The following is an excerpt from my book The Divide. Find the ebook here.
"Are you broke down," the driver asked. He wore a blue plaid shirt under a set of red Carhartt suspenders, white hair blended into gray sideburns that faded back to snow white on his chin.
"Oh no, I'm just lubing the chain." I arched my back into a stretch.
"You must be doing that bike race."
"Well, I'm not racing, but I am riding the route."
A woman spoke from the passenger seat of the car. We all talked a bit about the route and the documentary that had a scene filmed at the church we stood outside of.
"Do you two know this road pretty well?"
"Good. I'm trying to avoid the rain and mud and am thinking of following this road to get to Silver City. Is there anything on this road? Any place I'll be able to stop?"
Without a look to his passenger, the driver said, "Yeah. Mile marker 23."
Mile marker 23? Now here's a man that knew how to give directions. I laughed with his specificity. "What's at mile marker 23?"
With a quick glance at his wife this time, "Well, we are."
I glanced around for a mile marker. "You mean we're at 23 right here?"
"No. I mean us," he said pointing to himself and his wife. "Our home is at mile marker 23. Why don't you stop by. We'll feed you and let you used the spare bed, get a good night of sleep. How does that sound?"
Too good to be true. "Well, how far is it from here?"
"I'd say about 25 miles."
"Well, that sounds wonderful then," I said, not sure what to make of the situation. We hadn't even introduced ourselves, but I had accepted an invitation to dinner. Strange? Maybe a little. But I wouldn't have to stay if I felt at all uncomfortable.
"All right. What would you like for dinner?"
Like? I must have looked ridiculous, slack-jawed and sweat-stained. I was still so surprised at having been invited to dinner that I couldn't comprehend deciding what dinner would be. "I'm not a picky eater, especially these days."
"All right. Can we take your bags for you and lighten your load?"
"Oh no, I'll hold on to those." I didn't have any suspicion of foul play. To give up the bags was another step toward an easy ride that I didn't want to take. An easier route to avoid weather was one thing; pawning my gear off onto somebody else was quite different. "Mile maker 23, right? I think it will be a couple of hours before I get there."
"We'll be there. Just ride on in."
"Ok. I'll see you soon."