Sorry about the lack of updates recently, we’ve been traveling through and staying in places without much service. Right now we are in Childress, Texas; home to some of the most amazing people we have met. Let me explain.
So before the trip started, I had a goal to never pay for housing unless it was raining. I wanted to be homeless because I thought it would be fun and adventurous. Today would be the first night to put that to the test as there is a 0% chance of rain. However, I am currently writing this post from our hotel room, the nicest place in town might I add, but my goal is still intact – we are staying for free.
Around 5:15, we rode into Childress with a plan to charm the firefighters into letting us crash at the fire house. Our subtle advances were met with a friend zone rejection that Joe and I are used to receiving at bars and medical school applications. So we tried the police station. A friendly cop told us we could sleep in the town park and no one would bother us. We rode by to check it out and felt like we hit the jackpot; running water, a gazebo, AND outlets to charge our phones!?! Our night already had a luxurious aura.
Then we decided to go to the best named place in Childress, Maxey’s Steakhouse, to eat, drink and watch the ASU game. I go sit in the bar area and ask the bartender to put the game on, but a big group of people were already watching the Texas Tech game. Not to worry, they told me, they would be leaving soon and we could put our game on. Great. But they noticed Joe’s bike jersey before he left for the bathroom and asked me what we were doing. I explained our whole story and when Joe came back, we all hung out and talked. Turns out two of the women work in the medical field, Eileen is a nurse and Lori is a nurse practitioner, both strong advocates for organ donation. After finding out we were planning to be homeless in a park, Eileen offered us the chance to stay at her still-being-built lake house 2 miles south of town – we could just sleep undisturbed on the pier. We jump at the opportunity and get excited that our friendliness just ended our homelessness. But then Lori tells us that while we were talking to Eileen about her unfinished lake house, she was texting her good friend, the general manager of the Hampton Inn, and had gotten her to give us a room for the night. Homeless to Hamptons, the Joe and Max Story. If you hadn’t figured it out by now, these people were awesome. We continued to hang out with Lori, Eileen, Dale (Lori’s husband) and their various children (one was named Max!), until it was time for them to leave.
After they left, Joe and I were ecstatic about the recent turn of events – until we got the check. Or should I say the lack of check. Lori, Eileen and Dale had picked up our tab aside from the beer we ordered after they left – which the bartender picked up for us. Wow. We were floored by these strangers’ kindness and generosity. But it doesn’t end there. When we got to the hotel, two bags full of water bottles were waiting for us with a note and cash. Insanity. It is still hard for me to comprehend the true goodness of these people. Go be friendly to people, it can take you places.
Here’s a brief synopsis of the past few days.
After leaving Palo Duro Canyon and Beverly, the nice ranger that gave us breakfast and a ride, a nice, flat 45 mile ride south on I-27 awaited us. Now you may be thinking, “Joe and Max could easily bike 45 miles on flat ground considering last week they biked 55 miles up the Mogollon Rim.” Wrong. Wind blows (pun intended). Riding against a headwind is putting in twice the effort for half the speed. We stopped in Tulia, Texas (small town, only around 7,000 residents) and were yet again forced to get a motel room due to rain. Though small, Tulia had a massive amount of pride in the Tulia High School football team. This was strange for me, as my high school team was awful and nobody cared about it (our basketball team was a whole different story).
We then rode east to Caprock Canyon State Park. On the way we stopped in Silverton. There, we met a man waiting for a new kidney. Yet another reminder that more donors are needed. Caprock is beautiful and we had a fantastic time hiking around and chilling by our campfire. The wildlife was incredible. After leaving Catalina Island this summer, I thought my days among Bison were over, but Caprock is home to the only wild bison herd in Texas. Upon entering the park, half the herd decided to block our path and stare us down. We got way, way too close for comfort. Still not sure if the pies on the ground were theirs or ours. There were also wild prairie dogs! Prairie dogs are a keystone species, but, due to human ignorance, only inhabit about 1% of their original range. It was really cool to see these adorable creatures in the wild. We also found two different species of millipede (freaky) and had some raccoons eat our food in the middle of the night.
We left Caprock this morning and traveled 65 miles to Childress. Oklahoma tomorrow!
Love from Childress,
“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation because your character is what your really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”