[author's note: if days are posted late or multiple days posted at once, it's due to lack of cell phone reception when the blog posts are written... we're gonna be passing thru a lot of low- or no-coverage areas so I apologize in advance for posting delays]
This morning for breakfast we have eggs, sausage, and a mix of cubed potatoes, onions, and peppers. It is hearty and wonderful, especially compared to yesterday's lack of breakfast. We're ready in an hour and a half and bid adieu to the haunted house but it takes another hour to wash our dishes at the gas station down the road. While there we meet a group of folks from Maryland who were just coming back from seeing car races in North Carolina, if I remember right. They're really friendly and ask us all about our trip and we chat for a while before we get going. Rolling start is still pretty early tho' which is good.
The 20 miles into Buchanan is super easy and mellow. It follows both a railroad tracks (altho' it can't decide which side of them it wants to be on) and a creek thru 1.5 lane country roads and lovely scenery. At some point on our way a cyclist coming in the other direction warns us about an unchained pit bull about a mile down the road. Fearing a confrontation, we get our can of bear spray ready, and I carry it in my back pocket. When Travis spots the dog, we all make a sprint for it, but it doesn't even make chase. That's a huge relief to everyone. It's pretty scary to be chased by a dog while on a bike, even if it isn't vicious, because of how easily it can knock you off.
We stop in Buchanan at a dollar store to grab lunch and supper and breakfast because there won't be much civilization for a while after this. We cycle another 10 or so mellow miles after that and stop in the tiny parking lot for the Bethel Church of the Bretheren by a creek to sit and eat lunch and relax by the water. From there the hills start getting steeper, pastureland on each side and a ridge of wooded mountains beyond on the left. We pass the Roanoke cement factory (NO TRESPASSING, MINING AREA) and just go until it's time to stop for a breather again and try to talk to the cows. They look confused but Jenn says that's just what their faces look like.
Eventually we pass by a church Catawba and we look for people but no one's there but the door is unlocked so we figure they won't mind if we use their bathrooms as long as we don't make a mess of it. We're pretty tired so we decide to camp in a slightly angled field behind and to the left the church, right in front of some wild-lookin' woods. It's a good spot since it's not visible from the road so we pitch our tents. I accidentally drop Bike Rothar in the parking lot and crack all the eggs I've been carrying so we're forced to eat those now for dinner instead of for breakfast. We mix them with hotdogs, rice, and peas and it's actually pretty good. I also eat a few spoonfuls of marshmallow fluff for dessert which I've been hoarding for a while but now it's all gone :(
There's basically no cell phone service out here. There's not much to do so we all go to bed at like 8 p.m. I slide down in my tent due to the slight angle of the field but it's not so bad. Tomorrow we're gonna reach Jutta's house ~
distance: 41 miles
riding time: 4 hrs 23 min
avg speed: 9.4 mph
max speed: 37.7 mph
odo: 513 miles