Our day started off beautifully with a wonderful breakfast prepared by Rick’s daughter Jessica who woke up extra early to fix us some extra scrumptious pancakes. Rick said a very thoughtful blessing echoing our feelings of gratitude for having met such kind people and he wished us well on our journey, and then we demolished our hot cakes and set off for the day.
Having been told a few towns ago not to miss the pie at the bike store in Draper, Virginia, we were disappointed when we rolled up around noon to find that they were closed on Modnays. But before we left, someone called to us from a window above the store offering to let us in to use the bathroom and refill our water bottles. So we did just that and luckily for us, the gentleman also found two pieces of delicious pecan pie and served them to us in the storefront’s way comfy wooden rocking and swiveling chairs.
As we calorie-loaded, a woman rolled her bicycle up to the storefront to also meet the disappointment of the shop’s closure, but luckily for us she stayed and chatted.
Peggy shared that she rode the Bikecentennial, the original TransAm bike trip in ’76, with her small poodle named Pooh, who rode in a wicker basket on the front of her bike! She showed us her gnarly scar from a knee replacement, the result of a fall on that same ride, and she pointed out the Oregon dirt still visibly lodged beneath her skin. Pooh had survived two wrecks with her on the trip. She’d done the last bit of trail “with just one leg,” a feeling I could somewhat relate to thinking about my knee pain on some recent climbs, limping along by shuttling myself forward cranking hard with my good leg. Peggy unwittingly became my cycling hero. Her daughter had “gone across”in 2004, and “not to be outdone,” her husband was making the trek this year, and she was the support wagon for him.
We compared notes on her visit to the Cookie Lady in ’76 before the latter had even officially earned said moniker, her dog carrier and pooch’s temperament, and the route across the country some 30+ years ago. She was so interesting and it was so serendipitous to meet a trail pioneer who had also brought her K9 companion along.
We made it to Wytheville and were treated to a free shower at their upscale community center. We also enjoyed complimentary camping in the park, which was adorned with pretty lights on the trees. Time for sleep.