In Wytheville I was alone in the city park. It was quite nice there and was complete with pavillions, gazebos, and washrooms (hallelujah). Given the generous accommodations, I felt no need to set up my tent. Instead, I spread out my tarp, bedroll, and sleeping bag on top of a picnic table. Magico Presto, instant imaginary 4 poster bed. I had attempted this set-up before, but really perfected it this time around. A little of bug spray around the ears, a flashlight near the ready, and a folded blanket as a pillow under my head turned the 3-star Wytheville to a 4-star resort.
24 hours later I stayed in a sister-hotel in Troutville, VA (that is, I slept on another picnic table under a different pavillion). Being an early riser, I had set up my little hotel room just barely after the sun set. There were a couple other bikers, and several Appalachian Trail hikers staying in the park as well. I wasn't surprised when I woke up in the morning to all but one of them having foregone the tent option in favor of my 4-star sleeping arrangement. They all earned double Hotel Alex points for jumping on board so soon. 3 more nights before you get a free night's stay!
Upon arriving in Troutville, I was treated to a hot shower and use of the laundry facilities at the volunteer fire station. By all accounts, many of these fire stations along the route are extremely hospitable and allow cyclists use of their facilities, and sometimes permit them to spend the night inside. After cleaning off the day's ride, another treat! The local church group was holding a BBQ, and offered me free chili dogs! I had several.
I must have spent all of my good karma, because I proceeded to meet an older gentleman who ruined day 40. A trickster, he was - a Loki, a scoundrel, a menace! An explanation to come on my next post.