Troutville, VA > Afton, VA
More rolling hills and farms as I left Troutville, following some pretty nice roads. It was uneventful smooth sailing (figuratively speaking) to Buchanan and then on to Lexington, home of Washington & Lee University. I had bought a Subway sandwich somewhere along the line and after stopping at the local visitors center to fill up bottles and learn about the town, I sat on an old brick wall downtown and ate my sandwich for a while. Brick is hit or miss for me. I don't like new brick but this whole town was ancient brick and everything looked awesome. Check out the argyle pattern on the building across the intersection! I was enjoying the sit as a change of pace but soon enough, I had to get back on the bike. Next stop: Vesuvius, a foreboding name for sure.
Once at the top though, the views were pretty excellent. These ain't called the Blue Ridge Mountains for nothin'. The road became a series of long rolling hills which was certainly better than the mega climb to get up there. Progress was quicker but still not as quick as I would have liked. Eventually the sun did go down and being much higher and exposed, the temp dropped a lot and very quickly. I stopped and basically put on every last bit of clothing I had at that point and was glad I hadn't brought any less. A few cars stopped to ask if I was ok since it was totally dark, cold and I wasn't close to anything. I was fine, a little tired from the hills of the day, and hungry but I liked being way on up in the sky because they views were pretty great, even at night because you could see the lights of all the towns below.
June Curry or "The Cookie Lady" was a woman that had opened up her home to TransAm cyclists since 1976 and always made them cookies as yet another gesture of hospitality. Even though she passed away in 2012, the lodging still remains open to travelers on bikes as a self-serve kind of place. As neat (and funky) as it was to see all the paraphernalia from people throughout the decades and from every corner of the globe, it was a little creepy being in the basement of this old house by myself. It was also really dirty in there. Like really. The kitchen had mouse poop on the counters and that was just the beginning. I made some couscous for dinner (I had been carrying the box of couscous since Idaho I think) and then settled in on the couch as I read the Cookie Lady's guest book.