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La Mesa

On the Road Again June 2002
Day 1; Hit the road at noon, bad rain till Zanesville, rock flew up and hit window, hit bank machine while stopping for lunch, bad dent in the overhang.  Met AT hikers at Bland VA, all young kids, all very polite. They all planned to walk the whole trail, the started from Springer in April, said GA. & TE. were tough compared to VA. They all had different reasons for walking the trail, none very compelling. Some started the trip with 5 straight days of 24 rains.  Camped @ Ft. Chiswell, exit 80 of 77/81.$ 23  
Day 2; Went for info at USNF, two little old ladies couldn’t work the cash register, but got recommendation for Mount Rogers area, Back to Wytheville chamber of commerce for more info, then onto Greyson State park. AT passes through. $22.  Siphoned gas out of RV for Christine.  Forgot batteries and charger, toys going dead.  

Day 3; First Day hike on the AT, meet kids from Iowa and 2 from Maine, all claim to be thru-hikers, signed registry at Massie Gap, walked among wild ponies, climbed to top of rocks at Rhododendron Gap. Hikers claim this area to be the best past of the trail; one man from Maine came to walk among the Ponies with his dog, interesting.  Walking is tricky, lots of rocks to climb on and over, have to watch every step so that one doesn’t turn an ankle or wrench a knee, walking down is harder than up, with eyes on every step one has to stop to look over the scenic views. 


Day 4(5/31); Did 3 hrs more on the AT, Now off to Damascus to join up with the Virginia Creeper Trail, a bike trail that is 17 miles down hill. Also used as stop over for AT hikers.  Got word on Jeep trails, they are in NC and Tenn.  This hiking thing is pretty neat, giving thought to stepping up a notch, doing some point to point, instead of loops.  Abington $20


  Taking the GPS on my walk, I find that walking uphill on the AT 1.8mph for 1 hr. and downhill on the AT = 2.6 mph, and walking swiftly on the road = 5.1 mph. The net is that on the trail I made 2.2mph, this cold be extrapolated to 16miles per day and then for 134 days to thru hike the trail, or 19 weeks. Food, equipment repairs, and illness can easily add another 3-4 weeks. The target seems to be 26 weeks.  That said the kids on the trail are having a tough time making 15 miles per day, many days less than 12, could be the required 40lb. backpack may play a role.

The trail is 12 to 16 inches wide and blazed every 100 ft. seemingly excessive, but the need to keep eyes on foot placement, makes the frequent blazing comforting if not necessary.

Day 5 (6/1); Up early to the Bike Shuttle; rode shuttle to White Top with Woman and husband who thru walked the AT, from never hearing about it to everybody I meet. Very interesting to here it first hand. Then the 17-mile downhill Virginia Creeper back to Demascus on a gravel/cinder path.  This is amazing and is really downhill, takes about 1.25  hours.  Then on to Blowing Rock, dry camping on the Blue Ridge Parkway at mile post 297, Eleanor is at MP 220. On the hunt for Jeep trails, can’t find info, need Internet, the word is to look in the Uwharrie National Forest south of Greensboro. But tomorrow we’ll do Grandfather Mountain and Blowing Rock then move father east.  Julian Price  Mem. Park  $12 BikeonVC.gif (99343 bytes)
Day 6; Up early, packed jeep for overnight, bought maps, needed GPS to find Brown Mtn OHV area.  Did 13 miles of trails, mostly for ATV’s and Bikes.  ATVers liked Christine and were impressed by were she went. See Photos. 5 hours in all, and no broken parts, that I noticed. Great day! Getting tired may have to sit someplace for a day.  Got back to camp, the weekenders are gone, the place is all mine. This may be the quietest  place I’ve every been, and it is very dark.  Julian Price @ $12. BetwnTrees.gif (51545 bytes)  ClimbRock.gif (26714 bytes)
Day 7; Slow day, worked on the Jeep, a couple of wounds frorm yesterday, went to rent a canoe, looks like a rain storm, went to town looked around, found a Wal-Mart, got some goodies, forgot the important stuff. Played tourist, traveled to Grandfather Mountain.  Dumped and refilled RV. Still @ Julian Price $12. GrndMtn.gif (63567 bytes)  GrndMtn2.gif (86171 bytes)
Day 8(6/4);  Well I got the canoeing in, very small lake, a little windy and with no load in the front, it is tricky to go upwind, but it comes back. Rain, got to store, some food, and new filter for RV, still need shoes. Canoe.gif (79040 bytes)
 Day 9; Enough is enough, we are off to the coast, I am thinking Cape Hatteras should be some parks out there, I could stop by and see what the Cherokee Indian’s have been up to, NOT. Down out of the Mountains to Fort Mill SC, wow it is 97 and high humid, should cool down they say. Running experiments with the AC, you just can’t have the sun shinning into the RV.  
 Day 10 (6/6); Today’s plan is grocery shopping, laundry, get tires rotated, and maybe brakes. Met man from Montana, he’s been to all 50 states, drives a big bus, says he’s going to downsize, he told a story about missing a turn in NYC and driving his bus downtown Harlem, and his trails of trying to get back out.  
 Day 11; Well we got the tires rotated and they figured the brakes and said come back tomorrow and they will try to fit me in. The price is great so I'll give it a go.  
 Day 12; Well Crap, they messed around and then there was a mix-up on parts, they said come back Monday, I am out of here. I changed my mind about Hatteras, so it is back to the mountains. Target will be Daughton Park, checked out Sparta.  
Day 13; Daughton Park, Generator wouldn't start, 4 hours later found bad connector, eliminated the connector, talked to man from Seattle just bought a new Jeep for a Toad, wanted to know how I liked my NEW Jeep? He worked for Boeing. They travel and Square Dance, now why didn't I think of that? Drove to Cumberland Knob NC, and took new pictures for Website.  CumberlandKnob.GIF (76717 bytes)
Day 14: Off to Great Smoky Mountains Nat'l Park area.  
Day 15; Up early at Natural Tunnel State Park, Walked all the trails, now for some sun then on to water. Norris Dam State Park, but Campgrounds not near water, so we moved on. Naturltunnel.GIF (118844 bytes)
Day 16; (6/12)Good Sam's at Norris, She says Oh your from Buckeye Lake, they were lasts years KOA Campground of the year, they were down to sell us on going to KOA, NO, No  don't do that, I exclaim,  you'll have to loose your cheerful ways and learn to be grouchy, she says, boy everybody tells us that. Time to head home and fix the RV and Jeep, lots of weird noises. !  
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