This morning, having seen us safely across the desert, George started back toward New Mexico.
George was most generous to spring for the truck. But his real gift was his time. When he reaches Rio Rancho tomorrow, George will have invested two weeks in the Ride. He spent most of each day waiting for us to catch up. He shared with Jeffrey his considerable knowledge of flora, fauna, history, geology, food, popular culture, politics, and more. He made Jeffrey’s life easier. He relieved Nancy of some of her worry.
Jeffrey’s friend Viviane likes to quote Simone Weil: “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” Generous George paid attention. He earned his trip home.
As George went east, we went west.
Bill was out for a pleasure ride on his Catrike Expedition. He and Jeffrey had a nice chat about recumbents—and immigration. Bill wants America to be generous to refugees. A practical man with a sense of history, Bill sees a role for economic nationalism—favoring American workers when all else is equal—tempered by justice and common sense. He recognizes the failings of our cumbersome immigration laws and knows that not enough Americans will do farm work.
We encountered more people throughout the day, some with cheers and thumbs-up, some with questions. As always, we leave out more than we can include. After Bill, though, we kept things short. We had a long way to go and limited daylight.
Our planned route (mostly on well-paved city streets, past fancy houses, simple houses, and commercial districts of all sorts) included a stretch on the Los Angeles River bike path. But the gate to the path was closed. “Detour” signs pointed both left and right, without indicating which route would take us in what direction.
In the end, we solved the puzzle and made it to the Van Nuys neighborhood, after 76 miles and 11 hours on the road, in brilliant sun that faded to darkness, in air temperatures of up to 92F (33C).
The tale of today’s travels wearied our hosts.
Tomorrow you’ll meet their livelier servants.