Damascus to Wytheville, VA
Reluctant to leave the adventure party house. Sat at the big table in the dining room for a final meal with the hikers. They burn so many calories, I simply cannot conceive. One of them said he burns up to 11,000 a day. He was also about 6 foot 6. We thought we were ballers burning 5,000 to 6,000. They scarfed giant honey buns, Poptarts covered in peanut butter, Clif bars. Seeing them eat gives me perspective. I should not be eating like them. I'm not carrying forty pounds on my back ang lugging it nineteen miles a day. I am sitting on my butt. I am practically in a lazy boy chair.
Went for coffee with Jason and Eric. This is the last day with Jason. He is going to cool his heels here in lovely Damascus for a day and soon he turns south to return home to the lowcountry. He will be missed.
Chris, Eric and I rode through what looked like rainforest for about twenty miles. Winding and mostly downhill. Wet and beautiful and following the river. This part of Virginia is a mecca for adventure junkies. There are horse camps for trail rides, a million hiking trails, mountain biking trails and a surprising amount of road bikers. The route we follow now is very clearly marked with 76 signs. We are following the famous Bikecentennial route of 1976. Most of the Adventure Cycling TransAm Route follows this path. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bikecentennial
We have also noticed that Virginia is considerably more progressive than Kentucky even in it's most rural areas. There are co-ops, local farmers markets, and collectives of local artisans. It is refreshing.
Had a salad at a local winery. The place was wall to wall with homemade soap and other crafty goodies. Not shopping makes me want to explode. But a bar of soap is just about the most impractical, heavy object I could stick in a pannier. I know what you're thinking, "But, Lauren, isn't soap good for cleaning your body and clothes?" Yeah, probably. But, it's not coming with me.
Upon our arrival on Wytheville, we were reminded of an important lesson we have learned out here: Do not trust a local to tell you where anything is. They don't know how to get to their own home and they have lived here fifty years. They are also liable to start talking and never stop.
"Excuse me, ma'am, can you tell me how to get to the Memorial Park?"
"Well, you see there's this pole. It's painted red and white. Like a barber."
Other woman standing behind this woman, "Just like a barber".
"There used to be this old car wash there. Then it was a gas station then it closed down."
The woman behind her is nodding emphatically. "Closed down ages ago. Used to be owned by..."
"I think it's on first street. First street? Hahah. Actually, I have no idea what street that is. Haha.".
Chris and I check in with one another in a brief glance. This is not working. Next person indicates that we should turn right at the IGA. Only to find out later that there is no IGA in this town.
Found the park our damn selves. Eric was there, waiting on a picnic table. "You guys get lost?"
We proceeded with the usual chores, laundromat, five dollar pizza, dollar store, pitch tent in local park. You know, hobo stuff.
Caught some couples "sparking" in the park late at night, as they call it here in Virginia. Thought they were a little suspicious but realizes they were 70. Slept well.