Miles Today: 19.1
Mile Marker: 861.9 Rockfish Gap (Waynesboro, VA)
This morning I packed up and got over to the restaurant at 7:30 to get some breakfast and get moving. For five dollars you get two eggs, two pieces of bacon, a small bowl of fruit, breakfast potatoes, and a pancake. It’s an excellent deal considering how much dinner costs. I finished my breakfast and asked about a ride back to the trail. She said when a manager came in at 9:00 someone would be free to take us. I debated hitching, but decided to wait it out. I started talking with Veg and drinking coffee. Then Pumba showed up. He looked so incredibly rough. He got there at 3:00 yesterday and spent most of the day drinking. Then Dingo and Hitch showed up. Hitch looked equally rough. I only had one beer and then went and set up my tent. Apparently they all stayed up until about midnight. It sounded like by the end of the night Dingo was trying to herd cats between trying to get Hitch and Pumba back to their tents. Veg and I continued to wait for a ride, but 9:00 became 9:30, then 10:00, then 10:30. Finally one of the servers said the managers were taking too long and grabbed the keys to the truck. I didn’t get on the trail until 11:00. My initial plan was to try to do a bigger mile day into Waynesboro, but at that point it looked like a nearo tomorrow was going to be the only way to make it.
Shortly after I got back on trail I ran into the Black Hole group. Apparently they all woke up and decided they were in no rush to get hiking. Most of the day was great hiking. There was one last climb, and then the rest was relatively flat. I bumped into Veg again and somehow got on the topic of him having hiked the PCT. It turns out he’s hiked the PCT and the CDT. That means when he finishes the AT, he will be a Triple Crowner. I don’t know the exact number of people who have completed the Triple Crown of backpacking, but the last number I saw was sub a thousand. Incredible feat.
Toward the end of the day I started thinking I could make it to Waynesboro. The Black Hole group tried to convince me to stay and nearo in with them tomorrow. I gave them my number and told them to let me know when they got in town, and we would meet for lunch. Tomorrow is Hamilton’s birthday, and the plan was to meet at Mings for lunch. Mings is known as the best Chinese food buffet on the entire trail. We’ve all been looking forward to it. Shortly thereafter we ran into a day hiker that informed us Mings is closed on Mondays. That is fine for Black Hole who is double zeroing, but for me I’m leaving town Tuesday morning and will miss it. I checked Google and saw they are open until 10:00 tonight. Target aquired.
I got to the trailhead at 8:00 and found a list left by the city of Trail Angels who would give free rides into town. As I was making calls a woman named Sarah cycled up. It turns out her and her friend John are cycle touring coast to coast across the US. John did the AT a few years ago and his name was Columbus. He rode up shortly after and we chatted for a bit. She gave me her card with her blog, and John and I took a picture together. I forgot to snap a picture of the two of them, but there are several on her website at www.aviciouscycle.org. They cycled on to their hotel, and I called a few people for a ride until someone was willing to come pick me up.
The guy who picked me up was kind enough to immediately tell me how terribly I smelled. Apparently I was the worst smelling all day. I asked out of how many, and he said five and “not to be proud of it.” He then took me on an unwanted tour of town showing me all of the places my map has clearly marked. You know that and smartphones are a thing. He also gave me a flyer the city puts together that has a map with the same information. Apparently he does the corrections for the flier, but “the City Council doesn’t like him” so the never send it to him early to proof. I can’t imagine why. He was also sure to mention heading to the YMCA a few times for a free shower first thing in the morning. After this obnoxious jaunt around town he finally dropped me off at Mings at 8:59. I walked in and they told me the buffet closes at 9:00. Google failed me, but it was hard not to be the most annoyed at the pompous ass named DuBose who led me on the ridiculous tour of town. If only I smelled worse, perhaps he would have dropped me off earlier.
I stopped at the Kroger and grabbed a wrap from their deli section, some chocolate cookies, and a tall Yuengling and headed to the free camp site the town provides. Annoying end to the day, but it all worked out in the end. Zero day tomorrow!