Free and a Hot Shower - Salamanca, NY (Bradford, PA) - 7/17/2006

In the morning, we had breakfast with the family.  Everyone was so nice.  The kids are very cute.  Here's a picture.

Today, we had a bit of hill climbing again.  It's been a while since we had intensive hill climbing (back on day 3 and 4).  Hills don't scare me with my better tuned front derailleur.

After a while in the heat, I spotted a public pool.  We immediately took advantage of this to escape from the afternoon sun as well as have lunch.  (Apparently, Dave talked to his friend on the phone and there's a heatwave going on.)  In the pool, this kid, Chris, befriended me immediately.  He either A) thought I was the coolest adult he's ever met, B) never met an Asian person before, or C) was intrigued by the fact I was cycling cross country.  I don't have this minority complex.  Just listen to this story and you tell me if people outside the big cities have ever met an Asian woman before...  Chris asked me, "Are you from China?"  I respond, "No, I'm from New York City."  Then he shoots back, "Oh, then you're from Chinatown in New York."  What the hell?  Do all Asian people come from China or can only live in Chinatown?  Sheit.  Kid was funny.  He challenged me to the deep end test, which consisted of jumping off the diving board and swimming a few feet to the ladder.  Silly kid, I can swim 1/4 mile in the Atlantic Ocean.  Here's a picture of my pool buddy.

Back on the road, we pedaled through extreme heat.  I didn't really notice a difference since hot is hot to me.  But after the fact, everybody was telling me we were definitely going through a heatwave.  Around 5:30pm, we stopped to take a picture of the nicest backdrop of mountains.  While stopping, this lady stops her car on the other side of the street to see if were okay.  I said I was fine and just taking a picture, thank you.  She gets out of her car and talks to us to make sure we had a place to stay for the night.  She was concerned because of the heat and knowing that where we were headed, there was very little ammenities.  I told her we were just going to find a motel in Salamanca, NY.  She said we were welcome to stay at her place but she was 12 miles in the opposite direction.  I declined because I couldn't go 12 miles out of our way, especially at the end of the day when we're tired.  She then asks us if she could buy water for us.  Did we have enough water?  She's too kind!  I mean, who randomly stops people on the road and offers housing and water?  She said she was a cyclist so she understands and again, was concerned because of the heatwave going on.  Somehow we get back on the topic of housing and she asked, "what are you looking for?"  I replied, "free and a hot shower."  I asked her what she recommends for us since she knows the area better than us.  She told us we should pedal to Salamanca and check it out.  Then, she'd go home and get her truck and meet us in Salamanca and take us home and tomorrow, she'd drive us back out to Salamanca.  I mean, how can you turn down an offer like that?  Sold!  This is unbelievable.  We went to Salamanca and it took us all but a minute to check out the town.

A little later, Carolyn (the nice lady), arrives with her truck and takes us back to her amazing house in Bedford, PA.  The house is huge with something like 5 bathrooms.  Carolyn showed us around the house - bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen, laundry, etc.  Afterward, she takes off for a hair appointment that she's late to because she picked us up.  Amazing or what?  Who picks up strangers and leaves them in their house alone?  There are really nice people in this world.  I guess I have a nice enough face that people trust me in their houses.  After a shower, I made dinner for the family.  Since all the meat was frozen, we just warmed up the barbeque chicken they had last night.  And, I made roasted potatoes, a salad with a homemade vinegrette, and I also whipped up some homemade mac and cheese.  It was cool.  I've never made homemade mac and cheese before and I'd have to say, this was a pretty good batch.  Eventually, the husband, daughter and wife comes home.  It was great that I was able to have dinner ready for them.  We all sit down to a nice dinner and conversation.  Afterward, we had ice cream sandwiches for dessert - yum - my favorite.

As I do in most host family homes, I use their Internet until I can no longer stay awake.  It's too bad I didn't get to enjoy the house more.  They have a little pond and a creek on their property.  My room was a sitting room of sorts with 3 walls of windows.  I chose this room over a bedroom because I wanted to wake up to nature all around me.  It was so nice in that room.  Remember how in Windsor, NY I had the presidential suite?  Here, I had my own wing.

Here's a picture of Jim and Carolyn.