A zero in Erwin was productive and included a surprisingly excellent Mexican lunch.
After taking advantage of the included motel breakfast I called Marie ‘J-Walker’ Bradford who, along with her husband 10-K, provides hiker shuttles in the area. Fortunately on a busy Saturday she was able to fit me in and drove me the 1.5 or 2 miles to where a laundromat and hairdressers are right across the road from each other and a grocery store is just down the street.
I had wondered how I would feel about becoming increasingly hairy and soon realised it wasn’t for me. I particularly wanted a beard trim in order to give ticks nowhere to hang out. So after starting my laundry wash I went over to see Janice in my rain gear and she did a great job getting me back to my old self while I had good chat with her and a waiting customer. Janice told me it had been even colder last night than the night before so my scheme to get into Erwin was a good one.
And for my colleagues at Jupiter this picture shows you why I don’t do Movember. I think it is quite clear.
After drying my clothes and getting dressed I walked to the Mexican cafe-cum-store that shuttle driver Marie had earlier recommended. It was authentic she said. No kidding. In the middle of Erwin, Tennessee a Mexican family have created a remarkably good restaurant. I had chicken quesadilla and steak fajitas. It was superb, the best food I’ve had on this whole trip. I ate until I was nearly ill and 7 hours late as I write this I’m still full.
Then I resupplied at a large grocery store, Food Lion, taking my time to visit every aisle remembering all the food I used to eat. I want to give a shout out to Rick Elliott from Auburn, Alabama who, back in Georgia, have me a tip to only pack food that gives at least 100 calories per ounce, preferably more. This tip really helps to evaluate options and ensures you carry the least weight possible. Thanks Rick!
Then I had to carry 4 bags a mile or so back to the Super 8. As in Hot Springs a railway track cuts right through town and American freight trains can be huge. As I approached the crossing I saw a train uptrack and hurried along so that I crossed before the alarm went off and the barriers lowered. The train turned out to be slow-moving and approximately the length of Europe. It was still crossing a half mile later when I turned into my motel’s road. Good use of Hurry Mode!
Back at the motel I finished cleaning my tent and other gear and got ready to set off towards Damascus tomorrow. This preparation may have included chocolate, beer and channel hopping aimlessly until I get bored and then doing it again. For tomorrow we ride!