moment and check out this great video that was sent to me by our longtime friends, Faye and Mike (of Ryegrass), whom I respect, admire and sometimes want to be when I
grow up. Click on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdCxvc1J_I8m and let your eyes and ears enjoy!
and Brittany, Sheena K. in Canada who survived raising 2 sons and gives me the best ideas for “escaping” life’s crap, Hara C. who is a mom of 1 very cute little guy, Pat B. @ CWD who raised her kids to adulthood and still can hold a genuine conversation on Sunday workdays (personally, unless I type it, my sentences don’t come out right due to raising 3!), Gmom who raised 4 kids and “decided” to have a grandchild older than her youngest child … hmm, do the math! and Laura P. who couldn’t get enough of her own kids so oversees thousands of other people’s BMX kids crossing the finish line, … AND TO ALL THE GREAT MOMS THAT READ THIS CRAZY BLOG. Kudos to us! If you are reading this anywhere but prison, it means you’re making it through one of the toughest craziest jobs in the world without killing
them! (or you haven't been caught yet!) NOTE: Photo borrowed from a Facebook posting by J&R Bicycles.
response? “I’m sure they have some version of it.”
When my now 22 year old daughter was around 8, she asked us “what’s a last will and testament?” We launched into a somewhat involved explanation, ending by telling her it’s basically the last things you want to say to your loved ones once you’ve died. She thought a moment and then said, “I know what mine is going to say: Oh, Shit! I’m dead.” We were so cracked up we didn’t scold her for the curse word; plus my own mom has declared that “Shit” is not a curse word; on what basis, I DO NOT KNOW. But she’s 80 now so I don’t argue with her.
When Chipmunk was 4 years old, she woke us very early on a Saturday morning saying, “I want to do BMX, I want to do BMX.” We were both quite groggy and not ready to wake up so we just kind of rolled over and murmured. She demanded it again and now was climbing on top of us in bed. Finally, I said, “WHAT IS BMX?” She said, “You know, like on the X-Games. You ride your bike over a bunch of hills and jump in the air.” I thought for a moment and said, “when did you see the X-Games?” knowing that we’d only seen it late at night, after her bedtime. She shrugged and said, “Sometimes I wake up at night, get something to eat and watch TV. The X-Games comes on right after Girls Gone Wild.”
Hearing that, we bolted upright in bed and said, “WHAT?” She calmly replied, “Yeah, some of those girls are so wild, they have to be kept in cages.” I swear to you, I felt the first gray hair spring from my head.
And now about the hike ... Yesterday morning, Chipmunk hit the trail and we hit the road into town. We found a McDonald’s in Roan Mountain, TN and was fortunate enough to score a seat next to an outlet. I downloaded pics, posted the blog and then we headed out to do laundry. We had to go one more small town over to find a Laundromat and I was glad it wasn’t very busy. While the laundry machines ran, we walked to a local supermarket and picked up fresh ground beef for tacos. (If I didn’t mention it before, I recently scored 10 boxes of Old El Paso taco kits @ 63 cents ea., regularly $3.59, on a Walmart clearance shelf ... #hungryhiker) Finally, the laundry finished and we hopped back into the truck and
headed to the local Lowe’s Home Improvement store. Although the camper isn’t much of a home, it definitely needs improvement before Papa Chip hits the bike trail on May 18th.
We were wandering around when Alex, a Lowe’s employee, asked if we needed help. She guided us to fiberglass repair resin and cloth (so that papa chip could fix one of the damaged roof vents on the camper) and screening and spline to repair the old screens on the camper windows. We also bought plexiglass and Papa Chip plans to remove the crippled rooftop air conditioner and put in a makeshift skylight. I asked if a big clear square on the
roof might not turn the camper into a greenhouse in the heat of summer? He dismissed that initially, and then said, “I’ll just leave the white protective plastic on it to filter out most of the light.” Marriage … it’s all about compromise. I have often referred to the camper as the “po white trash homestead” so that repair ought to fit right in! If anyone comes near the camper in the heat of the summer and you smell bacon cooking ... please come in and rescue me!
Chipmunk and CheetahBeav had been hiking together on and off during the day and she went into the store with him and Boone. She found “Cosmic Brownies” and told CheetahBeav he had to try them. He took a pack off the shelf and then they both held them over their heads while Chipmunk said, “We’ve made a cosmic connection.” (*Spazzes*) Chipmunk found some Rold Gold pretzels that she wanted to get for Papa Chip and I remembered that we hadn’t picked up shredded cheese for the tacos. When I went to the wall of refrigerators to look, I saw CheetahBeav’s hand basket was overflowing and he was putting food back into a refrigerator. When I raised an eyebrow, he explained, “I got a little too excited; I can’t carry all of this so I’m putting some back.” It was an endearing moment.
We left Dollar General and made one more stop for Matt who said he’d like to surprise his hiking partner with cold beer. He’s well over 21 and honestly, I can relate! He was in and out quickly at the mini mart and then we dropped all 3 hikers back off at the trailhead where they planned to camp for the night. There was no good parking spot for us around the trailhead so we tried something new. We called the local hostel and asked if they had a parking area and what they’d charge for us to pull in. They said $5 and that sounded like an affordable safe camping option for the night.
After dinner, we all fell into bed and either read books or read online with the free wifi connection. I had positioned a big wool top blanket on top of our comforter to keep most of the light steady vent drips from penetrating through the covers. I suppose it worked well enough through the night but I awoke around 6:30 am when cold water dripped down my neck and back. Apparently, the covers shifted and so did I and the combination led to my rude awakening … but it was about time to get up so I rolled out of the bunk. I jumped down from the bench to the cold morning floor, got an immediate foot cramp and hobbled to the closet bathroom. I wedged myself in and rested my chin on my knees and thought … “ahh, vacation, ain’t it grand?” Note to self: Isn’t there a cruise I should be on somewhere??
I made up some “goat”meal for Chipmunk, coffee for Papa Chip and then walked Chocolate Chip. When I returned to the camper, Papa Chip greeted me at the door with a hot egg and cheese bagel he’d just made. I totally forgot that we had eggs; the hiker, Matt, was so grateful for the trip to the beer store that he gave us ½ of his dozen eggs! The morning started looking a little better.
yesterday. We kissed her goodbye, wished her a good hike and told her we’d meet her in about 13 miles.
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)