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Grandpa Lost His Mind
A Journal - Crossing America by Bicycle

July 10, 2007      Miles 34      Total miles 3943      Ended at: Afton, Virginia


Happy birthday to my youngest son, James!!!!!!!!!!!

One of the nicest things about my trip is the number of just wonderful people I have met. I mentioned yesterday that I camped with three other cyclists behind Gertie's. This is Jen and Dan. She is a retired registered nurse and he is a retired fireman and parmedic from Illinois. Gertie opened her doors at 6:00 AM and we were waiting to be fed. It was very wet from dew last night so we all packed our gear wet.

This is Andy who is riding from New York City and is going to San Francisco where he will meet his girlfriend. He and his girlfriend are both teachers. He will have to ride very hard to get there in the time frame he wants. We stayed up late last night talking.

Almost every square inch of the walls and ceiling of Gertie's has a signature on it. It now has Grandpa's too. There have been a lot of famous people who have come to Gertie's.

Not all American homes are big and beautiful. Yes, there are people living here.

The road from Vesuvius to the Blue Ridge Parkway is beautiful, narrow, winding, steep and four miles long.

I had just gotten on the Parkway when John and Jason came from behind me. Now these are a couple of mountain men. They were "just getting a little ride in." Ha! Well,you don't just ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway ... you have to get up there first. They were riding along and just talking. I was riding along and wheezing. They had already ridden twenty or twenty five miles when I met them. You can see they look very fresh. I was soaked from head to toe and the rain had not even started yet. When they left I thought I might try to keep up with them for a while but that was just folly. They were out of sight before I knew it. I know one thing. They got wet before I did.

I knew when I saw this and heard the thunder rumbling through the valley I was going to get wet today. It rained hard for a couple of hours but it was a relief from the heat.
This father and son have been riding across America from San Francisco. The father, Gary is 68, and Eric is 43. I told Gary I am going to quit complaining about the mountains. He and Eric had ridden from ten miles farther than I did today. They said they are staying in motels their entire trip.

You can see why these are called the Smokey Mountains.

Living the mountain life.

This is likely the most well known person to cross country cyclists. Her name is June Curry but she is better known as the Cookie Lady. She is 86 years old and over 30 years ago, she and her father decided to help cyclists who would come through Afton, Virginia by offering them water and she would make cookies for them. She has kept up the tradition all these years. The house below is her bike hostel. She lives next door. The hostel is like a museum of gifts and cards people have given her over the years. Each room is filled with memorabilia and she has hosted over 14,000 cyclists in thirty years. She keeps the pantry and refrigerator stocked with food and has couches all over the house for bikers to sleep on.