27

Left Savannah late, Monday, about one p.m. Breakie, final conversation with Alex, an espresso at Perc, back to the apartment to finish packing, hungry again, off to Zunzi’s for a last Boerewors, then, finally, the departure. Utterly ridiculous, but it also would have been very easy to stay in the city longer.

Pretty hot, sunny day. Cloudless, mostly windless, bright and blue. Pedaling west I’m on a mild incline as I move away from the coast. Easy hills rolling along effortlessly. About sixty miles to my hosts’ place, unless my GPS is off. If it’s not then Google is off. Or my math is off. A few interesting photo opportunities, but generally a dull ride.

Was thrilled to have stayed the night with Jerry and Shirley. She washed out my water bottles, and now one smells and tastes like soap. The water in it, that is. But if that’s the worst thing one can say about a person’s hospitality that’s not too bad.

They feasted me at dinner, and breakfast the next morning. Strawberry shortcake for dessert after a tour of the grounds. They run a pecan farm, and the land they live on, and many more acres besides, was deeded to the family after the Revolutionary War, so this land has been in the family for a few generations. Jerry and I drove the circumference of his property in a small tractor he uses for getting around the grounds. There are a couple of ponds and a large thicket of woods where one might discover all variety of wild animals. The sun had sunk just below the horizon as we left, just beyond the crepuscular minutes when the sky is faintly aglow, the horizon awash in a veritable rainbow of colors, so the shadows were deep and black as pitch most areas, and the insects that were out, of which they were in incalculable numbers, swarmed the flood light installed on the roof of the tractor and sometimes found their way onto my exposed arms, legs, face… We talked about the harvesting of pecans—these trees are enormous—and inspected a few saplings (if that’s even an appropriate term to use) which looked like mere sticks, about a man’s height, in the damp earth—not a single branch, and barely a bud on these. Very peculiar.

In addition to the pecan farming Jerry makes leaded glass windows, or, more accurately, came glass windows, as a hobby. He’s also an impressive story-teller and master of trivia, particularly if it involves Alaska, or the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

All together they make for an impressive, inspiring partnership—in their hospitality, which is unrivaled, I think; their acceptance immediately of guests; their warm personalities; and the bicycling feats they’ve accomplished together, to say nothing of those by Jerry alone.

I’ve been writing all this at Mac’s, my WarmShowers host for the evening. I’m sitting poolside, the sun stretched taut across my back. Mac’s just come back from picking up his bike at the shop and is moseying about his property cleaning up this, trimming that. His daughter’s wee pup, Buttercup, who he’s watching over while she is in Madrid for the next couple of years, is tip-toeing around the lawn, following after him. The pool water is crystal clear and shaped like a kidney bean. There’s a wide spread palm tree over by the diving board that looks a bit the worse for wear—like it was transported here from a desert in Egypt or Saudi Arabia. Tall, faded green fronds, some looking a bit fried at their tips, spreading out from a central trunk, and then drooping down sort of melancholy-like, as if it was exhausted from standing under the hot sun hour after hour, day after day. There’s some kind of Warbler I can’t identify because I don’t have my binoculars with me, calling from a tree nearby. The only sounds are bird calls, and the distant highway.

Today was an easy, short day—a mere thirty miles—but those few miles are worth it to be staying here, and to be enjoying the comforts of Mac’s home for longer than I would otherwise. Jerry left with me this morning and probably taught me a bit of patience, as he moved at what for me was a glacial pace. The ride was fairly relaxing I found, and a bit refreshing. And we still did the thirty miles by noon. This is something I should learn if I’m to enjoy this trip more. He treated me to an impressively delicious lunch at Hardware Pizza in Lyons, and then turned around to head back home.

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