I tried all day to get a shot of my bike with some flags or fireworks but I never found that perfect shot. I was walking around Bicknell and I soon realized I was in the wrong part of the country to find that red,white and blue master piece I was hoping for. I had no idea what kind of town it was but I knew I could see it on my map and there was some sort of population. It turns out to be one of the saddest and most depressing places I’ve ever seen. ( and I grew up in Pittsburgh) Once I checked into the bed and breakfast( that screams 1970’s) I walked around downtown and could count maybe five businesses open compared to the twenty or thirty empty and abandoned buildings. I was snapping pics and a guy about my age stumbles out of a bar and asks me what am i going to turn it into. ( referring to an old building I was photographing) I let him know that I was just taking a picture because I liked the building not because I was going to buy it and I shook his hand and wished him a happy fourth. After a few more pics, I walked into the bar he came out of and it was just like a scene in a western movie when everyone stops what they’re doing and looks over at you. (I guess they don’t get many outsiders) I ordered a Budweiser (best available beer) from a lady that looked like Rhea Perlman from Cheers. ( perms did go out of style,right?) I sat at the bar and started to work on a blogpost, feeling a little awkward. A lady a few seats down was mumbling something I couldn’t understand and then would suddenly break in to a hysterical laughter. A mentally challenged man came up and aske me about my dry bag and I explained what it was for and showed him how it works. It almost seemed like I was in the hills of Kentucky or West Virginia with a bunch of inbread hillbillies. I am not trying to be funny when I say that.
I decided to try out the other bar in hopes of finding a bite to eat. I walk over and am greeted by a little tiny barking dog and two guys hanging out in front of the pub. (pub is not a good word for this place because it’s misleading) One I the guys asks what he can do for me and I let him know I’m looking for dinner. He says they only have frozen pizzas and I let him know that would be just fine. ( my only other option is Mc-ds or gas station both back on the highway) So a dog and three guys walk into the bar and…( still working in the punch line ) by this point in time I’ve explained what I’m doing and he tells me about the wounded vets coming into town on bikes Monday. I order a Budweiser and he gives me one on the house. Dan-o (the owner) goes into the back to start on the gourmet pizza and I start chatting with the biker dude that was at the bar with me. He was older and didn’t have many teeth left(from smoking I imagine) and I had a hard time understanding what he was saying, but he was working on a pipe made from deer antlers that was pretty cool and he let me take a picture of it. Dan-o comes back out and he’s carrying a little bowl of spicy pickles made in town. I try some and start sweating and then he tells me about how great the watermelons and cantaloupes grown in Bicknell. Then he walks to the back, grabs a cantaloupe and puts it on the counter for me. By this point in time two older lady’s walk in and sit to my left at the bar. One of them is wearing a stars and strips shirt that looks an awful lot like my Budweiser can. I say happy fourth and point out the fact that her shirt matches my can and we all start talking and having a nice time. My pizza came out and I enjoyed the jalapeños and pickles with it. I meant to share some with everyone at the bar, but I ended up crushing the whole thing in five minutes. One of the ladies put a few songs on the juke box and then Dan-o puts in a bunch of money and tells everyone to pick three songs. (I played some Johnny Cash and zz top) I found my self having such a good time with people I wouldn’t normally interact with in a town I would have no reason to stop in. I heard about the big meth epidemic that swept through town some years back and the biker dude played a song on the juke by a local band that sang about highway 67 and the pub. I was having so much fun I could have stayed all night, but sixty miles in the heat the next day begged me to leave at a reasonable hour. Before I left I bought everyone at the bar a beer and my tab with a pizza was still only sixteen dollars!
The next morning I enjoyed the cantaloupe for breakfast before heading out into the heat.