Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sleeping in a parking lot

We were returning to the trail, and walked down to McDonald's for a quick breakfast. Keith visited with an older couple behind us.  The backpacks always manage to attract attention, and usually makes for some great conversations, especially when the towns are along the trail. 
We also ran into the Noodleheads, a husband and wife who are separately called Angel Hair and Rigatoni, and are known as the Noodleheads.  I really like their trail names.  They are hiking with Philly Steve (who's from Philly - lol).  As we were sitting there, discussing how we were going to Yogi a ride to the trail, a young guy came in dressed in a clean shirt and jeans, and tennis shoes (definitely NOT hiker clothes), and said to us, rather loudly, "Hey, what's up hikers?"  He spoke to us like he knew us.  We'd never seen him before, and really didn't think he was a hiker.  He got his food and pulled up a chair to our table, saying, 'Hey, I'll just eat with you!"  We told him that would be find, but all suspected that he may be a bit high (lol). 
Turns out, he was a thru-hiker, and I had seen him name in the shelter logs.  His name was All Balls (sorry I had to put that here), and he spoke a lot like Keanu Reeves in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, and the argument could be made that he looked a bit like him, so it seemed that he somehow belonged here, talking to us.  Turns out, he was staying at the local hostel, which provided "laundry clothes," which means they had a locker of clothes that you could borrow and wear while you were washing your own hiking clothes.  Once he had explained that to us, he looked behind him, said, "Hey!  Is that Philly Steve?!!"  And just like that, he was gone - poof! - and eating at another table.  We never saw him again.
After that, Keith began visiting with the older couple behind us again (she, 81, him, 89 years old), and he was explaining to them about our trip and the hiking, and then he asked her if it was legal to hitchhike in Virginia.  Now, when you say things like this, a lot of times, people will put two and two together, and offer you a ride.  However, when Keith asked her if it was legal to hitchhike, without missing a beat, she said, "Why, yes, our pastor does it all of the time!"  Keith figured that she had missed the "hitch" part, and repeated it again, and this time, she said, 'Oh, sure, everybody does it."  He finally gave up, and we had a good laugh about that.  I think her husband was understanding the whole scenario, but he was keeping his mouth shut.
We ended up getting picked up by a man in a pickup truck who was also a hiker.  Thank goodness there are lot of hikers out there!  He dropped us off, and told us he would be praying for us.  Love that!  We definitely need all of the prayers we can get! 
We made a quick trip into a shelter just a few miles up the trail, because our AT Guide really bragged on it.  Sure enough, it was one of the nicest we've seen, and it even had a spring-fed shower!  Of course, that would be one icy shower, but still, quite a luxury!  It had a nice large deck on the front of it, with an Adirondack settee, and it also had a picnic table with a roof over it close by.  That's where we saw Dances with Flies again.  He was there with Qtip and his dog, Charlie.  They had just been aquablazing, and had a great time canoeing up the Shenandoah River.  They had shortcutted about 100 miles of trail, and had a blast.  They had played on a rope swing, and I looked at Taylor's (Dances with Flies) video of that on his iphone.  It did look like a blast.
We hiked on, and though we were going to run in a state park for a Coke around supper time, but when we got to that side trail, it turned out to be 1.6 miles off the trail, and we all agreed it was too far to go for a Coke, and besides, we really did not know if the vending machines were inside or out.  We pushed on, and entered a real thick forest - more like a jungle, and the trail got really narrow - too narrow to use trekking poles, matter or fact.  We walked through this for quite a while, which no hope of a campsite for the night.  As it was getting dark, we finally passed a side trail that had a sign that said "Trailhead parking lot," and decided it was probably our best bet for a level peice of land before dark. About this same time, the Noodleheads and Philly came hiking up, in the same situation.  We all hiked up to the parking lot (only .1 miles) and found an RV parked there with a thru-hiker named Spot, and his wife, Starcraft, who was driving their Starcraft RV as his support crew, as he slackpacked down the trail.  She immediately gave us all cold soft drinks and Little Debbie cakes.  They were very sweet folks (probably about 60-ish?) and from Nova Scotia, so I loved listening to their accents.  She came out and took pictures of us, and immediately e-mailed them to us.  Hopefully, that will be the only time we end up in a parking lot next to a noisy road.  That was NOT  a good night's sleep.  To add to the situation, my air mattress decided to leak, and so about 3 times during the night, I ended up "bottoming out," and kept having to reinflate it.  Sigh.

The Noodleheads ~

Swamprat ~

Hard to see, but we and three others tented in the parking lot near Spot and Starcraft's RV ~

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