I was literally woken up by the rooster outside this morning. I had slept hard but I was still tired as I packed my gear. Eddie, who works at the hostel/farm, agreed to shuttle us up to the post office where we left off yesterday, saving us the 3 mile ride back to town. We loaded our gear into the van, and as we lifted my bike in I saw that I had run over some chicken poop in the yard and there was a huge chunk stuck to the front tire. Once we were at the post office unloading, I completely forgot about it and grabbed the front tire, getting the poop all over my fingers. Lovely start to my morning! I wiped my hand in the grass and made a mental note to wash it well at the next town!
Daleville was 16 slow miles away. I felt very fatigued again this morning and struggled on all of the climbs. The terrain wasn't any different from the last few days but it felt so much more difficult. I think I may have been slightly dehydrated so I made an effort to drink frequently.
We stopped for lunch in Buchanan and had only done 30 miles in a little over four hours. As we rode out of town, I pulled over to check my tire pressure, thinking that something had to be wrong with my bike, because I couldn't believe how much I was struggling to pedal. Turns out the tires were fine and I was actually that weak!
I started to feel a little better this afternoon, and we had a beautiful downhill ride on an unlined country road. We saw several deer, and it was peaceful and beautiful. Seth and I talked about the end; we have less than 300 miles left, and it's so hard to believe that we have been on the road for 2 months. They have truly flown.
We rode through Lexington, an old historic town with a beautiful main street full of shops and restaurants. We passed a cemetery and saw that Stonewall Jackson was buried there, so we stopped to walk around a bit. We debated whether to stay in Lexington, but decided to ride 12 more miles to make tomorrow easier.
Two people stopped us on the road today, and both had previously done a cross country bike tour. We chatted about our experiences on the side of the road. It's very interesting because some people are aware that the TransAmerica trail passes through their town, and others have never heard of it. Just yesterday we passed a lady doing yard work and she asked if we had "come the whole way". We replied that we had, and she said very excitedly, "Congratulations! You're almost there!" Outside of Damascus a few days ago at a gas station, the lady behind the counter asked me, "Is there some bike thing going on? I've seen a lot of bikers come through lately." It's shocking that some people have no idea that a popular bike route passes through their town.
We stopped at a gas station for hot dogs and ice cream, and asked a local about a campground up the road. He told us we were only 4 miles away, so we rode the flat stretch quickly and ended up at Mallard Duck Campground. A lady in a RV next to us brought over a plate of pizza for us, and it was the perfect dinner as I had been planning to cook ramen noodles!
Tomorrow is our last real climb before we head down to sea level, and it looks to be a doosy: 1500 feet over 4 miles, up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. I hope I feel strong!