I live in a Western community that is not on one of the designated Adventure Cycling routes, but still has some through touring traffic. I have been on the Warmshowers website for about two years, now. I have never stayed with anyone - but have hosted about a dozen people. I have also had more than a few blow me off without so much as a cancellation. Including tonight.
First off, let me say that I have, perhaps, 75,000 miles of touring experience so that I know a thing or two about touring. I know that you cannot punch a clock and that unexpected things do come up. But I also know that I was able to make appropriate and courteous contacts in the days of pay phones and snail mail which now seem to be so difficult to do in this age of cell phones and e-mail. Or at least difficult to do if the person looking for a place has a change of plans. It doesn't seem that difficult when they are looking for a place.
This Sunday evening a person called who had just joined Warmshowers - most likely just to find cheap sleeps. She hardly identified herself, but I said that she and her sister could stay on Monday. I got a call on Monday saying that they would have to stay an extra day where they were so could they make it Tuesday. I said, "O.K." - but let them know that I had an evening engagement.
Now, it is only 68 miles from the town they were in to the town where I live. The temperature was in the low 70s today with very light winds - mostly side and tail. There were a few hills - but nothing outrageous. There is only one place to stop - halfway between - a rest stop with a tiny c-store. They called at 3:00 - supposedly from the rest stop - which would mean that they didn't leave until almost noon - but said that they would get in between 6:00 and 7:00. Even though there can be spotty cell coverage, the last half of the ride is on a ridge line so there should have been cell phone service.
I went to my evening meeting after not having heard a word from them. When I got back - still no message. I finally got a call a 9:30 asking if it was still alright to come by. I said, "No." She said that they had had a flat tire and that she had fallen from the bike - but it sounded too contrived to me. I've had plenty of flats - and they didn't delay me 3 hours. I also have had a slip or two - and although I may have gotten scraped, I got back on the bike. In either of these cases - a call would have been courteous and could have been a means of assistance.
I suspect that they didn't leave until mid-afternoon - even though I had said that I had the engagement this evening. Or that they decided to have a few drinks at some local bar before calling the chump on Warmshowers. It's not the first time - - but it will be the last. I'm tired of being mooched upon.