The Star of Roanoke

The Star of Roanoke

Yesterday was supposed to be an easy 30ish mile ride into Roanoke (population 97,000) to take it easy for a day or 2 and formulate a plan for the coming week. It ended up being a quite hard 45 miles ride I guess because  was tired from yesterday and because it was ho-ot. I fairly quickly dropped back down from yesterdays heights to the valley below where the scenery was a nice contrast to the previous days trees and hills and trees and hills. There was (surprisingly I thought) more wildlife down there too. I saw a beaver and a skunk and the undergrowth rattled to the sound of fleeing critters quite often.

I'd had a nice slow start, doing some laundry etc not getting on the road till about 11.15am. I had a nice chat with an old boy by the camp shop. He was full of encouragement and was quite jealous of my ride. He used to bike around New Jersey when he was younger but mostly got about on his motorcycle now.

My repeated misreading of he maps and distances made the day seem longer too...I've not been going the wrong way, just not paying enough attention to the (clearly marked) distances. I ended up passing The Star of Roanoke enroute, which I didn't know existed until i was looking at it.  It's the world's largest freestanding illuminated man-made star and is the symbol of Roanoke. The plaque said it's to symbolise the progressive nature of the city, a good sign I thought...I chatted to a guy there who recommended a motel and a music bar too!

So, down the hill, to a motel, straight in the swimming pool, get cleaned up, get everything on charge and head downtown for food and beer and music.
I'd literally just hit downtown when I spotted a guy who looked just like someone (can't remember who now) and he clocked me and said "hey do i know you?" I obviously said no and i've just got to town and told him about the tour. He said he had to buy me a beer, what could I say?

So, to the nearest bar and he bought me a couple of beers and I got some fries (only veggie food on menu...)  and we chatted. He had quite a story...he was just out of the penitentiary and was on a bit of a journey himself, heading for Florida, to the beach, and whatever he could make of life there. It doesn't feel right writing all of what he told me on here, suffice to say he'd had a life already and was only my age. We chatted easily till I asked about his tattoos. He seemed to think it was weird i was asking and that they were mostly prison tattoos. Then we got onto religion. Big mistake. He was pretty freaked out when I said i wasn't a believer and I was worried we were going to part on bad terms but we kind of talked it through and had another beer and parted company friends. I wish him well.

He'd had the sort of life you could write a great country song about. And so I headed to the first music bar I'd heard about and saw my first live music...a 9 piece dub reggae band. Hilarious. They were pretty good, playing classic reggae covers and the bar was busy and friendly and there were about 30 beers on draft but I wanted country!

Off to the next bar where Another Roadside Attraction were playing. They were good in a wacky studenty festival band sort of way. I'm sure they must know The Hotseats who i put on in Brighton a few years ago, they're from near here and have a similar thing going on. I couldn't face staying till the end to ask them tho, I was going a little cross eyed...

There was more fun to be had tho, The Texas Tavern, established in 1930. It's a burger bar, a classic burger bar, rather than a beer bar. Really friendly like everywhere else. I had a good chat with a telecoms engineer about my tour and he told me about some live music in the street the next in town. Perfect. They served Denver burgers which was a fried egg with cheese, pickle and relish. I had 2. And grape fanta which is too sweet even for me. Refills 35 cents. I had 2.

And to bed.

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Just catching up!

Sounds like quite a trip already! Watch out for them bears and religious penitentiary types... <gulp>

Cheers

Phil

 mmm denver burger sounds

 mmm denver burger sounds good x

!

 sounds shit.   remember what we said about deliverance.  x

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