Our Summer Vacation – Day 2
People come from all over the world to bike the KATY Trail, Missouri’s 237 mile long State Park that was once the MKT rail line. It is described as “flat & scenic”. About half of it follows the path of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. We are blessed that the Katy Trail is just across the Missouri River from our home. I’ve enjoyed it hundreds of times, including 21 miles just this morning.
Damascus, Va. is doubly blessed. The Appalachian Trail goes right down the main drag.
AND – the Virginia Creeper bike trail ALSO passes right thru Damascus. Like the KATY Trail, it is very scenic. Unlike the KATY Trail, the 17 mile stretch I rode was definitely NOT flat.
Having just hiked 700+ miles through the mountains to reach Damascus, my brother was not enthusiastic about my suggestion that we rent bikes to “get a little exercise.” His plan was to take a “zero” day – a day to rest and recuperate and do the exciting things hikers do when they reach town. That includes visiting a laundromat, replenishing their food supply, and repairing or replacing worn out or broken camping equipment. And in my brother’s case, mailing his guitar via general delivery to himself at his next planned stop.
Since my wife has two titanium knees, one titanium hip, and is not too “hip” about messing them up falling off a bike, she graciously agreed to accompany my brother in our car to the laundromat and Wal-Mart in nearby Abingdon, Va.
I was on my own for three hours!
I rented a bike for 3 hours for $30. If that price seems steep, it’s because it included shuttling me and my bike to the top of nearby Mt. Rogers and dropping me off 17 miles from the bike rental shop via the Virginia Creeper. 14 miles of that return trip was downhill. Being in shape was not a requirement, but being able to apply the brakes and stay upright while soaking up the gorgeous scenery definitely was.
Here is a sampling of spectacular scenery awaiting visitors to the Virginia Creeper.
The air was pleasantly cool and rain threatened. At one point I wished I had worn a jacket instead of a t-shirt. Other than a few sprinkles, the rain held off and I rolled into the bike rental place in Damascus relaxed and refreshed and on time. It was a beautifully scenic, but not very aerobic workout. For those who insist on an aerobic workout, I recommend allotting another 3 hours, declining the shuttle, and biking to the top of Mt. Rogers and back to Damascus. I guarantee that will get your heart-rate up.
It was time to reunite with my wife and brother and relocate for night two. We would still be in Damascus, but before my brother had called the day before, we had rented what was described as “a secluded cabin beside a mountain stream” for night 2 via Airbnb.
What would await us?
The adventure continues . . .