I've only told a few people this story from my first week-long bike tour, but I still remember it today, so here goes:
Riding in southeastern South Dakota on the 2nd or 3rd day of the 2006 Tour de Kota, I rode by a group of Hutterite chidren, with one or two women, sitting on the side of the hill, waving as the riders went by. I gave them an enthusiastic wave back, but later thought that I should have stopped and snapped a picture. That scene isn't one you see everyday.
Later that day, or the next, we were riding a century when I rolled through the last planned rest stop because I was riding good and I knew there was at least one more town to pass through before the finish. The rural highway we were on barely skirted the next town and came not even close to the last town on the map. So with ten or fifteen miles to go, and the temperature well into the 90s, I found myself completely out of water. I didn't feel too bad, but when I would wipe the sweat from my forehead with my glove, it would come away stained with salt. I just tried to keep a good cadence and not work too hard. As soon as I made it to town I stopped at the first gas station I saw and bought a bag of salted cashews and a big bottle of water. After a brief rest I just wanted to get to the fairgrounds where we were camping and have the ride behind me. As I rode through town I passed a nursing home where some of the residents were in lawn chairs by the street with a couple of aides. As I neared, an elderly gentleman rose from his chair, took a bottle of water from an aide and held it out to me. I said thanks, but no thanks, waved and rode on. At numerous times in my life, I've wished that I could go back and re-do something I've just done. This was one of those times.
I decided that to enjoy bike tours, and even life, I should follow these rules, and let the spirit of these rules guide me:
If you see a group of Hutterite children waving to you from the side of a hill, stop and take a picture. And, if an old man offers you a bottle of water, take it.