As I was leaving Corydon yesterday morning, a man out for his morning bike ride rode up to me and asked was I the guy he heard on NPR a few years back. He said my story had touched his heart and had inspired him. A great start for my day! An Iowa State Trooper stopped by just to see if I was okay and see what I was doing. He was very nice. An old man in bibbed overalls pulled his pickup alongside me, handed me two ears of sweet corn and said, “Here, just picked these. I’m on my way to church, you have a great day sir.” I ate them right on the spot, they were delicious! Karen Whitehalter stopped on her bike to talk and share some energy bars. She was on her way home from having ridden in the 41rst gathering of Ragbrai. She said they had over 10,000 participants this year! Karen said she loved riding the stretch of Iowa route 2 we were on because of all the hills. It was indeed the most hills in a 25 mile stretch I’ve seen since I started this walk.
It was nearly 8:00 PM before I reached Leon, Iowa last night. Just as I entered town, a man, Steve, pulled up in his truck and offered me a place to stay for the night. He had obviously been drinking. I thanked him and turned down his offer. He kept insisting I let him help me. I kept thanking him and saying no. When I finally had climbed all the hills to reach the motel, there was Steve’s truck in front of the motel office. I didn’t know what I was going to have to deal with when I went in to pay for a room. Well, Steve was standing there and the clerk was handing his credit card back to him, he had just purchased a room for me. I told him that I had money to pay for the room he did not have to do that. Steve, looked at me and then at the young lady tending the desk and said, “I’ve done a lot of bad things in my life… I need to start paying back.” I said, “Thank you very much for the room Steve.” Outside, he offered to drive me to the store. I thanked him but declined saying that I did not want to ride with him because he had been drinking. He looked down at the ground and said, “Well, thanks for letting me help ya anyway.” His phone rang, he got in his truck and was on his phone as I walked on to the store. As I was returning from the store, two young ladies, Sammi Newton and Misti Whitkowski pulled up and handed me a plate of freshly prepared barbecued chicken, mac & cheese, baked beans, and a big baked potato! They had spoken to me earlier from their front porch as I walked into town. It just pleased them so much to bring me that food. It pleased me very much, it was absolutely delicious! LOVE LIFE!