Many greetings from Wyoming! Here is the proof:
Well, it is the town of Wyoming in upstate New York. I am staying on the Cox Clan Farm, run by Neal, the brother of Leslie Cox, the farm manager at Hampshire College. Over the years, I am the third wave of Hampshire alums biking across the country who have stopped by the Cox Clan farm. Keep the trouble-makers coming!
The 24 hours at the Constas-Millroy family had filled my belly, mind, and heart. As a result, as I biked through Ithaca and along Lake Cayuga on the 17th, I was averaging 12 mph even on uphills, whereas beforehand, I could only do 6-8 mph uphills. Such gorgeous view along the lake.
In the evening, started to look for places to stay for the night. Saw a red barn on a farm from afar, went up and knocked. Jerry and Gloria was so kind, they invited me to stay in the bedroom, and fed me dinner and breakfast. We had a great chat about politics, history, and even watched the latest James Bond movie. When I thanked Jerry for his generosity and kindness, he said, "I'm sure somewhere along the line, some one helped me or helped my son when he was traveling in Europe." Let's pass this on.
For the past three days, I have been biking through the farm country of upstate New York. Loved the rich mixture of smell in the air, occasionally dominated by cow manure.
On the side of the road, I saw a big group of men and women gathered around a house, with beautiful horse-drawn carriages lined up. They all wore black, with old-fashioned clothes, and the men all had beard. I was curious, and went up to ask: "Are you doing an historical reenactment, or is this a special holiday?" They replied, "It's a funeral." Uh-oh. I later learned that this is an Amish family, having a funeral. Sorry about that.
On the 18th, I had my first flat tire on the trip, caused by small pieces of broken glass on the shoulder of the road. So I sat on the side of the road, under the sun, and took out my patch kit, glued the hole in the tube, and put it back in the tire. Felt very good about being self sufficient.
My pump was too small to get the tire pressure up, so I went up to a house to borrow a pump. Steve Russell, the older gentleman, put my bike behind his truck, and drove me to a bike shop in town, and gave me a quick tour of the town. Had a exciting conversation about US-China relations.
In the evening, I saw a farm house with chickens in front. That's always a good sign. Steven, a young man and a sustainable farmer, offered me a place to stay. Steven's story is a fascinating one. He does not come from a farming family, but decided to become a farmer. Went to Sterling College, and now is running a sustainable farm with lots of animals, and aiming for goat milk/cheese production. We had a long chat as I stretched my legs and he ate his pasta, about farming, school, and life.
The best part of the day was helping Steven to guide two big pigs from one stall to another, and then chasing the goats back into their stall. Didn't expect I would be chasing pigs and goats.
Today, the 19th, after I arrived in the Cox Clan Farm, Neal gave me a tour of two different dairy farm, one industrial, one more traditional. For the first time, I saw where my milk come from. Eye-opening! Cows lining up on a slow-moving convey-belt, fully automated, with the occasional help of some Mexican workers. The local speculation is that those workers were not legally allowed in, but they do work very hard.
Over the past three days, I had at least four conversations with people about Monsanto, GMO, Round-Up, given that most people in the area grows Round-Up ready crops, buying seeds from Monsanto. Four people have four different opinions. Clearly, the issue is much more complicated.
Finished listening to Genesis, and half way through Exodus. Now, much of the western culture and language started to make more sense, as I get to know the Bible. Understood why Judaism, Christianity and Islam are called the "Abrahamic religions," understood the origin of the "Abrahamic concept of land", understood the significance of the name "Israel", still curious why God chose male circumcision as a "covenant" with between him and Abraham & co. Looking forward to learn more.