Two British guys hike through rural Virginia (How NOT to Travel America #5)
- Mate. (hands slapping) - Come on. This is what it's all about. Wait! (gentle music) (gentle music continues) - [Tom] Welcome back, everyone to "How Not to Travel America."
The story of two blundering Brits and their mission to get from Boston to Miami as creatively and impulsively as they can manage, whilst attempting to squeeze in as many quintessentially American experiences as they can muster. You rejoin us in the nation's capital. Having well and truly triumphed in completing such a task at the local baseball stadium after a truly unforgettable bicycle journey down the Potomac River. (gentle music continues) After a much needed premier league and pizza-based day of rest, however it was time to head back out into nature.
And this time we really would be leaving civilization behind us. (Tom exhaling) That is one heavy bag. And this could be a struggle today, couldn't it? - That's not even with all the water that we'll need. Plus like, any food. - It's gonna be, especially if it's hot today, we're gonna be really working. We're gonna be working hard on this trail.
And then we've got the issue after that of where do we sleep? - Yeah, we're banging on the door of an RV, basically. (Greg laughing) Sorry, man. - You scared the absolute shit out of me. - It was too good of an opportunity, how you doin' mate? - [Jack] I'm doing well. How're you boys doin'? - [Tom] With a bit of help from Jack, this episode will see us immerse ourselves in the wonders of the Appalachian Trail where we plan to hike southwards, through the Shenandoah National Park towards Waynesboro and potentially beyond.
The huge distances involved in this didn't really match up with our schedule, but because this was America, they built a road on top of the mountain range called "Skyline Drive". And we intended to take full advantage of this by hitching a couple of rides with obliging sightseeing strangers. Our latest city stint had been incredible, but we were truly excited now about the ambitiously adventurous nature of what lay ahead of us. One problem though, aside from our ridiculously heavy bags, was that Greg's still didn't have a sleeping bag in it. And with nighttime temperatures of five degrees Celsius forecasted up on the ridge, this could prove to be a bit of an issue.
What hadn't been an issue though, thanks to our old mate, Jack, was getting there. - [Jack] Yeah. - [Tom] We're not far away now from being dropped off.
- No phone signal, either. Can't get lost. - Great. That's good to know. (Jack laughing) After a thoroughly enjoyable ride, and a healthy dose of some much needed football-based discussions with devout Liverpool fan Jack, we arrived excitedly at the National Parks entrance. Anything we need to look out for? Animals or bugs? Or anything in particular? - [Park Ranger] I mean, yeah, you guys shouldn't run into really many animals.
I mean, if you see a bear, just don't mess with it. Do you guys know where you're going? Do you need maps or anything? - [Tom] Yeah, we know where we're going. -[Greg] Yeah, we've got a map. We're heading to Big Meadows. - [Park Ranger] Okay.
- Jack, thanks so much, man. - Not at all. - [Jack] Pleasure meeting the pair of you. - [Tom] Pleasure. - [Tom] Pleasure to meet you. - [Jack] Safe journey the rest of the way.
- [Greg] Thanks so much mate. Thanks so much. (horn honking) - [Tom] That is a camp horn. (Greg laughing) It really is. and then there were two. How you feeling, Greg? About to head into the Appalachians? - Pretty, yeah, excited, man.
Excited and with a good dose of trepidation, I'd say. - [Tom] Yeah, I think so. - Just 'cause of like, without a firm plan with anything. - [Tom] No, we really don't. - Well, we are off. - We are off, man.
We're already really high up. Probably two and a half thousand feet up. - Yeah. - We're gonna walk along this for a little while, see if we can get a lift up into the heart of the mountain range and then we'll do some good old hiking in what I imagine will be breathtaking scenery.
Maybe we'll even see a bear. Hopefully not. (Greg laughing nervously) - So Big Meadows is our goal for the day, which is just too far at this time, with this weight, to walk to, it's like 20 miles. - [Tom] Yeah. - So we are thinking, try and hitch to somewhere like Skyland, where a lot of people will go and it's the highest point I think, in this area. - So on that note, let's set up. - Thumb out.
- Thumb out, yeah. Exactly. I'm gonna go out on a whim, mate and say about the 14th car will pick us up. - Okay. I was gonna go 15th, funnily enough. - Oh, fuck off! - No I was! Geniunely. - Was you? - I was thinking about 15.
- I've got a good feeling about this. I think if we turn and face them and they see our face. - Yeah. - Our smiling...
- Smiling, dashing kind of grins, then. - Yeah, we'll have a better chance. And so armed with little else, but our baseless optimism, we did what so many people have done before in the movies and tried to hitch a ride.
(car engines roaring) I think it's largely like, sort of middle-aged tourists, isn't it? Who just like the comfort of their own car. (traffic rumbling) Sure enough, the roadside thumbing was proving less fruitful than we'd first anticipated. Wow.
It is lovely. See we could, like, little spots like this, I dunno how frequent they are, but we could potentially just like go, "Hi!" and speak to people. - Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. - Just like, "Would you mind dropping us up the road?" - I think that's a really good idea. - [Tom] Unsure how far up the road the next viewpoint would be, we positioned ourselves halfway down the spacious asphalt slipway that led to this one and hoped that the right person would come along.
(upbeat electronic music) (upbeat electronic music continues) (upbeat electronic music continues) (upbeat electronic music concludes) Well, we're not having quite as much luck as we thought, but we haven't been at it for too long. A lot of Linda and Rons and not enough kind of... - Kyles and Jamies. - Yeah. (Tom chuckling) - Kyles and Ethans. (Greg chuckling) But then a reassuring ray of hope.
- [Driver] You going this way? - [Together] No, we go this way. Thank you. - Sorry, man. - [Tom] So that car stopped. So that's promising. - Yeah. - [Tom] I reckon if we'd said to them, "Look, we just wanna go five miles..." - I was thinking, do you know I was actually thinking that like, why not just run over and say, - [Tom] Yeah.
- "We just want to get to Skyland." - [Tom] Yeah, man. I think they were really up for it, weren't they? - Yeah, yeah, yeah. - [Tom] Just need one of them to come the other way. - Need one of them going the other way, yeah.
- [Tom] But "one of them" seemed to be far and few between. - Sorry, we can't take you. - Oh, that's okay. - [Tom] That's alright.
- It's too crowded in here. - Oh yeah, no worries. - [Tom and Greg] Don't worry about it. - [Tom] Hi. We're no harm. (Greg chuckling) - [Greg] I think that sends the opposite signal, to keep going, doesn't it? - [Tom] Ah, yeah I know.
Then a park ranger pulled up. - Ah. - [Tom] Ah. - [Park Ranger] Where you guys headed to? - Hey man, we're heading up to Skyland.
- [Park Ranger] Okay. All right, I'm going to Big Meadows. I can take you there. - [Greg] Really? - [Tom] You sure? - Oh, that's awesome. Oh, thank you very much. - [Tom] Thank you.
Far from coming over to move us along, he was physically going to move us to our destination himself. What is that? Is that a real poo? - Oh, that's, no, that's fake. (Park Ranger chuckling) - [Tom] Oh, bloody hell, I was gonna say. - That's a mold of a bear scat. - [Tom] Oh, so you show people what it looks like so they can be aware? - Yeah. So they recognise it. - [Tom] Gotcha.
And what are our chances of seeing a bear? - I would say this year, fairly low, but still possible. - [Greg] Yeah. - [Tom] Possible. On the nine mile journey to Skyland, the friendly ranger hinted as to why he may have picked us up.
- I don't imagine your luck would've been very good. - Oh, really? - Yeah. It, you know, hitchhiking in the US in general is kind of... - Yeah. - Not great. - [Tom] Not the done thing.
- Yeah. It's just not, people don't trust people in the US. - No. - [Tom] No. - [Greg] No, no, you notice that. - [Tom] Whether it was generosity or concern or a bit of both, our man had done us a big favour and in the nick of time.
So helpful, mate. We would be, yeah. We might have been there quite a while.
- Yeah, not a problem. - Yeah. - Take care, guys. - Thanks, man. - [Tom] Thanks, bye! - Bye. - Well, we're at Skyland. - The slightly worrying factor is that he's basically said that it's not too easy to hitchhike.
- To hitch, no. - On the drive. - No. - And tomorrow we have 50 miles to cover, so. - Yeah. I think we'll do it.
- To be honest, tomorrow we're starting off doing it. So we'll be at Big Meadows. We'll just, we may even chat to people tonight. - We'll chat to people at Big Meadows, mate. Oh yeah. - Gotta drive in there tomorrow and just... - Oh yeah.
- Mate! That's actually probably a great idea. - Onto the trail, finally, at like 3:00 PM. (Tom and Greg chuckling) - Well, it is "How Not to Travel America", mate. So anything that we do shit, not well or not at all, - We can just excuse. - we can excuse by saying, it's "How Not to Travel America".
Anything we do right... - Well, it's a bonus. - Yeah.
- [Greg] Oh, this must be it, man. This is it. - That is it, isn't it? - "The AT" - [Tom] The AT. Nice little logo. There you go, mate.
- Your first footsteps on the trail. - [Tom] After you, Greg. - Thank you. - Finally doing it, we're finally hiking into the wilderness. It's a lovely temperature. It's lovely surroundings already.
It's making me want to do a ghostie already. - Trying to make ground here mate - I know. It does feel great to be on a yet another way of - Yeah. - [Tom] getting about, and one that we love so well. - Yeah, man.
And just on my feet, like, - [Tom] Yeah. - now we are literally just here alone. - [Tom] In fact, this is as free, technically, This is as free as we've been. Being on foot, there's something so magical about being on foot. - It's liberating, isn't it? - Yeah. (uplifting electronic music) (uplifting electronic music continues) (uplifting electronic music continues) (uplifting electronic music concludes) About halfway now to Big Meadows campsite.
We'll get there before dark. - [Greg] Yeah, we're doing, we're going well. - Yeah, we're going well. We haven't really stopped too much and it's been lovely. We've just been having a good old chin wag, haven't we really Greg? - [Greg] Yeah.
(uplifting electronic music) (uplifting electronic music continues) (footsteps treading) First bloke. - [Tom] The man we were now chatting to was a Greek gentleman, who happened to be staying at Big Meadows. - [Greek Hiker] I can take you to the camp ground. I have no problem. - [Tom] No, we're gonna walk to the campground.
- Yeah, we're fine to walk. - [Greek Hiker] It's a plan, it's a plan - [Tom] We might see you later. - [Greek Hiker] Yeah, you might. - Thank you. - [Tom] Thanks. We declined the gentleman's kind offer for a lift. But it did get us thinking, if we could encounter such warmth from a random bloke on the trail, who else might we bump into in the campsite? What's the ideal situation then, Greg? When we get to this campsite, what's the perfect scenario? We meet people that just are really interested in what we're doing.
"You know, we've got spare room in our RV, come and have a beer with us and..." - [Greg] Yeah. Yeah, yeah. - I mean, it does seem very unlikely. - Or we somehow just wangle a room I dunno.
- [Tom] Then our eyes were treated to another view that seemed to make all other matters disappear. Good grief. That is a site I've never seen the like of, really.
- [Greg] No, no. - [Tom] I've seen equally nice ones but nothing, nothing similar to that. That is, that really is big open country, isn't it? - [Greg] That is, isn't it? (Greg gasping) - [Tom] Because I didn't know what it was in that first split second.
- [Greg] Mate, I didn't know if it was real for a second! Hello, boy. - [Tom] Hello boy. - [Greg] Oh, hello. - [Tom] Hello.
- [Greg] Mate, he was literally, or she, we've literally stood within about two meters at that point. - Well that's a nice way to end the... - Yeah. - ... today's walk mate. - Yeah, beautiful. - [Tom] Hello. - [Greg] Hello, Spindly. - [Tom] Hello, Sparrow Legs.
(Greg chuckling) Very tame, aren't they? These lovely deer were tame for a reason. We were entering the periphery of the spacious grounds of Big Meadows. Here we are. There's hammocks.
- Up here. - [Tom] Hammocks are appearing. We've made it, it's 10 to six. So yeah, we've done a good pace of about three miles an hour, maybe even a bit more. Interested to see what the night will bring and a little bit apprehensive. For a while, we strolled around the truly vast campground, looking out for any friendly people or lively groups that we could get chatting to.
We said, "Hi," to a couple of people, but it was all quite peaceful and subdued. Then upon stumbling across the main lodge, we came up with a far better idea. - A bit of a, we want to camp. But it's gonna be quite cold, we imagine.
We don't, someone told us it's gonna, - We don't have any gear basically. Well, limited gear. It's a bit obviously of a strange request, but is there any chance you could like, rent out two blankets that we'd pay for and then give you, give them back? Is that, would that be possible? Yeah? - [Campground Worker] Yeah.
I could make that work. - Really? - [Tom] That's great. Thank you. - That would be awesome. - [Tom] That literally saves our lives.
- Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. - [Tom] Well, not literally, but.. (Greg laughing) Did you say the cash machine was down though? The card machine? - Yes.
- Okay. - Only we don't have cash. - You don't have cash? - [Campground Worker] So I'll be right back with the blankets then and I'll, I'll just go on trust, you know. - Really.
That'd be amazing. Thank you. You're a lifesaver. - We'll just wait over there. - [Tom] Thanks to another hospitable hospitality worker. Our problems were once again solved. - Two lovely blankets. Yeah, thanks man.
- Have a lovely evening. See you in the morning. (Tom and Greg laughing) Anyway, we've got, this is incredible. - Yeah, this is exactly what we need, dude.
- Yeah, no this, that's one of the... That's top 10 moments of the trip so far from me, that is. - I dunno, it's just- It's not that good. (Greg laughs) - [Tom] No it's not that good actually. That's genius, mate.
- That feels like... - [Tom] Double, - ... Sort of doubled at least most of it. - [Tom] Double trouble. Good. Because that's completely broke.
Cheers, Amazon. - [Employee] Hey. - Oh good, thank you. - Hi, how you doing? - How are you doing? - [Employee] I'm doing well. Doing well. So y'all came in without stopping in here first.
- We're walking. - We did. - 'Cause we only just arrived. - Yeah. - [Employee] Did you guys drive in, or did you walk in? - [Tom] We walked in.
- [Employee] You walked in? - Yeah, yeah. (metal rattling) - [Greg] And that is... That. - [Tom] And that is bear proof. Because we got told off a bit for camping where we did. - Yeah, when we did.
- When we did. - How we did. - How we did, and with the attitude that we did it with. (Greg chuckling) Time for a beer, I think mate. - Time for some food. - Yeah, food and a beer. Two of Earth's greatest pleasures. (beer can popping crisply) - Crick, crack, crock.
Cheers. - Cheers mate. (Tom's American accent) You can't beat the refreshing taste of Miller Lite. I keep saying "Muller" Lite. Greg is just about to finish two main courses before I finished one. Hungry work today, mate.
Yeah, it always is with you, isn't it? (Greg laughing) (crickets chirping) It's literally a deer right by our tent. Hello Mr. Deer. - [Greg] Do you want to come in the tent with us? - [Tom] Would you like to come in the tent? - [Greg] How warm would it be lying against that? - [Tom] Should we have a hug? Yeah? - [Greg] Warm like coat. - [Tom] He's very confused, mate.
- [Greg] Just leave him. - [Tom] Nearly bolted then. Yeah, leave him, why not? It's hardly a Velociraptor, is it? (Greg chuckling) Goodnight. Goodnight viewers. After a comfortable night's sleep, we had a quick look at the map to figure out a plan of action for the day, returned our blessed blankets and hit the trail. - Well, we weren't on the trail for long, until we found today's first incredible view. Shit.
- [Greg] Morning haze has cleared a bit now, so... - [Tom] Breathtaking. - [Greg] Wow. So what's going on Tommy? - Well, it's a lovely beautiful day again and yeah, we want to get to Waynesboro by today. Today is gonna be our last day of hiking, but we also need to hitchhike, as I explained yesterday, we're gonna get a couple of miles in now and we think there's a good hitchhiking spot just down the way. But we do want to get a lift to within 15 miles of Waynesborough and that's where we'll do our big chunk of hiking today rather than gamble. Hike now and get stuck in the middle of nowhere with no blankets.
Just shy of our hitchhiking spot, there was a shop where we were able to buy some crap food. - Broccoli and cheddar. However, take a forensic young man to spot any broccoli in there. (Tom chuckling) And then it was back out and over to this slightly more sun-baked, but strategically placed, spot to see if it would harbor any better results. (vehicle engines revving) - [Tom] Any room? (crickets chirping) - Any chance of a lift? (All chuckling) - [Dog Walker] Well, only if you're walking along. She'll pull you!
- Were you the guys thumbing as we came in yesterday? - Yes. - Oh, yeah! - Oh! We, we had a full car. - Oh, that's alright, don't worry. - Yeah, - Well, we've actually been coming up here for decades and you're the first people we've seen hitchhiking.
- [Both] Really? - Yeah. - Oh my God. - That's crazy. - Yeah. - Get off! Heel. - Good luck.
- Thank you very much. - Go find that ranger. - Yeah, thanks. Have a good day. - Thanks very much. - She headbutted me right in the balls, man. - [Tom] Even without the skull to the nuts, early vibes weren't great.
We were confident that we were in the best spot that we could be with all the Big Meadows traffic. Some of whom may have seen our friendly faces the evening before, heading out this way and stopping right at our feet. But as of yet on this American adventure, we still had no evidence that anyone, other than a fan of the channel, would be willing to pick us up. - [Pickup Truck Driver] We're a little full. - Yeah. - A little full. - No problem.
Thank you. - [Pickup Truck Passenger] Unless you can jump on top. - Thanks. - We could do. Okay. We've been at this fly infested, sun-baked spot, now, for half an hour.
No lifts yet. Fair amount of cars. - Yeah. Decent amount of cars. Not an awful reaction. - No. People have conversed with us. - Yeah.
People have conversed. But it still feels somewhat... Kind of unlikely- - No, but it, it does feel like there's this chance that like, we'll fail. - It does feel like that, yeah. (car engine roaring) - A lot of people who just don't even look at you. - Yeah, that's it.
- It's like they look down on hitchhiking as if, like, "What are you doing?" - Yeah, yeah, yeah. - Yeah, we just need that one person, as always. How many times have we said this, but you need that one person who went hitchhiking in the 80s. - We got a lot- we got all day practically. - Yeah, yeah we can do it.
After that point, the friendly interactions continued. - [Tom] Wrong way. - [Greg] Yeah. We're going this way anyway. (Driver laughs)
We love blueberries. (Driver laughs) - Yeah. - [Passenger] We're only going half a mile. - Heading south? - Going south? - [Driver] No. (car engine revving) - [Van Driver] Where are you guys trying to go? - We're- to either Swift Gap, - [Van Lady] I don't know where that is. - It's about 20 miles south. - Yeah.
- [Van Driver] I'm going north. - [Greg] Oh, you're going north. - [Tom] Oh, if you're going north don't worry. - [Greg] Don't worry. - [Tom] Thanks anyway. - [Tom] Then another ranger showed up. - Hi. - Hi. What's up?
- [Greg] How are you doing? - Good, how are you? - Yeah, good. - You guys need a ride somewhere, or-? - Yeah, are you going? We, well we are heading south to ideally, Rip Rap. - Okay. - Yeah. - I'm leaving the park right now so I can't take you down there.
Have you been up to the visitor centre yet? - No. - Okay. - I would go up there. It's literally right, it's the next building over. - Yeah.
- Just let them know, the rangers at the front desk and they can call to see if anyone's in the area to give you guys a ride. - Really? - It might be, sometimes not. Sometimes we're understaffed in the camp, but sometimes they'll do the through-transport. - [Tom] Really? - [Greg] No way! - So you can try. I'm on my way out, sorry, otherwise I would help.
- No worries. No, you've helped anyway. Thank you. - No worries.
- [Tom] Thanks, Laura. Have a good day. - Thanks, Laura. - [Tom] So while I continued thumbing, Greg cantered over to the visitors centre to see what lovely Laura's colleagues could potentially do for us. What's the verdict, mate? - So really friendly in there. Good and bad news. Bad news first, is that they don't think any ranger in the area is going that far today. - Yeah.
- The good news is Swift Gap, which is like 30 miles away and there's a place called Elkton. - Oh yeah! - Which is there, literally a woman on the desk says she drives that way at 4:00 PM and apparently from there we could get a bus even to somewhere like Waynesboro. - So where do we do the hiking? - That's the thing, man.
I think this would be at like 4:00 PM anyway. So I think at 4 or 5:00 PM, if we haven't been taken, we just go with them to Elkton. - Okay, so that's a good contingency plan. - That's a contingency plan, at least. - It's a good out. But then, our contingency plans took a hike.
20 miles south of here. - 20 miles? - [Tom] Swift gap? - [Red Truck Driver] Well I can give you a ride if you guys won't be bothered to sit in the back of the truck. - Nope. - That would be amazing. - Don't sit on the toolbox. - Yeah. - Okay. We won't. - How far are you going, though? - [Red Truck Driver] Oh, we're going all the way to the end of the park.
- Really? Oh, we're from the UK. Yeah. Yeah. - Is it legal for us to sit on the back? - [Red Truck Driver] Yeah. Nah, you're cool. You're cool. Just don't sit on the tool box. - Okay. That's all right.
I can show you on the- - Don't fall out. - No, we won't fall out. - (indistinct) - That is... Ideal.
- All right, mate. You grab the water? - Yeah. - Can I step on that? - Yeah. That's what it's for. - Oh, okay, yeah. - [Tom] So where do I sit, on the side? - I got a couple pillows if you guys wanna sit on those? - That'd be great. That'd be-
that'd be perfect. (motorcycle engines rumbling) We'll be good passengers. - Thank you. Well listen, if you want to stop or if there's any time that you know, that you want, you want to bail out or something like that? - Yeah. - [Red Truck Driver] Just pat, let me know like that. - Just jump? - Okay.
- [Red Truck Driver] I don't drive above, the speed limit's only 35. And I'll try to stick cause, we've- we're, we're here to sightsee. - [Greg] Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, take your time. - That's fine by us. - But, yeah.
- Do we lie down? Is this allowed? (Red Truck Driver laughing) (Tom and Greg chuckling) - You getting- make yourself happy guys. - [Greg] Okay. Thank you. (Greg laughing) - This is incredible, mate. We even got a little friend with us. Look.
- Oh. - [Tom] Look, Jiminy Cricket. - Little critter. - Little critter, yeah. (Tom laughing) Mate. (hands slapping) Come on. This is what it's all about. Wait! Get a ride in a pickup truck with a man called Buck, Randy or Hank. - Or Hank. - We need to ask him his name - We need to ask him his name.
- We didn't even think about that. We forgot about that challenge. Not only had our southern savior rescued us from another potentially punishing day on the verges, but he also suddenly had the potential to single-handedly strike off the most far-fetched and ridiculous of the five quintessentially American challenges on our little list. We'd actually completely forgotten about that challenge up until that moment and with some of the views that were now appearing, we'd have a job remembering it. Nah. - That is incredible.
- It is hard to soak in things like, like, when you're doing it, it's like, "Okay, I'm just sitting in the back of a truck," but later on, we'll look back at this, look back on this so fondly. - It's all just so pleasurable, like how we're sitting here. - Yeah.
- Just the views, and feel the cool breeze, and the sun is just keeping us toasty. - Oh, it's so nice. And this is the first time either of us have hitchhiked in the States, isn't it? With a general member of- - Yeah, yeah, yeah, true.
- And look at that, guys. That first ride and it's in a pickup truck. Literally in the most literal sense you can think of. And it could be, with a bloke called- I think we put a good chance about Randy, Hank or Buck.
Was Walt included? (Greg laughing) Cause if so, we're in. Moments later, it was time to find out. Oh, we've pulled in. - We've pulled in. - (American accent) I got a flat tire guys.
(Greg laughing) - Hey guys. - Hey, my name's Terry by the way. - [Greg And Tom Together] Oh, hi Terry.
- I'm Tom. - Tom? - Tom. - And Greg. - Great. - Nice to meet you.
- [Terry] I got some pop, and I got a cooler. It's not real cold. Most of my ice melt, but some, I got some Sprite, Pepsi or bottled water. - Do you know what? I would love a Sprite. - A Sprite? - Sprite. - Sprite sounds great.
- Yeah, that'd be amazing. - Okay, here's still chilled. - Oh man. - Oh wow, that's great.
- That is great. That is more than cold. - Yeah. - Cheers, mate. - Cheers, mate! - Cheers.
Well guys, as you just heard, his name was Terry. Devastating news. - It's very English. - It's very English, yeah, Terry. (Cockney accent) "Alright, Terry!" You know, but we can't complain too much. - No. - We've got half a point.
- At least. - At least half a point. - Can of Sprite in the back of a pickup - What more could you want? Bored stiff mate. I'm gonna get some kip. Good night mate. - [Greg] Good night, mate. - [Tom] It was no time to sleep, of course. The scenery grew more and more breathtaking with each bend, and Swift Gap, the place that we had told Terry we'd be jumping out at, was fast approaching.
However, a brief period of signal allowed us to look at the trail map again. And this made us realise that we'd have a far better hiking experience if we carried on down to a place called Calf Mountain, where we could then hike to Waynesboro. - Guys, you sure you, I mean, that's going to Elkton right here.
- We weren't sure whether there was a hiking... - Trail. A hiking trail that went down there, but it doesn't look like there is. - Yeah. - So we'd have to walk on the main road, you see. So we were just looking maybe to see if there was a trail a little bit further that we could go down.
- [Terry] Let me look at the map and see. - Black Rock Summit parking, here. - We could get off there. - That's along the 85 mile marker, okay? - [Greg] Yeah. - So we're about 20 more miles. - Is that okay? - That's cool, yeah.
Guys I'm easy. - Really? - [Terry] Years ago, I used to pick up hikers all the time. - [Both] Really? - [Terry] I was really curious. 'Cause I mean hiking, you hardly see anybody. - I know. - [Terry] Strangers hike in this country.
- Yeah, that's what people keep- - [Terry] You guys get down to Miami, now, man, I'm telling you you better be careful. - After warning us about "city folk", Terry then informed us about all the various types of poisonous snakes that could be found on the trail, which to our uneasy surprise included copperheads and rattlesnakes. How much are you trusting trusting Terry's driving man? - A lot, to be honest.
- Yeah? think you've been in the sun a bit too long. It does unnerve me when he goes hard on the brakes. - Yeah, yeah. - Then, out of nowhere, Terry slammed his brakes on in the middle of a blind corner. - [Greg] You think he sees something? Oh, it's there. - [Tom] What is it? - A snake.
- [Terry] I hope nobody got- bumped their head. - Look. - [Tom] Oh, shit! - [Terry] That's a black snake there. He's not poisonous. - Wow.
- He's not poisonous? No? - [Terry] No. He's a black snake, now he'll kill Copperheads. - [Greg] Really? - [Terry] They'll kill Copperheads. - [Tom] Car coming. He's not poisonous. They will kill them. - [Tom] Oh boy. Then they will actually (indistinct) - Yeah. - [Greg] Sorry.
(Greg laughing) Get out of here ASAP, man. - [Tom] Yeah, pull off. - [Terry] I didn't know what that snake was. I wanted to see it. (Tom and Greg laughing) - Fucking nutter. - We literally was slidin'.
- [Tom] Aside from that one slightly unnerving moment, Our ride in the back of Terry's pickup truck was truly terrific. It was basically a private, open top tour bus that took us through 40 miles of alien looking mountainous landscapes. And while we wished we had enough time to hike it all, and truly immerse ourselves in its snakey wilderness, we had a pretty good story to tell the grandkids instead.
- How do you do? - Hello. - [Greg] Hello, hi, hi. - [Tom] And after a few more scenic stops from Terry, who was with his wife, by the way. We pulled over for a final time.
- We're here, mate. - Are we here? - Yep. - Are we here? - [Terry] Is it here or is it on up the road? - It's a little bit up the road, but we'll walk. - [Greg] We can walk. - It might not be easy to pull in there. Okay.
- Yeah yeah. - Guys, I wish you good luck, and have a good time. - Thank you Terry.
- You've been so helpful. - We really appreciate that. This really made our adventure great. - Yeah. (Terry chuckling)
- Well, take care of each other. - Thank you so much. - [Tom] Thanks, Terry. - Really helpful. - [Tom] Appreciate it. Thank you for having us, thank you. - [Terry] Watch for the snakes on the trail, guys. - Yeah, true. - [Tom] Aw, yeah, true.
You take care now, Terry. - [Terry] Nice meeting you. - [Tom] Nice meeting you, too. What a guy. - Lovely couple. - [Tom] What a couple. - Yeah, what a couple.
And we're off. - [Tom] And we have traveled 50 miles further south on our trip. - Yeah, yeah. Look at that. - Much needed 50 miles further south. Look at it, it's beautiful.
- Where are we going? - [Tom] Oh, well, I think, - We to look at the- the trail. We follow this for a bit, - And then there's a trail. - There's a trail, yeah. We're gonna follow it, basically. Hopefully mostly downhill down into the valley.
The mighty Shenandoah Valley to Waynesboro. - Yeah. It should be about 10 miles away.
- [Tom] 10 miles down there. That's gotta be it, hasn't it? Oh boy. - [Greg] Ah, there, yeah, yeah. - [Tom] Yeah? Okay, off we go for the final leg of our on foot adventure.
- Yeah. - [Tom] Oh this is like, this is different, mate, fields. - [Greg] It's like, British, isn't it? - [Tom] Yeah, in a way. - Lunchtime? - [Tom] After a quick lunch consisting of some beef jerky wrapped in a tortilla that Greg got for free at this Taco Bell in Fairfax, we hit what we thought at the time would be our last segment of the Appalachian Trail. - [Greg] Completely different feel to it, isn't it, this place? - It is very different. Mystical, this is.
I can see what the appeal is of the Appalachian Trail. - Yeah. - It is a bloody lovely wooded walk, isn't it? "A walk in the woods" as Bill Bryson put it. It's a shame we won't be doing more of it, but - Yeah you know, time is a factor and bag space. - Yeah. - It's been a big factor. It's wild. It's wild out here.
There aren't any water taps. At the top of the hill, we reached a distinctly man-made transmission station and some strangely positioned metal seats all pointing in a significant direction. This is where we leave the Appalachian trail is it Greg? - Yeah. - [Tom] Once and for all? - Yeah. - This is where we leave it.
- [Tom] Down there? - Down that ominous looking path. (Tom chuckles nervously) See you later, AT. Been good knowing ya. - [Tom] Yeah. Into Copperhead heaven. But less than a minute from the sanctuary of the AT and Greg's lighthearted comment was already coming to fruition.
Little bit dodgy having to stoop under this incredibly low, incredibly high voltage wire. So we're looking above for volts, and then below for Copperheads. Copper wires, Copperheads.
Must be all right if people walk it. The problem was: people didn't walk it. There's no path down there, man. - Literally. See? - [Tom] The worryingly named "Bear Den Trail" that we'd hoped to follow was completely blocked off. A north peeling trail also quickly hit a dead end.
But when Scout Gregg discovered a third mystery trail that peeled off to the south, we were hopeful for a way out. Okay, well let's, let's go for it. Okay. Fingers crossed. Seems to be correct. However, the further we headed down this seldom trodden trail, it's a whole lot of spiderwebs on this trail. Ahh! The more evidence appeared to suggest otherwise.
Then not too long later, Greg got some signal again. - Fuck's sake, man. So we're not going in the right direction at all. - We might just need to back it up mate. - Yeah, just get back to- - Just get back - - The way that I said originally.
- Yeah, true. - [Bear Grylls impression] Sometimes you just gotta know when to turn back, call it quits and live to fight another day. - And those wise words from Bear couldn't have applied more here. The last thing we wanted was to get lost and be stuck up in the mountains with no provisions. Something that could be potentially lethal for Greg.
So it was back up and under the cables, which I'm still not sure were completely safe. And all the way back down to our lunch spot where it was now imperative that we did get ourselves onto the correct trail. Okay, we're back here. Tortilla rock. But yeah, let's follow this and hopefully this doesn't lead us on a wild goose chase, 'cause darkness is a factor. - Yeah. It's already nearly four o'clock.
- Yeah. Oh shit, really? Let's go. The next two miles of dirt track were idyllically Virginian, delightfully downhill, and you'll be relieved to hear heading in the right direction. There was a small church that we'd seen on the map, which stood at the foothills of the mountains. And this is what we were aiming for. Thanks to a continuous 400 meter descent, it wasn't long before we were nearing it.
How, ever, what had appeared on All Trails to be the Appalachian National Scenic Trail was in actual fact, a farm track, that led straight down into fiercely protected private property. Oh, okay. Mate. It does say, "Private property".
[Greg] It does doesn't it.. - Fucking hell. You are joking. (footsteps treading) This will be awful, mate, if we can't go through here. No trespassing mate. I don't believe it. What the fuck are we meant to do? - [Greg] We're going through buddy. We are going through, aren't we? - Don't think there's a choice, mate.
- [Tom] I mean they're not gonna shoot us. - What's it say on the other side bro this says the same thing there. Well, we've already been on it.
- What the fuck? It was worrying, confusing and annoying. But before we had chance to make sense of it, we found ourselves in straight line mission mode. This is someone's, someone's house, here.
Oh, there's a guy over there. - [Greg] Really where? Mate it's dogs that I worry about. - [Greg] Yeah, yeah big time. Hopefully they don't see us, mate. I feel like we're doing a straight line mission. - I know. - Like, hopefully they don't spot us, sort of thing.
We'll keep you posted. We really had no idea what the potential consequences of being on this gravel road were. We were confident that common sense would prevail, but we didn't know and there were more houses approaching. - [Greg] There's a house to the right. - [Tom] Ooh God.
- [Greg] I don't really know what to do here. - [Tom] The hell do we do here? - [Greg] I think it's straight. The approach to our next property was a double-edged sword. "Sanctuary." - [Greg] Yeah.
- [Tom] That is the road. "Take me home, country roads," mate. Nah. Never had more of a poignant meaning. - [Tom] Ooh. - [Tom] Oh dear. It's the fact like you're in like, the heart of Virginia, as well. - Yeah I know.
- I know. Gun toting territory mate.. (Tom laughing) - [Tom] 800 nervous yards later, and we were almost there.
Tell you what, we've descended a lot there and it's frigging baking. Roasting hot. - Yeah it's really hot now.
But we're almost at the sanctuary of the road and when we got there, the magnitude of its exclusivity was laid bare. Thank Fuck for that. - Approaching... - Private property. What the fuck? - "Guns in use"? - Oh boy. (Tom laughing nervously) - [Tom] I don't get it, though. We're on a trail.
- "Without written permission from Calvin ******" - Ooh, he sounds like a gun toting... - Well Calvie, we've been through buddy, and we ain't see ya. - Calvin, furthermore, we hate ya. (Greg chuckling) - We hate your values. All right?
But can you imagine if we'd come up this way and we'd seen that? That's the first thing we've ever seen- we would've not, set an inch past there. - I don't think we would've gone past that, no. Feel like we definitely got away with one there, big time. - I mean, we haven't seen a, we've seen lots of "Private Property" signs, but we haven't seen one that says, "Guns in use" and then a big "No" next to hiking, running, and various other things. One of which we were doing right through the property.
- You know that leads up to the Appalachian Trail. You know hikers are bound to pass through this area. - Yeah. They may need to escape the trail to, you know, if they're hurt or to find refuge or something. - Yeah.
And you've you wanted us to turn background climb up about 800 meters of ascent and get stuck there in the night. Did you? You're just unbelievable, Calvin. Our accidental excursion over Kelvin's beloved gravel was a bit of a stark reminder that we were now well and truly in gun-toting, God-fearing pickup-driving redneck territory. And we both agreed that it would probably be in our best interests to try and blend in when possible and respect the values of any locals we might meet. On the four mile walk down the country lanes that led to Waynesboro, when we weren't getting chased by dogs, we had time to discuss another pressing issue that had been on our minds for a while now, which was, where the hell do we go from here? We were now just over halfway through the trip and we'd barely covered a third of its distance.
The time we'd spent barely moving on boats, bikes and on foot had been jolly good fun. But the fact was, if we carried on at the rate we were going, we'd miss our flights by about a week. And that's not even taking into account the shenanigans we had planned in Miami and Colombia. What really magnified the problem was that we were now in deepest Virginia and trains and buses were nothing but a figment of people's imagination. It would take days on public transport to travel to somewhere like Charlotte, for instance, and would be mind-numbingly boring for everyone involved. We figured that what we needed to do was to completely ignore the title of the series and "Travel America" how it's supposed to be travelled.
And that is by road. Oh, like that, mate? - Yeah. - [Tom] She's yours for 700.
Like that. That would be so good, mate. Could you imagine? - It's yours, for just 500. - Yeah. I'm feeling, I'm feeling generous, boy. Buzzed off our new plan to purchase some sort of unreliable rust bucket of a Mercury or Buick, we both agreed that the quaint town of Waynesboro seemed like the perfect place to bed down for a couple of days, while we searched for the perfect motor. - Morning jog.
- It's a lovely park. Oh, mate, soccer pitch? - Oh. - [Tom] So eager were we, in fact, that we began our inquiries with the friendly owner of the Quality Inn that we went into to enquire about a room. - It takes us to secure a car? - So you mean like a renting a car, right? - No, we want to buy one. - We want to buy one. - You want to buy a car? - Yeah.
- Cheapest car possible, that still works. - So, a thousand dollars. - [Tom] Do you have a shit car we can buy? (Greg laughing) - I wish I had, but if you wanna buy a car, I don't know where to go.
- We're gonna go on Craigslist and things like that. - Yeah. - Yeah. - Oh, lovely. - [Tom] Oh, look at the bed.
Look at that. No stains and literally half the price. - Far friendlier staff. - [Tom] I've got a feeling he's gonna get us a car.
- He seems into it. - Oh, fucking hell. That was... (sighing) What a hot, demanding couple of days. - Yeah, it was.
- Well we've probably walked 15 miles today, two of which were through some of the most private property in Virginia, but. - Yeah, I know. - No, that's a good day. Then the phone rang. (phone ringing) - Hello? - [TV Football Announcer] Morning time! - Hello? Do we want a beer? Yeah, why not. Okay. Not too many, but...
(Greg and Tom laughing) Thanks, man. That's really nice of you. See you in a sec. - [Greg] What's the verdict? - Free beers from the nicest fuckin' hotel owner in west of the Delaware.
(Greg giggling) - [TV Football Announcer] Touchdown! - It's a touchdown! - [Greg] Oh. - [Tom] We may have been the only two people on the planet to miss the Queen's funeral, but all things considered, I think she would've pardoned us. Here he is, the best hotel owner in Virginia. [Hotel owner] Thank you. (Greg chuckling) Our Appalachian chapter had gone well and truly to plan and could only have been bettered if this man was Randy. And the next chapter, which now had a real sense of direction, was well and truly underway.
It might not be easy to get our hands on a cheap car and register it and insure it, but at the very least it felt like we had a solid base to work from and a friendly face who was rooting for us. (gentle electronic music) - 1962 Cadillac Fleetwood. - And we're about to get a ride in it. - And this is where we make the meth. - [DMV Worker] We can't give them the Virginia title, because they do not have residency.
- Okay. - Okay, we're not- - Just leave from here. - We're buying stuff from the flea market. - No, no, no, do not be a smart ass. - That's what we're doing. ♪ Happy birthday to you ♪ - Ain't that a good time, Gov'na? (gentle electronic music) (gentle electronic music continues) (gentle electronic music fades out)