It was pitch black when I got in last night to the hotel.  I didn’t remember seeing any malls in Kawkawlin.  That would have been the perfect place to leave the car.  No such luck, though.

I drove a few miles and spotted a grocery store.  Huge parking lot.  Might as well go ask.

The place had an attached . . . laundromat.  Now that’s just a combination you don’t see every day.  There was a lady standing there, feeding sheets into an industrial washer.  I asked her if she worked there. She said she did.

“Then I’ve got the strangest question you’re going to hear all day long.”

“Doubt that,” she snorted.

“Drove up from Columbus Ohio. Going to bicycle — hopefully — around the entire top part of the lower peninsula.  Need some place to leave the car while bicycling.  Might you suggest some place?”

“All right.  You win on the strange question.”

She called her boss over.  He was a delightful fella who offered up a parking spot in his lot without moment’s hesitation.  Told me last year there were three Polish airline captains that flew over from Poland to Michigan.  They were doing the very same ride I was planning on doing.

Of course, his first question to me was, “You’re fat as a pregnant sow.  How are you going to do this?”

 

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That wasn’t quite how he phrased, it, but the message was pretty clear.  “You?  Bicycle 500 miles?  Uh huh.  I’ll be surprised if you make it out of the parking lot.”

I really don’t think he meant it that way.  He was mentally comparing me to his son who runs marathons all over the place.  Completely different body type.

One thing I like about small towns is people are just friendly.  While many people from “The Big Cities” would take probing questions as rude, being from a small Southern town, I view it more as interested.  He asked what I did, how long we’ve been doing it, other bicycle rides I’ve made.  He did ask, “Why exactly are you doing this?”

You know, I don’t know that I have a good answer for that.

He took my name and number (“Just in case something happens,”) and promised to “keep an eye on the car.”  Small town friendly.