and the screen repairs and now we had the proper weather to do the repairs. We pulled into a grassy area across from the trailhead and Papa Chip scaled the camper ladder. He had already removed the a/c casing from inside the camper and tossed it on the ground behind the back door. I cut and replaced the dilapidated screening on all 4 camper windows while he worked on cutting the electrical wires to the a/c and removing the outer casing and remaining mangled parts. Once there was nothing but the pre-cut a/c hole in the roof, I passed up the square of plexiglass we bought a few days ago. He silicone caulked all around the roof opening, laid the plexiglass over the hole and using an $8.99 battery operated power screw driver we picked up at Walmart, he screwed the panel down. He left the white protective plastic on it (face down) so that it would act more like a skylight and less like a greenhouse. Once that was done, he tackled repairing the vent cover with fiberglass fabric and resin. I finished the screens and re-installed them.
trail with DeLorean and a German hiker I decided to call “Hitman” (because the water pistol he bought for the Trail Days Fest looks lethal!) around 4pm, all that was left was a pile of debris much larger than the average kitchen bag of trash. We chatted with DeLorean for a bit before deciding to drive into Elizabethton and get the long awaited haircuts. En route, I called each of the 5 salons I found on the Google Maps app on my phone and almost gave up: 1 was closed on Mondays; 1 was fully booked and didn’t take walk-ins; 1 was out of business; 1 would be closed by the time we arrived. I called the last one which was a salon in a Walmart and they said they’d be open til 9pm
and would gladly take walk-ins. Sweet! We weren’t dressed very well; Chipmunk was in her hiking clothes, Papa Chip had remnants of fiberglass resin on his shorts and hands and I was in my standard pair of jeans and fleece jacket. But, we were all just getting trims, it was just Walmart and the price was right: $16.50 for a wash, cut and blow dry so we went. Chipmunk and I got relaxing hair washing and conditioning, trims and blow drying; Papa Chip got a complete head buzz cut and didn’t feel the need for the blow drying.
With some personal grooming out of the way, we asked Chipmunk if she’d like to do anything in town. She said if there were any Chipmunk bucks left, she’d love to eat out. She was hoping for a non-pasta dinner. We all agreed the nearby Applebee’s would be a nice treat. As soon as we were seated, I asked to speak to the manager. Shian came to our table and looked puzzled; it was obvious we had just arrived so we couldn’t be complaining about the food or service. I asked her, “Are you married?” She said yes. I asked her if her husband had ever done anything “ridiculous?” She laughed and said of course, but still looked quite puzzled. So, I told her that my husband accidentally shirred off our rooftop A/C on our camper and that all the bulky parts were now piled on the floor in my camper. I asked her if it would be possible to throw the debris into Applebee’s dumpster. She laughed and said she was sure we could; that we could pull around back after we dined and she’ll even help us
unload it. I thanked her for her kindness; we had no idea how we were going to dispose of it and we couldn’t leave it lying next to the trail (#LeaveNoTrace). After a few minutes, Papa Chip high fived me and said, “Good job; I hadn’t even thought of asking them.” In my family, we have a saying: “the Mama rules!” Thanks again, Shian!
Luckily, it’s been staying lighter out later at night and we made it back up the winding roads with the last of the day’s sun low in the sky. We all read books and fell asleep pretty early.
It was a quiet night until the wee hours of the morning when Papa Chip’s hand ended up on my head at the same time I was dreaming that someone had reached their hand through the camper window and was trying to pull me out. Unfortunately for Papa Chip, I was pretty miffed at the mysterious window hand guy and started flailing my arms until my hand hit him in one eye. He yelled, I became wide awake and apologized while Chipmunk shooshed us saying, “It’s too early”. In the dark, I apologized again and offered to turn on the light and look at his eye. He declined and said it would be fine and we went back into our snuggling
position and dozed until 6:30am. When he came down from the bunk for his morning coffee, I confirmed that there was no bruising and he said it really was ok. I’d hate to send him off on cycling trip with a black eye to explain.
Chipmunk ate her “goat”meal, dressed and was out on the trail by 8:15 am. She has now hiked over 400 miles and has a 13 mile hike to meet us at Wilbur Dam Road for her pick up.
Although she had hoped to hike into Damascus for the upcoming Trail Days festival, she realized she’ll be about 20 miles shy of it because she has to leave the trail Wednesday evening. On Thursday morning, we are driving to Williamsburg, VA where Chipmunk’s
big sister from Jersey (the editor) will meet us and we’ll spend the night. On Friday, we’ll drop Papa Chip at the Williamsburg hotel where his cycling tour group will meet and launch from on Saturday. Chipmunk and I will drive back to Damascus, arriving in time for the Friday night festivities and stay through the Saturday and Sunday events, too. Then on Sunday evening, we’ll drive back to where she left off of the AT and she’ll resume her hike on Monday. We just got word that Whisper will be returning to the trail after Damascus; that her ankle is heeled well enough to hike! Yeah!
FYI, we are trying to build support and maybe even get some sponsors to help in the expenses of Chipmunk’s quest to become the youngest solo thru hiker to complete
the Appalachian Trail. We could use your help. If you enjoy reading the story of our adventure, and you’d like to send some “Trail Magic” to Chipmunk, click on the“Donate” button at the upper left of today’s blog post. Feel free to forward our website link
(or email updates) to your family, friends, co-workers, etc, (www.ridethenation.org). Chipmunk maintains a twitter account: @openlymtngoat where a common hashtag is #GoChipmunk and she can receive personal messages directly to her email: firstname.lastname@example.org. She or we (email@example.com) will try to answer any questions you may have about her hike and this family adventure.
Thanks again for all your support,
Mama Chip, Papa Chip, Chipmunk and her dog, Chocolate Chip
(Tammy, Jay, Neva and Coco)