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Uphill and Against the Wind - TransAm E-W
By Dave T

Day 11: Damascus to Damascus - Hangover, rest, and reflection

Tuesday May 27, 1986

I awoke today at about 9am, and it felt good just to stay in the bag for a while. I still have that stupid Robert Palmer song in my head this morning. The day was good for rest and not much more, with rain and hangovers for everybody. I got up and went had some breakfast at the local café and then did some much needed laundry.

I decided to send home my cooking gear today. I've only used it a couple of times and it's not worth the weight. The stove, fuel bottle, mess kit, utensils along with some film and other assorted unused things got shipped home. It will be nice with the extra room in the rear packs, and maybe I can get some extra clothes.

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"The Ritz"

All of the hikers that were clowns have left and a new crew has arrived today. As it seems the new crew of hikers are friendlier than those idiots from yesterday. Today two guys from Australia arrived, they are doing 22 miles a day thru hiking to Main. They are short on time so they are doing about double the normal days hiking to make sure they complete the trail. Another Aussie named Dave came in, he was hiking with his dog. He said the dog wasn't hip on carrying a pack until he figured out it was his food he was carrying.

Didn't do much during the day, I sat around with Clay and a few other talking and killing time. Clay has done the Trans America Trail twice before and has a ton of trail information. We sat around planning out our stops each day as he said being in Breckenridge for the 4th of July would be a good time. I am the un-official group member so Clay asked me what I thought about the itinerary. Riding with these people has been a great experience and everyone is enjoying my company. I'll probably ride along until something changes. Gene has been really lobbying me to stick to the same itinerary.

Clay is a pretty funny guy, always making some wise crack of some sort. I enjoy sitting around the camp having a few beers with Clay, most times it is pretty entertaining. Clay is an ex-U.S. Marine and Vietnam Vet, but you wouldn't know it. Clay said he would like to own a bakery some day in a small town somewhere, maybe in Iowa....?

The Memorial holiday just ended and I really thought about what it meant to me as an American, riding my bike across this great county. I thought about my Uncle Adam, who falsified is birth certificate at 15 or 16 and enlisted in the Marine Corp for WWI. I understand he fought gallantly in battles that are legendary in Marine Corp history. During WWII, he tried getting back into the Marine Corp but this time, ironically he was too old. The Army Air Corp finally took him and he island hopped in the south Pacific during WWII. I think Clay would enjoy meeting Uncle Adam.

I waited for evening to call home to see what was going on, not much. I guess I'm not missing a thing. Short day tomorrow.


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