On my first bicycle tour back in 2011, I once arrived at a host's home without food provisions and there was no town nearby. I had neglected to note on his WS page that he did not offer food. I cold showered behind his garage and starved that night in my tent in his back yard, never met the other members of his family, and pedaled 20 miles the next day before finally arriving at civilization to ease my starvation. From then on, unless it was mentioned by the host, I stopped and ate beforehand. Unfortunately, most times they have cooked something and I had to eat a second meal to be polite. But in my defense, their correspondence was so brief that I didn't know what they were offering and it felt rude to ask. Everyone grows up differently and good manners are not necessarily universal. I happen to believe that one does not get to know a host unless we break bread together. Hosts are the most interesting part of a ride. So I then decided that when they say that they haven't made any meal plans for us, I have been offering to take them out. It didn't always work out well. Last year I offered to take out a woman for pizza. She drove us instead to a steak house and ordered prime rib. Another time my host drove us to a Mexican restaurant and he ordered two monster Margaritas along with his Pollo Loco at $10 a pop. So, I am going to back off from that policy this summer. From now on if no food is offered, I will come prepared and leave it at that, and hope for a warmer reception next time.
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