Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hill hard. Peanut Butter gone.

8/8/11 Lexington to Charlottesville

August eighth, The day of the beast. Ten miles of slow climb to begin the day and then... Vesuvius. A gnarly switchback riddled monster in the dense woods of Virginia. I had been dreading this stupid thing for weeks. The old guy, you know with the dog invention, he gave me an alternate route around. Eric and Chris said hell no. They want to tackle the thing.

So here I am. Thanks to some machismo bullshit. I didn't know my sweat could sweat. I soaked through my socks. I huffed and puffed so hard I thought my lungs would collapse. My calves pinched and threatened to seize. But I never let Chris get more than six feet in front of me. Pride and new muscles carried me up that thing.

Coming around the last corner, the sky revealed itself. Like Monty Pyhon paper cut outs of sun, clouds and streaks of fog heavy sunlight. I did it. I am happy with the work. My reward is The Blue Ridge Parkway, a magnificient stretch of road lined with slow-driving vacationers. Praise Allah.

Stopped in for one more five dollar wine tasting. Man, that makes for a good lunch. Baguette, farm cheese, local wine. Superb.

I'm sure Eric had time to make friends with all of Charlottesville as we were, once again, five hours behind him. Charlottesville is another lovely historical university town. It was all a bustle at 5 pm when we arrived. Professors wheeling breifcases, tattooed students and parents of freshman marching wildly into the streets without looking. It was an obstacle course.

Stayed at the Alexander House. A strange combination of crunchy and fancy. A dorm style hostel and a bed and breakfast. Free local bread, butter and jam in the fridge.

Stayed up for a bit, enjoying our last night with Eric as he will ride a hundred miler tomorrow. We just won't do that. We're dragging our feet now.

8/9/11 Charlottesville to Mineral

A short little jaunt over to Mineral today. After wine lunch, we were chased by enormous turkeys. I am embarassed to say that I was more terrified by this animal than I was when I saw a black bear. I threw crackers at him, hoping he would eat them or at least be distracted enough to leave us alone. Instead he bravely stamped towards us until I screamed like my mother. Chris thought this was so funny his legs were rendered useless. He stood, gripping his saddle, eyes closed, turkey on the opposite side of his wheel. I am screaming and dragging my bike long ways, the manner in which it does not roll, away from them. Good news. We got away.

In Mineral, we camped behind the local fire department with two other cyclists headed west. Sounds worse than it is. First, we sprayed each other with the hose, playing a little game we like to call "Shut up and Train". (This time with soap) We found a garage with folding chairs and dragged them to a nice grassy spot. Popped open a bottle of Cab Franc from Cooper Vineyard in Virginia and poured it into the glasses we got for free from the tasting room. Man, we must look freaking preposterous. There is no way we look like touring cyclists other than our tan stripes. We look like confused suburbanite yuppies who got lost and happily set up shop behind a building. Resolving never to go home. And really, that's not too far from the truth. We are starting to loathe the idea of.going back to normal life. Two states ago we would have said, 'Home? Hell, yes I'll go home".

But now we are thinking something more like, 'F%#. I have to pay my car insurance. I have to go back to work. I have to think about rent money. I have to dress like a human again.

As of late, our only worries have been, 'Hill hard. Peanut butter gone. Rooster loud'. Simple life is good life.

We are torn about this coming to an end. We are used to a very different life now. And though we miss you desperately, this is something anyone couls get used to.


  1. Good lord, this is it, isn't it? Last night on the trail, and back to mugglehood. "All good things..." and all that. I think you may find, though, that when you change, so does the world. You've opened doors for yourself, and for others - certainly for me. I know you had moments when you questioned the worth of the whole, mad enterprise. For those of us who rooted for you, however, it has all meant a great deal. Paltry though it may seem in the face of your stunning effort, I offer my heartfelt thanks to you and Chris. I salute you, and will feel much joy in welcoming you home.

  2. Ah, Lauren, in my heart I was with you the whole way. In my body I was stuck inside a building. Loved every turn of phrase. You gave me a soul massage.

  3. The trip is complete!

    Just got off the phone with you, me crying like a baby. Very proud, very impressed, very happy you're coming home.

    But reality is really going to suck after this.

    See you soon,



  4. Hi Lauren and Chris,
    It is 4:30 PM Thursday, August 11. Just checked your blog and GPS with Grandma Butler on the phone. We are both excited to see that you have reached your goal and are now in York, VA! The end of the continent. Hurray! And congratulation from Grandma and Aunt Maureen

  5. "Home is where they have to take you when you have to go" Thomas Wolfe
    We will be here with bells on.

  6. PS. I have to meet this Nathan guy. He is very cool.