Today featured more very difficult climbs. In the morning,
just after finishing the first tough one, I found myself in
Haysi, VA. I had stopped to look at a used tool sale. I had
a guy tell me rather matter of fact-ly that he hit a biker once.
That’s never something a bike tourer wants to hear. Especially
when more narrow roads loom ahead on one’s route.
Somehow, for some reason, the human squalor disappeared the
farther east I got. I’ve heard it referred to as, ‘peeing in
your own nest’ when your house is a junkyard and the roadside
is your dumping area. So I was happy to gradually get out of
this zone of the Apps.
Late in the day I finally arrived in Damascus. This is a really
nice small town in SW VA infused with tourist dollars from folks
hiking the AT and mountain biking the VA Creeper Trail. All the
outdoor businesses were closed when I got there. I entered a general
store where a guy was giving away his day-old fast food. He gave
me two pounds of potato wedges and cheese sticks, which later
became my dinner, along with assorted other finger foods.
As it was about 8 years earlier on one of my cross-continental
tours, I finished the day with some of the best riding of the whole
trip, ascending into the beautiful Mt. Rogers area, home to the
highest peak in the state, trout streams, trash-free roadsides, and
deep forests with a lot of wildlife.