24, 1983 Friday (1443.7 mtg) From
Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal
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
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
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
From George's online journal at http://www.skwc.com/exile/Hail-nf.html
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.
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
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)
Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983