(written night of July 31st)
Today Ale and I biked from Pomeroy to a place about 8 miles outside of Orfino called Peck. We stopped to get food at a restaurant on the side of 12 and ended up making friends with all the Peckers (what the Peck locals call themselves) and are now camping out in the back of the restaurant. I wish I had recorded the conversations we had tonight, because they were just hilarious and awesome.
It started out with us parking our bikes outside the restaurant and a loud woman stumbling through the front door telling us not to worry about locking our bikes because, “everyone here is too drunk or old to be riding that shit!” haha, yes, always a good sign. We laughed and asked about getting some food. She went on and on about the drinks they had and informed us that she had been coming for years, but had never gotten food. Luckily, the food was actually pretty good, and the cook / owner was a very nice woman with a cute grandchild that ate dinner with us.
Later in the night, I made good friends with an 80-year-old man who was smoking and sipping whiskey throughout our conversation. He looked like he was maybe 60; he had no problem hearing me, no problem reading the menu, and no other problems I usually associate with 80-year-olds. He had many stories about being in the marines for 21 years and then being the deputy of Orfino when “shit was crazy.” He said he was in about 7 bar fights a night and was known for handling the worst situations. He proceeded to tell me how to take down a drunk without hurting him and then physically showed me his favorite move to use in bar fights (both necessary life skills). When I asked about Orfino now a day, he just said, “dead, no bar fights, no nothing.” Then when I asked him about celebrating his 80th birthday, he responded with “skydiving of course, what ya think I am?” He was awesome obviously. He also showed me pictures of his grandson who is a professional motorcycle racer. It was really sweet because he was sooooo proud of him. He also shared stories about his wife who had died of cancer a couple years ago and it melted my heart to hear him speak about how proud he was of her for being a real sharp shooter and about how much he misses her. I could have listened to him for hours if the restaurant had stayed open later. It really made my night to make a friend like that.
As Ale and I walked out of the restaurant, we were ambushed by a man and woman, who had both obviously been drinking for a while. We talked for a while and when they found out we were biking to New York, the women exclaimed, “YOU ARE F*&%ING NUTS!!!” haha, no beating around the bush with this group. We continued talking for about an hour and they literally had me laughing so hard that I couldn’t breath. It was so so so so funny to hear them speak in their southern accents and about ridiculous things. The lady kept pulling me aside to try to tell me something of great value. She would start out whispering but by the end she would be shouting it to make sure I understood. For example, she would start by whispering, “hey hey blondie, let me tell you something here real quick,” to which I would respond, “o please do.” She would continue, “there are f*&%ing rattle snakes out in these parts!” My response: “dang, what do I do if I see one?” She would be yelling at this point, “you just say shhhfjhsjfhslkj” (not sure if that’s what she meant to say, but that’s what came out of her mouth). I would start laughing and then she would think she was really funny and try to give me some more insightful advice. It was a wonderful cycle.
Meanwhile, the man was talking to Ale about the benefits of everyone having a gun in this area. “No one’s gonna come breakin yo house if they knows they gonna get some lead up in there ass, right?” I guess he was slightly right. And then he went on to explain why the crime rate is so low here (where everyone has guns) because if anyone does ever break in, then they get shot and die and that takes care of that. Hah, I guess he is right again, in a messed up way. He then mentioned something about being an Indian, so I asked him what kind of Indian he was. “Drunk Indian” he responded with a smile. That set us all off laughing again and this continued for a while. It felt so funny to be hanging out with a couple so drunk and not be annoyed. I think the last time I hung out with individuals that drunk I was in college listening to one of my girlfriends crying / laughing / hiccupping while explaining some relationship problems. I thought to myself, “these drunk people are way more fun, where have you been all through high school and college!”
When we finally got our tent set up and Ale and I had a moment to talk about what had just happened, she said in a little worried, serious Ale tone, “I don’t think I have EVER seen any real humans like that. I have only seen them on TV or like caricatures. They just don’t exist in New York or at Stanford. Can we go talk to them more?” Haha, yay for new friends in new places.