Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rule #7: If In Doubt, Do It

-Waynesboro, VA-

Last we left off, the epic bash that is, and was, Trail Days 2009 had officially ended, and it was now time to handle my parents. It was great seeing them and they helped us out a bunch with a clean bed to sleep in, a ride anywhere we pleased, and Chinese food. It wasn't a buffett, but damn it was good. It was also bad at the same time, but only by association with its inspiration with a meal I planned that went horribly wrong. Let's just say that the brilliance of General Tso's chicken cannot be recreated by simply adding a seasoning packet with his name on it to pouch-sealed chicken and macaroni. Far from it, my friends. My stomach still hates me.

Anyways, the parents saw us off into the woods and Rainman and I, who have yet to seperate despite our gear seperation, hiked a short day to Rice Knob Shelter. The only reason I remember the name of it is because it came with the best sunset on the trail thus far. A bald right out front with a perfect view of the West, and with a clear day, made for a spectacular display. We continued to hang out until sunlight became starlight and feast our eyes on the twinkling spectrum above. A great first night back on the trail.

The next notable spot I remember is pulling into Catawba, VA which is the location of the greatest restaurant I've ever been to. Sorry Redbones - you still have the tastiest ribs around, but the Homeplace is the titan of southern comfort. All-you-can-eat mashed taters, mac n' cheese, beans, slaw, roast beef, ham, fried chicken, and cherry cobbler is a combination of country delicacy that I rolled out of the Homeplace about a bean or two from popping. We jokingly asked if we could sleep outside because we weren't sure if we could make it across the street to camp at the store, and the owner surprisingly agreed. So we rocked our food babies on the porch chairs outside and spent the night planning the coming days and sleeping in the gazebo. A perfect night.

We realized that we had Memorial Day to deal with that coming Monday, and because most of us had packages to pick up in Daleville, we decided to hitch into town. I put on my best puppyface and sure enough, Greg Johnston decided that he could take a detour into Daleville. We piled on his flatbed pickup with his wife and two kids in the cab and got to Daleville to take care of errands. Props to Greg Johnston. If you read this, you are the man.

We got a ride back to Catawba and hiked into Daleville under our own power and made our first stop at the outfitter where I saw it. It clearly had been on the shelf for some time (with good reason) but as soon as I saw it, I knew that I had to drop the cash to have it. What "it" is is essentially a rice farmer hat made by Kavu - circular brimming coming to a point on top. It's undeniably practical but pretty unfashionable at the same time. The choice was obvious - I had to have it. There's even one girl on the trail who now calls me "Rice Patty Daddy". Yeah, that's right.

Time is ticking and the librarian is glaring at me so I'll wrap up the rest real quick. Left Daleville with dreams of Waynesboro and seeing Star Trek (which didn't happen). Jumped off a 30-foot bridge which was a great time. Rainman hit Bambi with his Buzz Lightyear kite. Got some excellent trail magic at the Dutch Haus and had a stuffed bell pepper. Grooved into Waynesboro with some light days and spent most of the day drinking beers and doing errands all day yesterday. Met up with some old friends from earlier in the trail who agreed that if we catch them in the Shenendoahs, they would buy us lunch or dinner (oh, it's on like Donkey Kong). Made some river float plans to celebrate making it halfway in Harper's Ferry. Ate at the Ming Chinese restaurant which was EPIC! And now, we finally get to enjoy some flat terrain of the Shenendoahs and get to really bust out some serious miles. 30 miles in one day? Oh, I'm doing it!

It's been great hearing from you guys and hearing of the support from all of you. It certainly makes being out here for this long easier. Just know that I can't wait to see all of you and after I get back, I'll bore you with as many stories as possible.

Also, I saw the Coniston montage and got really jealous. Douce, ZZ, and the Doc coming back? God damnit! Ahhh, I'll visit the beginning of August and get my Coniston fill.

Whew! That's my story right now and there will be plenty more once I get to Fort Royal (Port Royal?) and Harper's Ferry. Coming up on halfway!

Boo yah.

Love you guys!



  1. Rightor -

    The trip sounds amazing thus far! I love reading your thoughts and stories! I can understand the camp-sickness...I still feel it even after already being gone a year...year two still isn't any easier! But hang in there and keep on trecking! I'm thinking of you!

    Love, Caitlin

  2. To the last I grapple with thee, from hell's heart I stab at thee, for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee.

    Ahab set that throwing his final harpoon into Moby Dick. You should probably memorize those lines and use them every chance you get.

    Anyway, even if you're coming over to camp, let me know when you're going to be going through the Whites. I'll hook you up with a good meal (ever eaten at the Gypsy Cafe?), and I've got a few friends working at the huts this summer that can also give you some love. I'll let them know you're coming.

    Jealous of your travels so far. Hope to see you soon.