“What was that?” Amanda frantically whispered.
“I don’t know, looks like dear.” I said, rolling over.
“Get the light. Deer don’t make that noise. Hurry.”
I jumped up tripping over my sleeping bag liner grabbed both my knife and the bike headlight. By this time I had seen what I assumed were deer shadows lurking on the tree line. We had been scared awake by a primal grunting and snorting noise. A quick sweep across the grass with the headlight and the deer fell back into their place on the food chain and bolted into the trees.
We learned that night that when deer can’t see an unfamiliar object but can smell it, they will frequently grunt or snort to both scare the animal into revealing itself and to clear their airways allowing them to smell a little better.
We both fell back asleep hoping the next thing to wake us would be the sunlight or our alarm. No such luck. 6am came quickly and with it the raindrops that motivated us to pack and seek shelter under the drive-thru overhang. We waited out most of the rain by making coffee and cooking grits. Cleanup was a hilarious process as we ran out of water and had to use the rainfall off the roof.
The off and on rain looked like it would continue all day so we finally set off in search of more water and a bathroom. Food Lion to the rescue! Hydrated and on our way towards a shop claiming to sell local food and Appalachian crafts we came to a cross roads. Google said turn right. Garmin said go straight. I said the right road looked like a poor choice. We followed Google and turned right. Coasting all the way down to the marsh. Seeing standing water in a hilly countryside is not what we were looking forward to.
Up and down we went following the contours of the road and then the driveway, we arrived at the store. We determined that it may have been closed since 2014. We were right. We also determined anything that is on a downhill road thus far has turned out to be not worth the coast downhill. Nothing in life is free. We did however save a turtle that was panicked in the middle of the road.
We called our old acquaintances at The Acorn Inn and asked if we could spend the night. We needed the refresh and an actual bed would be nice. The hills increased in intensity as I was warned about and we pedaled on and on. We stayed on Route 6 for what seemed like forever, it was a decent bike road. After endless farmland, we slammed on the brakes at the sign of the “The Crust and Crumb” a from scratch bakery featuring local, organic produce. We chatted with the locals about Scottsville, biking, unleashed dogs. Thanks for butternut squash soup and for the great conversations with Lo, Summer, Brendon, and Brittney. We rode through the town stopping to see the oak canal boats.
After 62 miles we finally made a turn off of Route 6 as the sun made its daily decent below the horizon. We still had 14 miles until the Inn and not enough bike lights to safely make the trip. A phone call to Kathy at Acorn Inn and soon the bikes were loaded in their truck. Me holding the bikes in the truck bed and Amanda and Kathy warm in the cab, we made the trip in record time compared to our 10mph average. Kathy and Martin invited us into their home for a homemade meal and beers. We love these two and their cute European style Inn.
It was our first seriously hilly day and our longest on the trip yet. We climbed a total of 6000 vertical feet over 67 miles of road in 7 hours.