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June 24, 1983 Friday (1443.7 mtg) From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

Today George and I would tackle the Tinker Ridge. For the next seven miles or so the trail followed the almost knife edged crest of Tinker Mountain before dropping off the left side. My pace seemed to be quicker than George's and I was soon ahead of him. This may have been partly due to his boot problems, which had been solved only temporarily by the tape addition. This morning we reinforced the fiber tape with some thin nylon rope that I spared from my supply for hanging my pack. This held the boot fairly well, but if it didn't hold until Cloverdale with this patch he was in trouble. I took a break at Hay Rock, a massive slab of uptilted sandstone that is part of the backbone of the Tinker Ridge. The climb up to the tip of this monolith, which was much wider than the Dragon's Tooth, provided a great view of Carvins Creek Reservoir, the valley surrounding it, and of course our favorite - Brushy Mountain. While I was on the rock, George showed up and joined me for a drink of the view. His boots were hanging in there, but just barely. George was very much into photography. I do not know how many pictures he took of during his trip, but I figure it was more than I did.

This was another mostly dry ridge, so the water that I carried was what I drank as I enjoyed the view. The remainder would have to last me the next five miles to the road crossing near Cloverdale. The day was hot and dry as we traveled the ridge and began our descent along a gravel road for a short distance. We began seeing ripe raspberries along the way, which I stopped and picked for later. While on the road we met some locals and George inquired about a place that he could buy some cheap boots to hold him over until his mail drop farther up the trail. They told us about an outlet near Roanoke, just past Cloverdale. This was good news for George. Soon afterwards we came to a busy section of the trail, a place where many roads come together and business was booming. The area seemed to be becoming the truckstop capital of the world with Interstate 81 nearby. I talked George into eating with me at the Country Cookin' restaurant, one of those all you can eat salad and desert bar places that hikers dream about. All you had to do to get the all you can eat bars was to order one of the several entres and the rest was included. They were not expecting what was about to hit their restaurant. I ordered a beef and cheese sandwich with fries, and began my trips to the bar. I consumed a huge salad for the roughage, and then the sandwich and fries they brought out to me. We sat at a small table for two, which ended up almost too small after we started to eat dessert. Between us we consumed thirteen of their various puddings, fruit cups, and other choices. It was a sight to see, most unimaginable to our waitress, who could not believe our accomplishment. I was rather stuffed and amazed myself at eating six deserts after such a huge meal with salad. They made no money on us that day.
George's account of the feast describes it better than I ever could: "They had an all-you-can-eat salad, fruit, vegetable, and dessert bar. Heh, heh, heh -- the fools! They must have loved us. First of all, we went in there dirty. Very dirty. Clothes and bodies virtually unwashed since Pearisburg. Then, we began to eat.
We ordered the steak sandwich lunch special, which came with the bar. I started with a huge salad, a pile of rolls, and a dish of fruit. These are items which I just do not get on the trail. I was most of the way through this course, my appetizer, when the sandwiches arrived.
The finale was where we achieved greatness. Desserts came in little tin cups, which we stacked on our table as we emptied them. Our waitress kept giggling "Oh, my God!" and "That's incredible!" every time she walked past -- I thought my fly was open. Our final tally was thirteen dead soldiers. I killed seven of them: three custards, two strawberry shortcakes, and two chocolate puddings. My stomach felt like a sharecropper who had just won the lottery.
When we left, the restaurant manager was crying and pounding the floor with his fists and his feet. I guess that our eating prowess was so impressive he was overcome with emotion. I waved to the man tacking the Chapter 11 notice on the door as we headed down US 11 towards Cloverdale."
From George's online journal at

We had a difficult time walking the mile along US 11 with bulging bellies to the Motel Hollins where I suggested we stay the night. It was the same motel that I had spent my last night on the trail two years ago. We took a room for two that set us back twenty dollars eighty cents, and settled in. We split the cost. From there I went to the Post Office, which was a little difficult to find. I think it was one of those located in a mobile home trailer, I remember some like that - particularly the one in Newport where I had not stopped this time. I remember it was a mobile home painted with red, white, and blue stripes with just a little room for you to come in and do your postal activities. Whatever the one in Cloverdale was like, it was not on the main drag of the town. I received a package from Glen Stolar and Margaret Porter. Friends are wonderful! It is nice to know you are being thought of.

Before returning to the motel, I stopped at the Green-Way Grocery Store, a hole in the wall tiny grocery store, probably family owned for many years, which was now on the way out as a result of all the expansion and "progress" taking place around the area. Apparently some of their goods had been on the shelf for decades as I found mealy worms in a box of Pop-Tarts, and instant oatmeal that I purchased and opened later in the motel. One of my fond memories from two years ago was of frozen, day old donuts that they sold at a much reduced price. This year they had none. I was very disappointed. I called and talked with mom for a while before heading to the pool for an afternoon swim. We talked for 29 minutes (cost $13.98). The conversation was mostly about what to bring when coming to meet me along the trail over the Fourth of July holiday, the only day mom and dad could take off from the custom meat processing business to meet me. We arranged to meet somewhere along the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Shenandoah Park - exact location not known at this time. I needed another old t-shirt to replace the one I had been wearing, and a tent of some sort since Jim took the one we had been using back with him. I rattled off a large list of things to bring just in case, including materials to possibly build a tarp-tent, my old pup-tent, coleman fuel, camera items, oregano spice, needle and thread, velcro, laundry powder, sugar, clorox (for water treatment), and possibly our swimming suits for the motel pool. Luxury items requested included banana cream pie, jeans, shirt, tennis shoes and socks (all for that day, not hiking), and any other baked goods. (Notes from mom)

George was busy on an adventure to obtain some makeshift boots so he could continue on his journey, so I had the afternoon to myself. I decided to take the buggy groceries back to the store and get some others. Upon opening the "new" pop tart box, I noticed there were a lesser amount of holes in the packaging, figured all their tarts were buggy, so I accepted the extra protein, and decided to chance it.

Watched "Eibeshide", on the color TV that was available in our room, and later went for a wade in the pool and in the process was able to rinse my shorts out once again. Felt very refreshing. Watched Johnny Carson and rinsed out my t-shirt in the sink with soap and water. Rinse, rinse, rinse, and the dirt still keeps coming out. But there is the satisfaction of knowing that it has to be cleaner than when you started. Good thing I will be getting a different shirt soon. Off to bed.

(click image for larger view of Motel receipt)

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983

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