Again, couldn’t find an American Legion or VFW post, but I did run across the local Chamber of Commerce office. Rolled into their parking log and strolled inside. I have to learn to remember that I’m used to what I look like after days and days on the bike, but I’m probably a sight to folks who aren’t used to it. So here comes this big guy with a sleeveless vest and sleeveless sweatshirt and long hair strolling into the C of C offices. The lady at the desk gave me one of those I-think-I-just-saw-you-on-America’s-Most-Wanted-looks before I introduced myself. I’ve gotten pretty good at being able to quickly get out who I am and what I’m doing. She smiled, took a deep breath and relaxed.
After kicking around some options for somewhere to put the tent up, she suggested I get in touch with Dr. Chandler at Riverview Baptist Church and gave me the number. I called – doc was in with a patient – and left a message with his receptionist. Then rolled on out looking for the church. It sat right on the road I was traveling so it wasn’t too hard to find.
Rolled into the parking lot as folks were out front setting up some chairs for a midweek Easter “cross raising” service. I introduced myself to a guy – Travis – and told him that I had contacted the pastor’s office. Travis and I chatted awhile and I found out he had been a sniper in the Marines. Being an old salt, I had to pick at him some and he gave as good as he got.
Travis told me about the upcoming service and invited me to stick around for pizza with him and the youth group. Being the sweet guy I am and not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings by turning down free food – I accepted. Pizza, coke and maybe a place to put the tent – life is good.
Doc. Chandler arrived while we were eating and I got introduced to him. Neat guy…really has a heart for the community and his flock. He along with Travis and another guy named Mike went out of their way to make me feel welcome and at home. I joined them in a Bible study in the fellowship hall before going back out and setting the tent up. Mike gave me a lift to the closest convenience store to pick up some smokes and after chatting a few more minutes with him, Travis and the pastor, it was time for this ol’ boy to hit the sack.
Sunrise comes an hour earlier in Alabama than it does in Georgia. Guess maybe these Alabamians need an hours head start on the day. I packed the gear up on the bike and rolled out. Stopping by the same convenience store that Mike had taken me to, I grabbed a cup of coffee and a doughnut. Stepping outside to polish off the perfect breakfast with a smoke, Travis rolled up. He handed me a sausage biscuit and hashbrowns and then offered to give me a lift up the road a bit.
Unloading the bike and putting it on the back of his truck, we chatted and visited some more as I had breakfast rolling down the road at 60MPH. All too soon we got to the drop off point. After unloading my gear, we shook hands and I continued on the trip to Montgomery.