June 16, 2006
Andy and Katie were up at six, but they let me sleep until nine. We spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon just hanging out around the house. Andy had to pick up Katie from work so they could hit the road in time to get to her parents’ place for Father’s Day weekend, so Andy rode his bike with me out to the end of his neighborhood (Like old times!), and that was that. It was a short but great stay. Thanks again guys!
I wasn’t in much of a hurry to ride out of town after my long day yesterday, so I hung out the rest of the day in Bloomington – Indiana University, basketball town, Hoosierville. For lunch I stopped at a fittingly-titled place called Greek’s Pizzeria, and had a whole pizza. I had just left the restaurant when a guy rode up to me on his bike:
“Do you know where the bike shop is?”
“No, I’m not from around here.”
“Are you touring too?”
His name is Joshua, and he directs me on to where his friends are hanging out – a place called People’s Park, I think. I meet his friends – an older gentleman with brown hair and a beard – Jonathan… and a younger girl whose name I forget. She had long brown hair down past her waist, and wore a long skirt that she bicycles in as well.
It turns out that these people were what I would call Christian extremists. Not extremist in the negative way of blowing things up that probably pops in your mind, but simply hardcore with their religion. Essentially they say they live their lives in the exact fashion the scriptures literally dictate, and they were impressive to behold. They had neither the crazy glint in the eye of the preachers on TV, or the distant, empty, “I’m a slave to God,” look in the eyes that you see in most extremely religious people. They were warm and friendly, not the least bit pushy in their beliefs. They built their bikes themselves – pieced together mostly from used parts culled from bike shop dumpsters. One guy in the park was shaking all our hands, and when he turned to the woman, she smiled and said “Sorry, I don’t touch men.”
“You don’t believe in touching men!?”
“It just keeps me out of trouble, that’s all.”
I spent a good deal of the afternoon hanging out there in the park with them – they were obviously very interesting company to have around. Unfortunately they didn’t want me to take their photograph. We soon parted ways, and I was left with the distinct, overriding impression that if Jesus were alive on earth today, he would look a whole lot like this.
Leaving town, I saw some war protestors in front of the Indiana National Guard recruiting station. Nice. What a hippy-fied afternoon!
Riding this evening was great. The combination of cooler weather, relaxed atmosphere, and long light of the “golden hour” make it my favorite time to ride. It often makes me reflective. I can watch my shadow and the thoughts come to mind like “I’m actually here, riding across the country! I’m doing it!” I would probably enjoy the mornings just as much as this, but I rarely get started early enough to find out.
Tonight I went ahead and got a room, just because I felt like like it. The motels around here have been nice and cheap. I was lucky enough to catch the latest Star Wars movie on HBO. Life is good.