A Chance Encounter!

On the days that we don’t work until the afternoon, our morning routine has become just that – I drop Bill and his bicycle off at the National Park Visitor Center in Empire, after which I drive on to the gym in Glen Arbor – Sleeping Bear Bay Club – for a circuit training or TRX class. By the time my class is over, Bill has biked about 10 miles to meet me at the gym!

Yesterday, we stopped for a coffee at Art’s Tavern following our workouts and met a very interesting couple – Jay and Emily! Here’s how the conversation began… the couple was obviously biking long distance and were loaded down with bags and supplies. Bill asked, “Where are you headed?” to which Jay responded, “Boston!” Then Bill queried, ” Where did you start?” and in unison, Jay and Emily replied, “Oregon!” So began a delightful and extremely interesting half hour or so conversation with our new cycling friends!

We sat together outside Art’s as Jay and Emily feasted on banana, dried fruit, and peanut butter wrapped in a soft tortilla – and Bill and I chowed down on our weekly donut! Turns out Jay is a registered nurse and Emily is an educator. They had planned out this cross-country trip to the tiniest detail and had left Bend, Oregon on May 16, hoping to arrive in Boston by August 15. They entitled their tour “The Not Quite Playing with a Full Deck Tour!” and seemed to be having an awesome time.

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They shared that they are averaging 60-70 miles per day and have been altering their ride time based on weather conditions, more specifically the heat! They have friends and relatives on a schedule sending them care packages – food primarily and maps for upcoming legs of the journey. They have managed to skirt most big cities, however, were heading toward Cleveland where they would be spending a full day with some of Jay’s relatives.  I asked how the bikes were holding up as we know bikers can tend to have problems, but they said their equipment was wonderful and they haven’t even had a flat tire! Their plan for the rest of the day was to stop at Platte River Campground for what they called a “rest,” and then go on to settle in Arcadia for the night. With the distance they had covered before we met them at 10 am, by the time they arrived in Arcadia, they would have biked about 60 miles!

What was especially cool about our chance encounter was the fact that they were equally impressed and intrigued with what we have been doing for the past nine years – workamping. We sat and exchanged stories about the adventures we were both experiencing. We exchanged contact information as Emily is also blogging about their trip – not sure when she has the time, but I was glad to hear that they are recording such an awesome experience!

Throughout life, you never know into whom you might run, but today’s chance encounter was a great one. And as we told Jay and Emily…

Stay Calm and Travel On…


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