The Kindness of Strangers and their fine muscadine wine!
Only I, luck out by having a mechanical problem 700 feet away from a machine shop but also the most impressive home distillation set up I have every seen!!
As Thina and I were headed into the city limits of Wynne, Arkansas I started to hear a noise, then my chain came off of my bike. I realized that my kickstand had cracked just a bit which caused it to kick right up into the spokes and gears of my bike, I tried to see if I had an allen wrench large enough to just take the kickstand off, I did not. When I looked up the next thing I saw was flashing lights, this is the first time that I have needed help and I didn’t have to wait more than seconds to receive it!
Officer Mike Baschand rolled down his window and asked if I needed any help, unfortunately he did not have the allen wrench I was looking for, but he did get his hands dirty and help me put the chain back on my bike, then ran to his car and grabbed me some paper towels and told me to get the bike about 700 feet up the road to the “Machine Shop”. It’s a big metal building that says “Machine Shop”! With the chain back on, I just hit the throttle and kept the kickstand down and headed to the shop, Officer Baschand got out of his car and went into the shop and started talking to the man who owns the place: Wilburn. I let Thina out of the cart so she could get some water and shade while we figured out how to fix the problem. I just wanted to get the wrench and take the kickstand off and get out of Wilburn’s hair and head on down the road. I could see he was not going to let that happen.
The next thing you know Wilburn’s best friend Boyd shows up, now both Wilburn and Boyd are older (retired) and have been best friends in the Wynne area most of their lives! Of course Boyd has to see what’s going on and gets under the bike to try and fix the kickstand as well, not just take it off. I walked over to check on Thina and I see Wilburn and Boyd consulting back and forth with the kickstand in their hand headed into the shop, I followed them in there curious as to what was going to happen next. Within 20 seconds the two of them had figured out that they were going to cut a piece of metal the right size and weld it to the kickstand and then put it back on the bike so it won’t ever get in the way of my spokes again. About a minute or two later the kickstand was fixed!
The whole time all of this was going I happened to notice many large vessels filled with what looked like homemade wine and wine in the process of fermenting, I walked to the back of the shop where there were about 6 oak barrels and all other kinds of experimental fermentations going on, I walked back out to where the two men were and said, “is this shop just the front for your bootlegging business”! They both laughed and said “don’t worry we will be giving you some wine to go!!”
I asked Wilburn how much I owed him for fixing my bike and he said nothing, as he filled me a liter of his homemade Arkansas fine muscadine wine! I told him giving me wine and a fixed kickstand is too much, he replied with “I am retired, I very rarely charge anything for anybody”, I told him I definitely hit the jackpot by having a bike problem in front of his shop! Wilburn then grabbed three wine glasses and poured Boyd, himself and I a glass of his muscadine wine, it was delicious, we talked for about 20 minutes but then I had to get back on the road, I wanted to stay, and Wilburn tried to pour me another glass, his wine definitely had a pretty decent alcohol content, I gave Wilburn a hug goodbye and we both kind of had tears in our eyes because we both realized how special this whole moment really was.
My first problem on the road turned into one of my favorite moments on this trip, these gentlemen helped me out before they even caught my first name, they offered me hospitality, wine, stories and many many god bless you’s!!!