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Saturday, June 2, 2007

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Breaks Interstate Park, VA to Rosedale, VA
41 miles

Last night we stayed at the Breaks Interstate Park, wich has free camping for cyclists. The park was huge, and had plenty of wildlife. There had been several bear sightings, so we made sure to hang our food in our bear bag before we went to bed. At some point in the night, I woke up to the feeling that something was rummaging around close to me. I peeked out the mesh lining of my bivy sac and came nose to nose with a snout that I could only imagine would belong to a large creature, most likely a bear! The first thought that came to mind was that I needed to get up and make myself look big and to make a bunch of loud noises to scare him off. But in my half-asleep state, I couldn't quite make my body move the way I wanted, and in my panic, I screamed in frustration and fear. Then suddenly, I woke up and realized I had been dreaming. I opened the bivy sac and looked around, just in case. Dana opened his as well and asked me what was wrong. "Just a nightmare." Whew. I made a mental note to wash my underwear real good the next morning, and laid awake for a long time before I fell asleep again.

We had someone join us on our route for a mile or two. As we were riding, a big, friendly german shepherd wanted to chase us, but since we were going uphill, it wasn't an exciting chase. So he trotted alongside of us as we rode. After a mile or so, he got bored and went back home.

We rode over two big peaks today, which were tough, but there were also some downhills in between. As we got about 10 miles from our destination for the night, it started to rain. At first it was just a drizzle, then it rained harder, then it really poured. I saw a local newspaper with an article about the extreme lack of rain they had been getting in the area. Somehow, luck doesn't seem to be on our side.

We biked for 8 hours today and only made it 41 miles so we are going really slow in these mountains. Tomorrow we have the most difficult climb in this mountain range so we are resting and will be ready to continue in the morning.

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