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So Much For That

By | May 14, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011
Inglis to St. Petersburg, FL
About 90 miles, driving
5 miles tooling around the neighborhood

At 10:00, Connie and I put my gear in her car. She was heading to Spring Hill, about 40 miles south. With the bump from driving, I could be in St. Petersburg tonight! We noticed that my front tire was flat again. I’d have to fix it when she dropped me off.

We left, and immediately had to take a detour. There had been a serious accident on the bridge about 8am, and they didn’t expect to open it again til noon. I was glad I hadn’t been riding there then.

As we drove, we compared notes on our sabbaticals, and thought about what might come next.

Connie left me off at a 7-11. She had a full day ahead of her. I gathered my gear on the sidewalk and fixed the tire, pulling out a piece of wire that looked just like the piece of wire I pulled out yesterday. It was close to noon, so I figured I should have some lunch. The pizza at the 7-11 looked good, so I got two pieces. Then I got two donuts for good measure. If this was going to be my last day of riding, then I would have to go back to my non-biking eating habits. Best to take
advantage of it now.

As I sat outside eating, a woman locked her keys in her car. I offered her my phone to call AAA, and then she realized her card was also locked in the car. She used my card to call, as well, which caused a bit of confusion, because they were wondering if she was in California, but they figured it out. In the last six months before I left San Diego, I had locked my keys in my car twice, which I never do, so I was glad for the chance to help.

We were chatting as I ate and she waited for the door guy, and she said, “Oh, you have to fix your flat tire first.”

“No, I just did,” I said, then I looked at my bike. It was flat again already and I hadn’t rode one inch since I fixed it! Patty immediately offered to take me to St. Petersburg.

Once again, I thought, I am not going to say no to that. I had just used my last new inner tube, and I was not having any luck finding the tiny wire holes in order to patch them. I didn’t want to spend the rest of my day unloading and reloading my bike and struggling with the tires or going who knows how far out of my way to find a bike shop. On top of that, it was already 1:00, which was rather late for me to be just starting a 50 to 60 mile ride. With someone standing in front of me offering a ride the rest of the way, I took it.

The AAA guy came and went quickly. Patty wondered why she didn’t just get one of their little air-bladder contraptions herself in case she locked herself out of the car again. Though, if you had one, it would probably be locked in the car when you needed it.

I could not thank her enough. “I’m a Christian,” she said. “I know God has a plan for us, and we don’t always know what it is.” I said that, though I am not a Christian myself, I am experiencing events in the same way she is. Whether or not these signs are there for a reason, they are there for me to follow. Patty had been working in the morning, but decided to change her schedule to go in and do the evening closing shift. That left her time to do errands during the day, which she was heading north to do. But as she stopped at the 7-11 for gas, she had already decided to put off those errands for another time and to turn around and head back south. And then we met.

We talked about religion and communities and schools and other interesting things as we drove. Patty also told me about her plan to ride her motorcycle across the country when she retired, which could be as early as the next year. I was glad to be able to offer a little inspiration in this regard.

And then we arrived at my dad’s house, and that was the end of my trip.

Patty and my gear in my dad’s driveway.

I may not have biked to the very end, but I followed the path as best I could. Where will it take me next?

1 Comment

Jim Baldwin on May 24, 2011 at 9:03 am.

Hello Jenny, a wonderful trip. I stayed with you to the end hoping to get a glimpse of you with your dad but only got the driveway. Please say hi to him for me.

Long ago neighbor, Jim


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