The town looked like a ghost town with no one in sight. But we needed a place to stay, and made our way toward what the sign promised to be the business center. Outside one of the slightly run down houses a man on a ladder was fixing something.
He took a quite uninterested look at us, but anyway replied to our query that there was a park half a mile along the highway where we could camp. Unfortunately the park isn’t all that nice.
In fact Kaisa thought it to be creepy, filled with mosquitoes and right by the road with no privacy. Not ideal is what I’m trying to convey here. But on the other hand our options were limited. We had about an hour of sunlight to expect, and the next town was a good 13 miles along the road.
But given that the wind had died down we decided give it a shot. Bassett – here we come! And at times we are lucky: the asphalt got much better, and we even had a slight downhill to roll along by.
And 8:58 PM we entered Bassett, just two minutes before what we have come to hold as our ”don’t ride after nine” rule.
But Bassett seemed nice. Much nicer than the previous town. The lady at the gas station gave us instructions as to where to pitch up our tents and to our great joy it was within walking distance from where we were.
The park seemed nice, there was even a small bathroom available for us as well as a nice patch of grass for our dwelling. Only thing that seemed a bit off was that just next to us was a slightly rickety tent and a lot of camping gear underneath a small shelter. But it all looked abandoned.
We didn’t think much of it though, as we had more pressing things to attend to.
It had been another long day. One with a lot of head wind to be honest. A little bit too much. I told Kaisa to go shower while I began setting up camp. A routine I by now am quite able to pull off even when tired and hungry.
While preparing our mattresses a man came up to me and introduced himself as the cyclist in the tent adjacent from ours. He gave our bikes a look and commented upon how nice they looked. He then shared the story of his bike. Or Lucy, as we came to know her.
He had gotten Lucy some twenty years ago, the same year Lucille Ball had died. And as the bike was red he named it after Lucy. Since them they had been on the road together. For over a 100.000 miles!
We were humbled.
But John turned out to be more than a just a guy who had mostly been cycling. Indeed, he was as he himself described it a semi-retired history teacher who had a wide knowledge of most subject matters. A true intellectual, if you will.
From John we got many good tips, including how to avoid bears in Yellowstone. (Hint: No eating in the tent. Ever! The smell of food is something a you can’t get rid of, and bears will notice!)
It was a short encounter, but one with lots of shared stories, maps and future plans. With John heading east, and us two going west we might not meet again. But who knows, the road has its way of surprising you!