Wednesday August 26
Our night at the city park was not a restful one. First we discovered that an active train track was just 20 yards from our tent so we awoke twice from our slumber to the vibration and noise of a diesel locomotive and it’s attendant freight cars. This is really disturbing. The second reason our sleep was unsatisfactory probably had to do with the fact that we were sleeping on concrete instead of grass. You wouldn’t think it would make any difference but both Donna and I awoke with a headache. And these headaches lasted through the morning, not departing until later in the afternoon. We packed up with everything still dry since we were under the pavillion. That was the bonus for sleeping on the concrete. By 8:30 our team pulled away from Troutville. We managed to elude Carlene as both Donna and I were certain that she would be back to ferry us to the Country Cooking Buffet for an all you can eat breakfast buffet.
My legs were feeling heavy today from yesterdays mostly solo pedaling. You would think that I would be in condition to be pulling Lewis up and down these hills, but these hills are beating me up. I have a feeling that I would still be sore even if Lewis were at full strength. But it was to be yet another day of one-legged Lewis. He still can’t wear a shoe over his swollen toe. We pedaled non-stop from Troutville until we hit the community of Buchanan (20 miles) where we stopped for a late breakfast. Only problem was that the lone restaurant in town only served lunch and dinner and didn’t start serving until 11:00. Since it was only 10:00 and we noticed that the public library was just across the road from the eatery, we decided to spend and hour there and then have an early lunch at 11:00. Worked like a charm. We had our lunch and by 12:00 were pulling away from Buchanan never to return again.
The next 2 hours were spent going up and down and up and down until we came to the city called Natural Bridge. The strangest thing, they actually have a natural wonder there that resembles a bridge! They also wanted $18 per adult to get a glimpse of it. Donna was enraged. I expected that we’d have to pay something and would have paid hers and Lewis admission but she was too upset to take the offer. So we pedaled away only to stop at the next natural wonder, the Natural Bridges Cavern. This wonder was deemed worthy by Donna so Lewis and she antied up just a little bit less to walk down a cave to see the deepest cavern on the East coast. Lewis now knows the difference between stalagmites and stalactites. I stayed above to relax in the sweltering heat. An hour and a half later we were once again on the road. Our next stop would be our final one of the day.
At about 5:00 we pulled into Lexington Virginia and got directions to Walmart. No, we weren’t going to camp there, but were hoping to find some open toed sandals for the boy with the injured toe. We also needed some groceries. The Walmart ended up being on the far end of town so we headed out. Once we spotted the familiar blue Walmart sign, we pulled into the first motel we came to. This had been agreed upon since we hadn’t visited one the night before. The Econolodge had a room for us that set me back $70 but as we are nearly finished with this trip, it could very possibly be the final night we spend in a motel. After unloading the bikes, we got back in the saddle and peddled the half mile to Walmart to purchase a couple of necessities and a whole bunch of groceries. We replaced Donnas’ reading glasses which had been left behind somewhere. We also replaced my jackknife which is right now sitting in the guest house at Alice Lloyd College. I will contact them when I get home to see if someone was honest enough to turn it in. Not holding out much hope though. The search for sandals was a bust as they are now stocking winter footwear. So we pedaled back to the motel with our bounty and set about devouring as much as we could before leaving in the morning.
The ride this day was just a bit easier than the day before but with my legs now physically exhausted from pedaling up and down the previous 2 days, I was forced to walk again. Lewis was up to the challenge as he is now barely hobbling and not complaining about the throbbing anymore. And since tomorrow may bring with it the burden of an extended walk, it was good to see him able to get around on his own. We ended up riding 60 miles today with temperatures topping out close to 90 and high humidity as well. You know what? We’re getting used to exerting ourselves in this sticky gooey air! We no longer dread headwinds. Any wind would be welcome. But they aren’t to be found.