If you haven’t already, read Day 19’s first entry before this one, in order for the following to make sense:
Someone called to give you this message:
Please stay safe. The Norman County Motel on Hwy. 200 W. will have a room for you tonight. May you always find peace & strive for great things–as you are obviously doing by such a bold travel. You are inspiring to many.
And that was it. I assume Rachel, the librarian, had written it. But she made it clear that she had “no idea” who had done this for me. I was completely awestruck. The day had started in an absolute torrent, with half of my day spent trying to block the thought of sleeping wet and cold. And, suddenly, I was going to be sleeping in a hotel? How does this happen!? I couldn’t believe that someone (Joyce? Tom? Rachel? Becky? Postmaster?) had done such a thing for me, a complete stranger, on a rainy afternoon in Minnesota. So, I wrapped up my business in the library, said goodbye and thank you thank you thank you to Becky and especially Rachel, got dressed in my still-wet raingear (pushing 4 or 5pm at this point), and was back on my bike–which actually felt really good. I was going down main street, passing one of those little Verizon/Radioshack/toy stores that the bigger of the small towns have, and decided to stop. I was getting really sick of not being able to talk to friends and family, and I wanted a wall charger since almost every night I’ve had some sort of AC outlet to use. A sign on the door read:
I’m out and about in town, give me a call! xxx-555-1233
I called the number, but the only voice on the other end was voicemail. Having not seen a SINGLE Verizon store in 1000 miles, I knew this was my only chance. I stood there alone, loitering in the downpour, trying to figure out what to do. I turned to get on my bike, and slowly pivoted back towards the door. Having not even checked if it was open, I turned the knob, knowing that it would be locked.
IT OPENED! I walked inside, trying to not drip excessively on the hardwood floors of the small shop. Through a crack in the door, I saw a man playing what I think was an intense game of Guitar Hero.
“Hello!?” I hollered. Out came Brock, another of Ada’s wonders. I explained the situation through an honest sob story, explaining how I can’t even call my parents because I don’t have a wall charger. I ended the story with, “…and, I have nothing to offer you for it but a good story.”
Brock sympathized, and was quickly turning his shop upside down, searching for any charger that would work. He didn’t find one, but I could tell he hadn’t lost hope for me. “I’ve got one back home that I’m happy to give you. Where are you staying tonight? I’ll bring it to you when I close the shop in 40 minutes.” He gave me his card and told me to call him in an hour. Coincidentally, he lived beside the motel.
SCORE! I was so excited to have run into another Ada-mazing (?) person.
As I walked out of the shop, some cute girls, which I believe were barely old enough to drive, asked me what I was doing, referring to my getting on a bike in such horrible conditions, in the dark, in this town. I gave them the quick, standardized answer I’d come to use. They looked at each other, and without any communication (at least any communication that a 22-year-old boy would notice), they responded with what must have been the most obvious reply in their minds: “Oh, sucks to be you!” they chuckled, as they jumped into daddy’s car.
Across from the county fairgrounds, out from a door behind the front desk of the Norman County Motel, came a nice couple. I didn’t need to explain myself further than, “Hi…I…I think I have a hotel r—” “You must be Brody,” they interrupted, jingling keys in front of me. Some futile attempts proved that there was NO way they were going to tell me who had reserved the room. So, across the parking lot and into my room I went–pushing my behemoth of a bike to its bedside resting place.
I laid my belongings all over the hotel room (having taken notes from when I laid them out all over the Dekko Center), and quickly decided to treat myself to my first restaurant meal of the entire trip. I rode back into the rain (with my bike almost completely unloaded for the first time of the trip) stopping briefly for breakfast foods at the small supermarket. The clerk was quick to kindly offer me some of the bread that she was going to buy for herself when she closed the store in 5 minutes. I couldn’t take her up on that offer–I have been treated enough for one day. I’m not sure how serious I am in writing that. A real dinner would be the icing on the cake, officially making a miserable day an awesome one. Before I leave the grocery store, I hear someone yell, “Brody!” Instantly, I was horribly confused. I look up to see Brock, Ada’s reigning underground Guitar Hero champion, in the store’s doorway. “What the–how did you find me?” He smiles, “Just wanted to let you know that I’m going home and I’ll have the charger. Small town.”
At West Main Pizza, I enjoyed 4 delicious cinnamon breadsticks and a pineapple & mushroom calzone. It was delicious, and I couldn’t help but to buy a (but NOTHING like Earl’s in North Dakota) monster cookie for dessert. Know how I remember to spell “dessert” correctly? Because you always want more dessert, so you always want more–more “s” in this case. Desert, on the other hand, is something I can only handle so much of–I can only take so much–so much “s.”
I’m digesting and enjoying the comfort of an actual dining establishment, and in walks Brock once again. Surprise! He walks right over to my table, grabs the corners, pulls it away from the wall’s booth, and plugs the charger into the outlet that he somehow knew was beneath that exact table. He plugs my phone in, sees the red light glow, shakes my hand, wishes me luck, and leaves. What just happened? How did he know I was h—. Nevermind, there’s no point in asking. This town is ridiculous.
I returned to my hotel room. I was still hungry, so I had 1/2 a huge bag of day-old hard garlic bread pieces…and soon, 3 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
I called some people, and, for the first time, wasn’t afraid to use the battery power to take a picture with my phone and email it to friends, bragging of my roof. I don’t think anyone was impressed by this particular motel room…anyone except me.
I did, though, get a quick response from Australia, from my good friend Alyson:
“This is absolutely ridiculous. You could be a professional homeless person because everybody pays for your sh*t.”
I wasn’t offended.
If I could post videos to this blog (which costs money that I don’t have), you’d be able to see some quality footage from Ada, Minnesota.
It’s supposed to stop raining at 5am and become nice tomorrow. I am going to stretch, relax in a BED, and look forward to sleeping.
Thank you, Ada! This is definitely the most hospitable town yet.
The people coming to visit me are going to get here just in time–better weather, colorful leaves, and a great place.