Last night’s life saver turned up trumps again this morning … fresh coffee and egg ‘biscuits’ (‘rolls’ to us Brits) made to order. Fab. And they had those rare and elusive items: a butane canister and some non-meat noodles. Now we are cooking with the proverbial! Well, we at least have the option to when we get caught out by the distances and terrain.
Payback time today for yesterday’s last 5 mile slog uphill … best part of twenty sunny miles downhill in the relative cool of the mid-80’s, along a beautiful lush valley with the distant mountains framing picture perfect farms and houses. Then the disappointment of Christianburg … we haven’t quite got the hang of the fact that the life of small American towns is now based on the car-centric outskirts, often leaving the old centres cut off from through traffic and thus life. Not a latte to be had … not even in the railway station – turned toy museum. (We did later discover from Jerry and Jonathan that if you venture slightly further into town (and off-route) caffeine is to be found!)
The plus-point of leaving the town is that we’re now on Map 2! The American Adventure Cycling Association provides 12 maps making up the TransAmerican route. Now just 11 maps and four thousand miles to go!
Several ‘towns’ and lots of miles later, whilst struggling up a hill and daydreaming about a plate of steamed brussel sprouts with grated nutmeg (getting veg here seems to be about as difficult as cycling across America) we came across Jerry and Jonathan whom we’d last seen in Mineral fire station a few days back.
They were pouring over maps after spending last night in Catawba sleeping in a barn with alpacas (check out their blog (see links) for some great photos) and ditched the idea of camping tonight in favour of a hotel … they had heard about thunderstorms due later with four inches of rain and flash flooding. Seemed prudent to follow suit … so follow we did, for the next twenty odd miles, along swooping roads with joyous downs and heart attack inducing ups … to a massive interstate intersection with all the hotels and food outlets you could never want.
Showered, shaved, full of hope and walking a little funnily, we ventured forth to find dinner and chanced upon a small Diego Rivera painted Mexican restaurant. Being completely empty didn’t bode well … but it served up the best food I’ve had in the States … with vegetables and beer! Result or what. Such a change from the 50% dough, 50% sugar diet of late.
The Bleak Expectations isn’t a reference to the Radio Four comedy programme, in fact it’s not funny at all … it’s my 60th birthday tomorrow and unfortunately it looks like I’ll be spending all of it in this hotel room due to the massive inclemency of the weather. It could be worse though I suppose … Paul and I at least enjoy one another’s company (but then again he could just be saying that … I now know how good a liar he is) and we are really bonding …. I even got him to rub lotion all over my sunburnt back the other night … although he did kick off a bit and insist on wearing surgical gloves.
Today’s mileage: 72.19
Total Mileage since First Landing: 498.45
Here’s today’s Garmin report: