Last Ride with Rauno

Trip Start Aug 14, 2012
Trip End Oct 25, 2012

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Where I stayed
Calvin's Couch

Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Thursday, August 23, 2012

    Today we started our last day of biking with Rauno. He helped us to finish the 50 miles from Newport, TN to Knoxville, TN. It was a much more mild ride than the previous day had been. While we were stopped at a gas station filling up our water bottles we were approached by a man named Gene. We talked about our bikes and trip for a bit, and he told us that from 2006-2009 he biked all over the country. In 2006 Gene lost both his wife and dog, so he no longer had reason to stay in North Carolina. He had recently had both knees replaced and the doctor told him that biking was the best possible exercise. So he got a bike and started riding all over to visit family and explore. At the end of his biking journey he had traveled down to Mexico, up to Canada and almost everywhere in between. He said that those 3 years were the best time of his life and that we should take as much out of our trip as we can. It was awesome to hear such an inspirational story and to talk to someone who understood our desire to travel and explore.
    When we arrived in Knoxville it was evening time and we were ready to eat and relax. While we were standing on a corner downtown a man in a pickup truck pulled over. He introduced himself as Paul and asked us what we were doing. When we explained that we were biking across America he was surprised and excited. He told us that we should stop through Lenoir City, TN and that he would cook us dinner. He also suggested a place to grab a cold drink that was within walking distance, Suttree's. We got his information and parted ways. 
    We went to the bar that Paul had recommended and grabbed a drink. There we met a very nice and well-spoken bartender named Stephen. We told him about the bike trip and a little bit about ourselves and he did the same. Come to find out, Stephen is an author of a book called Before You Take the Plunge. It is a book that discusses relationships and marriage. He allowed us to look through the book while we were hanging out. We were able to skim through a portion of the book and it was very well written and worth a reading. As we sat with Rauno and talked about the 120 miles that we had just biked together he informed us that he has been riding marathons in Estonia for 10 years! No wonder he sped past us up every hill and never tired out.
    Calvin, our couch surfing host, joined us at the bar. He was a very nice guy with a warm smile. He told us all about his dog, Zeke, that we would meet at his home. He is a doberman who enjoys pulling Calvin on his bike. We later got to see Zeke run with Calvin and it was awesome. Zeke was foaming out the mouth and happy as can be when they came back home.
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