Friday, May 16, 2008

The Works

I did a full day of riding yesterday -- Radford to Troutdale, almost 80 miles on some challenging terrain. I stopped in Wytheville for lunch and had a few of Skeeter's world famous hot dogs with the works (mustard, onion, chili, cheese, and slaw). Man, were they good. This helped me replenish some of the 6000 calories that my heart rate monitor said that I burned. (Could that possibly be right? I'm suspect.)

As I rolled through Rural Retreat about 23 miles before Troutdale, I thought I would call it a day. It was 5pm, I was getting tired and a light rain was falling. But there were no motels or hotels in town. My map indicated there was a hostel in Troutdale but I couldn't get a cellphone signal in the mountains, so I couldn't confirm. I decided to push on and I'm glad I did. My ride ended with a six and a half mile climb up toward Troutdale and then, mercifully, a one and a half mile coast into town. I immediately pulled into the town diner, had dinner, and then made my way up a hill to the unattended hostel. There I met my first AT hikers, trail names, Brahma Bull and Sweet Potato.

Brahma Bull and Sweet Potato, two Virginia natives, are hiking the entire AT and are fifty-four days in. Over cups of hot chocolate, we exchanged stories about our trips and the people we had met. You can read about their adventures here. When I mentioned that I planned to spend tomorrow in Damascus, they told me that this weekend Damascus is home to the largest thru hiking festival in the country. Twenty thousand people are expected to descend on this town of 981 residents. Supposedly, I'll be able to pitch my tent in a tent city that will form on the outskirts of town. We'll see if I make it out of there on Saturday.

P.S. Thanks for all the emails and comments. I'm sorry I haven't been able to respond to all of them, but I'm reading them all and I appreciate them.


Greg said...

Finally a post about food, I personaly would like to be kept abreast of the regional delicacies that you encounter. Also, let me give you a bit of advice for your trip, eat at any place that says "home of the ________" Whatever _____ is, order it. It could say fried ardvark, you have to go in and order it and you will not be disappointed.

mouderki said...

i couldn't agree more with greg. i would like to request that you also take photos of the best whatevers and present them in a slideshow. or book. or calendar! yes - best _____ of the month calendar!

in any event, keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Skeeters would give Lafyette a run for their money! Eating like that you might gain a few Lbs. Your mom was in Detroit tonight and came over for a nice visit to our house -- her and my mom did a 15 mile ride on Hines Drive today so she'll be ready to join you in Kansas. Keep up the good work.
Cousin Jeff

Mark said...

Sounds like telling stories to people you meet on the TransAmerica ride and AT hike is what makes those long days more memorable and gives you strength to get you through. I am originally from Radford and lived most of my life in Dublin and you will NEVER find friendlier people ANYWHERE. I graduated from High School with Sarah and My brother worked with hers as we were growing up. Sarah if you read this it has been a long time!!! I now live in Williamsburg (close to your starting point- Yorktown). Here is what a small world we live. My girlfriend was a co-worker of Sweet Potato prior to her and Brahma Bull's departure. We have been outsiders looking on via the web. As an avid cyclists myself I hope to follow in your tracks someday in the future. I am heading home to ride in the Wilderness Road Road starting in Radford next(Memorial Day)weekend. I hope you run into many more kind folks like the Lee's along your trip west. I wish you the best of luck and may God Bless!!!
Mark Hundley

Toni Jill said...

Hi there! I am a friend of Brahma and Sweet Potatoes! Congratulations on your journey so far! We will keep checking in and I agree with the Best Whatever of the Month Calendar! Did you make it to Trail Days? My family was there for the day! Be safe and we look forward to hearing more!

The Rider said...

Greg, I'll try to keep you foodies satisfied with some future posts.
Mark and Toni, thanks so much for checking out the blog. I only got to spend one night talking with Brahma and Sweet Potato but I could tell what great people they are. Mark, good luck on your ride and I hope that one day you are able to do the TA. It's been great so far.

J. Root said...

I don't think it's likely that you burned 6000 calories by lunchtime. Possible, but not likely. You may want to get your calorie-meter checked. Ask it how many calories you consumed by your hot dogs with "the works"? And also ask it how they stand up to Chicago's finest (which will always be at superdawg, no matter what you say).