After we said goodbye to the Atlantic Ocean and were officially headed home, we realized we were only one days ride from Hob and Deb, whom we had met serendipitously a few weeks earlier in Virginia. We called them up, and despite the short notice, they insisted we come stay at their place (even though they had just returned from their own tour a few days prior). Hob had warned us that central Connecticut was hilly, and of course he was right – after 30 years of bike touring, he knew his state pretty well. We arrived exhausted as we hadn’t really battled many hills since leaving Panama a few weeks earlier. Hob gave us a tour of his wonderful 200+ year-old house and property that he and Deb have worked on tirelessly for years to restore to the beauty that it is now. Deb prepared a wonderful meal and the kids fell asleep easily when bedtime rolled around.
After the sun set, we talked for hours with Hob and Deb. Despite our differences in age, it felt like we were old friends – we had a common level of understanding of kindness and generosity in the world, of risk taking and adventure, of stupidity and mishaps that lead to learning in a whole new way. There are things you can share with a fellow bike tourist that they understand only too well! We learned more about their 100,000 miles of bicycle touring – what started it all, and how the cycling actually took a back burner to their interest in long-distance hiking. Over the years, these (now retired) school teachers have hiked every long trail in America, as well as thousands of miles spent tracing old pilgrimage routes in Europe. Their stories were inspiring and led us to dream about what a lifetime of adventure could look like. We said goodbye the next morning, but are certain our paths will once again cross as this amazing couple are a wealth of knowledge on biking, hiking, and pilgrimage walks around the world.