joshua klevorn

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the misty mountains

far over the misty mountains cold
through valleys deep
on pavement old
we must away
ere break of day
to seek our long awaited goal

the trees were turning to golden wreaths
bright fiery orange
'round riders beneath
from glen to glade
in brilliant shades
'til winds rushed in and felled each leaf

and 'round the road they swept in swirls
curled brown with age
on every hill
we peddled through
the deadened hues
some rustlin' lively some piled still

passed cars of coal on rusty rail
passed deep black mines
we forged a trail
towns large and small
we passed them all
'neath gentle rains and clouds pale

still on we rode following our call
'til setting sun
cast shadows tall
we must away
ere break of day
to return home 'fore end of fall

until next time,
may God hold you in the hollow of His hand

Virginia Creeper Trail

believe it or not, there are days while touring that you forget there's any weight on your bike at all.

today was one of those days.

tried to wait out the rains with a later start this morning, since we were only headed to Damascus for the night, an easy 45-50 miles east of Saint Paul. still got caught by a few scattered showers, however, and with the gusty winds, it stayed fairly cold all the way to Abingdon. it wasn't until then that the sun peeked out for a bit to take some of the chill out of the appalachian fall air.

our midday lunch break (Abingdon) happened to be where the Virginia Creeper Trail started, an old rail line cleared and then covered with fine stone for hikers and bikers. the trail went straight from Abingdon to - you guessed it - Damascus, our final stop for the day. what's more, we'd stopped at a park / outdoor market right near the trail's entrance. though somewhat reluctant to leave the smooth paved roads our bikes were designed for, we'd heard from multiple sources that the trail was worth taking if we wanted to see scenic appalachia.

so glad we did. probably made the mommas pretty jealous with our afternoon ride today: a 15 mile coast down into Damascus, over bridges and along rivers, never going uphill and never going more than 10-12 mph. leaves strewn about the trail, the smell of fresh earth and trees - and not a car in sight. it was an afternoon to remember.

will lay our heads to rest in "the place" tonight, a house filled with wooden bunks, old armchairs and piles of books on and around the common room's mantle. run by the local united methodist church, "the place" was designed specifically for hikers and bikers coming from a myriad of trails that, for reasons unbeknownst to myself, cross paths in Damascus. the area has a beautiful "small town" feel to it at this time of the year, but each May swells to more than 20,000 during their "trail days" festival.

"the place" has blessed us with a hot shower, a few kitchen appliances, a place to sleep, eat and relax with a roof over our heads. God is good.

until next time,
may the road rise up to meet you