You hear the phrase "southern hospitality" a lot, and I guess I always assumed it was true to a certain extent. But I have to say, I've been genuinely surprised how friendly everyone has been to us so far. Just about every person we've met has been eager to hear our story, give advice and recommendations, or share stories of their own. The bus is a pretty good conversation starter, so we've ended up talking to a lot of strangers along the way, who have all been very supportive. It means a lot to us, so I wanted to share a few examples:h
First was a couple in Nashville, who came over to us in the parking lot where we were spending the night. They asked about the bus, and we told them our story, mentioning the fact that we were raising money for charity. They thought this was a great idea, and were very encouraging. They were actually on a road trip of their own, with their massive 11 month old dog named Winston. After chatting for awhile, they wished us well and headed for the exit. Before they got there, they turned the car around and looped all the way back around the parking lot to give us the $3 cash that they had in their car as a donation. We entered the donation in Winston's name.
Next was a guy that we met at a car garage in Memphis. We had realized that one of the brackets holding our back deck in place had come loose, and we needed to find someone to weld it back together. We were driving around looking for auto shops, most of which were closed for the day. We noticed a garage door open with some cars inside, so we decided to stop and ask. The guy wasn't able to help us since he didn't have a welder, but we still talked for awhile, sharing stories and checking out some of the cool cars and street bikes he had in the shop. Before we left, he recommended a couple shops that might be able to help us, and offered us straps and tools to help secure the deck in the meantime if we needed.
Third was a retired couple that sat next to us at the counter of a little neighborhood lunch spot in New Orleans. Called Domelise's, the place had been recommended by a few locals that we had met earlier for the "best shrimp po boys in the city", and it didn't disappoint. The couple joined us at the counter, and we got to talking about our travels. We swapped stories for awhile (they were well traveled and full of knowledge) and then they gave us advice for where to go, what to do, and what to avoid in New Orleans. They were residents, so we were getting the inside scoop. They also gave us tips to help prepare for the long drive ahead of us across Texas, and wished us safe travels. It was nothing more than good conversation and advice, but sometimes that's all it takes to make someone feel welcome while traveling.
These are just a few instances of great people we've met along the way, and we're hoping it's a trend that continues throughout the remainder of the trip. We've also had so many people helping share our story, so that we can reach as many people as possible, so thank you all for that.
On another note, people's generosity has been inspiring as well. We truly appreciate all the donations we've received, as we're currently approaching 35% of our $10,000 goal. Still a long way to go, but we're very grateful for our progress so far. With your help, I hope we'll be able to reach our goal!