A Monologue with the Æther

A Bicycle Odyssey

Day Twenty-four: Sunday 22 July 1990

Grayson Highlands State Park, Mouth of Wilson, VA to Days Inn, Bristol, VA

Today is full of typical Appalachian cycling — lots of climbing followed by nice downhills and repeat. I pass through Damascus, VA, where the Appalachian Trail passes into Virginia from Tennessee.

So like I said lots climbing up and down hilling, then I enter the valley on the other side the mountains I’m riding through. Now that I’m back in relatively flat terrain, I start to notice that it is really difficult to move the bike forward. In the town of Abingdon, VA, I stop at a payphone and consult the Yellow Pages to find a bicycle shop. I suspect that something on my bike is broken; something that I can’t see. Of course the only repair shops are down in Bristol, VA. Time to make a 20 miles out of the way detour. Also, it being Sunday and late in the afternoon or earlier in the evening, your pick, and being in the southwestern part of Virginia pretty much guarantees that the shop is closed or closing. Fortunately for me, it is the latter. I’m unable to get in before they close, but I do get useful information such as directions and opening time for the following day. Once I reach Bristol, my options for accommodations are limited by what has become a very apparent problem with my rear wheel. I stop and get a room at the first place I find, a Days Inn which appears to no longer be there but might now be the Holiday Inn and Conference Center, not cheap, but nice enough. I think they were even cool about letting me keep my bike in my room.