We started to stir around 8:30 and discovered, to our astonishment, that Dean was still sleeping. He hadn't been getting much sleep lately (things on his mind), and even hiked the final ten miles into Waynesboro pantless (due to chafing) until 4 am. We thought about leaving to get him a coffee this time to pay him back for all the times he did it for us, but thought staying put as not disturb his sleep was more important and thoughtful. Once he awoke we all went to breakfast at 9:30 and met up with Leapfrog and Extra Mile again who were thinking about zeroing today. Leap Frog asked if we wanted to share a room that night to cut costs. We said sure as Dean had a friend coming to town and they would be heading to a nearby bed and breakfast.
Back at the room, Tyler called Oboz, the company that makes his magic shoes. He had contacted them back around mile 350 to see if they would send him a new pair of shoes since, while they felt great, the vibram around the shoe had started delaminating. He thought they never responded but apparently new shoes had been sent out and he missed the pick up. So he called them back and they said they were still willing to send out the replacement shoes, which is awesome! There will certainly be a third pair, but this second pair is coming at a time when the shoes are pretty much a piece of sheer rubber with tattered cloth on top. We plan on getting Emily some new shoes as well at the nearby outfitters. Emily got to work and Dean generously offered to clean everyone's backpacks. Tyler headed out to get some fancy coffee for everyone since there were some nice shops in town. The coffee was great. Leap Frog and Extra Mile came to our room with their stuff. Also, Monty called to say he was in town. He was going to stay at the church hostel that night, but he wanted to come by and say hi.
*Em's backpack dirt
*Tyler's backpack water
Dean and the others headed out to do some errands and Monty came over to our room. He said he had a pretty low week. When asked why he said that June 9th was the fourth anniversary of his older sisters death, who had died suddenly of pulmonary adema. We talked for a while and he and Tyler fired up a game of cribbage. Then we sat around for a while watching TV.
After some time, the others came back and Tyler wanted to show the wear on his shoes to Leap Frog. He then realized he didn't have them and must have left them in the Shuttle. He called, and sure enough, he had, but the Shuttle driver graciously said he would drop them off after a meeting at around 2:15. After that, we would finally make it to the AYCE (only on the AT do we need an acronym for an all you can eat restaurant) Chinese at the renowned Mings Garden. There was a bit of a mix up with the drop off, but we headed over with a freshly haircutted Dean. Monty stayed in the room to watch Star Wars since he couldn't go to the church until 5:00 anyway.
*Extra Mile & Tyler caught in a hug
Ming Garden was fantastic. The hostess who sat us was very clear that we could stay as long as we wanted. They knew all about us stinky hikers. The food was also excellent. There was fresh sushi of many varieties, noodles, all sorts of chicken and spare ribs and a giant dessert section that we hardly touched. We even saw some friends, Roar and Sushi Roll, who we hadn't seen since Hot Springs (mile 270). We left feeling more stuffed than we had in ages.
We popped into the nearby Krogers to get some beer and it started to rain, but, as luck would have it, Dean's friend Michael had just arrived in his rental car and picked us up. What a dude! We clicked with Michael immediately and will definitely have a good time hiking with him in the Shenandoahs if we can catch the two of them. They are going to hit the trail tomorrow and we had one more rest day.
Back at the hotel, we talked and watched more star wars (Empire) with Monty. Extra Mile and Leap Frog headed to a nearby AA meeting (Extra Mile had even recently celebrated three years of sobriety). Michael and Dean went to the B&B to check in with a promise that they would soon be back to all head to Klines Ice cream together. We also went yesterday, that place scrumptious. They came back a couple hours later and we went for ice cream. Monty headed off to claim a bed at the church for the night. The ice cream was great. Extra Mile and Leap Frog came over after their meeting as well with some members of the local group. Afterwards, we all headed back to our rooms (we still scored a ride with the newly certifiable trail angel Michael) and headed to bed, which involved staying up for the next two hours watching comedy central.