Day 39 on the Appalachian Trail

I awoke from my slumbers to deafening snores. So loud that I picked up sleeping bag, pad, poncho tarp, and pack and slept outside the shelter for the rest of the night. I started hiking with 2 liters of water at 6:30am bound for a motel room in Daleville, VA. Easy walking. Through hiker Westy overtook me and we hiked together for 4 miles to the Lamberts Meadow shelter, now closed for camping, at mile 6 on the day. The shelter register contained humorous stories of bear encounters. I got 2.5 liters of water for the dry 9 miles to Daleville and set forth. More easy walking as the day heated up. The Appalachian Trail ran along a ridge to Hay Rock then finally descended toward town. I could see lots of development from the ridge including the Roanoke airport. As I broke out of the forest at the edge of town, I encountered a busy 4-lane highway at the intersection of Interstate 81 and US Hwy 220. I wasn't exactly sure where I was and crossed the highway for a cold drink at a gas station. A customer at the store pointed out that the Howard Johnson motel I sought was actually on the other side of the highway. Back across the highway and into to the air-conditioned office. I rented a room with hiker friend Rush, whom I had just run into. The attached photo shows how I looked before cleaning up. After showers, we walked 3 blocks to the outdoor store to replace the tips on my hiking poles, the Kroger food store, and a haircut and beard trim to improve my prospects for hitch hiking. Drinking a half-gallon of chocolate milk, laundry and dinner followed. It's great to be in town. Today's miles - 15.5. Total miles - 727.5.

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