On a chilly Saturday evening in May of last year, a lone cyclist wearing a pack of essential provisions pushed down Main Street at a sauntering pace. With the possibility of rain, he was plotting suitable shelter for the night somewhere in the unfamiliar territory of Smethport, Pennsylvania. Wild animals and snakes were top of mind.
Sensing a fellow adventurer in need, Matt Muller (now on adventure in China) met the cyclist on the street to offer help. The ensuing conversation revealed that the cyclist was Stephan Gerth, from Marburg, Germany. He was on vacation and taking a cross-country tour alone, with San Francisco as his destination.
As the evening progressed, Stephan and the Mullers went to the Cottage House for dinner, joined by Ross and Jovanna Porter, and Claudia Caminite who speaks German. Stephan stayed at the Muller home for the night and got an early morning start on the next leg of his journey.
Fast forward to this year … On Friday, Stephan showed up again in Smethport, this time traveling by car with his wife. He recognized Nathan Muller walking home from a meeting and stopped his car. During the jubilant curbside reunion, Stephan explained that he was reliving portions of the bicycle trip he took last year, plus take his wife to a few new places like Niagara Falls.
He presented photos of his last trip and remembered the names of everyone he met here. On departing, he insisted that his new friends visit Germany so his family could return the memorable hospitality he encountered while peddling through Smethport one year ago.