settled into our same table at the same McDonald’s we’ve spent our last few mornings, the manager, Debbie, came over to say hi. We had talked with her on a previous day and enjoyed her company so it was nice to see her again. We asked her if she’d had a chance to look up the C&O Canal bike path that we recommended since her husband loves cycling and wants to do a bicycling trip with her. On the subject of cycling, she told us that it was her husband’s love of bicycling that saved his life. He had been riding through a covered bridge, the front wheel of his bike stuck into a narrow space between two boards and sent him flying over the handlebars (been there, done that!). He went to the Emergency Room and x-rays revealed that not only had he cracked a few ribs but that he also had tumors in his lungs. It
was lung cancer. Soon, he had a part of his lung removed and then began the horrendous cycle of chemotherapy. He just finished his last full day round of the debilitating process and wants to plan a bike ride for the two of them. I highly recommend bicycling … it’s so good for the soul, mind and body. Debbie, please keep us informed (you can leave comments on this website that come directly to our email). We’ll be thinking of you both. Thanks again for all your kindness and for taking the time to connect with us.
Once we finished our online work, we hit the road in search of 2 things: a water pistol and a non-stick frying pan! HUH? You don’t see how the two of those go together? Let me explain. This weekend is the Annual Trail Days Festival in Damascus, VA, (http://www.traildays.us/) believed to be the largest gathering of hikers at any one time worldwide! There will be tons of festivities including the HIKER PARADE, in which “Hikers, by participating in the parade, should realize they will probably get wet and should protect any electronic equipment”, according to the organizers. Manufacturers’ reps will be on site giving gear advice and doing FREE gear repair. We’ve never been to this event but it looks like the whole town joins in the fun with a city wide yard sale, a library used book sale, Free Meals for the hikers, Free showers with a towel and soap provided, dog exams for the hiker dogs, and the local Ministries will be holding a coffee house and there will also be live entertainment. I am so psyched! What a great way to celebrate making it to almost ¼ of the way to Katahdin! (Side Note to Rick & Lynn H.: This might be a cool gig for Eleni) To everyone else, Eleni is a talented young singer we met many years ago on a cruise to Alaska where she and Chipmunk became shipboard buddies; check out her website: www.elenimusic.com.
The frying pan? Oh, right. The very nice folks at Backpacker’s Get out more Tour (http://www.getoutmoretour.com/) are bringing Chipmunk a supply of Sturdiwheat pancake mix to Trail Days that will "last her all the way to Katahdin!" So, I better keep a frying pan on the ready because pancakes have never been just for breakfast in my family. FYI, I scored a sweet deal at the little Dollar General in Hampton, VA: 3 nesting nonstick fry pans on clearance for $9.50! I think I’ll pick up some fresh blueberries, too! OOoooh my! I think I just drooled! If only we were close to Vermont … I could get fresh maple syrup from Sugar ‘n Spice Pancakes in Mendon. The restaurant is built around their sugar shack that processes fresh maple syrup right on sight. Oh no, I’m going to need another napkin to clean the drool off my keyboard.
Speaking of Vermont, our long time BMX friend, Amy H. who lives in Vermont has been
plugging Chipmunk’s hike to some of the great outfitters in her neck of the woods. We hope Chipmunk makes it all the way to Vermont on the AT and if so we’re having a reunion party with one of the most inspiring women athletes I know: Amy! And if all goes well, we’ll be devouring some Vermont famous Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, as per a tweet we got from them: "there's a house along the trail where they have a freezer full of Ben & Jerry's". Oh no, more drool ... I better just get a bib!
tables submerged up to their table tops and park grills with only their grates above the waterline. After she
left this morning, we talked with a fellow hiker and he told us there was some sketchy hiking they had to do yesterday where they had only a thin ledge to shimmy across and risked falling into some rapids if they made a misstep. Hmmm … is he trying to scare the Mama Chip with facetious stories? Or is Chipmunk trying to spare my nerves by not telling me these stories?? Oh the things we tell (and don't tell) our mamas! My mom thinks Chipmunk, Papa Chip and I are all hiking together ... she'd be worried sick if she knew Chipmunk were dong this solo ... so, "mum's" the word!
Tonight we’ll get a campground, hose us all down and show up smelling fresh Thursday morning at the Manufacturers’ Reps area at Damascus to meet up
with a new friend, Angie (more about that tomorrow) before we drive on to Williamsburg and drop Papa Chip for his cross country bike tour. I’m excited that my older daughter, “the editor”, will be coming to
Williamsburg to spend the night with us and see her Papa off on his tour. On Friday, we’ll drive the 6 hours back to Damascus and join in the fun at Trail Days. To date, Chipmunk has hiked 429 miles. (#GoChipmunk on Twitter)
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)