BOBBY AND THANE TACKLE THE TRANSAM Day 9, Wytheville to Troutdale

Day Nine Thane’s Blog: sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy

Thursday May 9, 2013, 36 miles (58 km) – Total so far: 487 miles (783 km)

We woke up to incredible sunshine today. What an absolute joy to cycle in something other than a driving rain. The weather forecast says the sun will fall asleep again for the entire day tomorrow but at this point it makes absolutely no difference. This is a glorious day and mountain climbs or not we will revel in the fact that we are not soaking wet.

Because of distances between stores and somewhere to sleep we either had to stop around 36 miles today or move much further down the road for the night. We had already climbed one mountain that took well over an hour and this was added to a day filled with many, many miles at 4-6 percent climbing grade. Our day ended in a cyclist/hiker hostel run by a local church. When Bobby and I first arrived we were the only ones here. By the time it was lights out, the place was full of hikers that had been on the trail for days and for some reason or another chose not to take advantage of the showering facility’s available there. All I could think was what the fuck. It truly smells so bad in this little hut that I may just put my sleeping bag out on the small porch. Bobby absolutely agreed. We are learning the ropes each and every day on this adventure. Today one of those lessons was really stunk!

As far as the cycling today was incredible. Filled with roads that wound through farmland and homes that shared awesome views of the landscape. Once again. The people we met on our way here were very friendly and were not afraid to share stories with random strangers. We even bumped into a gal who was hiking a section of the application trail that we had met a few days ago in another city. Small world.

I wouldn’t say that this whole climbing mountains on a bike thing is getting easier but I can say with all truthfulness that the suffering has changed. Maybe it had something to do with the sunshine. Maybe it had something to do with the body actually getting stronger. I am not sure. What I do know is this. The ability to focus on climbs lasting hours and find solace in that suffering was an incredible gift today. The legs felt strong. The mind felt strong. When the final mountain came into view I simply pulled out my camera and photographed it before heading up it. It was simple. Focus on the breathing, focus on the ever present spot on the highway that holds my memories and actually enjoy the grades that top out over 10%.

Today was a glorious day to be alive and cycling

the stories this bus must hold. i can just see all the kids smiling

the stories this bus must hold. i can just see all the kids smiling

hey, didnt we meet you days and mile ago. small world

hey, didnt we meet you days and mile ago. small world

hey bobby. i checked with the operator. the going rate is $16.30 for the first four minutes. then $2.30 for every minute after that. wtf! absolutly no cell service around here

hey bobby. i checked with the operator. the going rate is $16.30 for the first four minutes. then $2.30 for every minute after that. wtf! absolutly no cell service around here

the cyclist/hiker hostel before it went afoul

the cyclist/hiker hostel before it went afoul

Day Nine Bobby’s Blog: He will lift you up on Eagles Wings

Thursday May 9, 2013, 36 miles (58 km) – Total so far: 487 miles (783 km)

Wow what a difference a prayer makes. We made a decision this morning to get ahold fof Thane’s brother Brian on speaker phone and had a prayer before we left the motel.

Rolled out in shorts and t-shirt the sun shining bright. Although we had a long 5% to at times 11% grade my legs felt good and my attitude was completely changed from the previous day.

There is not a lot in the Troutdale area in fact there is nothing. I really shouldn’t say that because right up the street from the out of business diner is a church that runs a cyclist and AT hiker hostel. (they get way more AT’s than cyclists)

At that point a van pulled in and Kathy a girl we had met back in Troutville screamed hey I know those guys. She had parked her motorcycle and was meeting a group to hike a section of the AT. The driver of the shuttle told us about the hostel right up the road behind church.

Well we went up to the church and they showed us up to the hostel and as luck would have it the shower. It was decided then that we would take a short mileage day. We were just getting settled in when up the trail comes an AT hiker. Now these guys all have nicknames and this fella was Fifteen. He showed us a picture of his boot setting on top of a backpack and it was half as long as the pack. Hence the name 15. He told us that he figured we probably smelled him before we saw him and he may be right. WOW!!!

It was at this point the whole dynamics of the situation changed when Jay from South Korea stuck his head in the door and a pickup pulled up with 3 more ATer’s in the back. Now if you have ever smelled an AT through hiker than just imagine 5 of them. The stench was unimaginable.

Thane and I had already claimed the bottom bunks and as luck would have it Little John (yea right) took the bunk above me.

Now since then there have been 4 more show up each one smelling worse than the next. It’s pretty comfortable in here but I may have to set up outside cause I may get sick. I’ll let you know tomorrow what I’ve decided.

Ok it’s now am and I did not move outside cause I was too tired. Thane and I crawled into our sleeping bags around 8 cause they said that was a hikers midnight. Well nobody told Little John that and when I just nicely got to sleep he came in and proceeded to climb up to the top bunk.

When he hit the boards up there they began to crack and pop and I got kinda scared and thought maybe I should have let him have the bottom. No way he is 30 years younger than me I earned the bottom. I laid there thinking if he comes through am I gonna get a warning,a crack, or splinter that would allow me to leap from the path of danger or would I just be crushed.

Well none of that matters because I fell back to sleep and I don’t know if I heard it in a dream or if it really happened but there it was CRACK and the next thing I know I am in the middle of the floor in this hostel pitch dark and on all fours with a sleeping bag wrapped around me screaming WTF!!!!!!!! Couldn’t see Little John in my rack so I just rolled back in and pulled the bag over my head to try in vain to block the stench that was in that room.

And that was how I ended a glorious day in the mountains with my friend Thane.

Our digs for the night. We could get spoiled with this setup.

Our digs for the night. We could get spoiled with this setup.

Scenes from the road.

Scenes from the road.

Little dog was out in the traffic. I tried to entice him with some Jack Links but nothin doin.

Little dog was out in the traffic. I tried to entice him with some Jack Links but nothin doin.

The more we tried the faster he retreated.

The more we tried the faster he retreated.

The trek up to the Hostel behind the church.

The trek up to the Hostel behind the church.

Pretty nice looking Hikers huh?

Pretty nice looking Hikers huh?

Our friend Kathy whom we had met three days prior then met again on the side of the road.

Our friend Kathy whom we had met three days prior then met again on the side of the road.

This is Fifteen who could not only talk a lot.

This is Fifteen who could not only talk a lot.

He can put away the grub as well.

He can put away the grub as well.

This is Jay from South Korea he also is a through hiker. (Georgia to Main)

This is Jay from South Korea he also is a through hiker. (Georgia to Main)

I think I'm in over my head with this baby.

I think I’m in over my head with this baby.

I miss my cell phone.

I miss my cell phone.

We always have a Guardian.

We always have a Guardian.

Our little Trail Angel who takes care of the Hostel.

Our little Trail Angel who takes care of the Hostel.

No service. : - (

No service. : – (