10-12-09 day 132
start: The Place @ Damascus, VA
end: The Place @ Damascus, VA
daily mileage: 0
total mileage: 1715.3
We took the opportunity to sleep in nice and late, and then, when we woke up, to do pretty much nothing at all. Sea Monster went to MoeJoe's for coffee and internet (I slept in past that, even) and then we got back to the hostel and just lazed about reading all day. The library was closed (Sunday) and would be tomorrow as well (Columbus Day), so we couldn't update the blog... there was no cell signal, so we couldn't call home. Frankly, these things were kind of nice... it's nice to take a zero day and not feel like you need to do a bunch of things during it. Anyway, a bit before noon Star Trek (a fellow flip-flopper we'd just met) had by some crazy random happenstance run into a friend of his, Magic, while wandering around town. Magic was a northbounder who finished the trail two weeks ago and lives in Damascus. Star Trek summited Katahdin with the guy, and just happened to run into him wandering around his home town! It was crazy. In any case, Magic came over and offered to slackpack people 15 miles down the trail. Despite this being a great offer, we refused (we were in lazy zero-mode at this point) but got him to drive us 10 miles into a nearby town with a movie theater instead! Awesome!
After he kindly shared some snack food with us on the drive over, he dropped us off in the movie theater in Abingdon just a few minutes after the movie we wanted to watch (Zombieland) had started. We decided we wanted the full experience, so we wandered over to the nearby grocery store and bought copious amounts of snackfood. It was around 3:00 by now and neither of us had eaten breakfast or lunch, so I ate a large box of cookies, a bag of cheesy party mix, and a bunch of Nutty Bars. Sea Monster ate a whole large can of spam, a bunch of candy, and a bag of salt and vinegar chips. Delicous and nutritious.
We went back to the theater at 4:30 for the next showing, and found that the theater was run by the Gestapo! I tried to sneak some Nutty Bars in (admittedly I wasn't very sneaky about it) and was caught. They threatened to throw me out, and only after some negotiation was I able to put them outside and proceed in. It was about 4:15 at this point. They let us in, but the theater was still showing the previous showing. So we waited outside the theater door for a while, and someone came up and accused us of trying to sneak into a second showing! The readers of our blog will certainly share our offense at this injudicious attack on our moral character!
After clarifying that situation, the man escorted us into the now emptying theater and reminded us not to eat any snuck-in candy that had gotten past their hellaciously keen candy-detecting faculties, as they employed someone other than the projectionist to watch the audience and radio in any suspicious candy-eating behavior. I'm serious here. To prove the point, he was called away from our conversation by one of these candy-nazis who informed him that someone was clearly eating snuck-in candy in the neighboring showing of Couples Retreat. As he left to deal with this law-breaker, we thought we heard the sound of a pistol being cocked as his footsteps faded into the distance.
The movie was awesome, though! Really funny. Needless to say, Sea Monster did not enjoy any of his candy during the film.
When the movie ended around 6:00, we spent about 2 hours trying vainly to get a ride back to Damascus. We asked people leaving the grocery, we thumbed by the road all to no avail. It grew dark, and we grew more certain that we would die there. In desperation, Sea Monster went up to a catholic church in which a discussion group was clearly being held. When someone came out to ask what he wanted, he informed them of our situation and they told us that one of them lived near Damascus... but the discussion group wouldn't end for another 45 minutes or so, would we like to join them? So we went in and contributed to their discussion group for a while! It was mostly a meet-and-greet thing where they were just ironing out the syllabus for future meetings, so we mostly just chatted and had a good time with them. By the time one of them drove us home it was 9:00, and we'd spent about 7 hours in Abingdon for an 80 minute movie. Awesome!
We grabbed some pizza at Quincey's again (our first real meal of the day) and spent the evening hanging out with our southbound friends. All in all, a good zero.
I feel that I should add a note about Trail Days. Every spring, the tiny town of Damascus hosts the biggest trail event of the year, Trail Days. During this event, this town of 800 people explodes to 22,000 current hikers, former hikers, section hikers, and probably a few people who are just there for the party. There's a huge parade through the center of town, and generally it's supposed to be an amazing time. We're both planning on coming back for Trail Days next year, that's for sure!