So I could write about making it to the top of Sherman'sPass, Washington State's highest paved mountain pass today. And how it wasfreezing cold, how I was super tired, and my legs were getting pretty sore.That I was feeling lonely trying to celebrate at the top all by myself.
Or I could tell you about the Bike Hostel just outsideof Colville. Leaving Colville, there's a giant hill - first time I had to getout of the saddle the entire trip was on this damn hill! I was about a mileaway from the bike hostel, still climbing, and a pickup truck pulled upalongside me. "You going to the bike hostel?" The driver called."Yeah" I said. "You want a ride? I'm heading up there rightnow." I considered this for a minute. Get in a truck with a stranger, vs.riding up hill some more, vs. a chance to get to meet someone and maybe have aconversation?! "Yeah, thanks - I'll take a ride!"
Troy helped me load my bike into the cluttered bed of histruck. He picked up Marge and gingerly laid her down - but derailleur sidedown! I cringed, but said nothing. Looking back, I regret not speaking up. Iwas scared to hurt my new friend's feelings - but I'm generally pretty gentlewith folks and could have taught him a better way. I often find this whiletraveling and being in an unfamiliar group and place. I'm eager to fit in, andso I end up biting my tongue more than I normally would.
I had called ahead to the Bike Hostel and talked withShelley the day prior to make sure they were open, etc. She said yes come bybut that they were hosting a church choir group and the hostel would be full ofteenage boys. I could stay in the house, which would be full of teenage girls,but they had never turned anyone away and would love it if I would still comestay and join them for dinner that next night.
When Troy and I arrived, he helped me with my bike and bagsand then disappeared into the house, helping to move rented tables and chairsout of a truck in the driveway. I changed and pitched in to help set up for afundraiser that Shelley and her husband Barry were hosting the next night. Theysponsor a few clinics and projects throughout Africa. The high school choir wasgiving a performance the next morning, and then would sing at their home aspart of the fundraiser.
Somehow I got really lucky and Shelley gave me my own room!With a big comfy bed!! Then made a huge dinner for everyone!!! Barry is aphysician, and Shelley manages an exchange student program. They filled me inon their latest project in Kenya, and I met several of their friends who joinedus for Friday night dinner. Apparently no dinner is complete without huge bowlsof ice cream. Everyone dug in. And I'm serious, they were big bowls!
The teenagers rolled in pretty late - I had already gone tobed. I was too tired to join in the cacophony but happily eavesdropped as theyplayed the grand piano and sang and talked and laughed all over one another.Barry smiled at me when he caught me standing in my doorway, listening to the kids.
It was a cozy night - I was done with the mountain passes,had a full belly and was surrounded by warm hearts.