We are enamored of the way local folks exclaim about Petunia the “dawg on the bah-cycle,” and have been made to feel very welcome by a good heaping of southern hospitality everywhere in Virginia. After a recovery day, we began the descent down the Blue Ridge mountains.
It was a steep, curving road and our brakes were practically smoking on the way down, making our hands ache from pulling the brakes so hard to keep at a safe speed. Greg got his second flat tire on the way down and we found a spot to pull over and he successfully patched the tube.
At the bottom of the hill was the small town of Vesuvius, where a nice non-hilly coast welcomed us.
We made it to Lexington around dinner and were ordering some food to go, thinking we’d try and hurry 10 miles on to the next campsite, when a gentleman who had waved to us earlier while biking now approached us on foot to ask about our journey. His name was Tim, and he offered us a place to stay and he drove our meal back to his home so we wouldn’t smoosh it en route on our bikes.
Tim and Cathy are an incredibly kind couple who invited us to stay in their home that had dreamy 360° views of the mountains. Tim told us about his adventures hiking the Appalachian Trail last year, and as a couple, shared about hiking through Spain and Portugal. Tim even offered us help with the GoPro video uploading and showed us some neat features of the editing software.
They even checked out our website, so we took a picture of them reading the blog to post on the blog…. How meta. Sorry it’s not a better view of your faces. Maybe we’ll meet again and snap a better picture!
After a great night’s sleep, they outfitted us with some nutritious breakfast bars and coffee and we got an early start.
We thought we might detour to see the Natural Bridge, but at $18 a ticket, it seemed like a tourist trap and we opted instead to linger and chat with a sweet couple from Virginia who took a liking to Petunia. My little girl was happy to show off and then cool off in a bush.
The weather was great today and it was a pretty ride to Troutsville, where we thought we could stay for free in a park, but when we called the town, they told us no dogs were permitted. We tried Warm Showers, and while the only local couple couldn’t host us in their yard, they told us about an event called Troutsville Trail Days that happened to be starting tonight for bikers and hikers of the Appalachian Trail.
We arrived just at the right time– a free and delicious dinner was served to a big group of hikers and cyclists, followed by a short pilgrimage of adventurers and free spirits over to the local church where over 20 different kinds of desserts were to be had and judged in a baking competition.
We pretty much ate until we felt silly. A heavenly caloric food euphoria fell upon us.
We met some really fascinating people, like Anne, a young woman from California who was solo thru-hiking the AT from Georgia to Maine, having previously hiked in a desert out west so hot and dry that it necessitated carrying a very heavy 8L of water. We also met an amazing couple from Vernon, Connecticut who had been adventure cycling and hiking together since their 20s. They’ve been all over the world and were on the AT as part of their pursuit of the elite Triple Crown of hiking. They offered some keen advice about bike-camping and were very funny and inspiring people.
It was such a wonderful day… There’s no way we can even begin to describe it here. Less than three weeks in and this adventure feels transformational already.