June 1st, 2009
Day one is now history or pretty much most of it. There are still a few hours remaining but there wont be any more cycling done. Today was another in a string of spectacular (and unusually warm) days. It should be cloudy, 52 *F, with a 70% chance of rain. Instead we had mostly sunny and highs in the middle 80's. It's not normal. It's not right. But we'll take it!
We had the traditional blueberry pancake breakfast that typically precedes our sending a cyclist on his or her way. This was appropriate as we actually did host another cyclist who pulled in Sunday afternoon. Jeff (from Seattle) is hoping to get to Sacramento CA before his 3 weeks of vacation are finished. He began on Saturday so he has just about 21 days remaining. He's going in the same general direction that we are (south into Oregon) but he is steadfastly refusing to follow anyones route but his own. For that reason, we parted company with Jeff in the town of Elma which is a 20 mile ride that we have done scores of times in the 10 years that we've lived where we live. It is a very convenient training ride at about the right distance from our house to achieve a 40 mile round trip. We had a couple photo opportunities with Jeff both at our house before we left and then again in Elma in front of the Beer Cave. He was a pleasant and very appreciative cyclist as are most of the cyclists who've stayed with us.
Barring any unforeseen disasters, today was our last opportunity to see Moritz before he returns to Germany. We said goodbye to both him and his parents this morning. Numerous photographs preceded our departure which occurred just before 10:00 am. Saying goodbye to exchange students has become almost routine now that we've finished our third academic year with a teenager from another country. Nobody got overly emotional as Moritz and his parents had decided to meet us at the end of the day in Centralia in order to buy us dinner. This was something that they had really wanted to do before we left but we ran out of time on Sunday. So we spent the entire day trying to get to Centralia before Moritz and his parents. We actually accomplished this as we pulled into town by 4:45 but got turned around while trying to find the location where we agreed to meet. We ended up riding at least an extra 5 miles. This was not an altogether bad thing though as we got to test out the new cellphone that we was given us by Moritz and his parents. We had to make 3 calls to let him know where we were and to tell them to stay where they were until we got there. Boy those cell phones really come in handy! I don't know how we ever survived without one! Just kidding. But Donna feels a sense of security at having this at her disposal. Now she just has to learn how to use it. So far, Lewis is the only one who has the necessary skill set to make that dang thing work. Life is tough when you're a technological dinosaur!
So we had a nice dinner at one of the nicer restaurants in Centralia and afterwards we had to say goodbye again. I'll miss Moritz but at the same time I know that we'll be seeing him and his parents again in the not too distant future. I feel like we have made a connection with him and his family that failed to happen during our first two students. This was what we had hoped for when we got into this routine of welcoming strange teenagers into our lives. I have the feeling that for the rest of our lives, we'll be included in Moritz inner circle. That is special! And he has a spot in our circle as well.
The final goodbye occurred and by 7:15 we were back on the bikes to our final destination of the day. This would be the house of Chris and Darby Affeldt. They live just outside of Centralia and only a mile or so off our route. Chris being Katies brother-in-law. Katie being Donna's very good friend. Once again we turned ourselves around but fortunately Chris saved us from further futile pedaling when he happened to drive by while we were trying to use the cell phone to get a clarification on the directions that were only shadows in Alans head by the end of the day. It was all so clear yesterday when he was looking at the map on mapquest but he failed to print out the particulars so of course he forgot some of the minor details like which road to turn down. But all's well that ends well We are now resting comfortably on an inflatable mattress in the living room. Donna and Lewis are already sleeping and I'll be joining them shortly. It's 11:30 and tomorrow could be a really long day. Total miles ridden today : 68.9 Goodnight!