I rolled into Palmyra for breakfast at the "Hitchin' Post." There I met a nice fellow named Bob, who moved to rural Virginia from New Jersey for early retirement and living off the land. I talked with Bob for a while and chowed down on a chicken biscuit (I'm still having trouble with red meat after being a vegetarian for over 2 years). From there I set off towards Charlottesville and finally ran into the Appalachian foothills.
Gone are the subtle rolling hills and now I'm faced with the ultimate challenge: The Appalachian Mountains. The maps provided by Adventure Cycling Association (good folks, they are: http://www.adventurecycling.org/) explain that the Appalachian landscape will be the most challenging to bike. In spite of summits reaching up to 11,500+ feet in the Rockies, the Appalachians feature the steepest inclines that are littered with switchbacks (picture curving inclines up a mountain). I have two choices tomorrow: Make the morning climb to Afton and spend time with the Appalachian Trail "Cookie Lady" or push onward over the scenic Blue Ride Parkway and attempt to find shelter in Vesuvius or Lexington. It all depends on how my left knee is holding up. It's been acting up and sporadically sending sharp painful sensations to my brain. Hopefully, this is not an ongoing problem and will be resolved once my body becomes accustomed to grueling activity all day long. Is there a doctor in the house? Can anybody explain to me what I'm feeling?
Charlottesville reminds me of Burlington, VT... including the pedestrian mall and presence of hipsters with tight cut-off jeans. I rode around for a bit looking for a bike shop to purchase a spare 9-speed Shimano chain. I checked into a Red Roof Inn hotel room and the rates here are absurd... maybe it's because it's a holiday weekend? In any case, I hope these rates are a rarity, because my budget would be depleted very quickly. After a good/long shower, I'm now uploading all my prior blog posts and checking the outstanding backup of emails in my inbox.
I'm going to temporarily escape from the welcoming grip of soft sheets and air conditioning to find a bite to eat. - This is another thing I like about biking all day. I don't feel guilty about eating like a pig. In fact, I make it an effort.