Friday, August 11, 2006

Day 72: 64 miles, Jul 29

This was quite a fun day! I awoke feeling, and I quote from my paper journal, “like a rocket.” I think I covered the first 17 miles of the day in less than an hour, even though there were perhaps seven or eight railroad crossings.

Dave, the guy from Pittsburg who shared the misery of Missouri with me, finished his ride on the 27th I believe and called me a few days ago to say he could meet me in Lexington, VA, a charming and historical city close to his parents’ home where he was spending the week. So, I got to Lexington around 3 pm, and there he was! Maria, his girlfriend (whom I’m sure was very glad to have him back safely!) was also with him. We had coffee for about an hour and swapped stories about the steep climbs of the Appalachians.

After saying our good-bye’s, (doesn’t an apostrophe belong there?) I rode onwards to Vesuvius. I honestly don’t know how the town got its name, but I did decide to end the day there because it’s at the foot of the steepest climb of the entire route – best to tackle it in the morning on fresh legs. Wait. That sounds like a frog dinner or

There’s a convenience store marked on the map whose owner is supposed to allow camping on the property behind it, but, as I discovered only upon arriving in Vesuvius, the store is a mile away. Again, I was loathe to ride those extra miles, and happened to notice that there was a group of people exiting the nearby Baptist church.

Now, more than a few riders I have met have spoken of great luck begging the hospitality of churches, but I have never been one who likes to impose (or beg). Well, steeling myself for dirty looks and rejection, I approached the nearest fellow with a friendly, “Howdy!”

I am not kidding when I say that I believe the next words out of his mouth were “I think the pastor puts up cyclists in his spare bedroom. He’s next door – just knock.”

Besides their excellent company, Dan and Lynn Stanley fed me, let me take a shower, and did indeed put me up in the oh-so-air-conditioned spare bedroom. I also went along with them to Lexington to pick up their daughter and so got to see quite a bit more of that beautiful city.

The Stanleys are truly some of the most friendly and talkative people I met along my trip, and I can’t adequately explain how valuable a good night’s sleep is on a trip like this, especially before a monster climb! Thank you!

The photo is of the church as I left the next morning.


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