Saturday, July 23
Miles today: 58
We got on the road around 10 am after a great breakfast with Andy and Paige. It was already hot and humid, but we were happy because we were taking a short cut for the day that would shave off about 15 miles from our route. (so it's really like we went 73 miles but only worked for 58 of them! Free miles wahoo!) After riding for about an hour we decided to pull off and stretch for a few minutes. We happened to pull into a church parking lot so we sat on the benches in front. There were a lot if people coming into the church with tons of food, so we asked what was going on there and they said it was a family reunion. About three people invited us in to eat with them, but we didn't accept until Shirley (the matriarch, we later found out) came outside and threatened to bring out us a plate of food if we didn't come inside! So we went inside and were amazed by the feast in front of us- chicken, pasta, salads, fruits, veggies, breads, and and entire table of desserts! We dove into the deliciousness and even though we had recently had breakfast, we found room for more in our bellies. The family was so kind to us and we sat and talked for a while. We were so grateful for the food and air conditioning- it was just awesome!
After we got back on the road we rode into Danville, which has the first bike shop we've been near since Virginia. We got there around 2:30 and didn't leave until 6:30 - even though they closed at 4:00. They were pretty busy so we had to wait a while but we didn't mind at all because it was too hot to be riding anyways! Another cyclist, Angus happened to come into the shop about 5 minutes after we did. He was riding west to east by himself and had walked 5 miles to the bike shop because he completely wore through his back tire. He was pretty lucky because there are really no bike shops on our route for a while! Angus is 20 years old, from Texas, and left from Oregon in mid June. He averages about 100 miles a day! He hung out at the shop for a while talking with us, swapping stories and tips and playing state capital trivia (this is one of the things Ben and i do while riding and apparently he does too!). The owner of the shop, Ernst and his son Andrew had both ridden across the country so they were also interested in talking to us and sharing stories. I had been having problems with shifting on my bike and also wanted to have lower gears because my bike really is a road bike, meant for speed, not a touring bike which has lower gears, better for hills and more weight on the bike. Ernst hooked up my bike with a new cassette, new chain, new derailleur, cleaned out my cables, shaved down my breaks which were catching at a weird place on my tire and now my bike feels incredible! It's much easier to climb hills with the lower gears and the shifting is so smooth! I wish I had this setup in the mountains! By the way, we do finally seem to be out of the mountains- today's ride was comprised of gentle rolling hills- a dream come true!
We rode about 30 more miles to Lebanon where we are staying with another warmshowers host- Blake. He owns a 6 apartment house in which he lives in one apt. There is a vacant apartment so they let cyclists stay here when passing through! We went out to dinner with Blake at the Mexican restaurant in town, where all the employees referred to him as "abuelo". He is a very interesting man who served in Vietnam and he told us a lot about his life. It's so cool getting to meet people like Blake and hearing his life story.
We decided to take a rest day after 6 days of riding. We are not as beat as we were on our last rest day but our bodies just kind of need a break from the bike- especially that bike seat! So Sunday will be a day of rest and we will be back on the road Monday!