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TRIP 2003

Update #30 - July 12th
Colorado Springs, Colorado - 5456 miles (8730 KM)



I know that there is usually a week between updates but something exciting happened today that I just had to write about. I was spending the day with a new friend that I had met through the Warm Showers Hospitality List. Around noon I was sitting on the front porch with Mike and his wife, Jeanne, when their next door neighbor came over. Jeanne introduced Vic to me and she told Vic that I was cycling around the country. After Vic sat down on the front porch steps, he told us that he remembered meeting a guy on a bicycle who was traveling across the country.

Vic said that it was in April of 1993 while he was serving in the military and on maneuvers in the Calfornia desert. I couldn't believe this. Vic was the soldier who I had met on an old frontage road along the interstate between Bakersfield and Barstow, CA.

I had just been out for about a week from Santa Monica, CA and I was heading towards the Grand Canyon and then on to the East Coast. About an hour before we met, I had been riding along the shoulder of the interstate heading East. I had noticed a military convoy heading East on what could have been an old road about a quarter of a mile south of the interstate.

After riding maybe two or three miles down the interstate from the last interchange, a state trooper stopped me and told me that I couldn't be on the interstate since there was a frontage road. He had me walk back to the interchange that I had passed to get on the frontage road.

The road was in pretty bad shape with a lot of potholes. I was getting concerned that I might have to camp out in the desert some place. Heading East on the frontage road, I was suprised at finding a lot of remains of military food packets (MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat)). These were probably from the military convoy that I had seen several hours ago. I stopped to pick up everything that I could find like packets of jelly or peanut butter, flat bread, etc. because I wanted to supplement my food supply.

About five miles down the road from the interchange, I met up with a soldier guarding a humvee and trailer. It was late in the afternoon. The trailer had a flat tire and the soldier was waiting for somebody to come with a new tire. We talked for about fifteen minutes and I joked with him about finding all the thrown away parts of the MRE's. The soldier (Vic) asked me if I had ever seen a whole MRE packet before. I told him no.

Vic opened one of the humvee doors and pulled out four MRE packets. He told me that he had a case of them and that he wanted to give the ones that he had in his hands to me. He also gave me three water activated heaters. The soldier (Vic) gave me some bottles of water. After fastening the MRE packets and the water onto the bike, we talked for maybe five more minutes before I headed off.

About five miles down the road, I stopped to pitch camp amongst some Joshua Tree cactus. It was something else to have a hot meal in the middle of the desert. This was the first hot meal that I had in about a week. I don't really think that I had found out the soldier's name and where he was from. I had always wanted to write a letter or send a card to really thank the soldier.

This act of kindness really touched me. It was probably the second act of kindness done to me on my adventure heading East from Santa Monica on March 28th. I shared this encounter with everybody who would listen. It was also the first of five times when I carried MRE's on the bike these past ten years.

Vic told me that he had also been touched by the encounter and shared it with the soldiers in his battalion and his family. Our meeting ten years later was really something else. The chances of this happening was astronomical. This had to have been divine intervention. If my friends would not have been out of town and I didn't have to seek out another place to say in Colorado Springs, Vic and I would have never met again.

This just goes to show that it is a "Small World After All". Tomorrow, I'll be heading south from Colorado Springs to Pueblo. I should get there in two days because of the high heat. From Pueblo, I will either be heading East along CO 96 (the Adventure Cycling TransAmerican Bike Route) into Kansas or following U.S. 50 to Garden City, Kansas before heading NE to Nebraska. I'm shooting for Council Bluffs, IA and hope to be there by the first part of August.

I'll try to post an update as often as I can if there are any changes in my plans.




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