56-mile day, 505 total. Rest day today in Damascus.
Yesterday’s ride was especially scenic as we wove our way though this stretch of the Appalachian Mountains. We had long climbs but miles and miles of downhill where we’d cruise at 30 miles per hour.
Damascus owes much of its existence to hikers and bikers. The Appalachian Trail goes right through the town as does the Virginia Creeper Trail. The TransAm Bike Route, Iron Mountain Trail, Daniel Boone Heritage Trail, and Crooked Road Musical Heritage Trail also go through the sleepy little town.
Even though its population is just 1,000, there are several outdoors stores and bike shops (plus a little restaurant in the Exon gas station where they serve “World Famous Blueberry Pancakes”).
This coming weekend, though, the sleepy little town will come full awake as it celebrates its once yearly Trail Days when the population will swell to 20,000 visitors, many who have hiked the Appalachian Trail and return to Damascus to reminisce with other hikers.
A delicious meal last night where I had lemon pepper trout, three cheese grits, and lightly grilled asparagus.
Another road angel appeared after our meal with beer, snacks, and then strawberry crepes cooked on the spot on a Coleman stove.
The town of Damascus is filling with active hikers, most whom have started this year from the Appalachian Trail’s southern terminus of Springer Mountain in Georgia.
Churches are bending over backwards to accommodate hikers . . . free food, showers (where they provide towels and toiletries), WiFi, even haircuts. The Baptists are winning the hospitality contest!