Powder Mill to Bendavis
We quickly pulled up the tent and struggled to keep it from blowing away in the wind. Rain was coming down lightly and a downpour seemed evident. We quickly evacuated the dirt patch and found some shelter around the locked restroom. Fortunately the storm blow its self out in just a few more minutes and settled into a light steady rain.
We rode to Emmence about ten miles up the road and had a really great breakfast; some of the best french toast I’ve ever had. This looked like a really interesting town and I wished we’d had more time to hang out. We met little Ryan as we were leaving town, he had just broke camp and was heading to eat too. He didn’t think he’d catch up to us because he was riding a little ways and being picked up by a friend to spend a few days in Springfield. We said our goodbyes and I hope to hear from him again one day, but I think I gave him the wrong phone number.
We crossed Jack’s Fork river and stopped to check out a pedestrian bridge that was closed. You could see how high the water had rose from the debries on the bridge, it had to be at least 50 feet. The next few hours were just rough, it was one hard climb after another and it began to get hot and humid. Eventually the terrain became more rolling plateau type that suited me much better.
We caught up to a 13 person Adventure Cycling Association group riding West. These were the backmarkers of the group and they were moving at a steady pace that was just a bit slower then mine. So these guys apparently these guys paid around 5400 dollars to ride across country with a guide from the Adventure Cycling Association. They carry their own gear, sleep in the same city parks and campgrounds as anyone else, and I’m honestly a bit confused about why you would pay 5400 dollars to ride across country. Most of these folks looked far more capable cyclists than me.
I’m Not Digging the Vibe Around Here
Our second night was to end in the tiny little town of Bendavis, population 34. The map said camping was allowed behind the Bendavis General Store. I was fired up for this and expected a pleasant night camping behind a rustic general store. When we arrived at the General Store I was let down. The rustic general store was a small metal building filled with animal husbandry implements, used chainsaws and the cast of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. As I looked at the cooler for something to drink a teenage girl with the chainsaw massacre crowd approached me. “You should get some of that Gatorade stuff, it’s got electrolytes,” she explained.
“Ahhh, yeah, so, umm, is there camping behind the store,” Ryan asked the girl behind the register.
“Yeah, sure, but our trash guy hasn’t been here in awhile,” the girl said. We wandered around back and saw a very small patch of grass covered with piles of trash and cardboard boxes. About that time we heard the sound of a chainsaw firing up from somewhere very close.
“I’m not digging the vibe around here,” I said.
“Yeah, the vibe is terrible,” Ryan replied. We went on down the road and found a church.
“We’re camping here,” I said. An older guy was mowing his yard behind the church and his mower died.
“Hey, can we camp here,” Ryan yelled.
“Of course,” the man replied. He gave us a brief tour of his property showing us where his water faucets were and told use whatever we needed. The man’s name was Homer we began to talk and he turned out to be an interesting character. “I think it’s great what you’re out doing, I wish I could be as active as you,” he said. “Did you know I’m 85 years old?” he asked.
“No sir, I did not, but you sure don’t look to be 85 years old” I replied
“Well I am, let me ask you, I bet you don’t smoke right?” he asked.
“No sir, I have never smoked,” I replied.
“Allright here’s another question, do you drink?”
I began to tell him I was straight edge for life, but I didn’t think he’d get the reference so I said, “No sir, I’m a teetotaler, I don’t drink,” I replied.
“Allright that’s good, now one more question, do you eat meat?” he asked.
“Umm yeah, you got me there,” I answered.
“Let me tell you, in Genesis 2:9 it lays out the diet of Adam and Eve, God didn’t intend for us to eat animals or drink their milk. We are intended to eat the plants of the field. You won’t believe this, but I haven’t been sick for 15 years since I completely cut animals from my diet.” he said.
“Well you certainly look healthy,” I said.
“Adam and Eve lived for 1000 years, if we could eat the food from the Garden of Eden we’d live that long as well, I’m telling you, want to live long and be healthy, grow your own food and don’t eat meat.” he answered.
“Where do you get your protein from?” I asked.
“They won’t tell you this but there is protein in everything, we don’t need it, you get plenty of protein from plants and what you don’t get your body makes,” Homer answered.
We parted and as I walked back to our camp where Ryan was setting up his tent I closely studied Google Maps for some kind of campground further down the road. There was nothing. I kept thinking about a movie where this seemingly very nice elderly couple ate travelers. Ryan and I decided this was the best it was going to get and Homer was a righteous guy, so we stayed the night. It turned out to be a very pleasant night with no rain.