Two days ago, on Saturday, I rode my Honda CBX motorcycle to Paint Bank for breakfast. It was an overcast day, much colder than typical for this time of year. The owners of the general store in Paint Bank built on the rear a new building to hose a restaurant called The Swinging Bridge. This is a wonderfully funky place and with a big fire in the fireplace I was able to warm myself quickly.
Mikell Ellison is the general manager of the general store and restaurant. I met her about a year ago and interviewed her for my book. Since then, she has become a good friend. Her insights into the area are as interesting and profound as anyone I’ve met. She was very kind to offer me some shelf space in the general store for my book once it becomes available. She also asked if I would come to the store and do a book signing and read excerpts from the book. I told her I was certainly happy to do that.
Yesterday, I hiked with Kyle, a young friend who is a student at Virginia Tech, on a section of the Appalachian Trail to the north of us near Pearisburg, Virginia. The woods are now in the peak of autumn color season and the forest was beautiful. We spoke with a group of three backpackers, a father and his two sons. They drove all the way from Indianapolis to hike a 90 mile section of our backyard Appalachian Trail. Kyle and I hiked to the ridge line of Peters Mountain. At the top of the mountain, there was a light dusting of snow. In this time of year, mid-October, it is unusual to have our first snow fall. The trail was beautiful with the white snow covering the colorful leaves. There was a brisk wind blowing from the north which made the ridgelines quite cold. However, on our descent back down the south side of the mountain, the weather was much milder and more comfortable.
On the way home, we were driving on US 460 with a pickup truck and a car side-by-side some 100 yards in front of us. A large doe darted across the highway from our left, narrowly missing oncoming traffic. Unfortunately, the car in front of us smashed into her horrifically. The entire front end of this car was destroyed with plastic and glass parts seemingly erupting from the collision. The car pulled off the side of the road and we stopped momentarily to make sure everyone was okay before continuing on. There are so many dead deer on our highways these days. But in all my years here I had never seen one actually hit and have never hit one myself. Last night I had nightmare visions of the collision.