EFFORT I PUT INTO SMASHING THE TRUCK CAMPER SO THAT YOU’D FEEL BETTER ABOUT WHACKING THE AIR CONDITIONER OFF THE TOP! I am here for you! Ride well and have fun! We miss you.
Second, thanks to everyone for the very good wisdom on handling crazy situations in the future. I'm glad you care about us and want to keep us safe.
We awoke to driving rain and some “puddling” in the front right corner of the camper where there was a gaping hole from the day’s previous incident. I told Chipmunk that I needed to focus on getting truck and camper repairs and I didn’t want anyone driving her up to McQueens Gap where she left off the day before, in the rainy weather. She agreed to a Zero day and I began the process of looking for a mechanic. I had a few recommendations and a few very clear “don’t use that guy” warnings. The sky cleared up and when I ventured into one of the stations, I stumbled upon our old hiker friend, “K Busy”. He spied the hole in the camper and said, “Let me fix that for you.” I wasn’t going to object and soon a few more hiker friends stopped by to oversee the operation. Ta-da! A little duct tape ought to hold it until I can pick up some resin and fiberglass cloth and do a longer term patch up job. It never ceases to amaze me how this travelling community of hikers that truly takes care of one another. I am proud to be a part of this and I am ever indebted to so many whom have helped my daughter, my husband and me. I truly feel the love!
Early in the evening, we met up with our new friend, Valerie, at the Blue Blaze Cafe. I had mistakenly called her the owner in my blog; she is actually a manager there. I suppose the attention she gives to all her customers and the efforts she puts into every aspect of her job made me think she must be the owner. My apologies for the slip up. I'm sure the Blue Blaze is aware just how fortunate they are to have her on their staff. When we got to the Blue Blaze Cafe, Chipmunk and I sat down for a bite to eat and soon, her fellow hiker, "Talker", came into the restaurant. As soon as I saw him, I walked up and hugged him and got a little emotional. Chipmunk told me that when the car hit some of the hikers in the parade this past Saturday, Talker literally pulled her to safety. In my opinion, he's a hero. In fact, so many of the hikers put their own safety aside to save their fellow hikers. When one of the hikers was caught under the wheel, it was the Appalachian Trail hikers who quickly worked together to life the car off her. I believe their quick and correct reactions kept the injuries to a minimum and may have saved many lives. Kudos to the hikers!
When Valerie's husband arrived to drive her home, I offered to bring her back since we planned to park in their driveway for the night. Darren took me up on the offer and I was glad to find some way to repay all their kindness to Chipmunk and me. Valerie told me she planned to take Chipmunk up to McQueens Gap in the morning. Although I truly didn't want anyone driving on that crazy U.S. Forest Service Road, I knew she had to get there some way. There was no way that Chipmunk would consider skipping any portion of the trail. When Val finished up and left the restaurant, we all piled into the truck and slowly made our way up to her house. I pumped the brakes, making sure I didn't get too close to any car that was ahead of me. I've pumped those brakes so much that my thighs are like "buns of steel" .... er, like week old, back of the clearance rack buns!
Chipmunk and I met one of Val and Darren's friends, who happenned to be nearby and spent the night at their house. In the few days that I've been in Damascus, I've learned that Valerie and Darren have the biggest hearts. Their home (or the compound) as they call it, is home to the tired hiker, the travelling friend, the childhood buddy, the band of hiker brothers launching a project and the woman who drove her truck camper into a tree. It has restored my faither in humanity. These experiences are what make the bad stuff just funny stories. Thanks to Chipmunk's favorite CHIPSTERS!
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: email@example.com. She or we (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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)