After being spoiled rotten by the amazing Lindamood family we’ve decided to skip ahead to Damascus, 96 miles, and hike around there until Halloween. Upon arriving that morning we decided to hike a few miles, then find somewhere to get settled in for the few days we will be there. We started at US58 and hiked south 6 miles to the end of town. After finishing up we were all starving so we drove around town to find somewhere to eat and while stopping in front of the Blue Blaze Cafe to check out their menu we ran into Leah, ‘Spark the wire’ who we’ve been following on Facebook for a few months! She is so sweet and was really excited to meet Buddy. She gave him a card game called crazy eights and recommended that we eat at Hey Joe’s, a Mexican place around the corner. Man are we glad we listened to her recommendation! Upon opening the car door in front of Hey Joes the front door swung open and a girl came out and said, “Oh my gosh, are you Buddy Backpacker? I heard you were in town!” She was with her boyfriend and they were south bounders who had been following our journey. The waiter also said he heard we were in town and knew we were staying for a few nights at Crazy Larry’s hostel. He told us that their were several people in town that knew we were coming and wanted to meet Buddy. He was so excited that everyone knew who he was! The food at Hey Joes is beyond amazing. Worth a drive from wherever it is you may live to eat here for sure. After stuffing ourselves beyond capacity I got a message from Crazy Larry saying that he heard we were in town and asked us to come by. Man, word travels fast!
Buddy and I hopped in the car, leaving Dion at Hey Joes to finish every last bite of the incredible food, to go meet this Crazy Larry we’ve been hearing so much about. Our friends Teacher and Snacktime had made reservations for us to stay with Larry Thursday and Friday, but we had arrived on Tuesday. My plan was to go meet Larry, then go find somewhere to camp tonight and tomorrow, then stay with Larry the nights that were reserved. Upon arriving Larry let us know that he actually had room, and we could stay that night! This worked out great because we didn’t want to stay in Damascus on Firday, so we decided we would stay with Larry Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night, then head back to the trail Friday morning. We drove around town for a bit while Larry got the room ready and when we arrived we were shocked beyond belief to see our favorite thru hikers the Florida Flip Floppers standing in front of Crazy Larry’s Hostel. Buddy pretty much lost his mind when he saw them out front! He could barely wait till the jeep stopped before jumping out to greet his best friends! I knew they might be in town, but didn’t tell Buddy, hoping we would see them and he would get to have this amazing surprise! We stood out front and talked with them for a long time, catching up on all the places we’d been in the last month since we’ve all been together. CoMomdo is really one of the best people we’ve ever met. She has such a fantastic, happy, positive outlook all of the time and it is so infectious! You can’t help but be happy when she’s around. We just absolutely love all three of them!
The next day we did 18 miles from Whitetop back to US58 and didn’t get back to Larry’s until very late. We managed to pull together some kind of dinner and went right to sleep after that. The next morning we woke up and had breakfast with Larry, unfortunately we had to make it a quick one because we had 9am reservations to bike ride the Creeper Trail. This was another amazing Halloween gift from Teacher and Snacktime! We all got our bikes and Buddy picked out his helmet, then piled into the shuttle that takes you to the top of Whitetop mountain where you coast on down for 18 miles back to the bike shop. This was one of Buddy’s favorite things we have gotten to do during our hike. Every few minutes he would say, “This is amazing! I wish it would never end!” He was on a Tagalog bike attached to mine which he loved! We just coasted down for about two and a half hours passing beautiful scenery and a big river the whole way. We all had the most amazing time, we wish we could do that over and over, it was fantastic. Once we got back into town we were told we could keep the bikes till 6, so we went and rode around for another two hours before returning the bikes and going back to Crazy Larry’s to get ready for Halloween. When we got back we saw that in the bedroom next to our were the tree packs of the Florida Flip Floppers! They came to stay with us at the hostel, Buddy was elated!