We slept in a bit today so as to not get in the way of the lively band of hikers as they marched back out onto the Appalachian Trail. When I got up and walked around, I noticed a map of the full trail that they were all seeking to complete. The hikers began at the start of the trail in May down in Georgia and need to make it north to Maine before October 15th when the season ends. Several of the hikers thought that we were nuts for doing our trip, but I couldn't imagine committing to a 5 month hike. No thanks. I wish luck to all my new hiker friends and hope that they find whatever it is that they're looking for.
We had our best 10-15 miles so far this morning. We started off with a great mix of flats and low rolling hills to get us warmed up. We let our excitement fool us into thinking that we might be getting away from the steep hills of Virginia, but the next 45-50 miles scoffed at that.
We met several cyclists from the area today. In addition to giving us some shortcuts for the day's route, they talked about how doing the Trans America Trail is "the dream." One of the men even told us he was proud of us, which oddly made me feel really good. Ordinarily I don't care (sometimes to a fault) what strangers would say to me, but his sincerity really made me proud of us, too.
We rolled into our destination of Draper around 4:30. I think there is something in the town's water supply, because people aren't usually this nice. Draper doesn't seem to be set up like a regular town. I believe all of the businesses are operated under the same group. They may be owned by the town, but I don't know. As Chris put it, "If they're not owned by the town, then they have more power than the town. They're too big to fail."
There is one market/restaurant, one clothing store, a bike shop, and an inn all housed in the same complex. When we pulled in to town, only the clothing store was open. Knowing about our trip, the employee brought us upstairs to the closed market and had the employees unlock the fridges so that we could get some dinner supplies. He then instructed us to camp out under the Methodist church in town.
As we were setting up camp behind the church, the pastor drove in behind us. I was expecting her to ask us who we were or what we were doing, but instead she unlocked the rectory and said that we were free to use the bathroom and kitchen while we stayed.
I'm currently waiting for the bible study class to get out so that I can hose down; I don't want to offend and shock any of these kind people that took us in. Chris says we don't want to put the fear of God into them. Back to the 5:30 wake up tomorrow so that we can try to get to our next spot before the rain gets too bad.