Sunday evening we had a chance to exercise hospitality the way St. Benedict would have back before websites, or even postal services. Bill Marcell, who is bicycling from Florida to Alaska (yes, that’s right), had been hoping to make it to Laramie, 30 miles north of the Abbey, but the cold rainy weather had slowed him down. Stopping to eat at The Forks, the landmark restaurant and gas station in Livermore, 14 miles south of us, he inquired about finding a place to stay. Our Livermore neighbors recommended he call us, and he appeared just after Vespers. He departed this morning, during Mass, so we weren’t able to schedule a photo opportunity with this modern pilgrim, For more on his journey, visit his website: www.keys2alaska.com
Bill is not the first two-wheeled wayfarer to stop by the Abbey. Several years ago a whole group of young men from Fort Collins stopped off at the beginning of a longer trip they were taking. And a few years after that, another lone cyclist had to call it a day sooner than planned because of rain. But 2015 has been the best year so far for cyclists. In the summertime a couple from France stopped by for a night. Not satisfied with one continent, they are cycling around the world — with a few exceptions in the form of oceans.
Then in September last year, we met Cynthia, on her way from Washington State to Florida. She had already walked across the country a few years before, and was now doing it by bicycle. She ended up camping out on a couch in our parlor, since every single bed was occupied that particular night. Since she’d spent lots of nights in a tent, the parlor couch was comparatively palatial.