All told, I was out for about three and a half hours. I mapped out a course on quasi-major roads to the mountain. Vroom-vroom, I'm off. I made it to the mountain and it was pretty cool. I've driven by it several times, but never went into the park. I went in and picked up a few brochures. Maybe my wife and I can go up sometime and go hiking. Loads of fun.
On the way back, I stopped in a little cafe in one of the small towns along the way for a quick lunch. I was the only customer for a while, then another person came in. I could tell he was a regular. Then the regular started asking me about my bike. He used to have one and we just talked about how much fun it is to ride. Then the two guys working at the cafe joined in and the focus moved to events in their life. The cool thing is that, even though I didn't know these people, they didn't exclude me from the conversation -- in fact, they pulled me into it.
I really miss small-town cafe time. When I was younger, my grandparents used to take me to the cafe for lunch when I visited. Now, the cafe's closed down, so it's about a 30 minute drive one town over to the closest cafe when I visit. Needless to say, we don't make it out there. And Greensboro's too big to have a cafe like that. But it's good to know that I can scoot west a bit and find a nice, friendly cafe.
The real funny thing was what they were talking about. We were all male, so it's not unusual that the conversation was almost stereotypical man-talk. About how one of the guys would probably move back in with momma instead of committing if his girlfriend asked for an engagement ring. The conversation also involved careful analysis of the guy's and his girlfriend's horoscope as well as a comic strip (the horoscopes mentioned marriage and the comic strip mentioned pregnancy). The conversation went so far as to have one of the other guys drop a quarter in one of those toy bubble-gum machines and actually got a "wedding ring" on the first try -- amongst all the possibilities of necklaces, rings, bracelets, charms, etc. This, of course, was interpreted as more than a sign -- it was interpreted as fate. This poor guy didn't know where to turn. It was pretty amusing in a "bunch of guys at the cafe" sort of way.
To be fair, this guy seemed a little full of talk. I suspect that if his girlfriend started to pressure him for marriage, he'd probably be right on board. Well, once his divorce is final, anyway.
Anyway, it made for a fun stop, but I had to hit the road so I'd be back home before it got dark. Someday, with enough work, it could make a good scene in a book and/or movie.