Fri 19 Apr - Roanoke, VA

A quieter day in Roanoke...

The weather is overcast and thunderstorms and rain are predicted with near 100% certainty in the afternoon and evening so we opt not to hike. Instead we will freshen up some of our wardrobe with some Mall shopping.

Now to set the scene, neither of us like to shop unless it is outdoor gear, which we both love, or anything to do with cooking or reading for Di or electronics for Hans. So clothes, nope, not a motivator.

But... we do like Walmart. It's huge and has everything and this is where we start at about 9.30am.

The selection of socks is so big Di has trouble choosing a few to replace her ones with holes.

On a side note, the selection of jocks (or undies) for men is terrible. It's either boxer shorts or old guy Y-Fronts. Hans finally tracks down some briefs but they are far higher priced than Oz. Hmmm... given the size of many American men perhaps its a good thing they don't wear briefs or speedos...

We buy lots in Walmart for a total of $150 including a pair of shoes each and shorts for the summer. Good value.

Finishing there at 11am we drive to another section of the Mall (very American to drive rather than walk but to be fair the Mall area is huge and we have to do a loop to get any idea of what is where).

Our priority now is a coffee. We need it to prepare ourselves for the next wave of shopping. We stop at Panera Bread and they have a Starbucks layout, see photo below, but better food and drink. Interesting arty ceiling.

We vow to come back for the pasta deal, which sounds good, for our lunch.

We next venture further into the Mall. First stop is a shop called Walkabout Outfitters to see if we can find new hiking pants for Hans and boots for Di. Very disappointing. Hardly anything to choose from and what is there seems quite superficial for serious outdoor adventures. Unfortunately, it's all there is in outdoors speciality shops in Roanoke.

So we try our luck in the Mall - JC Penny (nope), Eddie Bauers (nope) a shoe superstore for boots for Di (also nope). At the shoe superstore Di tested about 5 pairs of Men's hiking boots (from a selection of about 12 types including Columbia and Merrell - see the selection on the right of the photo below) but with no luck as they don't stock many size 40 for men. As for Women's hiking boots - what a joke ! Just 1 type available and even then it was more like a sneaker. Di stormed out of the shop venting about discrimination...

We went into Old Navy to see if we could find the hiking pants for Hans. Nearly... But not enough pockets or not enough knee space in the long pants. However Hans found a very nice pair of hiking shorts with lots of pocket space for $20.

Our final cost $171.

We did go back to Panera Bread for lunch and shared a large pesto pasta, with baguette and salad for $10.99. Very nice. We will happily eat here again.

Satisfied with our purchases (except 2 key items still missing, Hans long hiking pants and Di hiking boots) we return to our hotel as the rain has started.

Then the rain starts... These pictures were taken from the safety of our Super 8 room.

Admin and housekeeping for the rest of the afternoon with loads of washing and Di's sludge special in the room.
We also booked accommodation for our remaining 8 nights before we return the car to Mary in Maryland (it has a certain rhythm to it...) on the 29 April and go to New York the following day for our month there.
We will stay:
  • Here in Roanoke for another night, making it 4 all together; weather forecast now good and lots of hiking available in the area
  • 3 nights in Mount Jackson, VA which is further north on the Appalachian Trail and in John Denver country aka Shenandoah
  • 3 nights in Ronks, PA; Pennsylvania Dutch aka Amish country
  • 1 night in Atlantic City, NJ (only one night as it would otherwise have been over the weekend when prices quadruple, not worth it, but we need to check out the boardwalk)
All good, and now good night from us.


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