Saturday, July 6, 2013

Damascus zero day

Started and ended in Damascus
ZERO miles

Breakfast was awesome: quiche with mushrooms and spinach, fruit salad, cereal (organic granola), scrambled eggs with cheese, and grape or orange juice. A group of 12 was also staying at the Dancing Bear so they had breakfast too. We would see them the rest of the day because they rode the Creeper Trail too.

After breakfast I called REI to order a new canister for my water filter. I had to get Sat delivery and lucky for us Fed Ex will deliver on Sat. I will need to order another one in about 3 weeks. 

We had a reservation with the Shuttle Shack to ride the Creeper Trail. They provided bikes, helmets, a water bottle, and a ride to the top of the mountain (the same mountain we are going to hike in a few days). 

The trail is 17 miles to Damascus and marked every mile with a concrete post stamped with the mile number. The trail also crosses many bridges and at each depot is a visitor center with snacks and bathrooms. The name comes from the early steam locomotives that struggled to make it up the steep grades. 

The bikes were not as nice as what we ride at home, and quickly my chain got stuck behind the rear cog. I fixed it, but got grease on my hands. But as luck would have it a bike patrol person was close and I borrowed a rag to wipe off my hands. Even better was the playground at Green Cove Depot!  The kids played with the other biking kids and I got a chance to sit in the sun. 

As we neared a bridge crossing Pete's pedal fell off!!  Yes, it actually fell off while he was standing on the bike. He crashed hard and lucky for us only scratched his knee and elbow. I had to push him down the trail, and some guys in front of a house near the trail helped us by letting me call the shuttle Shack to bring us a new bike. They even bandaged up his scrapes.

After we got the new bike it was uneventful. We hit the Dancing Bear next and grabbed a backpack for my drop boxes.

The boxes were awesome, with a few unexpected tasty treats. I did a quick planning session to see how many days of food I would need when I noticed we were missing oatmeal. It was OK because less than a mile down the road is a store, and it turned out to be our first real grocery store of the trip!  

Food City is big and really nice, something you would find in a bigger town. We stocked up and all 3 kids had full backpacks, Pete even had a bag of chips on the outside just to be sure everyone knew we had stocked up. When we checked out, Sydney wanted to hand the cashier the food, so the cashier said "Why don't you scan it?" Sydney went on to scan, with help from Harvey, our entire cart. She also hit the buttons for the credit card and then gave me my receipt; "You saved 14.50 today" Sydney said. She loved it and 15 years from now when she forgets about the hike she will probably remember the time she worked at the grocery store.

Not that we were hungry, or rather not that hungry, but on the way to Dancing Bear we stopped at the Blue Blaze Cafe for burgers and spaghetti. It was highly recommended by hikers so we wanted to try it. The food was good, and I would go back, but the best part was drawing on the table!  

Harvey did a fancy AT.

Pete did a great self portrait as a backpacker, his headband even says AT, he has boots and his backpack straps hang down. He even has a hiking pole.

Some artwork was on the wall and we hope the kids get on the wall too. Below is Sydney's favorite piece on the wall.

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