Day 7: We Came, We Saw, We Walked up the Hill
Tuesday June 7, 2022
Hi loyal followers! Simone here to tell you about the eventful June 7th, although all of our days are feeling pretty eventful.
We started out the day with a classic southern breakfast of grits and biscuits. Our wonderful host Pam is from Alabama, so she and Robert made us a delectable breakfast featuring those southern classics. Some topics that came up at breakfast were:
What type of 3d printer Pam is going to buy now that Maxwell had fully sold her on the concept of 3d printing (seriously she is actually buying one. Maxwell is an excellent salesman if any 3d printing company scouts read this blog).
Pam’s familiarity with the sets from the classic movie My Cousin Vinny (which I brought up because I am reminded of that movie every time I see grits). Fun fact My Cousin Vinny was filmed partly in Alabama.
How good grits, scrambled eggs, and elderberry jam are when combined. (If you have been following along this far you probably will be able to guess this creation was Franklin’s brain child, our resident strange food combiner)
After we said a warm goodbye to Pam (we love you Pam!!) we headed out to bike a cool 45 miles up to Lexington, VA (not to be confused with Lexington, KY which we will also be stopping through). The bike ride started off fun, fresh, and dare I say easy. We stopped outside a Ski Store (fun fact there is a ski resort near Crozot, VA), and I believe I uttered those fateful words “This is easy! We GOT this.” If you are sensing a pattern in these blogs it should be that we, in fact, did not got this.
The next 10 miles were, in a word, horrendous. These were probably the steepest uphills I have ever encountered in my extensive 22 years. And they just did not stop. The road was very twisty and after each twist we were met with a section that felt steeper than the last. As the title suggests, we came, we saw, we climbed up the hill (actually Franklin and Maxwell biked up most of it, more power to them). After an excruciating walk/bike up these mountains we finally had a sweet descent into lunch.
Lunch was the usual: tortilla + sardines + any and all toppings. A new invention was tortilla with PB, J, toasted pumpkin seeds, and blueberries. It was, in a word, excellent.
After lunch it started raining pretty hard and we had lots of elevation to lose. We were biking on wet switch backs down a mountain, which was a bit treacherous. But after this hairy section we encountered some of the most beautiful biking we’ve done all week! We were coasting down Bike Route 76 (aka the TransAm trail, read more about that here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Bicycle_Route_76) It was a gradual downhill almost all the way to our hosts house! The rain was still coming down pretty hard but it felt very refreshing.
This was probably my favorite part of the trip so far because biking on these flat/downhill portions gives me a lot of time to think. There’s not much else to do on a bicycle (actually not quite true, I’ve listened to 8 hours of This American Life on this trip thus far) but think, and for the flat portions that’s especially true. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting of what I want to do with my future (spoiler alert: I don’t know) and how to accomplish the things I’d like to do (same spoiler alert as above). But some other topics I spend a lot of time thinking about on my bike are: frames of reference ie. am I moving on my bike or is the world moving around me, the radius ratio between my front and back gears ie. could i achieve the same resistance with a different mix of gears, since the resistance is based on the ratio between the two gears. Other non bike related topics that come up in my brain are: how do water towers work, what plants we are biking by, and what are we going to eat for dinner tonight.
Water towers: https://www.trentonnj.org/446/Water-Towers
Plants include: garlic (allium), mountain laurel (kalmia, pictured below), honeysuckle (caprifoliaceae, idk the genus), tulip trees (liriodendron), many grasses (poaceae), crownvetch (fabaceae), etc.
Dinner last night: mac and cheese, sausage, salad!
We arrived at Dirk and Chrissie’s house very wet and so grateful for their warm showers and AMAZING dog. They fed us a wonderful dinner and told us their very sweet love story! Thank you Dirk and Chrissie for the lovely time, and your kindness for hosting us :)
Thanks for reading, and as always may you bike quick ascents and slow descents (this is not a phrase I have ever said before, but I’m just trying it out).