Date: November 17, 2009
From: Salem, Virginia
To: Buchanan,Virginia (pronounced Buck-an-an)
Route: Loch Haven Dr., Bell Haven Rd., Barrens Rd., Hwy. 11
Miles Today: 28 miles
TOTAL MILES: 3,518 miles
Top Speed on this trip: 54.1 mph
Weather: Overcast and cold 50s
License Plates Collected: 5 Montana, 8 Wyoming (2 motorcycle) and 1 Idaho (found in WY), 2 Colorado, 1 Kansas (Gifted from David of Baldwin City), 1 Missouri (To be sent to Grammy’s by our new buddy, Kansas City firefighter Shawn), 1 Illinois, 4 Kentucky (2 Gifted from Beth and Garry Feltus, one gifted from cousin John, one from Hwy. 127), 1 Virginia
Broken Spokes: 3
Cracked Rim: 1
Yesterday my knees were hurting but today each and every climb was a new test of my ability to withstand pain. I thought I could make it because I knew the day would be mostly downhill but you can never escape the inevitable climbing. We'd hoped to make it to Lexington however we knew we had to shorten the day given the knee situation but it all worked out for the best. It seems everything happens for a reason. We pulled into Buchanan, not knowing if we'd find a place to stay and dreading the thought of pedaling another stroke. We pulled into the post office to mail a letter and see if we could gather some information but the postmaster was just filling in and was from Roanoke so she let us look at the yellow pages but advised us to go a couple of blocks down to the library. That was the place to be. The librarians filled us in on lodging options and then we had the good fortune of meeting John who owns the local canoe livery with his twin brother Dan. They also just finished renovating the Historic James House that offers lodging. Better yet it was just a couple of doors down and didn't require any more pedaling!
John left the library to get things ready for us and we relaxed in the library for a bit while Gregory got a little computer time. The house is great and they really did a nice job fixing it up. We got a tour of the house and Gregory was thrilled to have his own room with a claw foot tub. While we visited with John and Dan, Gregory was busy drawing a bath for me. When he hollered down the stairs, I excused myself and hobbled up the stairs and into a steaming hot bath. At 5'9" I found this old claw foot tub to be a bit short but I managed to give my knees a good long soak. To my dismay I found my knees were actually showing signs of bruising. Lucky for me my husband was next door working on a surprise.
As I mentioned before John and Dan also have a canoe livery here and that business is just behind the James House on the James River. Mike had to walk over there with them to pay for our room and at the same time he was making arrangements with John to use his canoe shuttling vehicle to transport us to the top of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We knew this climb was supposed to be brutal (a reported 4 miles "straight up") and I was a bit worried about it even before I blew out my knees. Once again we've had incredibly good karma and I feel blessed that I don't have to put my knees to that test and risk the end of our trip. We have been on the road 4 months now and come over 3,500 miles and we are determined to finish.
When we first met John at the library and learned of his canoe business the thought of possible transport came to mind right away and we did broach the subject with him then. I was so glad Mike followed up and made these arrangements. Gregory and I were whining a bit about the 8 A.M. departure (Gregory because he wanted to go back to the library when it opened at 9 A.M. and I because I had hoped to explore a couple of the cute antique shops on the main street) and Mike couldn't believe his ears but we are definitely not ungrateful.
The Blue Ridge Parkway will not be without climbing. Before we descend from the Parkway we will have several climbs of 100-200 feet, one that is about 500 or so feet and a couple that are 200-300 feet in elevation. We've planned for only about 28 miles tomorrow so I hope the old knees are up to the test.