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  • Writer's pictureVarsha Sandadi

Day 5: Sweet Tea, Baby

Updated: Jun 18

Friday, June 7th, 2024

Shenandoah National Park, VA -> Waynesboro, VA

61.51 mi, 2,358 ft elevation


Hey everyone, Varsha here! I get to recount our much more ~chill~ day (refer to our entire car debacle in the earlier blogs) so buckle up… 


We woke up at 6 am at Big Meadows campsite in Shenandoah National Park, feeling puffy and exhausted from our entire car situation and the strenuous climb the day before. We ate our breakfast, packed up camp, stuffed everything into our rental car, and left the campsite around 8 am. Huge huge huge shoutout to Rebecca for driving over all the food and making sure us bikers were well fed in spite of all our chaos.


The ride down the park was so fast, windy, and downhill. We all felt like cars, zooming through the national park. And of course, the views of the mountain were absolutely gorgeous (so much green everywhere!). We exited the park quite fast, and found our way on the backroads en route to Waynesboro. There were a lot of rolling hills through farmland. JD, Cleo, and Sophia saw a cow giving birth!



our scenery for many many miles

We stopped for lunch at a place called Lil Gus’s in Grottoes. After a very long and hot ride, we took a much needed break with the nicest waiter. She had a Southern accent and called JD “sweet tea” and Sophia “baby” as she took our orders, and this was the moment when I officially learned that some parts of Virginia were considered to be in the South (I’ve spent most of my life in Southern California and New England for context, so maybe that makes this more excusable?). 


lunch of hot dogs and sandwiches!

After refilling out water bottles, we headed out to Lil Gus’s and to our final destination. None of us had set up our bike computers at this point, so JD and Hank kept on coming up with fun stories to help us remember the route. Here it goes (all street names are bolded): Captain Yancey sailed to across the ocean, where he came across an Island (Ford), and he said “(Power) Dam, I need to drink water from the (Three) Springs'', but instead he drank milk (related to Dairy Road), which was poisoned so he had to call his Lawyer which is good because he lives in a (Port) Republic. While he called his lawyer, he decided to go to the (South) River, and sat on a rock to fish (Rockfish), but sure he caught some wood (Sherwood), etc etc etc. 


quick picture while checking navigation!

Unfortunately, we didn’t remember which ones were left and right turns :”) But we made it eventually to our Warmshowers host, Francine! 


thank you Francine for making us such a yummy dinner!

After a few hours, the rest of our team arrived!!! Finally we were all reunited!!!


pure joy at amulya, jess, and rebecca (and yes, full circle with getting the white chrysler pacifica)

But little did we know, the car debacle was not fully over yet. In order to prevent another towing disaster (praying to the rental car gods this will never happen again) and have all of us be able to pick up replacement rentals, we all needed to be authorized drivers on the rental. And the nearest Avis was 45 minutes away. So all 7 of us (minus Amulya because she already had authorization), packed ourselves in the car and sped away while exchanging stories of our respective days (in case anyone is looking for a great storyteller, highly recommend Jess).


It wouldn’t be right to end the day without another fire for us to put out, so of course when we get to the Avis stand, they tell us that all 7 of us cannot be added. Jess (who had much experience dealing with Avis admin, this being her third day in a row visiting an Avis help desk) did her magic while the rest of us did the most helpful thing -- doing push-ups on the floor. 


keeping our upper bodies strong 💪🏽💪🏽💪🏽

Eventually, things were sorted out (we could only add 4 additional people) and we headed back to Francine’s. Another eventful day, but I am grateful to be learning so much about our team’s capabilities (both physical and mental), the beauty of new environments, and of course, the lovely people along the way :) 

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