I awoke the next morning to the sound of Joe and Angie getting ready for their day ahead. We said our farewells, Angie offering their home to me for as long as I felt like staying that day. I cooked oatmeal and sat by their warm stove, reading a book that Angie had suggested I take a look at before I left.
I took myself on a short tour of downtown Goshen, passing the farmers market and stopping at the food coop for a few supplies. The town, to me, struck a note somewhere between sleepy and bustling. I would be happy if I ever have the opportunity to visit again.
The day was sunny and warm. Soon after I left downtown, I noticed a small farm that sat adjacent to the Millrace Canal paved trail that was leading me out of town. I rode along its eastern edge, taking in its sprawling green pastures across the canal. The trail wound along the farm and led me eventually along a stretch of tall pines that bordered the driveway leading to the farmhouse.
When I saw a man clearing debris from the strong storms that ran through a few days prior, I decided to stop and talk. The man was named Bruce, and was care taking for the property while the owner was away. We discussed Clay Bottom Farm and others in the immediate area before he offered his as a place to stay during any future visits.
I rode out of Goshen (pronounced like ocean) and through the farm fields and small towns that make up the Indiana countryside, enjoying the sunny day and the encouraging wind coming out of the north. As the sun began the descent from its late afternoon peak, I began to notice a dull pain in my left knee that would soon after begin to slow my progress significantly. As I came to terms with the fact that I would be unable to reach Tippacanoe State Park as I had planned, a man in a small black pickup truck pulled up and asked for help in finding a (hopefully) nearby road. As we worked out a solution and began the customary discussion on what the (hell) was I doing?, the man offered a ride, which I happily accepted.
We spent the next 3 hours becoming friends as Steve explained his past experiences as a Colorado hitchiker, a busted and reformed pot dealer, a spiritual man, a father, lover, and dreamer. He had always felt himself to be a mountain man, and had a vision to someday traverse the Rockies with pack animal and supplies.
We both enjoyed the company, and he graciously dropped me off 40 miles beyond my original destination, leaving me with what food he could find in his truck compartment, and wishing me well.
We never did pick up the love seat that I helped him to locate earlier that afternoon, although he did pay for it. The Amish woman whose classified ad had brought Steve out of his way and into unfamiliar territory was single, and it was obvious to me that he was interested in getting to know her at least.
A handshake is as good as a kiss…..a contract, I mean!
We left the Amish woman’s home, both of them agreeing to meet again later in the week.
Steve and I never did exchange contact information, and as he drove away that evening, i couldn’t help but to find myself hoping that something good would come of that upcoming Thursday love seat acquisition.