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Gosh….what a looonnnng day today! I woke up in Baltimore, MD. My friends, Paul and Cane, wanted to borrow my car to go out for a breakfast while I was working for a few hours. Paul came back right away to tell me that my car’s muffler dropped to the road. My face dropped to the floor, so did my heart. Oh no….lucky, my family was with me. My father, Paul and I discussed the options. I decided to go to Sears to see if they can do the temporary patch on my car, so we can drive to Waynesboro, VA today. I went to check on my car and to my relief, my muffler was intact….just the end part of the pipe part broke off and dropped down due to corrosion. My mother gave me the string to hold the pipe in its place until I get it to Sears. I went beneath the car to put the string on the pipe then drove it to Sears.

Uh oh…..after a few miles of driving, the car came up and tried to tell Paul (he sat in passenger seat) that they saw the sparks flying beneath my car and suggested to us to pull over to check it out. I told Paul that I was going to keep going until I get to Sears. We made it. After discussing the problem and options with the mechanic, we decided to use the bungee cord to hold up the pipe. The kind mechanic did it for free…..he refused to accept the tip from Paul and me.

We had around 3 hours of driving from Baltimore, MD to Waynesboro, VA. However, after passing through Charlestown, WV and driving in the country, the cows in the pasture were literally RUNNING, ahem, more of GALLOPING across the pasture. I was shocked by this scene as they normally do not run when people or cars come around….they just chewing and munching. I told Paul that it was sooo cool to see them galloping!!!!! Paul told me that my car became too loud due to pipe not connected to the muffler (I forgot about it), so that was why it scared them into GALLOPING AWAY FROM US!!!!! I was like….ohhh, that was bad enough!

Dirty Job for Roni

Courtesy photo from Paul Eddie

Good Job, Roni!

Courtesy photo from Paul Eddie

Roger looks on Roni's dirty job

Courtesy photo from Paul Eddie

Paul thought the pipe maybe dropped to the road again, so we stopped on side road. I looked beneath the car and yes, Paul was correct – the pipe came down again! ARGH! The bungee cord MELTED due to heat emit from the pipe!!!!! We drove and noticed the man mowing the lawn, so we stopped by to ask for some help. The man gave Paul some metal coat hangers. Perfect. However, we needed to find a place for me to get under the car to fix the pipe. We found the ditch. I went under the car to hold up the pipe using the metal coat hangers. It took a long while. I got all dirty with gunk, mud, and dirt on my hands. Got pipe into its place at last and off we went to hit I-81 South toward Waynesboro, VA. We stopped by the gas station for me to wash my hands (it took a several washings to get them off from my hands!).

Upon our arrival in Waynesboro, VA area, we joined Paul’s sister’s family for a dinner. We enjoyed our dinner. With 1.5 hours of driving, my temporary fix with metal coat hangers still held the pipe so far. We left Paul’s sister’s house to meet up with our beloved hiker named Raffle Queen to stay with her this week. Cane and I met her on AT last year and became very good friends. It was so good to see her again! She helps and supports all of us hiking AT this week in Shenandoah NPS, then hikes with us this Easter weekend. Despite long day today, it is so good to finally make it to Waynesboro, VA and spend time with Raffle Queen. Meanwhile, I have to figure out what to do with my car’s pipe situation this week while hiking AT. C’est la vie! (That’s life in French).

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13-May-2010 – I bought this pop from Damascus General Store (in Virginia) which was imported from Germany. I tried it and it tasted good. Toast to my dear German buddies as usual! 😎

Last month, I was in Louisville, KY going out for a lunch with Ashley N. and Nanette B. at niffy restaurant named Lynn’s Paradise Cafe. They had a goofy stuff in their store. At that time, I wasn’t feeling well, so I found this perfect hologram sunglasses which said it all what I went through with ugly disease – giradiasis! Nanette B. took this picture. 🙂

Cane bought Black Diamond titanium trekking poles prior to AT expedition. His trusty poles, all bent up in different directions and beaten up, were with him until one of its finally gave up on him while going downhill from Hump Mountain to Rt 19 in Tennessee. Silver Fox was kind by lending her walking stick to Cane, so he can hike with 2 poles instead of one. Fabulous 5 (Rico, Magic, Silver Fox, Cane and RamSham) arrived at Rt. 19 and was going to stay at Rico’s friend’s place in lovely NC mountains. His friend was Christmas Tree farmer….so, cool! 🙂 His friend and Fab 5 were looking around to find replacement for Cane. We went to first ski store and they didn’t have the hiking poles. There were no outfitter for hiking in that area. We tried going to another ski store and got the same result. Ugh! What to do??? Rico asked the employee if he might have any old ski pole that the store can sell to Cane. The employee went in back with Cane’s pole to match the height of the pole with old ski pole. He found the match! Old Black Diamond carbonate ski pole! It was like a match made in heaven! 🙂 The employee said no charge! How kind of them to support Cane to continue his journey on AT! Silver Fox was happy to have her trusty walking stick returned to her. 😉

His other Diamond Black titanium trekking pole continued to survive on its journey until in Virginia. It met its “Virginia Blue” on Peter Mtn. after Pearisburg, VA. Idgie gave one of her Coleman trekking poles to Cane at Pine Swamp Branch Shelter. It only had 100 miles on it. Idgie found and used wood stick as her 2nd trekking pole. That’s absolutely unselfishness on her part to help Cane out. However, the donated Coleman trekking pole lasted for one day until it met its fate before Kelly Knob in Mountain Lake area. H.R. Huff n’ Puff gave his Black Diamond titanium trekking poles to Cane and received Cane’s old Black Diamond ski pole. Idgie got her broken Coleman trekking pole back and continued her journey with it. Before all of us (H.R. Huff n’ Puff, Idgie, Sculler, Cane, and RamSham) part, Cane offered to reimburse Idgie and H.R. for the trekking poles and they declined.  RamSham told them both that they had a big heart – to see that Cane continue to hike with support system that he needed. AT family is enduring support system on-
and off-trail. You get to meet some amazing hikers, trail angels, and people who go out of their way to help you out if you need it. Cane continues to hike with 2nd pair of Black Diamond trekking poles. To this date (12-July-2010),

*1st pair of Black Diamond titanium – RIP

*solo Coleman – broken, but usable, returned to its owner

*Black Diamond carbonate ski pole – exchanged with hiker for a pair of Black Diamond titanium trekking poles

*2nd pair of Black Diamond titanium – going strong, 13-July – one of two poles broke after Cornelinus Creek shelter in central Virginia, so Cane found and used the wooden stick to hike with until 16-July – the orphaned ones is donated to Dutch Haus B & B in Montebello, VA after receiving the used and abandoned Outdoor trekking poles from Lois, the owner of Dutch Haus

*Outdoor trekking poles – beaten up, but hike-able

11) Janice N. mentioned to her colleague abt Cane and RamSham’s AT expedition via blog. Her colleague’s name is Donna “Downhill Donna”. She keeps track of our progress and shares her stories abt her AT experiences with us. We haven’t met in person, but hopefully soon! Funny thing is that her brother, Mike “Track-R” is hiking SOBO from Caledonia State Park in Fayetteville, PA to Damascus, VA since June. Downhill Donna told him to keep an eye out for us since we are NOBOs and may meet and pass each other on the trail. Cane and I had an honor of running into him at Audie Murphy Memorial on 4th of July! They all had a good chat! Cane and I hope to meet Downhill Donna soon as she plans to hike with us and invites Track-R to join as well!
12) Cane is wall flower and isn’t fan of posting stories on our blog, so I am gonna share one of his hilarious stories….it is a must! While I was away to Louisville, KY, Cane was keeping himself busy in Marion, VA. One day, he decided to walk on his own from hotel to library which was around 4 miles away without his white cane. He walked and didn’t see the “sneaky” curb. He stubbed his toe so hard and fell flat on his face on the sidewalk on a small bridge. He eventually got up and continued to walk. Later on, the policeman drove up and stopped him to talk with him. It seemed someone saw him walking “unsteady” and fell down (maybe?), so someone must have called in the police dept. on him….or the policeman might saw him how he walked. So, the policeman asked Cane if he was drinking…..as drunk. Cane explained to him that his walking unsteady is related to his Usher Syndrome – hearing and vision losses on top of balance problem. The policeman understood and asked him if he needed a ride. Cane said yes and of course, he got a ride in the cruiser, but not to the jail!  I hope that from this experience, it teaches Cane a lesson – use the darn white cane when he goes out on his own!!!! 😉 Gee…..I sometime get comments from people and hikers asking me if Cane is drunk because of his “walking unsteady”. It is a good way to educate these people, though.
13) Cane checked himself at hospital in Blacksburg, VA because of his extreme painful toe that lingered on for 2 weeks after stubbing it so hard in Marion, VA without using his white cane. Carol B. was very nice and patient with us by taking Cane to the hospital and waited with me for around 3.5 hrs in the waiting room. It turned out that Cane had an infection, not fracture, in his toe. He was given antibiotics to clear up the infection. Hopefully, Cane learns from this lesson that he should use white cane (I know I preach more than once about using the white cane).

I have a little spare time for myself, so I am grabbing that time to provide some highlights from our AT expedition.

1) I received “gift” massage from Neville at Wood’s Hole Hostel in Pearisburg, VA. She did a magic work on transforming my tattered hiker’s body to renewed ones.
2) My birthday was celebrated at 2 location – in Bland, VA at Dairy Queen with Cane and Golden Ray and in Eddington, VA (near Pearisburg) at fabulous restaurant named The Paradise. I got flourless chocolate cake with candle on it and my fellow hikers including Cane, Golden Ray, Fields, Sculler, Idgie, Jessica, Neville, Michael…..sang Happy Birthday to me. It was beautiful moment!
3) Magic, Cane and I got to interact with around 13 wild ponies after Wise Shelter in VA. We saw 3 baby ponies. Aww!
4) The gopher jumped onto the trail before me around 2 miles prior to Partnership shelter in Marion, VA. I smiled and said, “Aww, what a cutie thing you are!” As soon as I completed said that, the gopher snarled at me!!!!! I was surprised and confused! I hesitated. The gopher ran on her left side into the bush. I shrugged my shoulders and hiked, but kept my eyes on where the gopher has gone to. All of sudden, the gopher roared back and tried to attack me! I used my mighty trekking poles to ward it off from me. The gopher kept trying for a few seconds then backed off and ran in opposite directions. I didn’t dare to wait, so I took off and never look back!
5) The bee stung my upper left part of my rib on side after I left Jenny Knob shelter. I first thought that my backpack was poking me on my side. As my hand reached the area, I saw the bee flying across my face and the tingling and pain set in so fast. I screamed bloody and took off fast as lightning! Poor Cane – he didn’t hear nor see me, so he had no warning. The bee attacked him in turn and stung him 3 times. Ugh! Good thing that Cane and I are not allergic to bee stings.
6) Cane and I got to soak themselves at Falls of Dismal (the name didn’t certainly live up to its name – gorgeous place!) before Watipi Shelter on beautiful day.
7) Cane and I slack packed twice with Wood’s Hole Hostel in Pearisburg and once with the Huffman B & B in Newport, VA.  We loved it and hope to do more of that up along the trail.
8) At Pickle Branch Shelter, I was about to get ready to hit the trail. All of sudden, I felt something in my pocket. I checked by placing my hand into my pocket and felt something moving! The pain flashed before I knew what it hit me…..I screamed and zipped my shorts down, then dropped my shorts down to my ankles. The fat bumblebee flew off upwardly from my shorts! Ahhhhh! What was happened is that the bee decided to fly upward through the opening of my shorts on my left leg. The bee explored and got angry when my hand touched her. It just stung me on my upper part of my thigh as it wanted to get away from me. Geee! Cane and Boston Bones saw my shorts around my ankle but I had black spandex shorts on. Whew! Cane thought it was hilarious of the bee to do that to me. Ugh! I was glad that Carol B. gave Cane the bee stung homeopathic medicine before we hit the trail. It helped to soothe the pain and itch!
9) Dragon’s Tooth was one of most difficult terrain for Cane to deal with. For 7 miles on that day, it took Cane 8 hours to get past the ledges, cliffs, boulders, and rocks. He worked so hard and it wiped out his energy at end of the day. Cane butt-slided on the Dragon’s Tooth, but didn’t let it bit him! 🙂
10) On 7-July, Cane was experiencing heat exhaustion for past 2 days and continued to feel awful on that day too. We had to hike around 15 miles from Campbell Shelter in Catawba to Daleville in heat wave (in 90’s F!). The water sources were drying up on the trail, so we had to ration the water carefully. Cane didn’t move well. He hiked sluggishly. We left Campbell Shelter @ 7:00 and arrived @ Lamberts Meadow Shelter by 12:30. Between both shelters, it was 6 miles and it should take us 3 hours to hike. We were lucky to get some water from stale water on the drying-up creek @ Lamberts Meadow Shelter. We had to hike 9 miles left to Daleville. @ 15:15 (3:15 pm), Cane hiked sluggishly. I had to hike ahead as the prolonging time of hiking, dwindling of water with them, and Cane’s struggle became a big concern for me. I arrived @ end of Tinker Ridge by 17:15 (5:15 pm). I waited for Cane until 19:30 (7:30 pm). I left the note advising him to take gravel road instead of AT because by road, it will help Cane get to Daleville faster. I hiked to Daleville and got a room at HoJo by 20:15 (8:15 pm). I got dinner for myself. I waited until 22:00 (10:00 pm) for Cane to show up @ Hojo, but he didn’t. I called the emergency number. The sheriff came to get some info from me. The search & rescue teams have been assembled to search for Cane. I told them to check for gravel road’s end as I left note for Cane to go that way. It turned out that Cane sat at end of gravel road waiting for anyone to get him. He was found @ around 23:15. Thanks goodness! He ran out of water around 3/4 way after leaving Lamberts Meadow Shelter. He was dehydrated, but appeared to be ok. Whew! We took a couple of zero days in Daleville.

Ok, there you go, my dear followers! Hope to share more stories later on. Hugs to y’all!

I got this from my dear friend, Julie D. What a good laugh before hitting the trail! 🙂 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Lone Ranger and Tonto went camping in the desert. After they got their tent all set up, both men fell sound asleep.

Some hours later, Tonto wakes the Lone Ranger and says, ‘Kemo Sabe, look towards sky, what you see? ‘

‘The Lone Ranger replies, ‘I see millions of stars.’

‘What that tell you?’ asked Tonto.

The Lone Ranger ponders for a minute then says, ‘Astronomically speaking, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Time wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three in the morning. Theologically, the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.

What’s it tell you, Tonto?’

‘You dumber than buffalo dung. It means someone stole tent.’

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Appalachian Trail

Map of entire Appalachian Trail - 2,179 miles/3,507 km - through 14 states - Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine

Map of entire Appalachian Trail - 2,179 miles/3,507 km

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