My family recently returned from a final road trip of the summer to central Oregon. The trip had some initial snafus, the room we got wasn’t quite what we had reserved, the indoor pool and jacuzzi at our hotel were both out of order, we got some directions on the first night that were hard to follow and we got lost on our way into town, nothing earth shattering of course, but we were feeling a bit disappointed with the experience especially in a town that was well known to cater to tourists.
On the second day, we decided to rent bikes from a local outfit. We asked for a trail map and they gave us a lovely glossy one. We set off on our way and ended up following some trail signs on the bike path to a drop dead gorgeous path along the Deschutes River. We stopped once to consult the map and it seemed as if we were on a marked path and should just keep going to the footbridge and then cross over and come back on the other side. We asked a few people we passed how far we’d have to bike to reach the foot bridge and they all told us it wouldn’t be much further. It was quite treacherous at times and my daughter and husband were not having much fun on the rocky, curvy trail. My son and I on the other hand were having a blast and loved the adventure of the rural trail. When we finally reached the foot bridge to the other side there was a large sign that said no bikes allowed on the bridge or the returning path on the other side of the river due to a city easement. My husband consulted the map and there was no indication of this on the map at all. In fact, the only way back seemed to be the way we had come and my daughter was immediately frustrated and exacerbated with the whole adventure. After some coaxing and convincing, we all got back safely to the beginning of the trail and after some lunch everyone was feeling even tempered again.
We consulted our map and another local bike shop that we passed and began to bike to the downtown area. It was soon obvious that we were headed out of the way again. I knew my family was quickly losing their sense of humor with the repetetive challenges we were having on this vacation. As we neared a stop light, I asked a gentleman on a bike dressed in a black chef’s outfit complete with the black chef’s hat, if he could help us get to downtown. He waved us on and said, “Follow me.” We followed him about ten minutes at a pretty quick pace and then he pointed us to where we had asked to go. We thanked him profusely and were so relieved to find our destination with the help of a local biking chef. It was certainly the highlight of our day and helped us remember that sometimes the small things you do to help a stranger can have a huge impact. I wondered if the biking chef had any idea just how grateful we were for his help that day.