It was just a short hike to Thornton Gap to get a hitch into town. We got lucky fairly quickly and got a ride with a wonderful man in a red truck. Taking in to town we learned some of the history of the area. When he was just a young man in school there had been a big accident on the mountain. Two Navy pilots in the fog had crashed into the mountain side above Pinnacle killing the both of them. He told us the history of the park a bit and that he had probably been in the park close to a thousand times over the past 60 years.
He dropped the two of us off at the post office and I picked up my package from Kim. Mmmmm snacks and candy, nothing makes a hiker more excited than goodies from the mail. I shared what I had with Huck and we set off to find food. Walking down the road, the heat beat down on us, kicking our butts. It was obvious we were hot and tired when a wonderful woman sitting on her porch asked us if we wanted to a glass of tea and to come out of the heat. Unable to refuse her wondrous generosity we obliged and talked with her for quite a while. We had been told that the Chinese restaurant had been popular with he hikers but the locals were not a big fan. Walking in we knew why, there really was no buffet, just a few meals with large portions to spoon from. The buffet was less than to be desired. Filling up our bellies we sought out ice cream to beat the heat again.
Our last goal was to get out of town, this could prove difficult for us since we were ten miles from the trail. The farther away the town is from the trail, the harder it is to get back in most times. This would prove to be harder than we thought, the two of us tried anything and everything to get out of town. Standing at the intersection the two of us danced, chased, acted out skits to get attention to get a ride out. Nothing worked, our tireless efforts were finally deterred when the sky opened up on us, dropping large fat water droplets on us. Hurrying to the gazebo across the street I texted our friends on find out why they were doing. Girlscout and the Gang had gotten lucky and recieved a place to stay with a trail angel named Steven. The only thing we needed to do was to get across town to the McDonald’s to meet them.
Through the grace of god, trail, universe, whatever you may believe, we happened across another gentleman named Stephen who had just gotten off work and was more than willing to drop us off there. Our short trip we talked about faith and the trail, finding fellowship for the car ride. We were blessed to have him show up and take us down the road. Excited to see our friends we ran up and hugged them. Picking Pockets up off the ground I squeezed him tight Ina playful manner. It was good to see them again, our trail family was back together again. We sat and caught up while we waited for Steve to arrive.
Loaded up we were off to his house, boy were we in for a treat. When we arrived he gave us a tour and showed us this wonderful little machine we could play with. Dragging by hand he pulled a Go cart out of his garage for us to drive around the property. He then walked us around the track he had mowed into the yard and said for us to have at it. You’ve got to be kidding me, we all thought. All of us jumped and squeezed with excitement, this was so awesome, a warm place to stay away from the rain, showers, a go cart we had hit the jackpot. Filled so much excitement we ran to the driveway to get ready for our races. The competition was on, each of us with a touch of competitiveness called each other out.
Amelia Airheart was first taking a practice lap and then a timed race, boy was she fast. Her light weight would be her biggest benefit over all of us. She put down a serious time on her first attempt. Girlscout going second put down another respective time just above hers, it was obvious it would all be skill for the men, our hands were full. She hopped out of the cart excited to the highest degree, laughing smiling and screaming. Huckleberry went third laying down a much slower time than the girls, they were already celebrating thier victory over the boys by then. I went fourth and I was in full competitive mode.
Driving down the hill making my first right I took everything slow to learn the course. My firs turn would be a tough one if I wanted to even come close to them, I’d have to drift it perfectly to maintain my momentum going into the tree field. Picking the straightens line through the trees I would begin my accent into the back yard with already other hard left. The slick grass would require traction more than speed to keep me going. Here was the tough climb up and into the final turn, the engine straining against my weight and the amount of fuel being dumped into the engine. The steepness of the hill and my foot to the floor proved too much for the Go cart. I flooded the engine stalling it just a few yards from the top. Urhh this was serious, I could never compete if the cart wouldn’t make the hill. Rocketing down the hill at full throttle my lap started, the car jerking left and right as I went over the small bumps.
Down into the first turn, I slid too much, my right side sliding into the thick grass I lost a bit of speed making the corner. Burning through the trees I made it up and over the first two small bumps and toward the last hard turn. I had the perfect line and flew around the corner, my foot to the floor the car went up the hill. Catastrophe the engine flooded again, I jumped out, starting it again and slowly inched my way up the hill, there was no way to finish strong if I couldn’t climb the hill. Rocketing down to the finish line I powerslided, spraying small gravel and dirt in enjoyment.
Steve, myself, and Pockets talked for a moment about the car. In theory I should have made it up the hill, it should be able to handle my 220 lbs since Steve was about 210. Tuning the engine a bit, Steve took off and around the track, he made it up the hill with no problem. It must be a throttle problem that is causing it to strain too much I thought. When he returned he confirmed my thoughts telling me it stalls if you go full pedal at our weights, his suggestion was to back off a bit as we came up the hill. Setting it up I shared my info of the course with Pockets, giving him as much advantage advanced I could.
He was off in a flash, his practice lap flying by. The look on his face as he came down said it all, he was in heaven behind the wheel. His smile huge and fixed blew by us as we started the time. Listening to the sound of the engine as he made the turns it was quite the sight. We were all waiting to see if he was going to make the hill, then we heard the ever fateful sound of the engine working too hard. He was struggling coming up the hill, we all strained to listen if he would make it up the hill. Then we saw him poking around the last corner, his face plastered with his huge smile as he screamed down the hill across the line. Hopping out of the vehicle Pockets was excited to see his time. He had clearly beat me, and as luck would have it he just barely beat Huckleberry. The girls had crushed us and were definitely not shy about letting us know.
The rest of the afternoon we raced each other, laughing, smiling, and joking with each other. We raced and raced literally till the sun came down. There was so much fun to be head none of us ever thought to take pictures of it. One by one we retired to the house to make dinner on the stove for the first time in months. Our evening was spent watching movies and relaxing on the couch. I took to writing for a while as I watched the storm role in. We all slept well that night except Amelia, she had become very ill and didn’t have the best night.
The next morning we were still riding the high for the day before, when Girlscout challenged me to a boxing match I couldn’t help but laugh. This would not be fair since I out weighed her by at least 90lbs. Sure enough Steve had gloves and headgear for us, so it was on. We got dressed up and went into the yard to box. Dancing back and forth we threw punches at each other, more so in play then in competition. We laughed as we hit each other. We were having way t99 much fun, stopping before it got serious we all packed up and headed out for McDonald’s for breakfast. Full bellies we thanked Steve for everything as he dropped us off back at Thornton Gap. What a way to spend a day off, we sat there with our blasted bellies absorbing the warmth before hiking out again.