April 29, 2001

4/29/01 Elk Garden, VA

35.7 miles

Left a sleepy Sunday morning Damascus after a good breakfast with Mike's brother, George. (Our waitress was very cute!) Even before we left the city, the temperature seemed to be rising pretty fast.

The first part of the day was an easy rollercoaster of a ride. Our only question of the day came when we reached a three-way intersection at which all three roads were marked with the same highway number. Believe it or not, besides all the cows we saw, one farm had emus (large ostrich-like birds from Australia) and another had llamas.

The hardest part of the day came after lunch, a 3-mile climb that switch-backed up, up, and up. We stopped a half dozen times, but it kept going. Then, finally we reached the top and a screaming descent on the other side of the ridge. I was getting cramps in my hands because I was braking so hard.

It just doesn't get better than this!

The valley is pretty open, but had a lot of rock among the pasture land. Looked more like the American West instead of Virginia. Then all of a sudden, we reached the Elk Garden Methodist Church Bike Hostel in the early afternoon.

The pastor's wife and one of the church ladies offered us leftovers from the Sunday lunch that had just ended. "You have complete run of the place," she said. "Sleep inside where it will be warm and be sure to use some of the church pew pads for a bed."

After eating dinner, the pastor brought over leftover pizza from the Boy Scout meeting he had just come from. I know it was a short day, but I'm glad we stopped here. One thing I can't figure out, is how am I going to lose weight if everyone keeps feeding us!