Monday August 24
The day is over. We are relaxing at the home of Thad and Sarah Lee who live in Radford Virginia. The ride today (45 miles) was almost pleasant. It was almost relaxing. Almost. Get real. When would a 45 mile bicycle ride up and down hills be relaxing! It was a good ride. Let’s leave it at that. Lewis was able to hobble out to the bicycle this morning and mounted up. Then he put his damaged foot up on the water bottle cage, and that is where it stayed all day. He rode occassionally one legged. Occassionally no legged. But not once did he put his damaged foot in harms way today. It is an ugly foot if I do say so myself. I, on the other hand, had to pedal up every single hill today. No walkiing as that was not an option unless I want the push the bike with lewis on it. That would be really tough not to mention just a bit unsafe. We would have both ended up in a heap had I tried that. So I pedaled. All by myself. And I could hardly tell the difference other than the steepest hills when I would normally get after Lewis to help. But today I had only the one legged little man to help and it was a noticeable difference. I am tired.
The weather today couldn’t have been better. We had partly or mostly cloudy skies with temperatures in the middle 70’s. Someone up above is finally smiling on us. It must be time to take it easy on Team Jackson as they continue their unstoppable trek. We left the Comfort Inn at 10:30 after enjoying the continental breakfast. The bike shop we had hoped to visit in Wytheville had closed with no other shops in town. So no foot cages were purchased. I am just a little antsy now that he is going to repeat the incident from yesterday so we’ll be doing something about the pedals very soon. In the meantime, I have the one legged co-pilot to assist me.
A lunch on the go was purchased at McDonalds near the town of Fort Chiswell. We must be feeling sorry for Lewis because we let him have a happy meal for the first time this trip. Normally, it’s a cheeseburger and a carton of milk. No silly toy and french fries when the the toys end up in the trash while Donna and I have to eat his fries. Can you believe that? He actually doesn’t like french fries! We got back on the bikes and didn’t stop again until we pulled into the small community of Draper Virginia. Here we purchased a slushy drink for everyone and Lewis and I relived my childhood by splitting a package of Mallo Cups. It’s been 40 years since I’ve had a mallo cup. I used to live on those when I had a paper route and a source of income to purchase such treats. Now that I’ve a real income, Mallo Cups have disappeared. So to have Zero candy bars. But they still live here in the South. It almost makes me wish I lived here. You see I said almost. The presense of a couple of candy bars is not quite enough of a draw to get me to actually relocate but it was a passing thought.
It was after 2:00 when we rode away from Draper. With only another 20 miles remaining, we made good time and pulled into Radford at 4:00. Another stop for a beverage was made at the Sonic place as it is happy hour from 2 til 4 and several of their beverages are half off during that time. Donna and I had another slushy drink while Lewis had a root beer. We had a couple of errands to run in town before heading over to the home of Dr Lee and his family. First we located the bike shop and for $16 were able to purchase the toe clips or foot cages that are going to prevent Lewis from slipping his foot between the chain and the ring again. The next stop was the grocery store to purchase some dinner in the event that we had to feed ourselves tonight at the Lee household. With these tasks complete, we headed off to locate the home of Dr. Lee.
We had first heard of the generosity of Dr. Lee from a couple of cyclists we ran into a little over a week ago. They were the ones going east to west and passed along the information pertaining to the Lee’s during a lunch they shared with Lewis. The Lee’s haven’t joined warm showers and haven’t hooked up with adventure cycling either. They prefer word of mouth to draw cylinst into their comfortable home. It works for us. We pedaled up to their driveway only to discover no one home. Donna and Lewis relaxed on the porch while I worked on attaching the toe clips to Lewis’ pedals. Within 15 minutes, Sarah and her son Sam pulled up. They invited Donna in while I remained outside still working on the toe cllips. A few minutes late Dr. Lee (Thad) pulled up. I had just completed my task so I joined everyone else inside the house. We were given a bedroom upstairs to use and a couple of different bathrooms as well.
The rest of the evening was spent with Thad as we kept him company while he grilled burgers and hot dogs for our dinner. Sarah disappeared for a church meeting and wouldn’t return until about 10:00. Sam took off on his bike and we wouldn’t see him again. But Thad was the ideal host as he kept us entertained with his stories and a Gin and Tonic for both Donna and I. He had ridden the same ride that we are doing. This was back in 1999. Since then he’s been taking in cyclists as he knows first hand how nice it feels to be with people rather than alone in some city park. After dinner, I fell asleep in the living room while trying to compose this journal entry. Donna and Lewis had already retired for the evening so I joined them. I was beat. I think the Gin and Tonic had something to do with it.