I SURVIVED SKYLINE DRIVE!!
Actually, today was much better, because the weather was nice. There was still 10000 feet of climbing, but I got off to an early start and I got into my nice cheap motel here in Waynesville at about 4:30. So I have lots of time to write in comfort, recharge all batteries, dry out all clothes, and generally get situated.
So last night I was all warm and cozy in my tent and sleeping bag. I was out like a light by about 8:30. About 11:00 I hear this heavy breathing and grunting noise, interspersed with a kind of chattering. I realize its from the direction of the picnic table at my camp site, and I remember that's where my food is. There was this sign taped to the picnic table saying there were bears, so lock you food in your car. Lot of good that does me. So I decided to take my food out of my panniers and not bring it in the tent, and I left it on the picnic table, and forgot about it. We're talking two apples and an orange, that's all I had. The apples were Macouns, though, from a tree in the Cohen's back yard, and they are much tastier than any apple you can get at the supermarket. I brought a bagful with me when I left.
So the ruckus went on for about 10 minutes. Don't these varmints have any table manners? I can't believe the amount of grunting required to eat an orange and two apples. I decided not to disturb the probable bear unless he touched the tent, then I was going to holler and flash my light at him. After about a half hour, I fell back asleep, but I kept waking up at the slightest noise.
In the morning I found an untouched orange, and little shards of apple embedded in my bike seat. Gross. Somebody used my bike as their dinner plate.
The park guy came by in the morning to tell me no, there still is no power, so you still can't have a shower, and you can forget about breakfast, too. I told him I thought Mr. Bear came to visit. He said a bear has been seen a couple times in the last few weeks, but it was much more likely that is was deer, which are totally abundant and walk around the campground like they own the place.
On the way out, I stopped by the camp store, and due to my pitiful state, they agreed to sell me some stuff to eat so I could make it 30 miles to the next place with food. They strung six extension cords from the generator running the refrigerators to the cash register, so they could scan my stuff, because there was no other way to tell what it costs. I got tons of goodies, beef jerky, two quarts of Gatorade, candy bars, granola bars, peanuts, and two Mountain House freeze dried dinners for backpackers, which serve two. (Actually, they serve 1 bike rider. I decided to eat one for dinner tonight, since the motel is up on the hill by the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the restaraunts are way down the hill in town. Very tasty. I'm going to have to get a bunch more of these. They weigh nothing, and they only take two cups of boiling water to prepare.)
Anyway, I was well fueled for the ride, which was great, and I had no trouble getting 30 miles to the Loft Mountain Wayside for lunch. I had a tasty pork barbeque sandwich while I tried to recharge Allen's phone, which said "no coverage" when I plugged it in. It was fun to sit and watch all the old folks gawk at the bike. It's mostly retirees who drive up and down Skyline Drive this time of year.
I got a big charge when I reached the end of Skyline Drive. I feel like I made an accomplshment.
But I know from my map software that there is even more climbing tomorrow on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the weather forecast says rain starting mid-day, with a high of about 60. I have to ponder on sweat management some more now.
Here is the route actually travelled.