I woke up at 03:40. The moon is still up at that hour but I doubt much else is. I had my stuff all set and was ready for Lil when she arrived promptly at 04:30 to take me to the airport. She got me there at 05:00 and I got to experience the new terminal that has been built to house Northwest airlines. It is big, shiny, and crowded even at 05:00. I spent about 25 minutes in the quick moving ticket line and then another half hour in the security line (should have used curb-side check-in.) I reached my gate after a rather long brisk walk just after 06:00. My flight left at 06:30. Maybe in the future I will give myself a bit more time. After the flight to Memphis, Tennessee things began to go wrong. We waited and waited for our prop plane to arrive and take us to the Tri-Cities airport (Johnson City, Bristol, and Kingsport, Tennessee). It eventually arrived already running 30 minutes late. We piled on and then about half an hour later piled out again. The plane had a mechanical (I suppose) problem. We waited and waited and waited some more before finally getting on another plane at another gate. We didn't leave the airport until 11:30 some 2 hours and 50 minutes after we were supposed too. Of course, that caused Janet to miss me at the airport the first time (at least she got to do some sorting of stuff in her van). But, we eventually linked up and drove to her house here in Erwin, Tennessee around 15:00. It is a fine large Victorian home in the heart of downtown Erwin. I've not really explored it but it has character that was here before any changes were ever made to support the bunk and breakfast that she is running now. She is already doing a bang up business. There were well over 20 people here last night and tonight there must be about 10 of us present not counting Janet and her three daughters.
I found Curtis (Doc) and Audrey (Wounded Knee) here waiting for me. They had been here for a few hours since they had only had to hike about six miles to get to town. It was great meeting Audrey. She's a little fireball from Massachusetts and she and Curtis are going to make a wonderful long term couple I think.
I did not really explore the town at all. I took care of mailing my duffel bag to my parents and then just spent time schmoozing with the other hikers here as we waited to go to dinner. Most people went to a steak buffet while Audrey , Curtis, and I went to a Chinese buffet nearby. Very fine food. A far cry from that lousy buffet that made me unwell years ago in Ann Arbor. We then did a bit of shopping at the K-Mart (I hope I got enough food but I doubt I do - who knows).
Janet is a great lady,. Very enthusiastic about her new bunk and breakfast and a superb friend to hikers and other people. Full of energy. It turns out I had met her before though it took us some time to figure out that it was at the RUCK last year. I like her a lot. I like the fact that she is trying to do what she really seems to want to do (along with raising her daughters). She's one of those genuinely nice people.
Tomorrow I will pack and seal a box to mail to Kincora Hostel which is about 60 miles away from here. That will have food for the 50 mile trek to Damascus. Hopefully, I'll be able to get some additional re-supply by going into Hampton from Kincora hostel since they have a shuttle. I'll just have to get there early enough to take advantage of it. I am going to try the Osprey Aether 60 (large) pack even though I have a nagging suspicion that it is too big for me (probably wear a medium). If worst comes to worst hopefully Andy will still want to buy it from me.
Tomorrow we'll start hiking. We'll go pretty much shelter-to-shelter which means tomorrow we'll go about eleven miles (skipping one shelter at 4.6 miles). If we can do, I really ought to say I can do, 12 mile days then we'll reach Kincora in 5 days. If we manage a bit more than that each day that would be wonderful. It'd be super to get there in 4 days but I am planning on 5 days and I have a buffer for s sixth. If it turns out I don't have quite enough food then I'll lose some weight which I can afford to do in any case.
It is so late. Everyone finally has shuffled off to sleep and it is 00:30. I got a second wind even though the only sleep I got today was fitful rest on the flight from Memphis to Tri-Cities. I am ready for bed now. I think I will sleep well even though I'm not in an official bed I still have a mattress and sheets. It'll be good sleep.