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Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I had to drag myself out of the feathers this morning at 5:30 am...the ole' bod is a bit weary.

...but, drag I did and set off before Sunrise again...light casting shadows from the Blue Ridge Mountains only a mile or so from WAL-MART parking lot.

Highway 220 runs North of Roanoke for 34 miles to I-64 and US 60, where we will turn left to cross the main course of the Allegheny Mountains as they make their way North - South the length of West Virginia.

Hwy 220, a four-lane divided highway was still in shadows as I walked out of Roanoke.

The land rose it did all day. A bit further on, trees were laden with new blossoms.

Just another 4-lane highway with not much to see, returned to SPIA after 4 hours and 16 miles.

The temperature was 80 F. at 10:30 am and getting warmer.

Drove SPIA out to the village of Fincastle, VA, about 10 miles out.

We actually covered more miles earlier, but we stopped and parked anyway as there was a nice spot next to a "Dollar General" store and next door to a propane filling station.

Leaving SPIA, I walked North for another 8 miles before returning to SPIA; then, filled up her 7.5 gallon propane tank which was last filled at Mac's in Rodanthe, OBX on March 01, two weeks ago. To my great surprise and pleasure, it took only 1.5 gallon.

I have been conserving water and propane ever since leaving OBX. The fridge (propane) runs night and day. Only the propane stove uses a bit in the morning and late evening for about 10 minutes each.

In addition to 10 gallon jugs of fresh drinking/cooking water, SPIA has a 30 gallon fresh water tank. I use SPIA's water as follows:

Early morning: two 8 oz cups of water into the teakettle to heat to a boil. After eating my oatmeal, I clean the pan using liquid soap and 3 oz of HOT water, which I scrub with a stiff bristle brush...and rinse it twice with HOT water, saving the water in a rubber sink-size pan...

This water I use to wash myself and shave...again saving the hot water.

I select a soiled garment; pair of socks or one underwear, which are thoroughly soaked in the soapy water...then the remainder of the teakettle water is poured over my "wash".

All day long, my "wash" soaks in the soapy water.

Upon returning from my final walk of the day, I wring my wash out good, rinse twice in 8 oz of clean water and hang 'em to dry in the shower stall.

Drinking water is consumed: 5 oz for the hot oatmeal; 8 oz for each walking leg; and another 8 oz of ice water (out of the fridge) before turning in.

I have found that drinking too little water during the day results in leg cramps when lying down to sleep.

Small farm along Highway 220.

Hwy 220 crosses low-ranging foot hills...lots of up and down walking...

Higher mountains in the distance are about 15 miles away.

Fincastle...the only true village on Highway 220 between Roanoke and I-64.

Three or four small streams cross under Hwy 220.

The waters are all crystal clear.

Above is a farmer's answer to finishing off his fence which crosses a stream.

Since the stream is quite a bit below the wires of the fence, the cattle / sheep / goats/ whatever / could slip under the wire by wading in the water.

This farmer has added old tires to block the way.

After Fincastle, we drove to the unmarked village of Kelly's Convenience Store - about 10 miles South of I-64, where we have been allowed to park for the night.

Being the Sun was still high in the sky, I walked a third leg North toward I-64 for another 8 miles. Leaves another 2 - 4 miles to go in the morning.

This is about as close as one gets these days to be a "Homsteader".

Carving out a living from the forest.

About 15 miles from I-64, Hwy 220 turns into a two-lane roadway.

There is considerable traffic...mostly 18-wheelers...making my job of avoiding being hit a difficult task.

Returning to SPIA as the Sun was setting, the mountain road opened up into a wide valley.

...with a stream or two...

...and, Kelly's Convenience Store in the distance.

SPIA tucked under a row of trees lining a small stream.

Is now 8:00 pm.

I am exceptionally sore in my lower legs this evening. It was HOT all day. Hills all day.

Am not quite conditioned for this kind of walking just yet.

In the morning, will drive the final 10 miles to I-64; walk back Hwy 220 to pick up the missed 4 miles or so...then turn to the setting Sun - US 60...also known as the "Midland Trail" - wonder if Daniel Boone walked this way -.

On Friday or Saturday, we will enter West Virginia, following the Midland Trail all the way into the State of Ohio.

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