Today I roll out of bed at the sun-ripened hour of 9:30 a.m., and end up being the first up and moving about downstairs. For breakfast I eat three bowls of apple-cinnamon chex with almond milk. The others filter into the living room while I sit typing out the blog for day 10, and Carla comes at some point and makes coffee and we all drink some and relax together. Dan cooks the biscuits and sausage gravy; Travis and Dan look ahead at the maps and try to plan our next week's worth of mileages and camping spots. We're a touch behind schedule but not too badly, and we think we can make it with an average mileage of 60 miles a day and once-a-week rest days if we make up some distance once we hit the flat plains in Kansas and eastern Colorado (pre-Rockies). We won't have any more climbs like the one onto the blue ridge parkway for a while. While we're discussing our plans, Carla comes in and gives us each a little present: for Anna Faye a rose, for Ben a smiley face, for me and Travis two clownfish, for Jenn and Dan a sunflower. They're little stuff sacks that unfold into shopping bags. They weigh nothing and take up very little space; they're perfect for a trip like this!
When we finally find the will to move about, we pull out our tents and set them up in the sunny backyard to dry and air out. Then we introduce Jutta to our bikes before loading up her dishwasher with all our camping dishes and gathering three piles of stinky laundry to be loaded into the washing machine and later hung out to dry.
We have the keys to a six-seater SUV courtesy of Jutta, who is using another vehicle today, so we go to Wal*Mart to buy a few clothing items (a 2nd sports bra for me, off-day sandals for Travis, etc) and food. I get some more dark chocolate peanut butter and marshmallow fluff, and rice cakes to eat it on, and the rest of us get food for our next two communal dinners and breakfasts because there won't be much civilization for the next few days as far as we can tell from the maps. We try to find a bike shop but the one google gives us is only open on the weekends and the one across the street with a bicycle hanging above its awning moved to Blacksburg and their old space is now apparently a church. (Inside they tell us we can have the bike if we can get it down from there, haha. They haven't taken it down yet 'cause it's so hard to reach.) We don't have any other errands to run so we head back to the house and finish up our laundry, re-pack our tents, snack, and nap.
Brian comes over for a spell later in the afternoon to ask when we're headed out in the morning and we chat a while. Then at 7:00 the mayor of Radford, Bruce Brown, and his wife Karen come over, along with a big group of people who arrive bit by bit, bringing food and fellowship with them. There's a bucket of fried chicken and chocolate-peanut-butter buckeyes and a whole host of delicious-looking things that I didn't really pay attention to since I can't eat them due to my allergies. (I ate supper before everyone arrived.) Turns out Mayor Brown came over to present the Handlebarbarians with the key to the city of Radford. We graciously accept, with a little bit of fanfare, awed by the gesture. It's pretty special to me, considering I was born here. We all agree to mail it to Grandmamma and Granddaddy for safe-keeping when we have the chance, considering that without them we would never have known Jutta and none of this would be possible.
Everyone who came over is friendly and kind and we mingle and chat and talk about our trip so far and our plans for the trip ahead and our backgrounds and, well, a little bit of everything. I wish I could remember everyone's name but I'm not so good at that. I'll remember their faces, tho'. Maybe someday I'll come thru Radford again and see them. I really am touched by everyone's well-wishes and encouragement and camaraderie--that's a big part of what trips like this are all about.
When everyone has trickled out the door back home we look at some footage we've taken of the trip so far on Dan's GoPro and my ContourROAM, then bid goodbye to Jutta, who won't be here when we're stirring in the morning and preparing to go. There's no words to express our gratitude for this rest day, for our Rivendell. Hopefully Jutta--and Carla, too--understand the depth of our thanks, even if we can't say it enough. We wish nothing but the best for both of them, and for the entire town of Radford, VA. It's sad to leave so soon, but we've got 90% of our trip yet ahead of us.
Tomorrow will start early and last long. But I'll be ready. One more sleep in a real bed will be enough to get me thru another week of camping.
distance: 0 mi
riding time: 0 hrs 0 min
avg speed: 0 mph
max speed: 0 mph
[below is a picture of the key to the city of Radford. It's about twice the size of a regular skeleton key with an "R" as the key part and the city's corporate seal in the handle; motto is "sic semper tyrannis"]