Thursday, August 28, 2008

Statistics for Week 9

Booneville, Kentucky to Waynesboro, Virginia

Week 9.png
411 miles
40.65 hours of bike time.

Day 57 - Sunday August 10 - Booneville to Hindman, KY

Clouds, fog or mist -

call it what you want - it was thick. It gave a rather eerie feeling
to the morning.
We tiptoed past the small homes that dotted the road so as to not disturb 'any' of the occupants (ie: dogs). It's tough to bike uphill, not change gears and hold your breathe all at the same time.
The day was cool and colorful.

Beautiful churches
dotted the countryside. This hundred year old church is the Log Cathedral
in Buckhorn. Note the water line behind the organ pipes
Created from years of flooding, before the damn was built in 1957.
Mid-morning we stopped for a short break and fluid. An hour later I had to pull Jerry away from chewing the fat with three equally grizzly men; one actually looked a lot like Santa Claus.
We lost count of how many ridges we went over,
but it was plenty and they were all tough.
After 66 miles we were worn out so called it a day and headed to the campsite. Finally we were in a 'wet' county, except for the fact that it was Sunday, so NO alcohol sales.........figures!

Day 58 - Monday August 11 - Hindman, KY to The Breaks

Though we camped last night, you can't say we roughed it. We stayed in the Taj Mahal of tents and were treated to incredible banana splits after dinner by our wonderful host David of the Knott County Historical Society.


The morning was as foggy
as it was spectacular.
It was disturbing to see the strip mining
of the beautiful Appalachian Mountains.
We were excited to see this store
because it was on our side of the county line. But of course, the store was 'closed'.
The climbs were impressive.
Luckily the three characters we'd met yesterday told us about a shortcut that saved us a hill first thing in the morning.
The many mountains we did suffer were mostly narrow roads, very few guard rails and steep inclines;
especially the two before Elkhorn City.....'cause the locals said "that there stretch be flat" wasn't.
We stopped at the store in Elkhorn City for our after ride chocolate milk before heading to our hotel. That's when it happened! Someone told Jerry, "you don't want to stay here, go on to The Breaks Lodge, it's only 8 miles away. He neglected to tell us about the mountains within those miles. So shortly before happy hour (4:45) we headed to The Breaks Interstate Park eight miles away. The Breaks Interstate Park is nicknamed the 'Grand Canyon of the South'.
And though it is beautiful
we were tired, so took a couple of pictures and continued our climb to the Lodge.
Footnote: YES, we're in a wet county, but the Interstate Park doesn't allow alcohol.........whatever!

Day 59 - Tuesday August 12 - The Breaks to Rosedale, VA

YES Santa, there is a VIRGINIA!!!!
We made it!

We actually crossed the state line last night. However, The Breaks Interstate Park name does not derive from a highway running through it, but because the park is shared by Kentucky and Virginia......belongs to both and neither at the same time.

Our intention was to leave at 7:00, but the morning was really cold and extremely thick with fog, so we had breakfast instead. We got out by 8 am, and though it was still foggy and cold we figured with would clear and warm up soon. It did clear
but it was freezing. We haven't been this cold since our downhill from Telluride.
Though we were in Virginia, we were NOT out of the mountains.
We climbed the mountains with the coal trucks for the first 10 miles, having to stop each time one needed to pass.
We realize the Appalachian people have been the back end of jokes for years (and we're guilty, too), but you should give credit to these people. To see the tough working conditions and in some cases even rougher living conditions, makes you appreciate how they keep this country and the world fueled with coal (among other minerals) for less then what any of us would ever consider.

Along the way, the locals kept telling us how steep the Big A Mountain was. Oddly enough, our mid morning stop was a small grocery store positioned next to a post office. So we packed up any extra weight we could live without (all our camping gear)
and mailed it home.
Thank goodness, because the Buckin' A Mountain (those who've been to the Brac will understand) was all the locals warned us about.
But as we turned the corner
and started our descent the beautiful Virginia countryside
lay before us. And though we are on the far west side of Virginia it still feels like home.
We planned on a short day (40 miles) today and over lunch decided to stick with the plan. Our legs we very tired from the four days of climbing. So we checked in to the only motel in town (our new low) and went next door to the gas station for dinner and a beer. Very anti-climatic! Weather fact: It has not been this cold (52) in this area since much for global warming............but we're not complaining, the cold air has gotten us through.

Day 60 - Wednesday August 13 - Rosedale to Wytheville, VA

We got out before the sunrise at 7:00, so by the time it rose above the mountains

we had a few miles done. The morning was still cool (62) with a little more humidity due to the rain just south of us. Though we headed south for over two hours, we surprisingly skirted the rain.
The countryside was glorious
even in the overcast skies.
Thirty minutes into our ride we had a one hour climb up hairpin turns with an eight minute downhill.
And the only reason it took us that long to get down, is we were continually breaking around the sharp corners.
During an OMTO (old man time-out)
I managed to snap some pictures of a musical stream
that we'd been following.
We finally reached route 11 and started heading north on familiar roads. Though we were closer to Tennessee and North Carolina than we were to home, the Virginia license plates were encouraging. The new Appalachian taunted us on the left and the old Appalachian (Blue Ridge)
called to us on the right.......luckily we still have a few days before crossing the Blue Ridge.
Every mile along the route had a flag and a laminated sign commemorating a fallen soldier from Iraq.
We had seen these in Kansas as well. They have been placed by "run for the".
Our destination today was Wytheville, 'Hub of Southwest Virginia', and quite a colorful
and historic town. We scoped out a restaurant
before checking in......tonight we celebrate our past five days of cool weather, 71 miles today, being in Virginia, over 3200 miles,!

Day 61 - Thursday August 14 - Wytheville to Salem, VA

Biked in another gloriously cool morning. Though the clouds hung on the mountains, it was clear in front of us.

We are now off the bike route and carving our own path in order to cut some distance to home. So, we rolled up and down the small hills of the service road along Interstate 81. Since we did not have the benefit of the bike route map warning us of mountains,, ...'treat' to a steep climb up Draper Mountain was unexpected. We should have known by the thickening clouds.
But as soon as we turned the corner to descend
the sun came out to reveal the valley of Pulaski below.
We crossed the New River somewhere along the route,
which looked low, but crystal clear.
The afternoon remained cool with a good breeze that was sometimes at our backs. We continued to enjoy beautiful farms along the way.
We biked 72 miles today to get to Salem, one of our old stomping grounds.
Our goal from here is a night in Lexington, Waynesboro, Charlottesville, Richmond and Williamsburg. Which puts us on the beach on Wednesday evening to enjoy the sunset!

Day 62 - Friday August 15 - Salem to Lexington, VA

The morning was cool again and though it was clear in Salem,

the clouds covered some of the mountains to the east.
When the sun didn't burn through the clouds by 9:00 am, we became suspicious of their purpose and zipped up the computer and camera. The continued cloud cover kept the morning in the 60's and we felt fresh because of it. Though our goal was Lexington, we considered doing 90+ miles to Waynesboro. Again the sites were beautiful
and unusual.
Shortly after 10:00 am, what we had managed to avoid for 61 days, came down in buckets. Since it looked like the rain was here to stay, we decided to ride on. Luckily, the rain only lasted about thirty minutes, but the wet roads slowed our progress.
We crossed the James River
in Buchanan, a cute small town.
By noon it looked like it was really clearing up, so with 40 miles under our belt, we stopped for lunch
at the Pink Cadillac; Jerry had an Elvis burger.
Unfortunately, our lunch stop gave the rain enough time to catch up with us. The next few miles were cold and wet, the rain stung our face as we flew down the hills. Luckily, the uphills warmed us up enough to get us to town. Wet and shivering, we checked in to a hotel in Lexington and called it a day at 59 miles.
Footnote: Kurt please read today's comments.

Looking forward to seeing the sunset over the beach, but until then......

Day 63 - Saturday August 16 - Lexington to Waynesboro, VA

With the benefit of a bottle of wine and an Advil PM last night, we slept in this morning. We had a short ride in front of us, so for once we weren't racing the clock. We moseyed out of the door at 9:30 to a foggy but cool morning.

The rain last night had washed away the humidity and left us a fabulous day.
Just a few miles away from Lexington we met Lucas
from Salt Lake/Spokane, making his way to Yorktown. We biked with him until we met up with Jim & Denyce.

Yes, Jim & Denyce drove up from Virginia Beach to have lunch with us. And you call us crazy?
So by noon, we'd biked 10 miles.....not a bad day so far. Actually the day was spectacular, no humidity and in the 70's.
Even with head winds all day, it was still fabulous. Of course, a 38 mile day with no bad hills, definitely helps.
Tonight we're staying with old friends,
Dave and Helen. By the way, doesn't Dave look marvelous in this picture?
Our hostess with the mostess fixed us a fabulous pasta dinner complimented with an incredibly fresh salad topped with fresh strawberries and blueberries. We finished the dinner and wine off with the Olympics and a most incredible Mud Pie.....the only thing missing was the diving board into the middle of the bowl! Fabulous!
Tomorrow, Afton Mountain......if we can get our bellies up the hill.