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  • Writer's pictureAlana

77. Troutville to Lexington, VA

June 29, 2024

I took an unplanned zero day yesterday to deal with my increasingly bad attitude, a side effect of fatigue and challenging conditions. After a day spent lolling about in a hotel room without bedbugs, stains, or the stench of raw sewage (I'm looking at you, Christianburg Budget Inn), I'm back to my jocular self.

The end of the TransAm Trail is now in my sights. I will cross the finish line at Yorktown, VA, the morning of July 5. So if you were looking for a reason to travel to Virginia next week, here I am! Meet me at the Victory Monument. I will be the slightly stinky cyclist ugly-crying with her amazing in-laws Bob and Deb.

As I roll eastward, I see the affluence swiftly growing. Today I'm in Lexington, adjacent to Washington and Lee College and Virginia Military Institute, and burial site of Robert E, Lee. Stately mansions line the main streets, and cute boutiques and ethnic restaurants offer the wares I take for granted back in SF. (I am sipping a boba tea as I type this.)

With 3,500 miles of America under my wheels, though, I now feel in my bones just how anomalous these luxuries are. So much of America relies on Dollar General or just does without. Doctors, dentists, lawyers, and other professionals (other than clergy) are nowhere to be found. Mobile homes seem to be the most prevalent housing stock. Restaurants are few and far between, and offer only fried meat and, if we're lucky, fried cheese for the vegetarians.

But you can only eat so much fried cheese before you feel your arteries narrowing in the night. Indeed, Howard just did a blood lipid panel and discovered that his cholesterol has shot up after riding with me through the Midwest for two weeks. And we wonder why so much of the country is obese and diseased.

As I wrap up my last week traversing the U.S., I am overwhelmed by the vast inequities this huge and beautiful country contains. And I don't know what to do with that feeling.

Distance: 45.16 miles

Total: 3,553 miles


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