Day One Hundred Twenty-one, Date Monday, June 29, 2009
Time in Saddle: 7:34
Distance for the Day: 58.75 miles From BRP SC#5 To BRP SC#6-Saddle Mtn
Accumulated Trip Distance: 5794.15 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 3267’/2822’, Highest: 3763’ Accumulated: 4760’
Speeds: Avg: 7.7 mph, Max: 42.7 mph
Weather: 65° clear with cumulous developing in the afternoon
Got up while it was still dark, about 5:40am; the weather this morning was almost totally clear except for clouds on NE horizon, with beautiful Venus and Jupiter shining amongst the fading stars. There was a slight breeze, and it was a bit cool – I loved it. The heat and humidity of Georgia was just a fading memory, now, as I continued at 6am along the second detour off the BRP through rural neighborhoods composed of mostly farms and ranches. At 7am, I stopped at a mini mart to stock up on food and liquid ($7), still continuing along the detour, when I had my 8th dog incident. By now, I knew the game, and with a whole gaggle of dogs, barking and growling to beat the Devil, I stopped my trike, and *poof* they all stopped and ran away. I’m just no fun for dogs – oh, well. I finally returned back to BRP, and at 7:47am, stopped for a sweet bun, soda and ice cream at the Northwest Trading Post ($6) around milemarker 260, one of the few places on the BRP that had food you could buy. I ate and read my book until 10:30am, then continued on. I stopped every now and then to take pictures of mushrooms on the side of the road, or views from the plenteous overlooks. So far, this was the nicest day on the BRP, weather wise; no clouds, cool, not humid, plenty of shade from trees; sun not hot, yet, birds chirping, squirrels leaping, and was just very comfortable. At about milemarker 256, during a particularly quiet time on the BRP due to a temporary lack of traffic, I watched a fawn and its doe for a few minutes in the forest – a Disney-esque sight if ever there was one. At 2:30pm I got lunch at the Doughton Park restaurant ($12), and stocked up on food and candy at the store, there ($5). While in the restaurant, I recharged my camera and laptop batteries, and also found wi-fi, so handled email and put a quick note into the blog. I stayed about 2.5 hours and at 5pm continued on, hoping to make the halfway milemarker before the end of the day (234.5), which I did! Oh, you’re not going to want to know this, but for the record, I feel it important to include most of the details of this trip, more for my own memory than anything else. I think the last time I changed my clothes (socks, shorts, shirt, and tights) was about twelve days ago, and each day was either hot and humid, and/or very arduous. Interestingly, the people I came into semi-close contact with did not run for the hills, though they didn’t exactly rush to embrace me, either. Every day, my black tights would get a white, powdery residue on them, from the sweat that would wick out from my legs and dry. I would just dust myself off each evening before hopping into my sleeping bag, and look almost as good as new the next day. I think I was getting away with it, but I can’t be certain.
When evening came, around 7:15pm, I stopped at the Saddle Mtn Cemetery (N36 30.472’ W80 56.335’) to see if I could put out my tent on a concrete floor on a covered picnic area next to the cemetery. I hung around reading my book to wait for people to show up from some small church meeting across the street. As some of them began to show up at the cemetery, one lady who seemed to have some authority, was totally okay to let overnight, there – most kind. The temperature was very moderate and the air was still, so there were tons of fireflies over the cemetery, the grass, and even the road. I would have thought they would like being more in the forest, but they seemed to prefer the open air more. I watched them until around 10pm, when they seemed to “turn off,” maybe due to the drop in temperature. Simply magic.