But likely the most telling experience came shortly after entering NC and ducking onto Business Rt220 to avoid the heavier traffic. Passing a roadside tag sale that advertise tools, I figured, sure, good time for break and if I found anything irresistible, there's always the postal service.
THAT'S HOW I MET FRISCO.
How to describe Frisco without offending his sense of privacy or distrust of law enforcement? After a few bouts of calling me a damn Yankee (in the friendliest way possible) and double checking my sexual identity (I am, after all, riding through the south with a pink fender on my bike), he insisted on making me a bologna sandwich, never really believing my claim that I had eaten that day. There are times, I supposed, it is healthier to eat the bologna on white hamburger bun with mustard than to run the run the risk of offending the good Samaritan offer. That was even before I'd learned about two other dimensions to Frisco's personality: .357" (front waist band) and 9mm (rear).
And he kept trying to give me things: patch kits, tubes, tools, money, I can't remember it all. I finally escaped with little more than some unsettling meat-product in my stomach and a pair of safety glasses (only to lose and have crushed about 2 miles up the road the polarized lenses I'd dutifully removed to my front pocket in order to don my new gift). Still, his heart, I suppose was more or less in the right place, even if a strong bit racist. He sent me off with a hug and made me promise to pay it forward, and "not to no n_______."
Sometimes part of travel is a little discomfort. It takes us out of our familiar surroundings, and even if we never agree with what we've seen, it can give a fuller understanding of the many forms humanity can take. So thank you Frisco, you've expanded my experience, fed and clothed me in your own way, and I do plan to do the same for others, even if with a bit more color blindness.