Day 12: Catawba, VA to Grahams Forge, VA
May 28, 2011

We forgot to mention the free pizza and hotdogs at the general store last night. Patronizing the store as a thank you for the hospitality was challenging. Collectively, we bought a can of baked beans, chocolate milk, root beer, and some gummy worms. For breakfast Andrew had the greatest egg and cheese sandwich ever made. We had a wonderful morning ride through the Catawba and Ellett Valleys. Farms, rivers, nice temperature…lots of small pretty birds chasing / harassing vultures. One of them landed on a vultures’s back mid-flight. We stopped for lemonade (stand), lunch (chili dog made by some Baptists + other, less interesting things), and groceries in Christiansburg. The ride out of C’burg was great and quickly turned HOT. We stopped for some much-needed ice cream and snacks at a gas station in Draper. We chatted with the owner for a bit about his 400-pound mother and taxidermy…maybe. It was nearly impossible to understand his accent. We might have been talking about the weather. Today we also moved over to a new map segment. (Side note: we bought a set bicycling maps from the Adventure Cycling Association.) Each map has a picture on the front, presumably of a highlight from that map segment. Other pictures include: Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument, a country home with white pillars. The new map photo? A large truck carrying coal. Woo hoo.

  • Starting point: Catawba, VA
  • Ending point: Grahams Forge, VA
  • Slept: motel
  • Miles: 66.9
  • Average speed: 10.2
  • Notes: Sore tush

Day 13: Grahams Forge, VA to Troutdale, VA
May 29, 2011

Our morning was pretty boring–the route took us near the interstate for a long, straight ride. The only highlight was when a miniature donkey tried to chase Andrew but then got scared and ran away. At lunch in Rural Retreat we put away 2 pounds of yogurt as our first course. Leaving Rural Retreat was lovely with creekside farms until we reached Sugar Grove and then had a long, slow, gradual climb through the Jefferson Forest to Troutdale. We spent the night in a hostel / cabin for Appalachian Trail hikers and bikers at the Baptist church. It had warm showers, towels, shampoo…all much appreciated. Before dinner, Andrew almost ate a ladybug because he thought it was a piece of ice cream that dripped on his hand. We talked with some of the AT hikers, including Lone Wolf about his beekeeping. We will not be adopting trail names except for Hillary, who now responds to “Nougat.”

  • Starting point: Grahams Forge, VA
  • Ending point: Troutdale, VA
  • Slept: hostel/cabin at the Baptist church
  • Miles: 50
  • Average speed: 9.6
  • Grievances: A bug bit Hillary behind her ear and Andrew is still whining that we didn’t buy a whole apple pie for lunch.