Often, life hands us things that are complicated on the surface yet simplistic when examined. At least, I think it does. Sometimes. Recently, we hosted two people, on separate nights, who are riding the Adventure Cycling Association's Southern Tier Route. Both are on very different missions. Both are looking for things. Both are very different people.
On the surface, these two cyclists are very similar. Around 30 yrs old. Both living in the Los Angeles, CA, area. One had grown up there; the other has lived there for the past 5yrs. College graduates. Uncertain of where to go next. One more mature than the other. Strong riders. Friendly people. Enjoyed their company. One more high energy than the other thus demanding more attention just due to the energy level.
Eileen and I were struck by the difference in energy from these two. But, overall, they were two young men on a journey. The high energy rider posted on his blog about his experiences coming through Safford, AZ, the Apache reservation in Arizona, and a brew pub in Las Cruces. Before reading his post, I had no negative thoughts about this young rider. Sure, he was a high energy person, but I can deal with that. However, after reading the post he put up which was demeaning to two other hosts who let him spend a night with them, not to mention his blanket condemnation of the Apache people, I had a change of heart. True, maybe this trip is part of what he needs to mature. So be it. But what he posted is mean-spirited.
This is the first time I've experienced this with one of the touring cyclists that's stayed with us. Sure, others have stayed who have been good people, but, like life, we just didn't click. Some who have stayed with us, we've really clicked with and are still in touch with them.
The rider who stayed with us next was very different. More mature yet still young and searching for some answers, but much more focused. He spoke of his previous college years, thoughts about medical school, and his family. Big family that was created for various reasons...but a family. He's headed to New Orleans where he'll meet up with his brother and a nephew he's not met yet. From there, it's back to Maryland, where he grew up. And where the rest of his family lives. This rider isn't doing a blog, but I did hear back from him and he's doing fine.
We wish both of these riders well and happy trails. The one rider we hope for some enlightenment/maturity. For both, we hope they find some answers. We will continue to host touring cyclists despite our encounter.
A time to exit with a tune... Woody Guthrie singing "This Land Is Your Land". The good, the bad, the beautiful, the plain, the ugly, the sublime.