arrive home until after 4 pm.  I had started a loaf of ciabatta before leaving for work using the recipe that you mix and let sit for 8-12 hours. When I got home I fired up the oven and put the bread in. We had fresh bread with my homemade pesto and a spaghetti meal. We had a nice salad with the lettuce and arugala from the garden. After putting the bread in the oven I quickly mixed up a batch of molasses cookies so there would be a sweet treat.

It's always fun sitting down to a meal with these bikers who have been riding , usually, all day, and listen to their plans and find out about their families and lives.  We found out from them that most hosts through warmshowers are bikers themselves rather than 'seniors' who just like to share hospitality. But, Keaton made it clear that that didn't matter at all. The important thing for them is having a safe, dry place to spend the night.

I sent them off with the leftover bread, which Keaton couldn't get enough of, and cookies and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We had a great visit with them. They both had interesting tattoos and Kate had beautiful blue braids! A very nice couple. I sent them off around 11 am with a hug and wishes for safe travels!

Bala and Joe

June 4, 2014

The day after Leah left we got another email request. At this point, I was thinking I might need to put in a revolving door! I have discovered that we are located along a good biking path so I won't be surprised to meet more bikers!

Bala and his dad Joe were traveling from their home near Loudonville Ohio. They had spent the previous night in Tiffin and arrived here around dinner time.  Most bikers are ready for a shower and something cold to drink upon arrival. They both unloaded their bags and this time instead of sleeping indoors they set up their tents in the yard. 

I'm getting ready for a craft show and have numerous bins and supplies sitting around that make the sleeping area small enough that it didn't work well for them to be inside. When we have one guest we have an air mattress they sleep on in the back room. If we have two guests the room is barely big enough for two and the extra bedroom is not available because of the show I'm getting ready for. 

They were understanding and found a nice place to sleep.  Luckily the weather and temperature were perfect for a night out. I just wish we had had space inside for a more  comfortable sleep.

We had a great visit with them both. Joe was very talkative which made the time fly by. We learned that they were traveling together to see family in Grand Rapids Mi then onto Lake Michigan together. At that point they would part ways and Joe would return home. He wasn't sure if he would bike back or if his brother would drive him home from Grand Rapids MI. I'm hoping he decides to bike back and will stop in a again! We we so enjoyable!

Bala is 18 and this is his first long distance trip. He was quieter than his dad but so polite and friendly. He is on his way to the Redwood Forest in California! Quite trip for a first time long distance ride! He seemed prepared and ready for the task.

This visit was like being with old friends! I told someone that it made me realize how many wonderful people there are in the world. Watching the news and reading papers tend to make you cynical. You feel that the world is full of gloom and despair, when in reality, it's filled with warm, kind, adventurous people like Joe and Bala. 

Our short time hosting has renewed my faith in humanity and the kindness of others. We both are having so much fun meeting interesting people and learning about their wonderful adventures.

As I write this we have recieved yet another request and I'm waiting to hear if we will have guest tomorrow night.


June 3

Just a few days after Honeysuckle left I got an email from Leah. She was on her way to Cleveland having left Chicago a few days earlier.  She would be traveling back to her home in Atlanta eventually. I was thrilled to have another biker coming so soon after our first great experience. How random that she had the same name as our daughter! I felt it was a good sign.  I was not mistaken. She was just adorable. Very friendly, easy to talk to, and so sweet. We were happy to have her overnight and enjoyed our visit with her.

 While talking with her she shared that her grandfather had been a 'rail traveler' which was interesting because I told her that my grandmother used to feed them! The hobos-as my grandma called them- would hop off the train in Archbold and follow markings which the hobos would put on trees or posts to message other travelers which houses would serve them a meal! My mom can remember as a girl these men coming to the door asking for food and Grandma would direct them to the back door where they'd sit on the step and wait for her to bring them a hot meal.

Like Honeysuckle, when the time came to say good bye in the morning, she came with open arms to give me a big send-off hug!! I truly hated to see her go and think that we would possibly never meet again! At the same time, it felt so good to know she had slept well, was well fed, and we could send her off with good wishes and great memories.


Leah looking out over the Maumee River

Honeysuckle Yoon

Some time ago I registered on the website as a host for traveling bikers.  You can register to either host people or as a biker or both.  I love meeting people and cooking meals so it seemed like a fun opportunity.

Once you are registered you can use the website to find a place to stay overnight that is on your trip path. You then email your possible host and wait to see what the response is.  The first inquiry we got was during a time when our internet was down so I missed the email until they were past.  I felt so bad and emailed explaining what happened but never heard anything back.  It has been about 2 years since that first contact.

Recently I got an email from Honeysuckle Yoon asking if I was available for an overnight stay.  We had no plans so of course I sent a return email and after some back and forth contact our first warmshowers guest was on his way.  He arrived early in the afternoon around 1:30 on May 28, 2014.  After several cold drinks of water and two pieces of chocolate cake he was ready to go explore the Grand Rapids area.  Fortuneately we live in a scenice area with a nearby bike trail and lots of natural beauty near the Maumee River to see. 

He returned a little after 6:00 and we ate dinner together. Honeysuckle has been in the US for quite a while, originally from Seoul S Korea.  He spent the last two years at Cornell University and was headed from Ithica NY to San Francisco.  We spent a nice evening talking about our lives and families and where he was headed. What a GREAT first experience with hosting a biker. 

He plans to sell his bike in CA and return to Seoul to see his family. He will then return to the US and work as a ski instructor and in his words "be a ski bum" for a while. I love the sense of adventure and free spirit that he has!