Photos – U.S. Bike Trip – 1976-1977 (Set Six – Olympic National Park, WA)

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Photos – U.S. Bike Trip – 1976-1977 (Set Five – Utah)

Photos – U.S. Bike Trip 1976-1977 (Set Four – Big Bend National Park, TX to Colorado)

Photos – U.S. Bike Trip – 1976-1977 (Set Three – Sea Gun Resort Hotel, Rockport, Texas)

Photos – U.S. Bike Trip – 1976-1977 (Set Two – West Virginia to Texas)

Photos – U.S. Bike Trip – 1976-1977 (Set One – Michigan to Ohio)

Bruce and I didn’t take many photos during our great bicycle adventure around the United States back in 1976-1977, because we didn’t have a budget for taking pictures and developing film.  After the trip was over, the few pictures that we did take were passed around for folks to look at – and most of them were accidentally lost somewhere along the way.  So the pictures that I’ll post here over a series of articles are the only photos or color photocopies of photos that I still have, and some of the color photocopies of the original photos are in poor condition after being stored away for 32 years.

In the end, life is unpredictable and “stuff happens;” so although it would be nice to look at the original photos – it’s the memories that count in the end.  I kept a log book of our bike trip that is part of my autobiography, “In Search of the Meaning of Life” – which holds those memories for me.  I’ve created a separate category on the blog called “Bike Trips,” where I keep my log book entries and the photos from my bike trips available for quick access without having to sift back through everything else.

So the photos and color photocopies of photos that I do have remaining, will have to suffice in giving you the “flavor” of our adventure regardless.  After all, a picture really is worth a thousand words – or even more.  As I look back on what I call “The Great Adventure,” it was the beginning of the rest of my life, having consciously made the decision to step off of the well worn path of life and take the “road less traveled.”

That momentous decision from 33 years ago in early 1976 to leave school and chart my own course in life, was the most significant decision that I ever made – and profoundly influenced the rest of my life – right up to today.  After all, it is your life that you’re living and no one else’s…and you only get one chance to live it.  In the end, I wouldn’t have changed anything in my life; and given a chance – I’d only try to do a better job at accomplishing the things that I attempted to achieve in life.  Because despite the mistakes I’ve made in life trying to get the details right, I have lived the life that I wanted to live and wouldn’t have changed a thing…because it was the life that I chose to live!

So now, without further adieu, enjoy the show!  🙂

Cheers,

Mark

In Search of the Meaning of Life – An Autobiography (Chapter Seven, Part Seven – The U.S. Bike Trip Continues)

Tuesday, October 26, 1976     Day 35     70 Miles, Total: 1255 Miles     $10.10, Total: $298.79

We got up at 8:00 a.m., and Bruce said that Dave’s alarm had gone off at 6:00 a.m., but I hadn’t heard it.  Once I do get to sleep, I sleep like a log.  So we packed our things up, said goodbye to Jan, and rode on.  We saw some other bikers that were riding to Florida, and they said that the local YMCA was a good place to have breakfast, so we tried it out.  We ordered eggs, sausage and pancakes for each of us, but the waitress got the order wrong and only brought one order.  She probably didn’t think that we could eat that much.  We decided not to argue, and I ate the eggs and sausage while Bruce ate the pancakes and paid $2.60.  After cashing a check downtown, we rode south on Highway 401, and had a second breakfast of pancakes and sausage for $4.00.  After continuing on south with a tail wind for about 15 miles, we stopped at a Tastee Freeze for ice cream and spent $1.50.  Then after another 15 miles, we happened across a Hardee’s and had a milkshake and a Coke each for a total of $2.00.  With our eating behind us, we got down to business and made excellent progress all the way into Fayetteville, NC.  We bought a twelve pack of Michelob to celebrate, and went over to Dave and Bren’s house.  Dave is Bruce’s brother and is stationed here at Fort Bragg in the Army.  Dave was home, and Bren came home a while later, only to be surprised at the door by Bruce.  We had a good party that night, along with Roger and Bob, two of Dave’s friends from the Army.  Dave and Bren have a nine month old son named Chad, who is a really neat little kid.  All for now.

Wednesday, October 27 through Monday, November 7, 1976     0 Miles, Total: 1255     $91.00, Total: $389.79

Visited with Dave and Bren for 13 days.

(1994 Editorial Comment:  We were very happy to have reached Fayetteville, and for the chance to stay with Bruce’s brother’s family.  This was just like being home again for us, and it was our second “oasis” on the trip so far, and the first break in the journey since Louisville.  The weather was nice, and we concentrated on relaxing and enjoying ourselves.  We saw the Freedom Train in Raleigh, and visited Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base.  We also bought two pairs of new Levis, had Bruce’s boots resoled, and bought two machetes.  We thought the machetes would come in handy some day.  This was also my first exposure to military life, as Dave had to keep working while we were there.  At Fort Bragg there were soldiers marching and running in formation while singing Army songs and helicopters flying in the air.  Pope Air Force Base had large airlift aircraft to watch, and we got to see Raleigh in style, without the bikes.  All in all, those 13 days were very relaxing and enjoyable, and Dave and Bren’s hospitality was very much appreciated.)

In Search of the Meaning of Life – An Autobiography (Chapter Seven, Part Six – The U.S. Bike Trip Continues)

Thursday, October 21, 1976     Day 30     65 Miles, Total: 1010     $14.50, Total: $249.51

We cleared out of the pavilion and traveled east on Highway 250 into Charlottesville.  We stopped at a Humpty Dumpty hamburger restaurant and spent $4.50, but the food wasn’t very good.  The wind was very strong, gusting to 35 mph, and when we saw that Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello, was on the top of a hill we decided to skip it.  We continued south on Route 20, the “Virginia Byway” or better known as the “Constitution Route” according to the signs.  Along the way we stopped at a grocery store and spent $10.00 on a lot of canned food.  There were quite a few large old stately southern homes along the route, but later there was a marked contrast of poor, broken down shacks.  About the time we were thinking of finding a place to camp for the night, we came across a house set back from the road and surrounded by the scrub pine forest that blanketed that part of Virginia.  In the driveway was a Cadillac, a Blazer and a Grand Prix; not to mention an inboard/outboard speed boat.  So we decided that this house was just as good as any other to ask permission to camp nearby.  We asked the man at the door if we could pitch a tent in the back corner of their yard, which was huge, and he said ok.  After the tent was set up, he and his wife invited us in for lasagna, and at the time I think it was the best meal that I had ever eaten (JoAnn and Gene – Mr. and Mrs. E.R. Davis, Dillwyn, VA).  In the morning Mrs. Davis invited us in for the biggest breakfast of our lives: toast, eggs, sausage, coffee, orange juice.  Mr. Davis was in the wood pulp business, and came back home for a late breakfast from work.  We stayed for a short while after breakfast to listen to Mrs. Davis tell us her family’s life story and to catch up on the local gossip, then we had to ride on.

(1994 Editorial Comment:  The land in Virginia was changing from the rocks and old forests of the Appalachians, to scrub pine forests and sandy earth.  Gone were the vast mountain vistas and scenic views, but now I was beginning to get the “coast fever.”  I coined the phrase that “it’s all downhill to the coast from here” and must have quoted it a million times between the Appalachians and the Atlantic Ocean.  But the funny thing was that there never was a “downhill to the coast” road, and there was even a sand dune to climb over before making it to the beach once we were at the ocean.)

(2009 Editorial Comment:  We had now traveled 1,010 miles and passed the first really big milestone so far on the trip.  This was our first experience with “Southern Hospitality” and the Davis family took us in as if we were part of their family – as if long lost “relatives” – and Mrs. Davis brought us up to date with everything was happening in their family, in Dillwyn and in the wood pulp industry.  What a fantastic experience this trip was for us, and meeting and talking with people along the way was quickly becoming the trademark experience of this trip.  What had started out as adventure – bicycling, camping and traveling – was evolving into an adventure focused more on life, as we met people along the way that helped us and that we ended up relying on.  Again, Mrs. Davis was extending to us her warm Southern Hospitality as a way to “mother” us while we were out on the road – in what I believe was a tribute to all mothers everywhere.)

Friday, October 22, 1976     Day 31     45 Miles, Total: 1055 Miles     $6.00, Total: $255.51

After we left the Davis’ house this morning, with a gift of a can of stew for the road, we rode down through Farmville and ate at a local restaurant for $5.00.  Then we kept on riding, and met a guy from Theta Kai fraternity at Hamden-Sydney College.  He said that we could crash there for the night, so we ate some bananas ($1.00) and other snacks, and went over to the college.  The frat house was a really bad mess, but we put the bikes in the basement and watched the Ali-Norton fight on TV, and then some of the Carter-Ford presidential debate before going to bed in the basement.  During the afternoon we had gotten in some Frisbee practice in the front yard of the frat house, and there was the usual music playing from speakers propped up in the windows, and guys drinking beer on the front steps.  We slept on a little stage in the basement that was covered with dirt, as it was the cleanest place that we could find.  The rest of the basement was a garbage dump, with cans and garbage all over the place.  We salvaged two warped spring bed frames and slept on them, which wasn’t that bad.

(1994 Editorial Comment:  The sun was shining, the temperature warmed up a bit and we took most of the afternoon off enjoying the chaotic atmosphere of the frat house.  It was time to unwind a little and have some fun, and that is exactly what we did.)

(2009 Editorial Comment:  The basement of that frat house really grossed us out, and was the kind of place that you could hardly walk through for all the junk and trash down there, and where you certainly didn’t want to touch anything.  Despite our surroundings, we managed to find a “sanitary” way to deal with everything and were able to get some sleep.  The frat house environment for a 20 year old that hadn’t partied very much in life was a real circus – and fun.)

Saturday, October 23, 1976     Day 32     55 Miles, Total: 1110     $20.18, Total: $275.69

We slept pretty good last night, got up at 8:00 a.m., and left early.  The road took us up into Keysville, where we bought milk, two boxes of natural cereal, and breakfast rolls for $3.50.  After our breakfast, we rode south on Highway 15 until it became a divided highway.  On that highway there was a very tall forest observation tower that we climbed, and afterwards we ate some cereal at the tower’s base and lay out in the sun, although it really didn’t get very warm.  We continued south on Highway 15, and stopped at a Tastee Freeze for a couple of Sundays – $1.50.  Then we rode on into Wylliesburg and then on to Red Oak.  We found that there wasn’t much in either town, and kept going south until we got to Buggs Island Lake.  We crossed the lake on a bridge going into Clarksville.  We stopped at a police station in Clarksville, and they let us sleep in a side room of the station.  It doesn’t get much safer than that.  We dropped off the bikes and went to eat at a restaurant, and although you won’t believe this, we splurged and ordered a half chicken each with tossed salad, vegetable, potatoes, rolls, milk, strawberry shortcakes with whipped cream and ice cream.  It was all topped off with a bottle of Michelob beer.  The total came to $15.18, which shot our budget for a month, but it was really good.  We decided that we couldn’t live on canned lasagna forever.  I only had $12.00 with me at the time, so I walked back to the police station to get a traveler’s check and came back.  It’s about 7:30 p.m. and we’re getting ready to crash for the night.  If we get an early start tomorrow then Fayetteville, North Carolina, should only be two days ride from here.  I’m sure that we’ll sleep good tonight.

(1994 Editorial Comment:  We were loosening up again, after the challenges of the mountains that we had left behind.  The trip was starting to become fun again, the weather was warming up, and we could almost smell the Atlantic Ocean’s salt air breeze from where we were.  We were resigned to the fact that our money was starting to run out quicker than we had planned, but our attitude was to enjoy it while we could.  Besides, in two days we’d be at Bruce’s brother’s house, and then we could relax for a while.  Still, plans were being sketched out for finding a job, for when and where we would need it.)

(2009 Editorial Comment:  I remember as I wrote the dinner account in the log book that no one would believe the meal that we had ordered and eaten.  In a way we were celebrating having made it through the Appalachians and it was important to enjoy our success – no matter how fleeting or short lived.  What’s the point of going on an adventure if you can’t even enjoy it and celebrate now and then?  The traveler’s check episode was actually funny to read about again.  We carried all of our money in traveler’s checks, and every time we cashed one it was very obvious that our money was dwindling – fast.)

Sunday, October 24, 1976     Day 33     30 Miles, Total: 1140 Miles     $11.00, Total: $286.69

When we woke up it was raining, so we stayed in bed a while longer until 8:30 a.m.  By 10:00 a.m. the rain had stopped, so we decided to take our chances and make a run for it.  About ten miles north of Oxford, NC, it started raining and it continued until we were just about into town.  In Oxford, we went to a Hardee’s hamburger restaurant and spent $5.00 on dinner.  After dinner we went over to the local police station and asked them if we could stay in a back room out of the rain, and they let us put the bikes in a council room.  Afterwards we walked through the town, but there was nothing going on on a Sunday.  We bought some ice cream for $2.00, and then bought some breakfast food and snacks for tomorrow – $4.00.  Back at the police station we made some Jiffy Pop in the council room, but we cooked it a little too long and it smoked the place out.  Then we watched some football games on TV, followed by 60 Minutes, and then decided to go to bed at 8:00 p.m.  All for now.

Monday, October 25, 1976     Day 34     45 Miles, Total: 1185 Miles     $13.00, Total: $288.69

We left Oxford and rode south on Highway 15 after eating our breakfast of donuts at the police station.  It had rained that night, and it was lightly sprinkling when we left.  As we rode south the road went up and down, and never did seem to straighten out.  In a small town we bought bananas, milk, and orange juice for $2.00, and took a lunch break.  Then we continued south on Highway 50 on the way towards Raleigh, and saw one of the policemen from Oxford while he was off duty.  The road continued on like a roller coaster into Raleigh, and we soon found ourselves on a highway that must have had twelve lanes.  In town we went to the Salvation Army, after the firemen in town gave us directions, but no one was there.  It started raining, so we waited for a while under the overhang of the church.  From there we cycled into the downtown area, cashed a check, and stopped in at a Chamber of Commerce office and asked for directions to N. Carolina State University.  We hoped to find a frat house or someplace to stay for the night.  It started raining once again along the way, so we stopped at a sub shop and ate three submarine sandwiches and washed them down with four beers for $5.00.  After asking direction again, we started out in the rain, and I saw a girl riding a bike with touring panniers on it on the other side of the road.  At the light she rode over to us and explained that she and her boyfriend had been riding from Buffalo, NY, and had had some problems and were staying in Raleigh.  She invited us to stay in their apartment for the night.  We were happy to get out of the rain and to get a shower.  Actually it was a bath, and that night we all went out for two more subs and six more beers for $6.00.  Then we crashed for the night in their apartment.  It turned out that the place had fleas, and I didn’t sleep at all, since the fleas were biting me all night long.  Such luck.  They were nice folks though – Dave and Jan.

In Search of the Meaning of Life – An Autobiography (Chapter Seven, Part Five – The U.S. Bike Trip Continues)

Saturday, October 16, 1976     Day 25     45 Miles, Total: 825 Miles     $7.20, Total: $202.41

We woke up early, and were on the road by 9:00 a.m.  Our first stop was a restaurant for pancakes and bacon – $5.00.  Then we rode on past Spruce Knob, the highest point in the state.  We turned east on Highway 33, after having been traveling south, and right away we met a mountain in front of us.  The locals called it Northfork.  After we had walked the bikes two miles up the mountain, a couple of old men in a truck stopped and asked us if we wanted a ride to the top.  They said it was four more miles to go.  As we were limping a bit anyway and quickly calculated that another four miles would probably ruin our ankles, we accepted the ride and put the bikes into their truck.  When they opened the door for us to climb in, a whiskey bottle rolled out onto the ground.  The two of them weren’t feeling any pain – that we were sure of.  We couldn’t believe just how high the road went up the side of that mountain, and it seemed like it went on forever, even by truck.  At the top of the mountain they said that they were going on to Franklin anyway, so they took us the next ten miles into town.  We figured that it was a good way to make up for the lost time that we had spent climbing Seneca Rocks yesterday.  After they dropped us off, we rode on a way longer and later rested by a river to eat four peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  After our lunch, we rode on to Brandywine, where we bought some breakfast rolls, chocolate milk, and ice cream for $2.20.  Just outside of Brandywine, we stopped at the George Washington National Forest to camp for the night.  All the camping spots had been filled, so we camped in a field with all of the extra hunters that were in the area at the time.  There were a bunch of hunting dogs in the field with them, and the dogs were putting on quite a howling concert.  We were given some fuel this morning for our camp stove by one of the climbers, and we used the stove to heat up a can of lasagna and beefaroni.  The meal tasted very good warm, for a change, and the stove worked fine.  There is a shower here at the official campground, but it turned out to have only cold water, and we decided not to use it.

(1994 Editorial Comment:  We had gone through one fifth of our money in less than a month, and still felt like we would be lucky to last until Christmas on the money that we had left.  Florida was looking better all the time, especially surrounded with the cold October weather we had at the time.  This wasn’t Ohio anymore and the further we went into the mountains the farther away from home we were beginning to feel.  We had come 825 miles at this point, and we had acclimated ourselves to the weather and to life on the road.  Even with the nagging ankle problems, which started out from not enough pre-trip preparation because we were working too many hours through the summer and I was recovering from dental surgery, we were starting to feel “road hardened” from the trip.  The process of even pushing one of our heavy bikes miles and miles up the side of a steep mountain wasn’t an easy one, and we knew that we were getting stronger with each passing day.)

(2009 Editorial Comment:  Before the trip we hadn’t purchased any fuel for our brand new camp stove, and as the weather wasn’t really bad at the time we didn’t give it much thought.  Tonight we were glad to have the fuel that was given to us – and a hot meal on the road for once.  I later made a pen and ink correction here, to account for our later financial reconciliation, to indicate that we had really gone through one fourth of our money in less than a month.  Everything that lay in our future was unknown to us, but we were enjoying the present – even with all of our difficulties.  This was for us a real adventure – into the unknown.)

Sunday, October 17, 1976     Day 26     40 Miles, Total: 865 Miles     $7.00, Total: $209.41

It rained all night long last night, and the sleeping bags and some of our equipment had gotten wet.  When we woke up it was still raining, and very cold.  After a short while it started to snow along with the rain, and then it all turned to snow.  It snowed for an hour or so, collecting on top of the hunter’s cars, but not sticking to the ground.  When it finally stopped, we got dressed, and as the showers had only cold water, we made a plan for the morning.  We hitchhiked into Brandywine together and bought $7.00 worth of stew and soup to heat up on the stove, as we were out of food this morning.  The stove is worth its weight in gold.  We started the trip without fuel, and up until yesterday we hadn’t been too concerned, but now it was just too cold and we needed warm food.  Once we got back to the tent, we heated up some chunky soup, packed up our wet tent and equipment, and started on down the road to Harrisonburg.  We walked the bikes five miles up the Shenandoah Mountains, and there was snow all over the mountain tops, and about two inches of snow covered the trees along the road.  It was pretty cold, and we were wearing our warmest clothes with wind pants and windbreakers over everything else.  We cruised down the other side of the mountains into the Shenandoah Valley, and finally arrived in Harrisonburg at nightfall.  We had left the campground area at 2:30 p.m. this afternoon.  We went into town and walked the bikes from one end of town to the next, looking for a place to sleep.  I got a flat tire somehow along the way, probably from all of the curbs in town.  Sidewalks are bad luck it seems.  We came to Madison College, and met a guy named Chris by the library who said that there was an empty room in the house he was renting, so we went along with him.  After a warm shower, we settled down to a good night’s sleep.

(1994 Editorial Comment:  That morning in the George Washington National Forest I couldn’t help but compare our situation with that of George’s “rag tag” army during the Revolutionary War, as they waited to cross the Potomac River.  It was so very cold, and we were wet, and out of food.  The situation was looking pretty bleak as we looked out of the tent into a blizzard of freezing rain and giant snowflakes from the confines of our tent.  At times we were faced during the trip with a decision to make, and even if it wasn’t a life or death decision, it often seemed like it was at the time.  Our choice was to go back into town for food that day.  Other times it was to pack up the tent in the rain and make a run for a barn, or to leave a train tunnel for no promise of anything better in the next town.  It is only after being challenged, and successfully overcoming that challenge that you are faced with at the moment, that your life is enriched and grows in new dimensions.  It is a poor life that has never been challenged, that never knows what potential was there all along, and that doesn’t have in reserve the knowledge and confidence of past conquered challenges to provide a foundation for overcoming future challenges.  We were survivors, and no matter what was placed in front of us, we were going to make it through each and every day.)

(2009 Editorial Comment:  We left the bikes with the hunters to hitch a ride back into town, figuring who’s going to steal anything from a field full of guys with guns and dogs?  The clothes we normally wore every day on the trip were Levi’s jeans, a T shirt or long sleeve shirt, a blue jean jacket once it got cold and a down vest over that.  On this occasion we had on our gloves, watch caps, and rain gear over everything.  We layered everything, and as we went through the day we changed layers as necessary.  In this case it was really, really cold; and we had on everything that we could put on.  The only problem with layering was sweating inside all of the layers, but we did our best to let the air flow in without freezing.  We were so used to getting wet by now that it didn’t really matter much – wet was wet – from rain or sweat.)

Monday, October 18, 1976     Day 27     40 Miles, Total: 905 Miles     $12.10, Total: $221.51

We got up at about 9:00 a.m., showered, said goodbye to Chris, and rode on Highway 33 over to the Skyline Drive.  In Harrisonburg we ate breakfast at Burger King for $5.10, and then purchased $7.00 worth of groceries at the local grocery store, buying soups and canned stews.  Once on the Skyline Drive we went south, and the road turned into a roller coaster, going up and down all the time.  We decided to try and make it to a mountain campground that was up ahead, but it was dark before we got there.  The campground was on the top of a mountain, and we had to push the bikes up the mountain a long time before we got to the top.  We finally made it to the top, almost dead from exhaustion, and from the bitter cold.  We got out the camp stove and heated up a couple of cans of food.  After eating, we still had to go higher up another road to find the campground.  No one was there when we finally arrived, and we found that one of our flashlights was dead since it must have been left on in the backpack.  So we set up the tent in the dark with only one flashlight.  The temperature dropped to 10 degrees that night, but we managed to stay warm enough, which was probably because we were so tired that we didn’t notice.

(1994 Editorial Comment:  I remember being so exhausted trying to make it up that mountain, only to find that the campground was never just around the next bend.  There are times when you are so tired that you start to give up caring anymore, and you just want to lie down where you are.  I can also remember being that tired when climbing a mountain in Utah, and again while climbing in the Grand Canyon.  It was so cold that night in the dark that setting up the tent was an almost impossible task.  Had it not been for that hot meal and a short rest, I’m convinced that I would never have made it to the campground, and would have collapsed on the side of the road.)

Tuesday, October 19, 1976     Day 28     40 Miles, Total: 945 Miles     $12.00, Total: $233.51

We woke up in the morning, amazed that we hadn’t frozen to death.  We finished off a box of natural cereal that we had with us, and got up and packed.  I washed my hair in the sink of the campground’s bathroom, which woke me up in a hurry.  We continued on our way, riding south on the Skyline Drive, and it continued the same roller coaster trip from the day before, as the elevation varied from 1900-3500 feet, not quite the level ride that people had told us it would be.  We finally made it to the Waynesboro exit, and ate lunch at a Howard Johnsons for $8.00.  Earlier in the morning we ate two cans of stew for breakfast, and two cans later while resting at a scenic overlook area.  Our route then took us down out of the mountains on Highway 250 towards Charlottesville.  We saw a campground about ten miles east of the Skyline Drive, and stopped in.  After paying our $4.00 fee, we set up the tent and were invited to have dinner in a camper by an older couple.  We had ham and all the trimmings, which filled us right up.  Bruce kept right on eating while I started writing this log book entry, and he cleared the whole table off, even finishing the jello bowl.  Now we’ll go and take a hot shower in the campground’s facilities, and then crash for the night.  That’s all.  P.S. – When we were on the Skyline Drive, some guy went nuts with his camera and took our pictures for about ten minutes.  We also saw someone riding a horse along that scenic, but hilly, route.

(1994 Editorial Comment:  Bruce and I made an interesting observation many times during this trip, and that is that the majority of people can’t give directions to save their lives, much less describe the terrain and condition of a route.  Usually when given directions, we would have to discount most of what we were told because of wrong information.  Every now and then, someone would describe for us perfectly what lie ahead, although that was very rare.  For you see, we studied our maps all day long during the course of the day, and again at night in preparation for the next day’s route.  Then armed with a good understanding of where we needed to go next, we often asked for directions in order to reconfirm what we already though we knew, or for extra detail as to what to expect along the way.  Most of the time we would have been better off asking people to predict the weather.)

(2009 Editorial Comment:  We were in a “grind it out” phase of the trip now.  Chris had been nice to let us stay in his extra room two nights ago, but otherwise it was camping out in tough conditions.  The guy with the camera on the Skyline Drive must have seen something in us that really caught his photographer’s eye, probably the “road hardened” travelers that we had become by then.  The Dobson’s were extremely nice and kind to us in the campground as they must have seen a need to take care of us in what probably looked to them as two “road weary” charity cases, as we ate everything that was set on the table before us that night.  Regardless of what people saw or didn’t see in us, we were as immersed in this adventure as if we had fallen into the deep end of a swimming pool – treading water for all we were worth to keep our heads above water.)

Wednesday, October 20, 1976     Day 29     0 Miles, Total: 945 Miles     $1.50, Total: $235.01

Well, it rained all night long, having started out just when we went to bed.  The dirt that we had pitched the tent on the night before became a sea of mud by morning.  My new air mattress must have a slow leak in it, because it collapsed about half way through the night.  We woke up, and I made a run for the showers, and then Bruce worked up enough courage after a while to do the same.  We sat the rain out all morning, while staying dry under the overhang from the roof of the shower house.  At lunchtime we were invited back into the camper for coffee, and our elderly friends actually forced us to stay for lunch, and we almost ate them out of house and home, after they first twisted our arms of course you see (Arthur W. Dobson, Cambridge, MD).  We stayed in the trailer with them (a silver Airstream trailer if I remember correctly), for a couple of hours talking and watching it rain.  Mr. Dobson then suggested that we ought to go down to the campground’s office, and ask them to use the pavilion that we hadn’t seen yesterday.  The Dobson’s insisted on paying for our camping fee of $4.00, and we packed up and walked the bikes about 3/4 of a mile through the rain to the pavilion.  We washed the mud off of the tent and gear, and hung everything up to dry under the roof of the pavilion.  We spent $1.50 on ice cream and amusement games, as there was little else to do while it rained.  The rain is starting to let up now, and we’ll probably go to sleep pretty early tonight.  The weather tonight should turn out to be clear and cold.

(1994 Editorial Comment:  Between the guy taking our pictures yesterday, and Mr. Dobson and his wife taking care of us here in the campground, we must have looked like charity cases.  We had more gear on our bicycles than anyone had ever probably seen before, and our standard blue jeans and blue jean jackets were probably looking pretty worn by now.  The Appalachian Mountain chapter of our trip was now behind us, and we had survived.  The land was beautiful, but the temperatures and the amount of gear that we were carrying had taken a toll on us, and all that we could think of now was making it to the coast, and then on to sunny Florida.)

(2009 Editorial Comment:  I think that Mr. and Mrs Dobson saw in us that familiar parental fear of somehow seeing “their” children or grandchildren out on the road and in a bind as they looked at us; and for all parents everywhere took pity on us and decided to do what they could to help us out.  We were more than appreciative – we were extremely grateful for their assistance in completing this last portion of our Appalachian Mountain adventure successfully.)