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The concession stand was appalling: no corn dogs, pizza, hamburgers, or fountain drinks.

Start – Stop: Boley Field Campground, Va – Boley Field Campground, Va

Distance: 19.0 mi

Elevation Gain: 4273 ft

Riding Time: 5:00

Time Awake Spent in Pursuit of The Trip, Roughly: 12:00

Weather: It was hot all day. The rain had given up and the sun was boastful. It woke us in the morning, turning our tents into solar ovens and stayed with us throughout the day, going so far as to leave its mark on those of us uninured to its radiant effects.

Day 02 Objectives & Points of Interest

  1. Tube.
  2. Ride.

We had two things on our list today: 1) go tubing at New River Junction and 2) go riding on the mountain bike trails that criss-cross the hills just outside of our campground. Because of the way the sun works and its direct influence on the way that we work, the obvious choice was to head to NRJ first, get in some quality tubing, hopefully eat some corn dogs from their concession stand, and then in the afternoon head back to camp, do a slight costume change, and return to the woods for a spot of light, no-pressure MTB shredding.

GPS told us that NRJ was only about five miles from our campground. And GPS doesn’t lie. Nearly all downhill, we coasted to the river, stopping only to pose with a playful group of Alpacas. Benedict was festooned in a collector’s edition Yingfa Speedo-style swimsuit featuring a lightning storm graphic, and on top he wore his famous cut off denim vest. Combined with his wool cycling cap and rimless spectacles, his look could very well be interpreted as Yankee Civil War Ghost Hunk. Whatever the case, once we arrived at the NRJ the crowd and employees were awestruck by his presence. It was an impressive sight. (As you can see for yourself below.)

We selected our tubes, stashed our bikes and ventured to the concession stand. It was appalling. No corn dogs, no pizza, no hamburgers, no fountain drinks; just a rack of candy and some small bags of chips. The thrill of tubing was all but wiped away when confronted with this unexpected reality. Not only had we built our hopes up for corn dogs but we were counting on them nutritionally for lunch, for sustenance, for the life-giving energy that only corn dogs can provide. It was too much wrap our heads around. We needed space, we needed time to reassess. Our move was obvious, it was the only move: we simply needed to get on our tubes and float.

“They say boredom is good, that spacing-out is necessary for big creativity, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a situation better suited to spacing out then slowly floating a tranquil river on an inner tube, under a bright blue cloudless sky.”

So we floated, we spaced, we let our fingertips drag in the water, we let our jaws hang slack, we followed the little birds as they skittered through the air, and we eavesdropped on all the drama going on between Trey and Jenn: how he’s no good for her, how she wants to cheat on him with Abe. This is how you get bored, this is how you marinate creativity. Can you even imagine the great works Picasso would have created had he just made the time to chase imaginary corn dogs while floating a river? Of course you can’t—neither can I—but at least we can appreciate the speculation.

But like all good things, our tubing experience had to come to an end. Yes we ran the rapids—we are amateur adventurers first and foremost, and we have a rep to live up to. After proving ourselves to the other tubers we exited the river, witnessed a women with “Daddy’s Girl” tattooed on her lower back smoke cigarettes while standing in the water, and caught the tubing commuter bus back the start of the float.

BANG. FLASH. GENIUS. Why don’t we just have a pizza delivered!? We weren’t that far away from Blacksburg, and a savory pie would be SUCH an excellent substitute for some c-dogs. Calls were made but our inquiries were denied, we were out of delivery range by a mile or two. Clearly, the pizza places of Blacksburg have no vision, no heart, no spirit of adventure. They were unwilling to take a chance, unwilling to accept an outsized tip, unwilling to help feed their fellow man. We refused to let our ship sink, wasn’t there something we could do? BANG. FLASH. GENIUS. Lightning strikes twice: we’ll order the pizza, hire an Uber to take us in, resupply, and Uber back out. Like I said, textbook ’80s Outdoor Adventure.

In a little over an hour our expeditionary force returned with three outsized pizzas, ENORMOUS pizzas, like each pizza was the size of a kiddy pool. Pizzas of this magnitude were not expected. According to the teenaged clerk, the “Virginia Slice” is so famous that “Everybody knows about it.” So we’re the thick ones. Makes sense. Regardless, we now had an excessive amount of pizza–I can’t believe I just wrote that, but it was true. We shared with tubers, we shared with staff, and we still had to lash almost an entire pie to the front of Moi’s bike. Fortunately his rig was equipped with the aptly named Specialized “Pizza Rack.” We didn’t set out to push the limits of the Pizza Rack’s, capabilities but push the limits we did.

After the pizza gorging finished, a motion was put forth to return to camp. All were in favor. Our sunburns were starting to announce themselves and we still needed to get some trail riding in.

On the way back to camp Daniel stopped to take photos of a puppy farm. It was a whole thing. But I wrote about it in a caption below, so you’ll get to it.

We changed and rode. These modern adventure bikes worked marvelously. All in all we spent around two hours ripping through the woods working off pizza and trying not to crash. What a way to end a day of tubing. Back home we cooked dinner, attempted to eat some more pizza, and talked with Kate. She’d ridden out to meet us after seeing on Sarah’s Instagram that we were in the area.

I must admit, I was a little worried about having Kate join us. Not because I am scared of strangers; I’m not. And not because we aren’t charming, funny, and kind; we are. But at this point we’d spent over two weeks together in close quarters. We had inside jokes that had inside jokes and, though we were certainly still on our best behavior, I think it would be fair to say that Sarah and Mary, our paragons of polite society, had maybe come down to our level more than the rest of us had risen to theirs. Turns out it wasn’t a problem, turns out we’re easier to like than we thought. Turns out we might actually be good people. Or perhaps Kate is just as bad as us. Turns out we drank some wine and made a giant fire. Turns out we fell asleep around midnight and turns out sometime between then and dawn Daniel saw a man run through our camp with his dog. Turns out this could have been a ghost ultra-runner, a really creepy athlete, or just a heavy vibe dream brought on by the gravity of a full moon. Turns out our day was nearly perfect.

Bully for Boley

Whatcha want to do today?
Just a little guy trying to purify some water.
Unaware that a whimsical satyr is weaving a tune right behind him.
Wrong place, right time.
Flying Disc.
Spin mask.
Throw Plate.

Let’s Go fer a Little Ride!

Yeah, it’s about five miles.
We all wore our swimsuits on the ride. Benedict's was just way better than the rest of ours.
Pretty diverse crowd.
Mary in her element.

New River Junction

Where lifevests are optional, but not having fun isn’t.
Sometimes a Yankee Civil War Veteran shows up in n artisanal Yingfa banana hammock and wants to get tubed. Thank the heavens we got to take part in it.
Dem Bota Boyz.
Who's flexing? And who's just built? We want to know, send you're answers to and tell us who you think is flexing. If you get it right you could maybe win something, maybe.
Just a little ol' Moi going for a little ol' float with his little ol' tube dog.
"Always be working the camera."—Poppi
I don't know what it looks like here, but in person, in moment after moment life, it was plainly obvious that this dog did not want to be here. Like it was antsy, it was squirming, it was bummed. But these two, well they CrossFit hard and they can't have a quitter or a sissy in their pack, fitness doesn't tolerate sissies.
It took a while, but here we can see Mary finally applying the lessons she learned from the Ultra Instagram Symposium.
Master and apprentice.
Raphael does New River Junction.
Shooting the rapids. Yeah, we dared.
Terrifying? It was not. Fun? Yeah... sure... it was great.
Sometimes you just have to walk it in.

Somebody Order a Peetzer?

We took Uber to pick up giant pizzas, you’ll see what I mean.
Hailing an Uber.
Even Moi knows that there comes a point, no matter how beautiful something is, that you have to look away.

A Long Five Miles

Maybe it was the pizza anchor. Maybe it was the puppy farm dungeon witch. The only thing we can be sure of is that it took longer than it should’ve.
This is the puppy farm. Basically these people have turned their home into hamster house for dogs. They had ramps and tubes leading in and out of their trailer, they had the wheels—the whole works.
Basically their home says, "If you are a picture taker, and you don't take pictures of me, then you're not a real picture taker, you're a fake." So Daniel, as a real picture taker, took a picture. Not a moment later a womam bounds from her house: "You can't take photos here, let me see that camera, delete those photos, I'm going to call the cops." She's raising hell, her wails carries up and down the valley, and she's not alone. Her beau springs out of his man cave, yellow-stained mustache rippling above his lip as he spews threats and invectives, "God damn you, this is private property, I'm going to call the cops, I'm going to call the cops!!!" To which Daniel says, "Cool, call the cops, I'll just wait here." Now this really threw the pair for a loop; calling the cops was their nuclear option, their doomsday device, and this boy here didn't pay the threat no mind? "Well, just get out of here then."
Back at the Ranch.

Maybe it was the pizza anchor. Maybe it was the puppy farm dungeon witch. The only thing we can be sure of is that it took longer than it should’ve.

On gravel bikes, the MTB trails are fantastic!
Moi trying to get to the moon. He may not have made it all the way, but that doesn't mean he's not a celestial being.

The Hub and Spoke Pays Off

On night two, the crew cuts loose.
We're only separated by 17 days. Can't you tel
These are Kate's feet. She lives in Blacksburg and found out we were in her neck of the woods via internet magic. She asked Sarah if she could come hang with us. OF COURSE. And you know what? She was SO cool too! What a rad lady. Nice to meet you Kate! Feet and all.
That's Kate on the far right of the fire. She was great at looking at fires. Just great. A seasoned pro!
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