Up and out by 7:30 a.m., I said goodbye to Allen.
Just as he had helped me unload everything, he helped me reload everything.
I carefully descended his precarious driveway and jumped back on Route 11 towards the breakfast joint he had suggested.
Again, I drove through downtown Abingdon.
Chick-N-Little was on the right. I pulled into the place and ordered an egg, bacon, and lettuce sandwich for a whopping $2.99.
After my meal, I picked up the tab for a gentleman who entered after I did. I told the manager that a local had helped me, and I wanted to pay it forward.
I left the restaurant, and jumped back on Route 11 towards 75 (Cummings Street) where I made a right.
Cummings/75 took me from Virginia into Tennessee where it turns into 44.
Lush hills, abundant cattle, and supple bends guided me along a crisp and cool morning.
I could feel the mist settle upon my face as I drove from one state into another.
From 44, I jumped on 421 East towards the Blue Ridge Parkway.
On 421, I encountered a motorcycle route called The Snake and weaved my way in and out... and in and out... and in and out... and in and out.
I was able to embrace the famed trail because neither a car nor a motorcycle creeped up behind me; moreover, only a few passed me in the opposite direction on that early Saturday morning.
In other words, it was just me and The Snake.
Following that experience, 421 guided me right into North Carolina.
Three states in under 90-minutes.
When I reached North Carolina, the elevation began, only here, the summits were longer and wider than in West Virginia.
I climbed and climbed and reached Boone.
Traffic increased, and I began to see people in Appalachian State University attire.
A mountaineer football game was underway.
I saw signs for the local library, so I made a left from 421; the facility was within a few blocks. Luckily, I was able to create some blog posts before continuing on my journey.
Jumping back on the 421, I looked for signs for the Blue Ridge Parkway which I found shortly after Boone.
Thinking I might see a gas station where I could fuel up just before the parkway, I was mistaken.
I ended up driving close to Wilkesboro before I was able to gas up.
Then, I turned it back around onto 421 (going in the opposite direction) and made a left to join the Parkway.
When I entered, signs indicated that Asheville was over 100 miles away (more than my tank holds).
Would I have enough gas to make it through?
To be determined...
Posted speed limits for the Parkway hovered around 45 mph.
Thanks to its many leaps and falls over mountains, I conserved gas by holding in the clutch along every one of my descents.
Of course, the ride was gorgeous.
Beautiful vista after beautiful vista.
Constant opportunities to park along various overlooks to reflect and to gasp at nature's majesty.
Plenty of bends and curves.
Plenty of congestion, too.
When I reached the Asheville Watershed, I knew I was nearing the end of my route.
I saw signs for Black Mountain, so I began singing a made-up song involving mountains and gas.
My song worked.
I took the exit, made a right, and found a gas station blocks away.
Growing tired, I stopped for caffeine; then, I sent an instant message to a high school acquaintance -- Kerri -- who lived in Asheville.
I decided to go ahead and drive into the city because it was less than 20-miles away.
If she was not able to host me, I would find some suitable place -- I'm sure.
By the time, I took 240 and 25 into downtown Asheville and found a parking spot, Kerri had sent me a message back with her phone number.
I gave her a call.
Kerri and her husband would meet me at the Lexington Avenue Brewery, and then, we'd go from there.
I was thankful that her Facebook offer of hospitality was authentic and legitimate, for not only did she meet me downtown, she also took me out for a much-needed meal, and let me stay the night at her home.
The world is a wonderful place full of generous people!
After our meal, I closely followed Kerri and Derrick as they drove to their house; it was dark.
Their home was located just off of 25.
As I approached their driveway, it scared the hell out of me; it was steep, and I mean STEEP.
With Kerri's help, I found a way to park on their recently installed and very level rock pathway.
Derrick entered first and took care of the dogs while Kerri and I unloaded my gear.
Later, she showed me to my upstairs room.
Within a few minutes, we were in their living room catching up on our lives.
We also worked on getting their dog, Tula, to feel comfortable around me.
Apparently, Tula had bitten (grab and release) a few people over the last few weeks.
Those looming incidents made Kerri anxious about the well-being of her guests. Luckily, for me, Tula behaved fine in my presence.
We watched some late college football game (don't ask me which teams), and retired sometime around midnight.
Hanging out in the bustle of Asheville on a Saturday night made us all very tired.
Before going to bed, Kerri made sure I had everything I needed (water, towels, and so on).
When she left me in her spacious spare bedroom, I unloaded my sleeping bag, and fell fast asleep in it.
(No need to make Kerri wash the bed sheets, too!)
Until we meet again, my friend.