Sunday, June 23, 2013

Day 17 - June 20, 2013 - Damascus, VA to Rosedale, VA

Mileage - about 35
Total Mileage - about 550

We had to pack up quietly this morning, as the hikers sharing our hostel bunk room were still sleeping when we got up at 6:30.  We drug everything outside, loaded up the bikes, and went on the hunt for breakfast.  The place we stopped in town, "The Blue Blaze", didn't open until 8, then we waited forever for pancakes and eggs!  It was a pretty late start to our day...

The first part of the day went fine - there were a few climbs out of Damascus, but nothing we couldn't handle.  We even road by a nice stream for a while.  Before we knew it, we were sailing through a little town called Hayters Gap (pronounced "hi-ters"), by the locals.  We knew we had  huge mountain climb today, coming up right after Hayters Gap, and it did start to get hillier, but still nothing we couldn't handle.

Then, we found the real mountain.  This thing was switchback after switchback of steep climb.  We couldn't bike it on our loaded bikes, and walking it took forever. Literally all afternoon.  There is little shoulder to speak of, and people were flying up the mountain, so it wasn't the nicest of places to be.  This road up the mountain was about 4 miles long.  There were several times that we both were ready to quit and just go home!  We would come to a curve and looked like it might be the end, but around every corner, there was more of the same.  Awful way to spend an afternoon!

The downhill was too steep to be fun too!  Cars tailed us dangerously close almost all the way down, we had to keep stopping to cool our brakes, not enjoyable!

We were hoping to make it about 15 more miles than we did today, but our original intended destination was over yet another mountain, so we jumped at the chance to stay a the Elk Grove Methodist Church in Rosedale, which has a cyclist hostel.  We were greeted when we arrived by a woman setting up for a rummage sale they were having in the morning, and she filled us in on where to keep our bikes, that we could use whatever we found in the kitchen, the cold water outdoor shower, and that we were welcome to sleep on the comfy carpet in the sanctuary.  We also met a church member named Bob who sat and chatted with us quite a while, about Indiana, where he was born, and bikes, and old wars, and a bunch of other things.

A storm rolled through as we were eating dinner out under the pavilion while waiting for the local Boy Scout troop to conduct  meeting inside.  It got rather chilly with the rain, so naturally I decided I would give that cold outdoor shower a try. It was breathtaking and exhilarating - would have been much more enjoyable on a 95 degree day!

We set up to sleep right in front of the altar in the sanctuary, and left a light on so as to not be creeped out by sleeping in an old church!  The hospitality of the people of the church was fantastic - this hostel is awesome!

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