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

Day 6: Afton (Cookie Lady) to Vesuvius KOA

Thursday May 22, 1986, 30 miles (48 km) - Total so far: 290 miles (467 km)

Last night was pretty cold, I'm glad I got to sleep inside on the couch at the Cookie Lady's house. Slept pretty good and I woke about 8am with everyone else, felt like after a dorm party.... bodies lying everywhere. We all ate inside the bike house because no restaurants were available.

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Made it to the top, finally.

To start out the day was a very steep and long uphill to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We entered the Parkway at Rock Fish Gap and headed south for about 30 miles. High elevations reaching 3400 feet were occurred. Riding on the Blue Ridge Parkway was pretty tough, with many steep climbs. Very little traffic was a real pleasure and I enjoyed the views.

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Overlook near Rockfish Gap

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Gene and Rich taking a break on the Parkway

I stopped many times on the Parkway just to soak in the views. This is some of the best scenery of the trip so far. I rode with everyone today including Sheryl from Worcester, Mass. Sheryl is a student at College of the Holy Cross and is about same age as me. She is packing everything but the kitchen sink it seems, as she has a huge load to carry. I think people don't realize they can't pack for a normal trip when they bike tour. Sheryl is struggling on the climbs and I beginning to wonder if she can make it all the way to Astoria. I spent a little time today riding and trying to encourage her.

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Clay and Sheryl, make way on the parkway.....

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Early morning fog in the valley

The last 3 miles of the day was an awesome downhill to the Vesuvius KOA. The campground was pretty nice with a rec room and good, hot showers. Somehow they let me camp for free today, yeah, I'll take it. I took a good, long hot shower and did some stretching to loosen up my legs from all the climbing last couple of days.

I wonder what's going on at home? I made a call home and talked to everyone, everything seems good in Michigan. I mention I'll probably be traveling with the Bikecentennial group for a couple more days or so then I'll be on my own again. Mom and Dad are keeping a map of the USA with my route highlighted on the wall. Every time I call home they put a little pin flag on the map with my progress. I can just picture it, all the neighbors standing around the map drinking beer make jokes.

I'm starting to get to know everyone from Bikcentennial pretty good, and I've enjoyed talking to each person. Gene and I have spent the most time riding together because of our pace is pretty close. Clay, Diane, Fred, myself and sometimes everyone else have a few beers after the days ride, and talk things over. I've been enjoying the camaraderie of our beer group and look forward to it each day.

I got a little joke played on me today, Clay opened my new peanut butter and took and big finger full. I thought I bought a jar that someone opened in the store until everyone started laughing. Thanks Clay, I'll get you back.....

The weather was pretty good but a little cold in the morning, the day was overcast to partly sunny. ~


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