Today was an uphill battle, but it was extremely rewarding. We left the "census designated place" of Palmrya (I guess you can't be considered a town if you have only 104 residents) around 6:15 today. The hills blend together, but I do recall seeing Thomas Jefferson's home of Monticello.
When we arrived to Charlottesville, we had our best meal of the trip so far- breakfast at Fox's Cafe. We biked around in the city for a little and did a quick pass through of UVA's campus. I do wish we had more time to explore the city, but the 1-2 hours spent there were enough to entice me to go back.
We biked for a while longer heading to Afton, a small town a little above the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The plan was no stops until we got to Afton, but a peach orchard changed that. After a quick "dondae" (peach ice cream over an apple cinnamon doughnut with fresh peaches and whipped cream), we got back on the road.
When we finally got up a bit on the mountain and arrived in Afton, we stopped in to the post office to see if there were any places to grab food. The post office employee told us that the closest option would be an antique store at the bottom of the mountain (no shot we were biking down there again) that sold soda and candy. To our amazement, she offered us the use of her car to pick up dinner from a brewery that was a few miles away. This woman didn't even know our names, but she was kind enough to let us borrow her car to get food. I can't really picture something like that happening in New York.
After we picked up dinner, we arrived at our lodging for the night: the Cookie Lady's house. The Cookie Lady was a woman that took in bikers from the Trans American trail for decades. She was so well known that her house is listed on our trail's map as a destination for housing. Although she passed away several years ago, her family decided to keep the house open for cyclists on the trail.
Walking into the house was very overwhelming. The first things you see are old bike jerseys with notes on them, newspaper clippings, old tires, and a journal signed by everyone that has stayed there. The entire downstairs of the house is covered wall to wall with thousands of different things left behind by bikers that have passed through. My first thought was "if only these walls could talk," but then I realized that they could. There are Polaroids of guests, newspaper clippings about people that have stayed here, post cards from every end of the world, and even a guitar. The main decoration is a thank you note to the Cookie Lady; there are an incredible amount of poems, cartoon drawings, and other well deserved thank you notes addressed to the Cookie Lady. Although she was not here to let us in, we are thankful that her door remained open for us.
Tomorrow we bike to the top of the montain. I did notice a telephone number on the fridge for someone that will tow your bike and give you a ride to the other side of the mountain, but that wouldn't be as good of a story to tell.