NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — When Philippe Duff and David Dupuis set out from Montreal on a bicycle trip to Miami a few days ago, they knew they would encounter rain. But they didn’t expect to be pedaling through the effects of a hurricane.
By the time they arrived in this Boston suburb Monday, they were drenched and in need of a place to stay.
So they knocked on doors. No one was willing to take a chance on the bedraggled bikers loaded with 90 pounds each of camping gear -- until they came to the home of Warren and Josephine Kelley across from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2104.
Their son William, who divides his time between the United States and China, where he teaches English, sized up the situation, opened the door and declared, “Of course you can stay here!”
Dupuis, 26, a bicycle mechanic, and Duff, 25, said they'd be content to stay in the garage until the storm blew over and they could be on their way.
“But I was afraid the storm might blow it away,” said Warren Kelley, a retired sewage treatment plant operator. The Kelleys make accommodations for their new friends from north of the border in their cellar.
Dupuis and Duff were ever grateful for a roof over their heads in the storm. They planned to resume their journey to Miami as soon as conditions allowed, hoping to average between 60 and 80 miles per day.
Most of the way, they’ll be camping, they said. But if stormy weather pops up again, they hope the hospitality in the next location is as warm as that of the Kelleys of Massachusetts.
Paul Tennant is a reporter for The Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass.