We woke up this morning to, you guess it, the sound of trains. TRAAAAAINNNSSS. That’s what sound their horn makes as they blare it arbitrarily whilst they pass our tents. “Let’s wake up those dirty hippies!”
Waking up wasn’t too difficult because I was excited about biscuit and gravy day at Gertie’s. Every Saturday (and only on Saturdays) Gertie and Tammy come in at 4am and start making biscuits and gravy from scratch. As I understand it, they have a gravy rotation based on whatever is around at the time. Last week was sausage gravy and today was chipped beef gravy. Mmm. I love me some biscuits and gravy. I downed it and a hot coffee out of a large cup. It was marvelous.
The mornings are nice. I’m learning to appreciate them. We rode out of town knowing that we had conquered the mountains yesterday and there was nothing we couldn’t do. It was a beautiful morning to ride. We travelled along a beautiful mountain stream and the railroad tracks for 20 miles or so. The feeling of spinning down a flat road early in the morning following a trickling river… it doesn’t get better than that. Until a train comes by.
You could still see some mountains in the distance. It was nice to know they would stay that way; in the distance and not right under our tires. We did have a fair amount of climbing but it was sort of rolling hills in a lot of places. That was good news to my knees which hurt this morning for the first time this trip. All that pushing up the hills can get to your joints.
Our first stop was Lexington, home of VMI and Washington and Lee. Very quaint place. We found this co-op and the owner gave us a lesson in honey. Her husband is a beekeeper and they sell a lot of his different types of honey in the store. We got to taste them all but they were too expensive for me to buy one.
Since the rides were a little easier today we took a lot of pictures. Here’s an action shot of me doing what I do best. Well, not what I do best, but what I have been doing frequently lately. I’m not looking at the camera because I’m too busy thinking about how much my butt hurts. You need a rear of steel to break in that gd leather saddle. Sorry, I go on a “my butt hurts, damn this saddle” tangent about every half hour or so.
We rolled into Buchanan for another water break. The town is situated right on the James River, so we figured what the hell and went for our first swim! It was very refreshing. We swam in our padded bike shorts and everything. This was a bit nerve wracking because cycling for 20 miles with wet shorts can start to chafe and get to be uncomfortable. But we didn’t care too much, our butts hurt to the max already and it was HOT. Look how happy we are. Funny story: 4 of us stayed behind in Buchanan swimming for an extra hour or so, the other 19 people were justifiably worried about getting their biking clothes wet and skipped the swim and carried on down the road. They ended up getting caught in a HUGE downpour and got soaked anyways. And because we left later than they did, we missed the rain completely. So everyone ended up wet but I bet we had more fun doing it than they did.
Riding after the rain was an amazing experience. It was cool yet very humid. The road was wet and there was a steam coming off of it and all of the fields. It was sort of magical. And of course we still have these sweeping views of beautiful southwest Virginia, my favorite place in the world.
We found ice cream! Only 4 miles from our destination, this old store (built has a train toll building in 1848) was selling giant scoops of ice cream for $1.50. We couldn’t pass it up. They probably gave us each an entire pint. We ate it all and talked about how none of us are going to lose any weight on this trip because all we do is eat.
We are camping in a public park in Troutville. We got here and there were kids playing on the swing set and people generally enjoying themselves. So we rolled up and pitched our tents all over their area and started cooking food on our camp stoves. I don’t think they were very happy and we got some funny looks. I probably wouldn’t be happy if some dirty hippie cyclists showed up and took over my park either, but so be it.
It’s 10:00 so it’s time for me to climb into my coffin-tent and try to sleep. Tomorrow we have an easy 45 miles to Blacksburg. I’m so excited to go home and see my friends, boyfriend, and most of all my smelly puppy Bailey. We are inviting local cyclists to join us for the ride into town. I think that some of our cycling chapter is coming to meet us. Anyone reading this, please feel free to ride with us, you don’t have to even pay the $20, just show up. Also, if you live somewhere along the Transam and want to ride with us for a mile/day/week, we encourage it and would love your support. Just coming to our campsite in the morning with coffee or bagels would be appreciated more than you’d ever know. Appalachian Trail hikers call it trail magic. Maybe we can have Transam Magic?
Tomorrow when we get to town (pretty early, maybe around 2?) we are having a fundraiser/party at Champ’s. Once again, anyone and everyone is encouraged to come out and support us. Come see me in my smelly clothes with my odd tan lines!
Last but not least, all my loyal readers will be happy to know that there are train tracks within 50 feet of my tent. Again. Oh well. Also, today was my favorite day of the trip so far. Every day has been my favorite day until the subsequent day, which then becomes my favorite. It’s a good sign.