Saturday, May 17, 2014

Day 42-Damascus, VA

Last night was a lot better than the first night! No complaints here hahaha. It got down to 37-39 degrees last night, rather chilly. Woke up, bushed my teeth, and headed to rent a bicycle. Yesterday Nick rented one for the day and I was super jealous, it is so much easier and quicker to get from Point A to Point B. After the rental we went to Mojoe's for breakfast I got a strawberry banana smoothie, 3 peieces of bacon and two bites of eggs (my only complaint just the food was $6 wasn't enough to fill me up!) so I went back up and got a bagel with cream cheese as well. We sat and talked with a former 2012 thru hiker named Nomad, who told us that during his year there were 3 other Nomads. He also informed us that during the parade the cops stand and take water guns and water balloons to the face and don't do anything about it-I certainly won't be the first one to test that one out! So I rode my daily rental to my humble tent to get my fresh smelling clothes for free laundry and a shower! Can't pass that up-why haven't I been doing this daily?! They even had some single packaged razors for free! Damascus volunteers are spoiling us. After my delightful mobile shower I peddled back to my tent and finished dry shaving my legs so I didn't waste all of their water. Then took the bikes over to Sundog Outfitter for free hot dogs; I got two, and then headed to Subway to get some cool ranch Doritos and an oatmeal rasin cookie. I am wearing my down jacket since my laundry won't be done until 5 and can already start to smell myself so I picked up a Cheshire Cat razorback so I can get some airflow with my jacket open (one bra, in the laundry.) Caught up with Yogi, Hotspits, Sparkle Pony, Rocky, Owl, Stitch, Pocketfire and some others and got our portraits taken for a school project from a kid that drove from NC. I gave him my e-mail so I am excited to see and share the photo with you all! The parade starts at 2:00 so we are all just hanging around waiting for that! Thank god it didn't rain because we all got wet anyways with water guns! 2014 class was great with our bike riding, trail singing:
"Trail song 
Trail song
We make it up as we go along 
Trail song 
Trail songgg 
Cause ya know been hiking all day long"
piƱata carrying, and dancing. After we had to walk to get our bikes though since we ended where our tents are so that sucked walking to them. We decided to hit up the brewery since it is about a mile out of town and the bikes are a huge advantage. It was such a hole in the wall facility (I think it was a garage you rent) and I loved it. They had a guy playing live music and he was really good, I enjoyed some samples and a stainless steel cup of apricot hefeweizen which was really good. I talked with Noodle and Weatherman who did 900 miles of the trail, and then a local woman named Shari who told me the history of the ponies in Grayson Highlands. Eleanor Roosevelt brought them in to keep down the growth and they reproduced and have stayed since! The bikes had to be returned for 5ish he said, so leaving the brewery at 5:10 was acceptable; Korey caught part of his jacket in his chain and dropped his soda twice. After returning the bikes we got subway and charged our phones to try to figure out tonight's plans. I was still in my sexy Under Armor men's boxers since it was laundry day, so I decided to put some clothes on before heading to dinner. We met up with Alpine, Moose, and Teton the plan was Blue Blaze but instead we decided to check out The Mill since it was untouched territory. Walking up it seemed promising, it was right on the river (obviously), there was a band playing out there, a ton of people, and a band inside. We sat inside, ordered drinks, and when she brought my "Angry Orchard" I tasted it and said it wasn't angry orchard so she said no problem let me get you the right one. She came back and I tasted the next contestant; this was not cider either, we then held a little communion session and everyone took a swig before sending the half beer back. She explained she is sorry the bartender is her ex boyfriend and he is being mean to her. Third time is a charm! Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner-I knew before I even took a swig that it was cider (by the smell.) After ordering, most of us got salads and when they actually came there was a small dressing for a big salad so we asked her for another-no problem my brother makes the salads, and he always tries to fuck me, over on the sides she says. The comma is there because there was a slight pause that had us all in awe as to what was coming out of her mouth but luckily it was justified. I guess it's just like a big family reunion at work everyday. She asked about our purple nails since I had to touch up Alpine, Moose, and Teton so we explained and painted two of hers! She then proceeded to tell us that she is going out for a cigarette break, don't get chummy with the waitstaff! Alpine ordered fried corn on the cob to see what it was and was surprised by the size...I guess size does matter. After the waitress telling us she will see us at tent city later, and her suggestive note on the bill we began our night. Moose, Teton, and Alpine wanted to find some enjoyable bicycling beverages so we walked to the grocery store-Landslide is on right now outside of food city. I may cry in public. From food city we walked to the brewery for the thru hiker prom, yes folks-hiker prom. It was so crowded I felt like I was back home at a bar in Hartford, on a Saturday night during Thanksgiving. You couldn't even move. Teton dropped the bag with the wine in it, we said hello to Wild Child, and before I knew it-they were gone. I found Dexter (Korey) and we couldn't find the rest of them, a text comes in that they hopped in a shuttle to tent city-how convenient. Starting our walk back towards town we saw a shuttle in front of food city, it was the tea guy! So we hopped in and went to poison ivy city-woops, I mean tent city. The woods were dark but well lit with each site's Bon fire, and then you heard it. The people, the drums, the chanting; you saw a glow in the woods from the other side. Walking over I didn't know what to expect, well I did. The night before women were topless. Standing around the circle of people you would think a mosh pit was in the middle, until you saw it-the ring of fire. There were not logs in this fire, there were tree trunks. People were dancing in a circular motion around the fire, the drums were pounding, and a game of limbo was going on. Observing from the outside I felt like exactly that, and outsider-disconnected. I got out my phone and started taking photos. Shortly after I noticed Neon was in front of me and we got to talking, we entered the dancing circle ring for 5 turns, I was on fire in my down and rain jacket-they came off leaving me in a tank top (but not topless!) We talked some more and Alpine showed up, I was dragged into the circle by numerous people and danced and sweat the night away. There were some interesting substances going on that is for sure; one older guy, shirtless, was slapping himself and dancing in a way I've only seen the black pupil people in True Blood dance. It was wild and interesting to say the least, and it was great. I hung out with Little Man, Soul Money, Zeek (the cat), until I danced myself tired and then watched two guys juggle around fire and walked back to my tent which takes 15-20 minutes at least to walk. I passed out around 1:30-2:00.

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