The strangest things really do happen out here in the big, scary world. Yesterday, we spent a few hours under ominous clouds trying to hitch out of our current location near Tallahassee. After facing the now all-too-familiar scowls of the righteous, countered by one kind donation from a lady with a ‘Bama license plate, we headed back to a gas station to take a break.
While we were there, the sky began to grow darker at an alarming rate. I got permission from the cashier to hang out under their awning (“as long as the customers don’t complain”…) while we waited out the impending rain and figured out our next move. We had some cash to offer someone gas money in exchange for a ride, but weren’t sure if it was worth possibly getting kicked out of our only dry hangout option. Well, not even ten minutes later, an SUV full of African-American Texans pulls up to us and the windows start to roll down. The driver, a beautiful lady probably in her 40’s, asks us about our current situation and, after hearing our dilemma, she and another passenger both hand us folded-up bills – one of which was a 50. They drive away after sending us their blessing, leaving us very disoriented and confused. With more money than we knew what to do with (it doesn’t take much these days), we started brainstorming our possible courses of action. Do we sit and wait out the rain? Do we risk approaching people for a ride? Or do we try to get a hotel for the night and start again in the morning? Finally, we reached a conclusion….which was to ask someone else for advice. Sometimes the best answers come from outside your own head, ya know.
So a couple of minutes later, an off-duty sheriff parked beside us and walked past, commenting on our pup as he stepped over our packs. He seemed friendly, and we figured he’d be a solid person to ask – unbiased, knowledgeable of the area, etc. When he came back out, Raven stopped him and asked his advice, explaining our dilemma. He seemed to be caught off guard by our approaching him; I suppose it’s not quite the norm for travelers to seek help from the police force. Nevertheless, he was very respectful and compassionate, and advised us to get a hotel room, warning of heavy rains that were to last late into the night. As he left, he even kicked us down five bucks to help out with the room/food. We both felt comfortable with taking his word, and got set up in a Best Western JUST before the downpour started. The money we had been given that day was just enough to cover the room, of which Raven had bartered down the price. And, to top it off, we were randomly given a gift card while in front of Publix after grocery shopping, which was enough to treat us to some yummy craft beer.
I don’t know about you, but I’d say that’s more than coincidence.
And as for now, well, I’m not sure what’s going to happen. It’s almost time to check out of the room, and the forecast for the day is nothing but rain. We can’t stay for another night; I suppose we have no other choice but to try our luck hitching out once again, this time a little wetter than last. Luxury doesn’t last forever as houseless travelers ;) But no matter what, everything really IS okay. better than okay, in fact! I got a wonderful night’s sleep in a warm, comfy spot, and no matter how long it takes us we WILL get out of this silly, prickly state and reach our next destination. I’m sure the journey there, as always, will continue to be more than interesting. I’m just so glad that I have such a wonderful family to brave the storms with <3 here’s to being one of the luckiest gals alive.
Happy St. Patty’s Day, y’all!