We woke up to a pretty morning in Occoneechee State Park. There were spiders and bugs of all sorts wandering around in all our bags and shoes. We rolled out around nine and did the zippiest seven miles ever. After riding through a picturesque virginia town, our high was killed – the directions we had were completely wrong. We pulled into the parking lot of a county jail and went inside, which was maybe fun or At least very interesting to see because we both had never been inside a jail before. The people who worked in the jail were very nice and disappeared into the back of the jail and re-emerged with new directions. Wow thank you. Now we hAd lost a lot of time being lost and being in jail, but at least we had good directions. The only big huge problem was that these directions led us to a desolate gravel road that was impossibly steep and caused Hillary to have a small breakdown. We let some air out of our tires to roll through gravel better, and quickly decided to eat a pop tart to feel better. Once we started riding it was still really hard and steep. Three miles on this road and Hillary realized that something was missing. The night before, we had washed our dirty clothes, and had them attached to our bikes and bags in different places to let them finish drying as we rode. Of her two pairs of bike shorts, one was on her body and one, which had been drying on her back rack, was gone. This was a terrible thing to realize because re-wearing cycling shorts is bad news and just really gross. In an act of great love david actually retraced our ride three miles back but found no shorts. He came back to where Hillary was waiting and they rode on until the road was done. David asked Hillary what that crop was that He was seeing. “Hay,” she said. We became well acquainted with hay on this day. Hours pass and the roads we were following seemed to get more and more remote. Something as simple as making turns was entertaining on such a boring day. Our greatest delight was to see cows and then discuss the cows. Real exciting stuff. But actually we both secretly do really like cows and think they’re cute. After a while, we encountered another steep gravel road, only this time, we were going down hill, not up. It led us into a lush wooded area with a stream. We got off the bikes and relaxed. As we continued down the gravel road, we spotted a medium sized dog in the distance. Usually, dogs chase us, but this time, we spooked the dog and it shot down the road. We lost sight of it. We headed a few more miles and took a sketchy turn, which lead to a dead end. Map trouble seems to be a hallmark of this trip so far. We turned around, went with our gut, rode a few miles, and hit the first and only town of the day, Blackstone, Virginia. In Blackstone, we stopped at the first fast food place, a Wendy’s. David got a coke to get a sugar rush. We found that we couldn’t fill our water bottles at Wendy’s (how can they not have water?) so we went next door to the subway where we filled up all our water. Around this time, we started thinking about our lodging for the night. Google had shown us a certain “camp weag” that we liked because it was on our route. There was another campground 8 miles away, but we didn’t want to go there, because 8 miles is a lot when you average 11 mph. Putting all our eggs in one basket, we set off for “camp weag.” David spotted a mcdonalds on the way, which to us means wifi. After checking out camp weag online, it seemed even more sketchy, but we thought we might be able to camp in the woods or at a church. Twelve miles later, camp weag turned out to be absolutely nothing. Just some property with no signage but “no trespassing.” Luckily we could see an intersection ahead, which turned out to be a town called Mannboro, with a fire station. We had heard prior to the trip that police and fire stations are good reliable places to sleep, if worst comes to worst. We were pretty much at worstcomestoworst stage. We had been lost so much that day and had ridden over eighty miles and it was dinner time and we were hungry – we pulled into a (the) convenience store, where two men were just sitting and smoking and not talking And watching traffic like old men in the country seem to like to do. They said there wasn’t anyone at the fire station. We were so desperate that we went there anyway, hoping there would be a spigot to refill our water and some shade to cook dinner under. But once we got there and unpacked our camp stove, we got company. It was a man in a truck who lived in the big old house by the convenience store and he said we could camp in his yard. We followed him a block to his house and he got out of his truck and introduced himself as Stan. Stan got busy fixing his mower with a friend as we made dinner in his backyard with out camp stove. We finished cooking and the guys finished with the lawn mower, and we ate as Stan and his buddy John talked to us. John and Stan were super friendly and we talked about motorcycles, bikes, touring, and traveling. We hung out in his garage, which housed a Harley and also one of Stan’s projects, a karaoke bAr. John left and Stan told us that he loves playing golf. Stan’s yard is actually like ten acres of golf course complete with holes and flags and fancy grass. We asked if any one comes to play on his course, and he replied that only friends do, and that they like to joke that his course is the Mannboro country club, which costs $2 to join, and can only be paid with $2 bills. He told us that we were now members of the club, which is very exciting to us and we will always treasure it. We found that Stan had moved to Mannboro from Virginia Beach and was a lawyer but wanted to get away, so he bought this old house and started having a ton of fun all the time instead, doing photography, folk art, music, golfing, and restoring the house. Apparently his house was on the route of general lee’s retreat in the civil war, so it’s who even knows how old but at least goes back to the 1860s. He graciously let us use the shower in his house, and after we were done, we set up camp. Stan invited David, me, to jam on guitar, and although I was unsure of my guitar skills, I couldn’t say no to such a fun idea. He led me through the blues, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Neil Young, and the eagles. It was good fun, and I regret so much not being a better guitarist. Before we went to bed, Stan showed us the 1969 pull behind RV he had spent the last 3 weeks restoring. It was cool and functional, with a bed, table, TV, and kitchen. He offered for us to stay in the RV, but we were happy with our tent. We climbed in and promptly fell asleep. The moon was so bright that it lit our tent right up. In the field next to us the mother cows cried for their calves, who were being weaned. It was a sad lonely sound. But the night passed quickly – after such a long day, we slept pretty hard.

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An abandoned college

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Gravel

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More gravel

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A field

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Another field

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Country road

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Pretty

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Lunch spot

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The state of Virginia

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We love gravel!

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We had to go up that hill

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Storm’s a brewin’

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A fine dinner at Mannboro country club

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It’s a good!

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Stan’s

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The garage

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