A lot of people have been asking me what my favorite part of the trip has been. The honest answer is that it's whenever I'm not biking. That may sound absurd for someone who's biking across the country to say, but it's true. When I'm biking, it's just to get to the next point. The vast majority of what I've seen the past 350+ miles has been farm land. Horses, rolling hills, hay stacks, and cows are all cool to see, but they all look the same. The best moments so far are when we are able to talk to different people, eat whatever we want, and find a place to rest up.
My mother sometimes comments on my generation (I think we are called millenials, but that's a dumb term) saying that we need instant gratification and that we tend to have a slight sense of entitlement. I think most of her reasoning is that we have pretty much anything at our fingertips. I mean I'm currently writing this from a phone that can access just about any information I would ever need. Though I don't always agree with my mom saying that, I think that there is some truth to it.
Today was probably the second hardest day so far (nothing will top the first). We did 70 miles along the Blue Ridge Mountains going between towns that are so small that they wouldn't appear on most maps. I dealt with pickup trucks that didn't seem to see me (probably because they had too many confederate flags waving in their line of vision), a downpour of rain, and several navigational hiccups, but it was all worth it when I got to the hostel that we are staying at. The feeling of success that I've been experiencing isn't one of those triumphant hands in the air kind of deals; it's a very relaxed sense of accomplishment. It's as though I earned the shower and the cot. The struggle of today was instantly washed away when I cleaned up and sat down. You always tell me you want it in writing when I admit you're right, mom, so here it is: you were right.
Some random notes:
- Although the motel 6 last night was a very good 4th of July, I had been imaging spending the 4th in a small town with 1950s Chevy pickups, sparklers, grilling on the front lawns, ladies in sundresses- pretty sure I was just picturing something I saw in an outdated history book. Today we passed through the town of Buchanan and it was exactly what I was picturing; it even had a few old school Chevy pickups in front of a movie theatre that seemed to have not been renovated since the transition to color movies. It was surreal and felt like I biked through a time warp or movie set.
- I've noticed a bunch of mailboxes in the middle of no where. They aren't even attached to a farm or anything- they'll be next to a creek or next to a rock; maybe it's a Virginia thing?
- I went to Catholic school from pre-k-college, but I still find it a tad bit strange how some restaurants and establishments will only play Christian rock music down here.
- We are staying at this very special hostel in Catawba tonight. It's free to stay in and survives on donations. It is a popular spot for hikers on the Appalachian trail. It's very humbling coming across places like this that exist just to help people out.
Sorry for the long winded post, but I think the storm tomorrow is forcing us to have our first off day, so I have a bit more energy tonight.