After our first 20 miles of the day we came to a town called Marshall, NC
. There we stopped and refueled at Zuma's Cafe and checked out a local bike shop, Pace Cycles, for new brake pads. When Carson looked at the bike that Rauno had just ridden for 20 miles he shook his head and looked very unimpressed. Carson then proceeded to fix up an old road bike that had been given to him by a local woman who had biked from Alaska to North Carolina years prior. After checking the tires, brakes, gears, and applying new handlebar tape the bike was good to go. Rauno asked the owner how much he owed for the bike and Carson told him not to worry about it. He said that the woman would be happy that this was how her bike was being used and sent us on our way. Thanks Carson!
While in the bike shop we also met a man named Stephen who had once biked across America. He told us a little bit about his experience and about his program, Trips for Kids WNC, that allows children to gain experience on their bikes while exploring the city. It was awesome meeting you!
We continued biking on to Hot Springs, NC where we stopped for lunch at the local campground. We debated staying in Hot Springs or traveling the next 20 miles to Newport, TN. Rauno pumped us up and energized us to finish the day. We battled some crazy hills but made it the whole 70 miles to Newport. It was awesome being able to cross our first state border by ourselves (with the help of many along the way).
During the day Rauno had been checking his couchsurfing account and found someone who had friends we could stay with. We connected with Jim and Primrose and were able to pitch our tent in their back yard and use their shower. They were a lovely young couple that took us in last minute and made us feel really comfortable. Thanks guys!
We woke up bright and early, which was, of course, really two hours after we planned on waking up. As we walked downstairs to make breakfast we found our Estonian friend patiently awaiting. Apparently Mike had given Rauno an old bike the night before and told him he could use it if he wanted. So during the night he worked on pumping up the tires and greasing the chain. We were excited to see the bike, but when we went onto the porch we couldn't believe our eyes. There sat a 10 year old mountain bike that was rusted from tire-to-tire. The gears didn't work, the chain barely moved, and there were no breaks. And yet, while he showed us the bike he wore a giant smile on his face. We felt it necessary to inform him of the danger of the bike. Not to mention the fact that he only carried with him one pair of casual shorts, a collared shirt, and a backpack. We both tried to convince him to stay; to no avail. So, we loaded up our bikes, bid Mike farewell, and took off down the road with Rauno in tow.