Coast to Coast for the FFB: THE ONLINE JOURNAL

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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Day 12: Wytheville, VA to Damascus, VA (61 miles, 529 total)

What an awesome, awesome day! I am so excited to finally be able to say that! Today's ride still involved a fair bit of climbing (12 miles or so) but it was mostly gradual AND we finally got some decent descents. Woooohoo! Most of the day was still cold and I have only taken my leg warmers (combine with the bike shorts to make tights) and arm warmers off one day in the last 8 days or so. Brrrrrr.

The Sleep Inn where we stayed last night had free breakfast so we downed that and headed out. After not really eating a meal yesterday until dinner (we snacked all day), I was adamant about getting real food at regular intervals.

The first town we came to was called Rural Retreat. We pulled off for a "nature break" and per Rebus' suggestion Jeff got a cup of coffee. He said it is only the 5th cup in his life but it did add some energy to his ride so I may be following suite tomorrow. Can't make it a habit though. I also doubt that a steaming cup of coffee would be wanted in the 100 degree temps we are expecting to get in Kansas.

We passed through Cedar Springs and 8 miles later, Sugar Grove and then I pulled over for a snack and some horse petting time. There was a super friendly and inquisitive young white horse just begging for attention. She wasn't interested in a peppermint at all, just played with it for a while and spit it out. Back on the road, it was time to start working for our lunch. I've said many times that Virginia has made us work for every meal and mile we've done. We climbed a mountain for lunch in Troutdale.

The place where we ate was called the Troutdale Trading Post. It was the strangest place we'd ever been in. It was a jack-of-all-trades store in that it served as the town restaurant, market, and thrift store. The food was good and hot, and the inside MUCH warmer than the air outside so we didn't really care that we were sitting next to a box of used women's clothing.

We climbed for 6 more gradual miles after lunch, never an easy thing to do and soon ran across the cutest, sweetest looking dog. She was just sitting by the side of the road, but off a little in the bushes. We noticed her mostly because she didn't come charging out after us. She wore no collar and, without having any way to do anything with or for her, I didn't allow myself or Jeff to stop. I am just sure she'd been hit by a car but knowing that for sure would have broken my heart. Where is my friend Virginia Costa when you need her? She'd help to get the little dog to safety for sure. The little dog looked like a cross between a beagle and a pointer (where beagles are white, she was grey with black dots). Anyway, it still makes my heart ache so I have to move on.

Soon we started our great descents. We passed a log church called the Laurel Valley Community Church. It is a log church and boasts pews and an outhouse all built from logs too.
I was feeling so good at this point, and was so happy about it, that I made up my own song to sing. Jeff said it was the worst song ever but I didn't care. I was just enjoying feeling good.

We leveled out for a while, started a very slow climb up a super windy road, then got to zing down into the last mile before Damascus. At that point we were only about a mile from the Tennessee border and Jeff really wanted to go down there just to say he did 2 states today, but I wasn't interested. I gave him the option of going on while I just sat and waited but in the end he decided that getting to the hostel was more important than heading off route.

Shelter for the night is called "The Place." It is a hostel house especially for Appalachian Trail hikers and TransAmerica cyclists. The Damascus United Methodist Church runs the hostel and for $4 a night, you get a hot shower and wooden bunk. We've met up with James and Eric again. The four of us are sleeping in the same room together. They are splitting ways tomorrow. Eric is going south to Tennessee and then west and James is heading in our direction. I think he'll be going quite a bit faster than we will so who knows if we'll run into him again. (a note from Jeff: As far as Hostels go, this place is really nice and quite clean. Some of the hikers' boots tend to stink a lot, but we can deal. A local, Kenny Fritz, told us the place was originally set-up for the first TransAm cyclists in 1976, but since then it has been taken over by hikers and "smells a bit mildewy now.")

Talking to the through hikers has been fun tonight. There are some guys our age who are definitely making things fun with sparring bats and night hikes (Lightning Rod and Snack Master - through-hikers get nicknames to use on the trail). They seem to be the most normal hikers we've run across so far. There is also a group of four boys through-hiking with their grandfather. That man must have a lot of patience.

I guess that is it for tonight. Tomorrow is going to be a shorter day because we start going over the next set of mountains. Neither of us was aware that there were two sets of Apps, the old and the new, but we have to cross them either way.


P.S. (from Jeff) Damascus kicks asscus!


At May 26, 2005 7:23 AM, grayson said...

Jeff-- I think that dog might have been a great time to try out the doggie mace that you are carrying with you. Sorry AK. Looking forward to hearing about the rednecks in TN. Viva la bicicleta. -G

At May 26, 2005 10:13 AM, Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed every single one of your postings and am amazed you have enough energy at the endo of the day to write them. I didn't really know that you would be adding so much each day. I now have a new way to start my day - check out your postings.

Anne - sorry to hear about your dad. Hoepfully he is home now and well on the road to recovery. i assume your new wheel is holding up.

Check your email for new totals!!

Take care and keep dry.


At May 26, 2005 10:15 AM, Anonymous said...

Jeff & A.K.

I love your journal. Reading it has made me feel a part of your journey.
A.K. I hope your father is doing better.
Take care and keep posting :-)


At May 26, 2005 10:24 AM, Anonymous said...

While I appreciate the daily updates, the daily mileage and the total mileage, I think it would be much more insightful if I could get a PBR count for Jeff. That would really bring the adventure home for me.

At May 26, 2005 11:18 AM, Anonymous said...

Don't even TALK to Jeff befor he gets his first cup of coffee of the day!! Hooked I say. See any trout in Troutdale? I am glad to hear you guys are feeling good, I bet the next set of App's will be a breaze.

At May 27, 2005 3:02 AM, Anonymous said...

Horses? I'd rather pet the snake... -TAB

At May 27, 2005 4:40 AM, Anonymous said...

Hi guys, Ran into you way back at the Willis church luncheon in Glendale, and have been following your adventures ever since. Just wanted to say how much I've enjoyed your postings. I check them every morning from my dreary office. Would love to be doing what you're doing.

At June 01, 2005 8:36 AM, Anonymous said...

AK - This posting made me choke up (for that sweet dog) and laugh out loud (at your spontaneous composition and singing) - now that's good writin'!
Grayson - that mace comment is just WRONG!
Love you guys - Alecia


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