Day 18: Damascus, Virginia: A fine rest day.

After getting in to Crazy Larry’s, another landmark of the Appalachian Trail, I spent the (rainy) morning getting some “in-town” work done, mostly replacing my chain with a fresh one generously provided by KMC Chains, sending out some postcards and letters, rediscovering the magic of Icy-Hot, and visiting the supermarket to fuel up for the next leg of the trip/acquire a good load of fruit. Damascus is nestled, as most towns in Appalachia are, in between a number of hills (possibly mountains), as well as right in the middle of the Virginia Heritage Music Trail. Presumably the trail is a serpentine path paved with bluegrass, banjos, and washboards- I haven’t got a radio, but I’ve been imagining bluegrass all day anyways. The Virginia Creeper Trail, a rails-to-trails project, runs through the town (although I would not recommend it to road bikes), and there’s plenty of train paraphernalia about to check out while walking around town. In addition to the chain maintenance, I took some time to update the flag with some new sponsors who have helped out by donating over the last few days, and retouching some of the quickly-wearing ink from the beginning of the trip. I also took a look at the map for the next section of the trip- if the illustration of a coal-filled dump truck on the brochure is anything to go by, it could be an interesting few days of trucks, fossil fuels, and hills. Although it looks like the highest point of the eastern half of the trip is behind me, the vertical profile still promises plenty of hilly fun- hopefully the grades are manageable with the trailer and new supplies- before settling out into the Midwest. After today’s rain, the weather for the next five days looks to be clear as well- good riding and solar charging conditions ought to make for a smooth ride over the next week.

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