Alice’s Attic

This has to be one of the most exciting places we’ve stayed yet…
Although our initial hope of WarmShowers turned out to be something of a failure, the alternative turned out to be even better.

Alice’s Attic is essentially a barn which has been converted into the most amazing restaurant/venue/shop, and where cyclists passing through are welcome to roll out their sleeping bags. Alice has done the most amazing job, between being a nurse and owning hundreds of acres of land, also creating this unbelievable space.
As if that weren’t enough, after being fed (unbelievably delicious chicken) and watered (literally, with the hose), Alice took us on a bit of a tour of all the neighbouring farms. Having asked hundreds of questions about farming, she thought this would be the best way to show exactly how farms operate. The dairy farms varied greatly in scale, from the smaller 60 cattle farms that seem a lot less intensive, to the farms with 400+ dairy cows, plus pens of calves. I couldn’t help feeling slightly guilty about drinking milk though, after seeing the latter….
The first farm though fulfilled every childhood image I ever had about a farm. From the black and white Moo-Cows lining the shed, to the milking stool, to the way the farmer spoke. With words like “jeepers”, “supposably” and the matter of fact way he talked about the life and times of cows.
“Sometimes a cow gut gets twisted. There’s no way to untwist it. They die.”

I don’t mean to sound condescending- I’m amazed by the way the very staple of life works, and feel ignorant to it all. I just also like having my nostalgic memories of naive childhood imagination turn out to be true.

The only downside to today was the inevitable departure from the bike trail that we’ve been following for the last 100 miles. Its somewhat surreal, following this perfectly tarmac’d trail. Flat, smooth, wide and quiet, we only occasionally passed any other people, several of whom were bike tourers themselves. After the 15,000ish km so far, being on this route has been like passing through a private tunnel, suddenly filled with ease. The edges are lined with trees and fields as the path cuts it way through these small towns, the only sounds for hours being the gentle rustling of leaves.

Of course, as I said, this had to end. And all too abruptly we found ourselves hurled out onto a main road.
After passing through a serious of busy intersections though, we found ourselves back with a tail wind, and on quiet smooth roads. On one of these roads though, I had my second accident in two days. A shiny red convertible thought it had time to cut across our road, leading us all to scream to a halt, and for me to skid into Jack. Although I didn’t hurt myself at all, managing to jump off and onto my feet, it was still damn annoying.
The earbuds off my headphones broke.
I’m going to have to new ones.

At least tonight has made up for it. Sitting in a restaurant booth in the barn, a mirror ball spinning gently overhead, Johnny Cash playing quietly in the background.

Goodnight America.

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  1. Loved your narrative about the farm. It made even me feel nostalgic of many, many years ago. The life of these people, though may not be so easy, seems simple, uncomplicated…

  2. Hey Guys, I have three questions:
    1) Did that guy sit and milk all his cows by hand?
    2) Do they really have tyre-eating snakes?
    3) Exactly what was Jack doing with that hose?
    Cheers, Geoff.

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