After our rain-forced 3-day stop-over in a very nice campground: Misty Mountain Camp Resort (where we stayed in a primitive cabin- see previous post), we were finally able to bike again. Despite being waylaid, we enjoyed our time there: shelter from the heavy rain, being able to play pool and ping-pong, and jumping on the gigantic blow-up bounce pad.
Another highlight of our “rain-out days” was meeting a lively couple who are cyclists local to the area (Crozet). They came across us while we were sitting out front of Wyant’s Store in White Hall, as they were going by on a training ride the day before all of the heavy rain began. We exchanged numbers and reconnected a day or so later and we all went out to dinner together. They had some great wisdom and insight not only about biking up Afton and the Blue Ridge Parkway, but also about going across the country. What a blessing to make their acquaintance and become friends! Marit and Mark, thank you!!
But what lay ahead was a beast! We were dreading having to go over Afton Mountain, but the rest of the stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway was also a lofty challenge. Thankfully, my aunt Page and uncle Bill, who live only about a 20-30 minutes car ride from there, were ready and eager to be our trail angels. They took all of our gear (6 out of 8 of our panniers and our one trailer) in their car and took it over the mountain for us. That way, we could conquer “The Green Monster” (as Jerry likes to refer to that stretch) without our heavy gear. We were so thankful not to have our things, and I don’t know if we would have been able to accomplish it with such success if we had had to haul our things up, up, and up some more. If you look at the elevation map below, and you go from the far right (Yorktown- where we began May 1) and go to the left, you should have no problem figuring out what we are referring to as The Green Monster.
You may be thinking that the steep trip down might be rather fun and exhilarating. Well, we were actually dreading the steep downhill, which we’ll just refer to as the Vesuvius hill. You cannot tell from the elevation map, but it’s not only a steep grade, but also very windy (that’s windy with a “long-I” sound) with short switchbacks and we were warned of occasional gravel on the turns. So we heeded all cautions, took it slowly, pumped our front and back disk brakes, and made it down- safe and sound. Whew! We were glad to have that behind us!
The next two days took us through Lexington and onward through the “valley”. But on a bike, that’s a relative term. Our legs were still not recovered from fighting the Green Monster, and the consistent rolling of the valley sapped their energy. As we rolled toward Buchanan we were both plotting how we can lighten our gear yet again.