Day 119

Shenandoah NP, VA to Bridgewater, VA
7386 mi

Low Clouds

God, what a morning! At last, the Appalachians reveal themselves to me. In the frosty cold, my first view west reveals mottled orange and yellow hills, warmed on one side by a blanket of morning sun. The road sings to me, the cold air refreshing me, creating me anew every moment. Then I look east. The Piedmont below is filled with a sea of clouds, monadnocks poking up like islands from the waves. All two thousand feet below, while up here the bright sun blesses and bathes me.

I hear a noise as I peel off my jacket. Looking up I watch a big brown bear descend from a tree and run off. The noises continue, and looking again I count three cubs climbing down the same tree, one by one, and taking off after Mom.

Shenandoah Valley

The day’s initial spectacles fade as the sun climbs and the tourists arrive. There’s a convenient place to eat where I chat with a hiker from Maine. He tells me the top of Cadillac Mountain on Mt. Desert Island is the first spot to see the sun in the morning in the entire US.

The next 34 miles are pure play, up and down the hills. The high point near 4,000-ft Hawk’s Bill is over 3,600 feet. It’s a fast trip down into the valley. I’m thankful traffic is light on 33. I get a nasty flat tire, rear, and appreciate the help a passing motorist offers. He lets me use his pump and gives me good directions to Bridgewater.

I arrive about 6:30 pm to meet friends of the Stover family, Linda and Robert Alley, and share dinner with them. Fifteen-year-old Jonathan comes home from his soccer game. He is just like Camella’s brother Torrey: laid back, friendly, and unambitious. I watch a movie with him before sacking out.

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