June 9, 2006
Wow. I must have climbed at least four mountains today. Tough ones. The Virginia Appalachians are sure giving me a solid kick in the butt to say goodbye.
I woke up this morning at 7am, and was on the road rolling out of Damascus by 8. It was good to hang out with the AT hikers. Don’t worry… after I leave Damascus I won’t be near the Appalachian Trail anymore, so maybe you won’t have to hear about it anymore!
I felt good today after my day off, and my bike was feeling top notch as well. Yesterday I brought my bike in to the shop for some tender loving professional care, so it was running smooth as butter today.
The mechanic was an older gentleman who really knew his stuff, so I sat in for the tune up and got a free little lesson out of it. He used to be a wheel builder, and had a tool to measure spoke tension and everything. I was disappointed when he was done so soon… I could have hung out there in the shop all day.
I rode through a narrow river valley out of Damascus this afternoon, in between the mountains. Now that I’m toward the west side of the Appalachians, I don’t think I’ll be seeing as many farms. Now it’s more like trailers, abandoned trucks, tires, garages, some logging and mining activity… that sort of thing.
Taking a break outside a gas station, I noticed that the restaurant across the street had a bluegrass band scheduled for tonight! Too bad there wasn’t any place for me to stay or stealth camp around there, or else I would have been all over that.
Tonight I’m staying at Breaks Interstate Park, right smack dab on the Kentucky border! It’s a scenic, wild, mountainous area with some hiking trails. I’m staying in the campground, and had to spend ten dollars for my tent site.
This evening I was going about my typical routine – having a dinner of rice, oatmeal, and brown sugar – when the campers across from me said, “Hey, biker! You want some food?”
They had a bunch of hot dogs and burgers they weren’t going to finish, and, well, let’s just say they found the right candidate for the job! They’re four college-age local students, and self proclaimed “band geeks.” It was good to be social and make some friends – they were some of the nicest, friendliest people.
Later a guy strolled over to me who had done a long bicycle tour through Montana, and most of the Northern Tier route. He was great to talk to as well – we have a lot in common regarding touring. I really enjoy meeting people like this, especially after traveling alone all the time.
It’s 10:30pm now on a Friday night, and way past my bedtime. That’s too bad, because otherwise I’d surely be up late – sitting around a fire here at the campground. Life is good.
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Google Map Route may not be 100% accurate.