We woke up from a fitful night sleep due to the hourly passing of freight trains, we were grateful for a safe and dry place to sleep. I woke up and jumped at the opportunity to charge our electronics, use the restroom, and make coffee on a table instead of on the muddy ground.
We knew today would be a big day of climbing, but fortunately not many miles to Roanoke. We spent a few hours in Roanoke Bagel uploading and relaxing. Tweaking the blog behind the scenes is a priority, but is impossible on the road. Features are coming!
We set off crossing over the train tracks and past a limestone mine, the cause of our midnight tossing and turning. The road immediately showed its true colors heading up at grades so steep the bikes wanted to fall into the ditch. We pushed in our lowest gear climbing a 9% grade nearly the entire time. We celebrated at the sight of the Thomas Jefferson Forest sign.
However, we soon learned this sign was seemingly random in placement and we still had much climbing to go. We finally reached the Parkway and the Peaks of Otter, we were south of the lodge and had no interest in cycling north to see it. Maybe another time.
Onto the Parkway we were getting tired of uphill, but knew that it could only go on for so long. 6 miles later and a nearly a half mile of elevation gain we could finally say we had reached the top…for now. A bit of downhill coasting and we climbed our second 2500 ft. peak to Harvey’s knob.
On the downside of Harvey’s Knob we pulled into an overlook and Amanda cooked a roadside stew featuring some of Virginia’s finest hormone free, all natural beef. We were warned to keep a distance between our cooking and camping, due to bear activity. We were not warned about the swarms of ladybugs that would hit hitting us at 30mph. Never have we seen so many ladybugs.
A bit more Parkway riding and we found ourselves on the happy side of a 10 mile decent. We hit a new top speed of 36mph. We are reminded once again that mountain passes lead to smiles for miles and miles. At the bottom of our coast and a few miles outside of Roanoke, we found our nightly home next to a bale of hay.
…mountain passes lead to smiles for miles and miles.