David and I have never been to this area before so we looked to our trusty USA map (a gift from a loving stranger, Juanita) to find the biggest nearby city where we guessed to find our greatest chance of a warmshowers or bike friendly host. We were about to cross over the Ohio river into West Virginia when David's back tire started to hiss from glass shrapnel, a common roadside risk in these areas.
We quickly turned around and made for the last McGarbage this side of the Ohio river. David got to tire repair (his first flat of the trip) while I visited the McDonalds to make use of their ever useful free wireless internet. My ipod battery lasted just long enough for me to email a cycling enthusiast family and jot down their phone number and address. It was now after 6pm and the sun was threatening to tuck beneath the West Virginia hills with us still without a place to stay for the night.
Warmshowers.org is a compilation of the most trusting and generous people in the world, all cycling enthusiasts. We were able to contact Stacy, her husband and their four children and they were kind enough to welcome us into their home. This was our fourth Warmshowers experience. I cannot say enough about how gracious and kind all of our hosts have been. In Huntington we were able to do our first load of laundry, shower and witness the daily routine of an almost car-free family of six.
Warmshowers affords us the opportunity to totally immerse ourselves in the lifestyle and culture of the areas and families we encounter. Along with a real taste of the area we make new friends every evening, hear new ideas and different perspectives and get a free place to sleep and sometimes a home cooked meal or two. A warmshowers account is as critical as a bicycle for touring cyclists.
Sending much love to our friends and family from West Virginia. xo H