I walk into the campground office at the Rice River campground just outside of Minneapolis. A young woman is working the desk. I ask about rates, sites, etc and then tell her I want to take a campsite. She asks for my vehicle registration.
Camper Girl: Wow, you’re from Canada. We never have people from Canada camping here.
Me: Well, guess today’s your lucky day then.
Camper Girl then asks for something with my address and photo on it. I give her my HK/International drivers license.
Camper Girl (studies it for a long time.): There’s no address on here.
Me: Yes there is (pointing it out)
Camper Girl: Sai….Ying….Pun. Is that even a word?
I’m nearly falling asleep on the road somewhere in Indiana, so I pull over at a corner store in some small town. An old guy is sitting up front on a bench, a huge Harley Davidson parked next to him. I can see he’s talking to me, but I have ear plugs and a helmet on, so I’m deaf. I finally unplug my ears.
Me: What were you saying?
Harley (in a measured voice, making it clear he’s repeating himself): I said, my God you’re loaded down with shit. Do you have a wife along or something?
Me: No, but I’m on the road for 6 months, so I’m carrying a lot of stuff.
Harley: I’ve seen a lot of women travel lighter than that.
Me: Thanks. (I later get my revenge by proving him wrong on geography. He was convinced I had to drive down the Baja Peninsula to get to Central America. I pointed it out on the map. He was wrong.)
I stop for gas at a small roadside station somewhere along the 224 in Ohio. It’s ungodly hot out. And older guy gets out of a car filled with about 6 generations of the same family. He was wearing a Hawaiian shirt unbuttoned way down low, showing a chest of curly white hair.
Hairy Chest: So. Going on a bit of a trip, are you?
Me: Yea. On my way to New York and then to Argentina.
Hairy Chest: Really? Wow. Great trip. Nice bike. You drive safe now. (wanders back to the car.)
Hairy Chest (to woman in car): Mary! That guy is driving that motorcycle all the way to Argentina!
Mary: Well I say!
Hair Chest: Isn’t that something?
Mary: It sure is.
Hairy Chest (leans on car, scratching is chest. Then turns back to the woman leaning out of the window. ) Mary, where is Argentina?
Same stop, same station. Five minutes later, and I’m putting my helmet on, getting ready to ride on. A red Dodge Dakota truck pulls up. Guy leans out of the window.
Red Truck: Nice bike! You look like you’re going a ways.
Me: Yea, I am. I’m doing a 6 month ride down to Argentina.
Red Truck: Holy Q#$#%#$! That’s a long ride. Alone?
Me: Well, for most of the way, yea.
Red Truck: Well, you have fun. (Starts to pull away, I walk back to my bike. Red Truck stops, leans out of his window.) Hey!
Red Truck: Is Argentina south of Mexico?
Me: Yea, it’s all the way at the southern tip of South America.
Red Truck: Oh.