Creeper Trail- Abingdon VA

 Creeper Trail- Blog Entry #1- Thursday- July 11

  Seven of us met today at High Rock Church- West in Salisbury.  We divided up into two vehicles.    I rode with three other guys, including my pastor, in an SUV.  Three other guys rode in another car.  We traveled northwest via I-77 and NC Hwy 421 through Statesville up to North Wilkesboro where
we stopped to eat dinner at Tipton's Bar-B-Q.. great food.. I had the Special, which was an 8 oz. Swiss & Mushroom burger with a side baked potato.  After dinner, we headed over to a new High Rock campus, the former Celebration Church, which is now High Rock-Wilkes.. we were fortunate enough to catch the worship pastor there after a practice, and he let us in the building to take a tour of the worship auditorium and the church lobby.  It was awesome!

  Then we got back on the road again.  Lots of great mountain views greeted us on the highway.  We went through Boone and passed by the ASU campus and through downtown.  One of our guys graduated from Appalachian State, so it brought back some fond memories for him.  We also saw The Mellow Mushroom in downtown Boone.  Apparently, they serve some great pizza there, and we talked about possibly stopping there Saturday on the way home.

  We actually crossed over the NC border into Mountain City, TN and stopped at a fast food restaurant for a quick break.  A mundane trip to the rest room caused a stir when one of the guys found out that the men's bathroom was lacking even a single roll of toilet paper.  We asked the staff for help, and they sent a guy out to their storage building to retrieve a roll.  Later on, we wondered why they didn't just borrow a roll from the ladies room.  Maybe they were without TP also !

  Soon we passed another border as we went from TN into Virginia.  Although I've yet to consult a map, I believe that Abingdon is close to both the Tennessee and North Carolina borders.  After hitting the VA line, we only had about another 30 mins. to an hour drive until we finally reached our destination.  We arrived around 10:30 pm.

  I've been on retreats before and have learned not to have a lot of expectations about the quality of accommodations or facilities.  Once I attended a Christian music festival (which also happened to be in Virginia.. but in Front Royal, near DC) where there was no hot water showers.  But this time, we were in for a treat.  I was pleasantly surprised.   We actually are staying at The Foundery, which is a part of the Highlands Fellowship Church in Abingdon.  HFC is also a multi-site church, as is High Rock.  I'm sleeping in a King size bed.  There is a bathroom about three times the size of the ones in my house, with a huge oval bathtub.  And there is a door from the bedroom leading out to an outside deck, which has an adjoining gazebo complete with porch swing and gas grill.  We also have a complete kitchen with all of the amenities.  It's an absolutely amazing location!

   We sat around in the living room area together tonight and had a sharing time of over an hour.  It was really cool because we all became open to getting to know each other.  We each shared our "life story" and a few of us shared from the Bible or about things we had learned in our lives.  It was an incredible time.. God spoke to all of us guys and encouraged us in our faith.

  Tomorrow morning we are leaving around 8am to go for breakfast and then down to Damascus (about 15 miles from Abingdon) where we will be renting bikes and riding the Creeper Trail.  This is a bike trail that runs throughout this area.  We will be enjoying a lot of scenic views and each other's company while we coast down the countryside.  Then tomorrow night, we are going to hang out again and possible travel into town for a bit of sightseeing.  It should be fun !   OK- time for bed.. more later.. :)

Creeper Trail- Blog Entry #2- Friday- Aug. 12

  Just got back from The Creeper Trail.  We biked seventeen (17) miles.. instead of the expected 13.. Wow!  I am almost totally exhausted!  I only have one cut on my right ankle, which was from the bike pedal scraping my leg, and not from falling off the side of the mountain, which is what I had dreaded doing.  So.. it was incredibly exciting and fun!  

Seven Guys on the Creeper Trail
There were creek rapids on either the left or right during the entire trip, sometimeseven on both sides of the trail.  We also went over bridges and former train trestles. There were some really gorgeous views.  We probably travelled around 10-15 mph most of the way.  It was a fairly easy ride.  Sometimes there was a dropoff on one side or the other;  we just had to keep the bike in the middle of the path.  I got close to the edge a couple of times, but nothing really dangerous.

  Around noon, about a third to half of the journey, we stopped at the Creeper Trail Cafe.  I got a hot dog, fries and coke.  That, along with a couple bottles of water, got me through to the end of the trail.  It was very good fast food.. especially considering it's in the middle of nowhere.

  We got back about 3:00, cleaned up, and around 4:00 we went to Cheddars Restaurant for dinner.  I had baby back ribs.. they were delicious !  Then we came back to the house and hung out.  Tonight we watched a movie, "HERE COMES THE BOOM", with Kevin James, Henry Winkler, and Salma Hayak.  Funny movie! =)  We also rented "THE LIFE OF Pi" but don't know if we'll have time to watch it tonight. 

A couple of the guys went out to the store for some snacks and brought back a.. {drum roll}.. CHEERWINE.. yay!  For those of you reading who don't know what that is, well.. you're missing out.. it's a Legend of a soft drink.. my very own favorite.

  More details {and pics} later!

  We're planning to leave tomorrow morning and go through Boone to do a bit of sightseeing and eat at The Mellow Mushroom.  Rumor has it that they've got some sensational pizza.  We will soon find out!

  All of us had a real blast on this trip and we all felt that we wanted to come back and ride this trail again sometime in the near future.  We're looking forward to another men's retreat up here again in the next few months.

Creeper Trail- Blog Entry #3- Saturday- Aug 13

   I'm up about 7:30am & we're set to clean up a bit & then leave our host house in Abingdon, VA for the trip home.  My friend Joe, the driver, has an SUV with three TV screens, so we'll get to watch "Life of Pi" on the way home! We'll stop in Boone, NC for lunch at The Mellow Mushroom & then back home in time for church tonight  & also to The Inn for two live bands.

   It's been a great trip.. I'm tired and sore from the Creeper Trail, but would do it all over again.  We are actually talking
about coming back again in the next couple of months and bringing more guys with us.

  MORE LATER.. {including a lot of beautiful pics}.. stay tuned!

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