We left lovely Crozet yesterday after getting some good rest in a field adjacent to their fire department, having an insanely overpriced and mediocre breakfast, and drying our still-wet clothes at the laundromat. We could see the mountains toward Afton and our big climb over the Appalachians not too far off in the distance.
On the way up, we stopped in Afton to see the home of the late “Cookie Lady,” June Curry, an angel to cyclists who had provided cookies (of course), water, showers, and rest to bicycle travelers since around the Bikecentennial cross country ride in the summer of 1976. Ms. Curry died in 2012, but the legend continues by a woman named Hope who has taken up the torch, and even though she wasn’t home when we stopped by, Hope had offered to leave the house open for us to view when I’d called her the day before.
June never charged for her hospitality and was adored by many world-wide. Cyclists had started sending postcards and leaving trinkets, notes, maps, bike gloves, and all sorts of items for June, and her home was full of thousands of postcards and thank you letters filling several rooms.
I was touched by her spirit of generosity, kindness, openness, and by what she had inspired. I thought of the families and people we’ve met so far who have similarly opened their homes, hearts, and refrigerators (it’s true– we’re always hungry) to us. It was almost haunting, like being in a mausoleum, but full of the spirit of love and hope that carries on and is shared by many. I felt inspired and recommitted to letting that same spirit shine through in my own life.
While most of the day was uphill, the predicted rain held off and it was gorgeous along the Blue Ridge Parkway and the vistas were incredible. It felt like we were really going up, up, and up with each scenic overlook proving that we were no longer at the base of the mountains, but we were eye level with other peaks.
After some of the treacherous climbs in PA, this almost felt anticlimactic. The weather was great, the traffic was almost nonexistent, and we were feeling strong. Greg carried a couple of my water bottles to help out when my knee started to bother me a bit, but overall it was a good climb with breathtaking views.
The welcomed descents led us to a little town called Love, where we stayed in a small cabin for the evening. When we woke up this morning, Greg was not feeling well after fighting off a sore throat for a few days, so we’re taking a sick day and we’ll be ready to rack up some more miles tomorrow.