Day 139 on the Appalachian Trail Miles Hiked to Date: 1472 Hiked yesterday: 11 Trail Miles, Miles left to hike: 711
First, to Matthew, aka Atti's Taxi, thanks for your praise of Chipmunk and your support. And, thanks for following our story.
Second, to SJC, thanks for your comment ... Good Point! I'll have to remember the "Porsche to campsite price ratio" formula when searching campgrounds in the future. That theory does seem to hold water!
Third, to Tune's Mom, Sue ... thanks for the update! Glad to hear he had an enjoyable birthday celebration with you and yours. Chipmunk is trying to lay down a few extra miles here and there so I hope we do catch up with him. Does he have a summiting date in mind? PLEASE, PLEASE ... EMAIL ME A PIC OF HIS SUMMIT SO I CAN SHARE IT WITH OUR READERS. And to all the hikers' moms who follow us, please do the same.
Fourth, to Janice and the editor ... it's obvious that I'm not known for my brain power! Unfortunately, I'm not getting by on my looks either. However, I am known for my ability to leave behind the bed I LIE in and LAY down the rules for an affordable adventure, for all WHOM want to go. How do you like them apples? And yes, Janice, it's o.k. with me if you want to blame me for your dessert kleptomania! I love you just the same! (Does that give your enough to work with?)
Also, during our stay in Richmond, VA, he coordinated our participation in the "ride with the mayor" day, where we rode with hundreds of other cyclists through the streets of Richmond, a very bike friendly city. Although we didn't have a police escort later that same evening, we joined a bunch of Richmond BMX track riders and rode in rush hour traffic from the center of town out to the BMX track for that evening's practice. Chipmunk also got some great BMX racing tips from Bud's son, Marshall, who taught the Beast (as she was known back then) how to get more air during her jumps and to make better landings.
They followed us to the trailhead and we all pulled off and parked trailside. Chipmunk had a giant smile on her face when she arrived. I said to Papa Chip, "I can't wait 'til my mid-life crises." I thought about that and wondered, "Hmm. I doubt I'd go with a convertible ... unless it converted to a bigger, comfy RV!"
We all waved to her and wished her well. Then, Bud, Papa Chip and I stood around talking for well over an hour. Whenever BMXers get together, we tend to talk about all that's right and wrong in the sport. It was obvious to us, that all of us miss the days of the National Bicycle League, which collapsed during our 2011 bicycle ride. During that same year, Chipmunk decided to leave the sport she participated in for the last 9 years. She was 12 then and wanting to try new things. She had dedicated 9 years to the sport of BMX and her decision to leave it was made over a period of a year. For Papa Chip and me, we lost a large base of our social life. Most of the BMX parents who participated in the national circuit lived all over the Eastern part of the country. Most every weekend, we saw at least a few of them and enjoyed weekend long talks about raising kids, buying bike parts and generally life. Without Chipmunk racing, we missed the regular gatherings that gave the very diversified group of us all a great place to be.
Bud, thanks again for coming to see us and for picking up the tab for breakfast. It's official now. Next time we meet, the meal's on us! Also, if you get tired of that convertible ... wanna change it up for a week or two ... let me know. I'll loan you the Po White Trash Truck Camper. (And don't worry, I'll keep a good eye on the Mustang!)
I busied myself with camper clean up and dishes. I didn't think much about the light coming on because throughout our 17 years together, there's never been a mechanical issue he couldn't handle ... except one. Typically, he goes under the hood or under the car, messes around with tools, etc., returns and says, "That ought to do it." And, it usually does. We never had to be towed or take a vehicle into a mechanic when we were away from home except during our trip to meet up with Sheena and Phil (of Canada) during our trip to Lancaster, PA a few years ago. We were driving this same truck from Florida and shortly after I took over the wheel in Georgia, it lost almost all the power. I pulled over and he went under the hood, messed with some tools, returned to my side of the truck and said, "Start calling for a tow truck." I was shocked. He explained that the fuel injector pump (not the fuel injector, not the fuel pump) had failed and needed to be replaced; that no amount of rigging on the roadside would get us into town. Hence, we were towed.
After one night in an unscheduled hotel room (before we owned the truck camper), we learned that the part we needed would not be available for 3 days. Not wanting to miss out on our time together with Sheena and Phil, we launched Plan B. We called rental car providers and negotiated deals until we landed a sweet deal on a one week rental on a very posh pickup truck with a real back seat ... much to Chipmunk's delight. We arrived only a little later than planned to meet up with Phil and Sheena, both of us deciding that we weren't going to let the "hiccup" in our travel plans keep us from enjoying much awaited time with our friends. We even went into denial about the impending repair bill. Later, during the ride back to retrieve our truck, I did some math to show Papa Chip that the $1800 repair bill, the $200 towing bill and the $160 car rental averaged out to well below what the average family pays out because he does so much of our own repairs. In the end ... time together with treasured friends is well worth it!
So ... more tomorrow about the "Check Engine" light situation. For the day, we had all safely met up and Chipmunk returned from the trail looking hot, sweaty and a bit dirty. We settled into our camp spot for the night: a church parking lot, right next to a cemetery .. made a hot meal and enjoyed a few good laughs before calling it a night.
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 right corner of today’s blog post. Chipmunk maintains a twitter account: @openlymtngoat where a common hashtag is #GoChipmunk . She (or we) 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)