A Monologue with the Æther

A Bicycle Odyssey

Day Twenty-five: Monday 23 July 1990

Days Inn, Bristol, VA to Hidden Valley Lake, Washington County, VA

So, I hang out in the Holiday Inn after breakfast waiting for the bicycle shop to open (The shop was Mountain Sports, Ltd.). Once the shop opens, I hang out in the shop for a few hours while the mechanic diagnoses then fixes my rear wheel. Turns out that the bearings in the rear hub have been ground up and that’s why it felt like I was riding up hill even when not. I get back on the road in the early afternoon and head back up US 11 North. Given my recent experience, I’m a bit gun shy about the rear wheel. I start thinking that the bearings are shot again without realizing that I’m climbing ever so slightly up hill.

I see a elderly woman out in her yard and ask her if I might use her phone to call the bicycle shop. She permits me and a while later one of the owners comes out and checks my wheel. There is no problem; he informs me that I’m going imperceptibly up hill. At some point, he asks where I plan on staying the night. I have no idea and tell him so. He says my options are limited out here, but he knows a campsite near a lake and offers to take me there explaining that it is up an extremely steep climb. He drives me up, says good-bye, and I set up camp. At some point after dark, a pick-up truck filled with partiers shows and disturbs the peace for a bit. I think that I’m fortunate that they never noticed me. I sleep. The place is Hidden Valley Lake.