Today was the most captivating day yet, but I had to earn it. I got a 1000ft head start on the Blue Ridge Parkway after staying in the motel on Afton mountain. Three things about the motel, it was cheap, so I appreciate that, but now all my stuff smells like the place, and I had an unexpected visitor. At 10 pm some woman wearing a motor cycle helmet came to the door asking where Larry was. When I made it clear that I did not know Larry and that I was just passing through, she then proceeded to ask about Larry's wife (who I also don't know). Fortunately some kid who'd been living in the room next to mine for the past four days had met Larry and was able to help the woman understand that Larry was probably gone for good. I can only imagine what that was all about.
Anyways, back to the ride. The Parkway was amazing; it was maybe 25 miles of ridge top riding that kept flirting with 3000 ft once I made it to the top. There were plenty of scenic overlooks and a surprising number of mountain top property with incredible views.
The Parkway continues much longer than I had traveled, but I'm glad I got to see what I did. Exiting the Parkway led me to the town of Vesuvius; three miles downhill with a 1700 ft elevation change. The road was steep and winding. I could actually smell the rubber from using my brakes around the tight corners. It was a great experience even though it only lasted about 4 minutes to get down what took an hour to get up.
There were a lot more hills today and not a lot of places to eat. I saw one gas station from the time I left. I picked up water and chips. It wasn't until 4 o'clock that I reached Lexington and was able to stop at a Subway and Kroger.
Lexington was a beautiful small town. Home to both Virginia Military Institute and Washington and Lee University. I had heard of VMI before because I saw the Bobcats play them in football. I took a peak inside their football stadium because the gate was open and it was about what I expected. I was kind of taken back how the two universities stood in stark contrast to one another. The VMI had a no frills concrete fortress look while Washington and Lee had the timeless Colonial brick construct. The town felt a lot like Athens, Ohio. If I had someone to split the cost of another motel I would have stayed the night and caught the baseball game that was playing in town. Instead I marched on to Natural Bridge for a KOA campground.
I've never been to one of this things but it's almost annoying how corporatized the whole thing is. It's just a bunch of uniformed disinterested employees ranging from 16 to 60 riding around in golf carts with walkie talkies. O well it's half the price of a motel and they have showers and wifi.
I don't know where I'm headed tomorrow. I've only got 80 miles left of the first 367.5. As of this moment I'm thinking I'll do 50 miles tomorrow and camp in Catawba. That way I'd arrive in Blacksburg in the late morning/ early afternoon to check out Virginia Tech the following day.