It's not always going to be dry and the choices aren't always going to be as simple as stop or go. Today started off as one of those overcast mornings. The clouds hung around and progressively it became over cast day. Fortunately most of the ride was seemingly downhill. I made great time. By 1:30 I had rode 50 miles and found myself in Damascus, Virginia.
Nicknamed "Trail Town USA", Damascus is a hub of sorts for hikers on the Appalachian Trail, cyclists on the TransAm, and recreation activities on the Virginia Creeper Trail (real name) and Mount Rogers. Although the town has less than 1,000 people and the weather was looking pretty ominous, the town was bustling with scruffy looking people like me and families spending a day out on the trails. I had actually heard high praises about the Virginia Creeper Trail two days ago from a UPS man named RJ who cycles and will one day hopefully take on a tour of his own. I didn't feel confident taking the Creeper Trail as a side route because of the weather, this proved to be blessing as the rain would come in buckets after lunch.
I was actually able to share my summer plans with two shifts of Subway customers as I waited out the storm. It was really a tri-state area down in Damascus (Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina) and most people I met were hikers or bikers themselves. I even met a kid who has a Masi (my make of bicycle). He said he'd never seen another one out on the road and neither have I.
I was hoping to make it another 25 miles by dinner time to camp. Instead I waited for the storm to calm and headed to the town of Abingdon. It's basically 8 miles out of the way (15 mile ride) but the way it was raining I'd rather ride 15 in the rain and stay in a motel than the 25 I had planned, including a 1000 ft climb, followed by sleeping with wet stuff in a wet tent.
There was some light traffic on the way to the motel. I was still able to take in the moment. There was a different kind of calm that came over me than I'm used to. There are two types of riding conditions out here. You either ride for pleasure or ride for your well-being. I had felt the same pressure of my sleeping arrangements being altered by rain on the first night. When I finally get that confidence in the new altered plan, a real weight is lifted. Not knowing where I'm going to sleep at night is a rush in itself. As the day prolongs, that rush turns from a welcomed bliss to a very real problem. It was nice to be able to solve that problem with a bed and a TV tonight.
Since I cut my day short unusually early I was able to shower and kill some time before the sun even set. Conveniently enough, there was a movie theatre about a mile down the road. I had to walk down a US highway to get there but by this point I don't even batte an eyelash at a passing vehicle. They still called the road Main Street, even lacking sidewalks; it was kind of odd as it didn't resemble any of the countless Main Streets I had been on. Just in case more rain was on the way I put on my reflective rain jacket and flip flops and headed off.
I saw the 7:30 showing of Super 8. It was just a plain fun summer movie. It felt like a good mix between the Goonies and ET. I'm gonna chalk it up as an 80's adventure/sci-fi classic that was released 30 years later when the special effects got up to speed.
Before I put a close to the day I'd just like to comment on my cellphone service. It's been over 24 hours since I've even seen a bar of connection and I don't see that changing tomorrow. If you're trying to reach me for any reason, Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail are actually more efficient as I can access the applications through wifi, unlike texts and phone calls/ voicemails.