Word Gets Around... in a Small Town

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

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Where I stayed
Church of Christ

Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Wednesday, August 29, 2012

    Today we awoke in the parking lot of The Church of Christ in Milan, TN. We were both pretty tired and feeling a bit under the weather due to our concrete digs the night before. We decided it would be best to stop in to a local McDonald's to get cleaned up and grab something quick to eat because we didn't have any groceries.
    While we were gathering our things to head into McD's an older man stopped to talk to us about our bikes. He told us that he liked our bikes and asked us how far we were riding. We told him that we were headed to San Fransisco and he gave us a friendly chuckle. We made our way into the restroom to get freshened up and by the time we came back out there was a group of a dozen older men surrounding the man we had previously talked to. The minute we came out the group started questioning us with interest and a little disbelief. We answered their questions and told them about our trip so far. They began giving us suggestions on routes to take into Memphis and areas to avoid. One man that had lived in Memphis for years went out to his vehicle and got us a map that he allowed us to keep. On the map he highlighted the best route, in his opinion. There was a lot of talk about hurricane Isaac and what the effects would be on the surrounding areas. We told the group of men that we were heading towards Little Rock, AR after going through Memphis and they let us know that we were headed right in to the storm. We discussed the possibility of catching a ride between the two of us. Not minutes after our private discussion, a man sitting a booth over told us that his brother was heading in to Memphis at 10 am and that we could catch a ride with him. He also offered us to come to his home and take showers. We gladly agreed to a shower and a ride both.
    Before we knew it one of the local newspaper writers was in the McDonald's to interview us. He asked us questions about our trip and how the experience had been so far. Neither of us had anything but good things to say about the people we have met and the adventures we have had. We talked a lot about being overwhelmed by strangers' kindness and how true the expression "Southern Hospitality" really is. Steve Short, the writer, took notes on our conversation along with a couple pictures and wished us well on our adventure. 
We biked to Holt's house, the man who offered us a shower and whose brother was headed to Memphis. There we met Sam, Holt's daughter, who invited us in and showed us to the bathroom. We took turns getting cleaned up while waiting for Vance, Holt's brother, to arrive. Sam let us in on one of the family rules, "Don't wait for Vance." Good thing we weren't on any kind of a schedule and didn't mind waiting in the least. It allowed us a chance to relax on a couch and chat with Sam. 
Vance picked us up and we were on the road to Memphis. We learned quite a bit about cotton on that drive;  the family business is in the cotton industry. Vance planned for us to meet one of his friends, Johnny Cash King (name given by parents), for lunch at Huey's. Johnny Cash King is an avid cyclist who was able to offer quite a bit of advice about the terrain of Arkansas. Vance bought us a delicious lunch of burgers and fries and then had to head off to a meeting. Thank you, Vance, for all the help! A truck ride and lunch, what more can two biking girls ask for? Johnny Cash King then took over in helping us find a hostel to stay at. He drove us to The Pilgrim House and assured us that he would give us a ride across the Mississippi whenever we were ready to leave. 
See what we mean about amazing people?
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