Switchbacks and Snallygasters (29)

Last night while talking to Joel, he told us his favorite breakfast on the trail was Little Debbie Honey Buns.  So the next morning we stopped at Cowboy’s Food Mart in search of just that.  In the absence of Honey Buns, though, we settled for cinnamon buns, paired with sausage biscuits and coffee :-). We are so happy to have spent a night in Damascus.  Being the crossroads of the AT and the Trans America Trail, the little town  has all the amenities and supplies that a hiker or biker could possibly want, plus the added bonus of meeting hikers.

15 miles into our day, we took a break just before Hayter’s Gap. A man stopped to chat and informed us that the switchbacks on the upcoming climb were so tight that, at night, you could see your own taillights. Coincidentally, he grew up in West Hartford, CT and even knew where Hartland is! He moved to Kentucky years ago, though, and seems to be loving life.

The climb of the day ended up being 3.5 miles long and took us 45 minutes. After a mile of climbing, we took a break, and while I was taking notes about the day so far, Rachel said she would get a head start. From that point on, I don’t think she looked back; I imagine she may have even been daydreaming about polka dotted jerseys.

We didn’t meet again until the top, and she took great pleasure in beating me there. I give her a hard time pretty often, but she deserves credit because she has become a very strong cyclist!

 Lunch was hot dogs at a mini mart along the route. Rather than energize me, though, the food tired me out.

Fortunately, that only lasted until the next climb. This one was easier than the first and had a descent that was even more fun, with several big, sweeping corners to cruise around.

 At the top of the hill, we contemplated whether to end the day at the town park at the bottom, or to push for another 25 miles to a state park. The temptation for an early evening was too great, so we chose the former option. It turned out to be a good choice: the park had a pool and showers for us to use, and the camping was free!

Rachel even made a new friend who taught her about snallygasters and raced her around the park.

Early to bed, early to rise – Tomorrow we will start earlier to make up for the miles we didn’t get today.

Our home in Council, VA for the night.

Trip stats, to date (Day 29)

  • Damascus, VA to Council, VA
  • Daily mileage: 49.9mi;  Trip total to date: 1,622mi
  • Daily riding time: 4hr 21min;  Trip total time: 146hr 27min
  • Daily ascent: 4,767ft;  Trip total ascent: 82,389ft
  • Flat tires: Rachel – 1; Chris – 0

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