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Grandpa Lost His Mind
A Journal - Crossing America by Bicycle

July 9, 2007      Miles 41      Total miles 3909      Ended at: Vesuvius, Virginia


I have had a cell phone with me on my entire trip. I use Cingular for my service. On their national maps they show they pretty much cover all of the eastern United States but my connection rate has been sporadic at best. I realize I am on some very remote roads but their maps still show they have complete coverage. I have borrowed other peoples cell phones who use Verizon and they seem to cover a lot of the tiny towns even though Cingular does not.

I talked with my wife, Tanya, and she told me I got an email from Ron. He is the guy who is being supported by his wife in their motor home. I saw them first in Oregon then again about four more times across the country. Anyway, everybody who has gone from east to west keeps telling us how terrible the four mile climb out of Vesuvius is going to be. Ron is a couple of days ahead of me and said it wouldn't qualify in his top ten list of hardest rides. So, that is my great news for the day. I have been dreading that climb, but now I know it is just another mountain road to the top of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It will be my last major climb so I am ready to put it behind me.
I had breakfast with Aleta this morning. She is a teacher and had been to a conference in Memphis and is on her way back home in Maryland.

No, I didn't make a quick trip to see Stonehenge but I can now say I have seen Foamhenge.

These old drive-in theaters were much more common when I was a kid. My parents used to take all of us kids to a town called George West, Texas to see Ma and Pa Kettle movies fifty years ago. It was great fun even in the heat of the Texas summer nights with mosquitos buzzing around. There was a concession stand there and I loved to get Grapette sodas. I expect all nine of us in our family could get in for a dollar.

Old colonial mansions are common in Virginia.

But not everyone is as well off as others. This is the first Confederate flag I have seen in Virginia. I saw at least five in Kentucky. From what I have seen, I think Kentucky and Virginia will hold a hard line against revisionist historians.

I saw a license plate today which I can't believe the Virginia DMV let out. I'll let you figure this one out ---- COPU8U2
This is the Pink Cadillac Diner.

I ate at Gertie's in Vesuvius and this is Gertie. Their cooking here is much more like you would cook at home than nearly any place I have eaten on this trip. I set up my tent behind the store last night with three other cyclists. We had a great time visiting into the night.

These four vivacious young ladies were a real hoot. They were very excited about the events of their time in the mountains and we had a fun visit together. They are with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and they are with 100 girls who are on a one week retreat in the Virginia mountains. They have been rappeling and doing all kinds of outdoor activities. From left to right is Laura, Ann who is the cook for the group, Joanne who is the self professed cute one of the entire group, and Anna who tries to keep Joanne in check.
This is the tiny town of Vesuvius. Tomorrow I shall ride to the top of the Blue Ridge Parkway in the background and ride along the crest of the mountain for nearly thirty miles before I make my way to the coast. My plan is to meet my wife and my nephew and his family Saturday evening.