To Coosawhatchie 126km
To Statesboro Georgia 106km
To Madray Springs 108km
Two years ago today, I cycled out of Hanmer Springs, with a bunch of friends. There were tears. I was off on my big adventure. Wow.
Two years today, my youngest grandson was born. Happy birthday Sebastian. Not long now until we meet in person. Wow.
Two years, 41 countries, 39,701km, and I'm still being "wowed" by what I'm seeing, and the people I'm meeting. Let me introduce some I've met this week....
Nicky is a full time Firefighter and EMT. She "mans" a station in South Carolina with one other person. They have an ambulance, a fire appliance and a tanker. Depending on the type of call, they respond in two different vehicles. Sometimes, Nicky "mans" the station alone. She hopes others, from other stations, will turn up to assist her. Wow.
Nicky works hard at keeping fit, running and in the gym. However, she lives in Savanah Georgia, and there have been a spate of women joggers being grabbed off the street, so Nicky carries a firearm in a special pouch sewn into her running shorts. She also has a special holster sewn into her tank top. When she goes out socializing, she wears her gun under her skirt. She tells me that many of the church goers on Sunday will be wearing a gun. Wow. I find it difficult to understand...... going to Church, and carrying a firearm.....
Nicky is changing her career path. She is joining Virgin as a flight attendant. She wants to see the world. She has to sell her pretty home, built and designed to fit on a trailer, and painting "candy" colours, and move to San Franscisco. Virgin have stringent "grooming" policies, so Nicky will have to keep her tattoos covered, (which look stunning and are very colourful)but makeup will not be a problem, as hers is tattooed on......lip gloss, eyebrows and blush. Wow.
Nicky tells me that Donald Trump running for President was initially seen as a joke. Now, it's just plain scarey. Wow.
Katie is a "traveling nurse". She works in operating theaters, on short term contracts, all over the USA. She loves to travel. She is also a Warmshowers host. I stayed with her a night, in her house that she is preparing to sell. Being busy sanding floors and painting rooms, and packing for her next adventure, does not stop her hosting cyclists. Katie is also changing her life. She is heading out on her first cycle touring adventure, as soon as the house is on the market, touring the Adriatic. Katie is also looking for a new country to live in..... I suggested NZ. I told her we are always open to good looking nurses coming our way. (All our nurses are good looking).
Lenny is an Engineer, looking forward to retirement. He is also a Warmshowers host. A good deal of his work time is associated with working with lawyers on cases dealing with faulty appliances and fittings. Lenny has traveled extensively, including "snooping" for the army in Afghanistan. He is a cycling enthusiast, but has recently had major surgery on an ankle, so rides his motor bikes, a Harley and a BMW. He sent me the security code for his house, told me to make myself at home, convinced me to stay another day, and then flew off to Atlanta, leaving me alone in his house. Such amazing hospitality and trust. In the short time we had together, he took me on a tour of North Charleston, took me out for a pizza, and we got to talk about cycling gadgets, NZ vs USA, politics, Nepal, law, ACC and OSH, and so much more. Wow.
John describes himself as an "Army brat". At 65 years old, he has recently finished hiking the Appalachian Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail. Now he's cycling from Florida to up state New York. He told me about the dangers of USA, the power of the police, the racism, segregation, and who really cares about USA politics, and how to survive in a "Police State". Wow.
The guys at the Statesboro Fire Department, greeted me with open arms. I ate a meal with them. We "trash talked" for hours. Travel, fishing, hunting, cooking, diving, swimming with crocodiles, NZ, sport, NZ sportsmen, legalization of Marijuana, Politics...... on and on. The Captain prayed for me, and told me God was within me. I'm over welmed by their generosity and warmth. Then this morning I was ordered to eat the breakfast they had cooked for me. Several are keen to come to NZ to shoot a Red Stag. A couple even sussed out Hanmer Holiday Homes options. And theyre serious about coming. Yep, I'm still being "wowed".