Coast to Coast for the FFB: THE ONLINE JOURNAL

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Check back here daily to read about our progress in our cross-country bicycle tour to benefit the FFB.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Day 11: Christiansburg, VA to Wytheville, VA (58 miles, 468 total)

Rain! Well, I've discovered something that smells worse than a rotting corpse of roadkill... a WET roting corpse of roadkill! The water adds a sort of wet-dog element to the stankiness (if that's not a word, it should be).

We left Christiansburg at about 7:30 and all weather reports were indicating a dry, yet cooler day. Workday morning traffic was a bit stressful for us, but as we neared Radford it thinned out. Sadly though, as we neared Radford it begain to rain too.

We had just came down a steep descent in which I would have plowed right through (well, maybe not through) an unsuspecting deer that did not see me coming (he was looking in the other direction). Luckily, I saw him. The squeal of my wet rims as I applied the brakes startled the deer, he darn near crapped his pants and then bolted into the woods. Anyway, at the bottom of that hill it started to rain. We were less that two miles from Radford, so we just headed for town with hopes of finding a market or something to take cover in.

Soon we arrived at a little market that provided exactly what we wanted, cover for our bikes and hot food inside. For those that aren't familar with this part of the world, many of these tiny towns have these roadside "country stores" that carry the basic groceries and also have a kitchen that serves hot food (burgers, grilled sandwiches and greasy breakfast options). Some seem to be more known for their food while others tend to be more (or sometimes just) a market. Anyway, Radford is a bigger town than most so this one was a bit like a convenience store with a kitchen.

We ordered some breakfast sandwiches and bought some milk (chocolate milk for me). The restroom had an awesome sign on the door. It read, "Dear customer, please close the door while using the bathroom". Umm, yeah, it's amazing they really need a sign for that! It reminds me of a favorite Homer Simpson quote: "I'm wizzing with the door open, and I love it!"

We stayed in the store until the weather calmed a bit, checked out our maps, put on our rain gear and headed out.

Putting on the rain gear seemed to work; the skies cleared within miles. With decent cycling weather, we biked on.

On the outskirts of Newbern, the skies turned dark. Another storm was headed our way. As we pulled into town, droplets begain to fall. We stopped at the post office to mail home our first fully completed map! Woohoo! In the post office we learned that a market a few miles down might provide decent shelter while the storm passes.

We biked in light showers a few miles to a store which is run by a very friendly man. He was very interested in our trip an invited us to take cover as long as we wanted. We snacked on peanuts, Gatorade and a late season Cadbury Cream Egg (awesome). Meanwhile the rain wasn't quite sure what it was doing. It sprinkled mostly until the temperature started dropping and it really begain to rain. After about 20 minutes of waiting for it to pass (it did not) we decided to put on the rain gear and go for it.

Luckily, we have the right gear. Our biking rain pants, jackets and helmet covers work really well. We stayed realatively dry and rather warm. I must say that my REI Randonee rain jacket is awesome. The best feature, the little flap in the back that can keep water from draining off your back and down your backside; it velcros away when you don't need it. A.K. was jealous that her Burley jacket didn't have that flap. Our fenders also worked really well; they are a must for a trip like this.

We biked for miles in the rain; in one section it absolutely dumped. During the downhill sections the rain drops stung our faces. Soon we hit a clearing of brilliant sun and we took off the majority of our rain gear about a mile later. From there we were about 20 miles from our destination. The sun soon faded to cover us with dark skies, a stiff cold headwind and some light showers. This all equaled a tough day when combind with the rolling hills through many scenic valleys.

By the time we hit Max Meadows ("Max Power"), it was quite chilly. We struggled into Wytheville and arrived a soggy mess. Although it is a bit beyond our budget, we decided that a hotel was a must. We needed hot showers and a chance to dry out all our gear. So here we are in the Sleep Inn in town. Our stuff (tent included) is spread all over the room drying out. Since the rain washed all the lube away, I relubed the chains on both bikes.

We are headed towards the second major section of the Appalachians, so we best get some rest. This hotel has a free breakfast that looks quite good. I can't wait to kill some Fruit Loops. Take that Toucan Sam!



At May 24, 2005 9:01 PM, Anonymous said...

A.K & Jeff,

It is with great interest that I scramble up to our loft each evening to read about your day. Love the journal!

Your Maggie is often out on the deck & looks well & interested in activity on Pearl.


At May 25, 2005 12:12 AM, Kang said...

Hey Jeff.
Yeah I finally pass the DQE. Krstic asked me the exactly same question as yours and my last 40 min was just horrible. Well.. I passed anyway. Thank you for your message and I hope you and A.K bike safely. Take care.


At May 25, 2005 2:04 AM, Anonymous said...

The old Sleep Inn is going to regret the day it rented you guys a room after they find a demolished room and their free breakfast gets demolished. TAKE THAT SLEEP INN!!!

At May 25, 2005 2:42 AM, Anonymous said...

Just remember in either of the VA's if some stranger says "Praise the Lord," the co-pass phrase is "Amen, brother." It is NOT "...and pass the ammunition." -TAB

At May 25, 2005 8:18 AM, Anonymous said...

I'm interested in the story about the deer who almost crapped his pants - I've never seen a deer wearing pants... Y'all are doing great (already over 1/10 of the way there!!) - keep it up! Take care,
Anna :)

At May 25, 2005 9:34 AM, Anonymous said...

Wow, can I just tell you both how impressed I am! Congratulations on the 1/10 mark (as Anna pointed out)!

At May 25, 2005 2:31 PM, Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff and Ann Katherine,

We New Englanders certainly understand your weather issues. It has been raining over here for about a month now. I think one weather forcaster said that there have only been 6 days in May without rain! Pretty soon I will have to trade in my car for a row boat just to get to school!
You guys are doing great! Keep checking yourselves for me once they grad ahold of you they never want to let go!

Good Luck,

PS. Your journal entries are great!

At May 25, 2005 4:07 PM, Anonymous said...

This online journal is excellent. By checking it every day, I feel like I am biking across the country - but without all of the inconvenience of profuse sweating, stanky roadkill, and a sore butt. Jeff, it's good to see that all of this physical activity hasn't turned you into some kind of health nut - Fruit loops, Cadbury Cream eggs, Slim Jims, and Pabst Blue Ribbon - you are single-handedly bringing the new Food Pyramid crashing down. Keep up the good work. Marc


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