Currently sitting in my room at 502 South Main B&B...
Well today would go in the "not as I planned" category. My plan was to hike 14 miles, hitch in to Buena Vista for a light resupply, get back on the trail by 1:30, and hike the remaining 11. I guess you can keep that in mind as I relate the actual events. I got up early to allow time for my town visit, hiking over some ups and downs that bounced up to 4000 feet. I crossed Cold Mountain which is kept bald with controlled burns and mowing. The treeless look made for some great views. I went over Bald Knob, which was of course not bald, then descended to US 60 and stuck out my thumb. It was mostly pickups and semi trucks passing by, and even those were few and far between. I gave up after about 45 minutes. As soon as I spread my stuff out on the picnic table for lunch, an old man in an even older pickup pulled over and pointed towards Buena Vista. I hastily repacked my pack and hopped in. As the pickup rolled down the winding ten miles into town, I wondered if I had made a mistake. How would I hitch back? Once again, the prospect of food had won its battle with hard logic.
I enjoyed my Subway sandwich while weighing my options. None of the shuttle providers in town could help me out, and a taxi would cost 35 dollars. I flipped through my AT Guide for inspiration, looking to Lexington, the next town over. Two bed and breakfasts offered thru-hiker discounts PLUS rides to and from the trail. I waffled a little but finally bit the bullet and called 502 South Main. Mary Stuart was so nice that I knew I was making a good call. I hopped on the Maury Express, the bus that connects Buena Vista and Lexington, and left the town in my dust. As we drove a loop around Lexington before going downtown, the driver gave me a tour. He pointed out VMI, Washington and Lee University, and a good ice cream shop. I thanked him as I hopped off and walked a couple blocks to the B&B. I don't really know how to behave at these kinds of places, so I walked right in the front door. I heard no one and felt like I was in someone's house, which technically true. I decided I would try again. I went back outside and rang the doorbell. Mary-Stuart answered the door, looking as warm as she had sounded on the phone. She showed me around to the sided, where I deposited my stinky pack and put all my clothes in a bucket for laundry. I insisted that she not physically touch them.
I took a shower and once my clothes were clean, I was off to the most college-y restaurant I could find: Macado's. I made it in time for happy hour, but I won't bore you with those details. The people-watching was good, and I watched the South Carolina-North Carolina football game until it was delayed for lightning. I was joined by a local who had come out to watch the game. I found him to be good company, so we chatted on and off as we watched sports. He also watched me drink a Schooner, which is what Macado's calls one of their big beers. After 9, there was a special on 2-for-1 quesadillas. I had eaten dinner there about an hour and a half before, but I was ready for more, especially after a couple brewskis. I got my two quesadillas along with a to-go box. I gave the bartender an insulted look and quickly polished off both plates, grinning slyly. I momentarily thought it would be a good idea to break the Styrofoam container over my head in a show of dominance but opted out. I said goodbye to my townie friend and walked back up the street, thinking how Lexington is a nice town and that I was glad to visit. I crawled in to my soft bed and watched a special on Benjamin Franklin, then drifted off to sleep.