see her no longer and then hopped up in the truck and headed into Johnson City, TN. Besides going online to
post the blog, etc. we had a few more errands. Chipmunk finished reading John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars” and is ready for another book. We haven’t been watching DVDs as much lately because we’ve seen all the ones we have in the camper. In fact, we’ve all been reading so much that we stop at used book stores whenever we see them to refresh our supply.
Yesterday, morning we found a HUGE used book store, Mr. K’s, and scored her another John Green book: “An
Abundance of Katherines”. We checked on a few more books and DVDs we’ve been looking for but apparently everyone else needed the same ones: “oh, we just sold the last one of that.” Oh, well … on to the next task.
We left Office Depot and headed to the local Kroger Grocery Store to pick up the “Trail Magic” dinner that Chipmunk wanted to have from Gmom’s donation. We bought ground beef, Nathan’s hot dogs, hamburger and hot dog buns, American Cheese from the deli,
zucchini, squash, a red pepper, a green pepper, tomatoes, and 4 different kinds of apples (Chipmunk wants to do a taste comparison of apples and let me know which is her favorite). We also picked up a bag of Doritos, her guilty pleasure. I must admit that I also picked up some Shock Top beer … a little trail magic for the worrisome mom (Gmom, you’re cool with that, right?).
Once our errands in town were done, we headed back to the mountains. As we headed out of town, we realized that we should have checked the SPOT page online for Chipmunk’s precise location so we could better judge what time she’d arrive at Carvers Gap. Oops.
Since we were well out of the Wifi signal area, and for that matter cell signal range, we decided to continue on and check in at the campground nearest Carvers Gap, known as “Living Waters”.
We pulled in and there was hardly a camper in the place. When I called earlier, the gentleman said that they had hot showers, laundry machines and we’d need to check in by
6pm. I don’t need company but I did need a shower and to do laundry. We arrived there around 4pm and the office said “open” but was locked and no one was there. We read all the signs on the door but there was no info about how to contact the manager if the office was empty. We waited quite a while and then drove up a neighboring road towards a house to ask if they knew. About that time, a truck came down the same road and the fellow said he’d show us where to park. He took my $24 and pointed to the shower house. We told him we’d return after we picked our daughter up from Carvers Gap.
We figured that Chipmunk would arrive around 6:30 pm … 7 at the latest. While I waited, I peeled the zucchini and squash; cut those and the peppers into pieces. I cut up some
tomato and onion for our burgers and threw the remaining pieces into the vegetable mix. I sprinkled a bunch of spices over the veggies (garlic salt, onion powder, basil, oregano, pepper, paprika) and poured some Olive Oil over them. I stirred it up, covered it and put it
into the camper fridge. I didn’t make up the burger patties because I wanted hot water to wash my hands afterwards and didn’t feel like heating up water on the stove just for that
(note to self: next RV must have a hot water heater!). With that done, I took up reading the tail end of my book, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”, third in the series that starts with “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”.
her down. When she finally came in around 8:30, again, I cried when I saw her. I think I was more relieved than anything else. She was cheerful and said that she had missed most of the rain by luck: she came up on a shelter and hung there with a bunch of other hikers for about an hour until it let up. Hence, the later arrival. If we had checked the SPOT page one last time before leaving town, we might have had a clue she was coming in later. I noticed that her rain poncho seemed discombobulated. She said she was sorry but that it had ripped. I told her we’d look around at Damascus for a better replacement.
Chipmunk and I got into the Camper and Papa Chip drove us back to the campground. It was pitch dark when we pulled in and we donned our headlamps to get all the hookups done and to set up the grill outside. I turned on the camper lights and made up the burger patties while Chipmunk headed to the showers. We soon discovered that the women’s shower house did not have any water running. Papa Chip went into the Mens side and confirmed that one shower worked in there, albeit with very little water pressure. Since no one was around, she used the men's shower. Chipmunk struggled to get all the shampoo out of her ever longer hair with the sorry excuse for a shower.
Papa Chip started cooking the veggies on the grill and then added the burgers and hot
dogs. Around 9:30 pm, Chipmunk emerged smelling good and we sat down and devoured dinner. It was quite yummy!
We left the grill out ‘til morning and called it a night. I awoke at 5:30 am and couldn’t sleep. Since the place was deserted, I decided to take a leisurely shower and blow dry my hair. The water pressure was ridiculously lame but it was hot water and it felt good to stand under it.
Around 6:45 am, I roused my two cohorts, walked the dog and started water for “goat”meal and coffee. Papa Chip took a shower and remarked how lousy it was, too. Oh, yeah, and we looked everywhere but there was no laundry area … unless you count the brook that bordered the property. I gave up on finding the manager and decided that laundry wasn’t going to happen there.
We drove back up to Carvers Gap and when we pulled in I recognized a few day hikers we had met at Iron Mountain Gap. A local man apparently leads hiking tours and shared with Chipmunk what views she’d see today if the clouds and fog cleared out. He told us how he took his mom on section hikes on the AT until she was 84! I asked Chipmunk if she’d like
to take Grammy hiking and she giggled and said, “uh, NO!” Yeah, good decision. Hiking
is not Grammy’s thing. We kissed Chipmunk good bye and she headed back onto the trail.
She has a 16 mile day ahead of her to our planned meet up.
Check out “Chipmunk’s Pics” tab (on www.ridethenation.org) for a better look at what she sees while out on the trail. On youtube.com, her username is OpenlyMountainGoat if you want to check out any amateur video of her hike; we just started that account and will be
adding more video soon.
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 a donation, you can do so via the “donate” button at the top right side of this blog and we’ll be glad to treat Chipmunk to something special with the “trail magic” you send. 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)