Our newest German Friend Steffen Grabenhof

Posted: July 3, 2010 in NEW FRIENDS
Tags: , , ,

Today I had a tent buyer ask me to meet at Wood River. We have a remodel project in consideration in Wood River so it was a convenient time to look over the project and accomplish some multitasking. The tent buyer was a like minded giver so we talked awhile about how there is more to life then greed.

After our conversation, I battled the wind on the motorcycle to return to GI. As I passed the city library I noticed a bicycle traveler looking over his map so I pulled over to chat. Staying true to the traveler code of ethics, I wanted to offer any help I could.

It turned out the traveler was Steffen Grabenhof of Stuttgart Germany. (StevenGoesAmerica.wordpress.com) Steffen.Grabenhof@hotmail.com

Steffen was bicycling across the USA from NYC to San Fran in 90 days and then flying back to Germany. We swapped travel stories and talked about topics like Health Care and immigration. Steffen had a leg pain and was refused service in a small town because “it was a private practice.” If I could read his German blog well enough to locate the name of the clinic, I would follow up with them for a statement and post their reply here and the locations Craigslist community. I shared with him how those who refuse to contribute to greedy insurance companies only go to medical facilities for life threatening problems and then they are over billed multi thousands of dollars. We then have to file bankruptcy to survive and even then we can only do this ever 10 years.

He explained to me how immigration works in the Euro union. If you meet citizenship requirements then you can come and go between all the Euro Union countries freely without being tracked and tagged like a wild animal. If you travel without citizenship, you get your trip limited depending on your purpose but you can still cross the Euro Union borders freely (http://europa.eu/abc/european_countries/index_en.htm). Some countries like Norway and Switzerland protest the union and thus their border patrols are strict.

We then talked a bit about finding a place for him to watch the Germany v. Argentina World Cup game. He wanted to make more miles and push for Kearney before it got dark out so my contacts in GI were not an option. I asked if I could be of much help and it seemed that my knowledge of Kearney was the limit so we left it at that. I told him a cafe/truck stop with ESPN should be an option at 9am or if he was downtown Kearney he could get in the library and watch online at ESPN3.com but he would possibly have to take turns with others who wanted to use the machines every 30 minutes if it was busy (10% chance).

We cut our chat short so he could get biking, but I expect to find him again in central Colorado since I am heading that way next week. Get out your German dictionary and check out his blog. If you know a 9am ESPN spot not mentioned in Kearney and you are reading this today, leave a comment with your suggestion so I can text it to Steffen please.

  1. Steffen Grabenhof says:

    Hi ….
    I’m very sorry – unfortunately I don’t know your name (is it Timothy?) or rather I can’t remember it… 😉

    It’s me – Steffen Grabenhof (Yes, the one you wrote about above)! Recently a friend of mine and me were googling our names just for fun and I found this article on your website. My surname is a bit misspelled (I know it must be hard for foreigners :D), and also the email address is wrong (it’s steffen.grabenhof@hotmail.com) so you wouldn’t have reached me, if you have tried.

    Of course I was totally surprised to find an article about me and my america trip here. The more so because it’s now more then 4 years since I have biked your beautiful country.
    Nevertheless I had no problems remembering the exact situation in Grand Island, NE. I even remember us talking about healthcare and insurance in Europe and The US (only not your name. well… :P)
    I was a bit worried, while reading, because to be honest I kept that day in bad memory. I had to fight very hard headwinds and was unable to find a bike trail on the other side of the river, that I was looking for. But it seems like I din’t take out my bad mood on our conversation, which – of course – I kept in very good memory, as it was the highlight on a grey, rainy, flat and windy Nebraska biking day. 🙂
    Actually I was very happy to find your article for a whole different reason: I really appreciate your help that day and after having read your kind article I see even more, how honest and true it has been. Even though you couldn’t help me with my accommodation problem that day (by the way: I rested in wood river, my tent about 100 ft next to the very busy cargo train station – yes the bad day continued into the night^^) I was very happy to have somebody to talk to and get my mind freed of bad thoughts! I don’t know if you are aware, how much you and many more american citizens helped me like that on my way to San Francisco. So let me thank you personally and also representative to many more americans for your kind hospitality and helping hands to a traveller from abroad. This is definitely something I took home to follow as an example!

    After many more windy days, mountains and adventures I finally made it to San Francisco on my 84 day. The feeling of biking the olden gate bridge after having almost 3 month of biking was so awesome, that I left for another adventure in 2010 biking Europe from it’s northernmost to it’s southernmost point: http://www.stevencrosseseurope.de

    I had a quick look on your website, that reflects the american mentality of forward paying once more.

    keep on doing good things,

    yours Steffen

    PS: The next day I watched Germany vs. Argentina soccer world cup in the wood river gas station – and see, the world was fine again… 😛

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