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Kentucky - Virginia Ride

Completing our Ride Across the US

____________________________car free adventure _______________________

The Kentucky Ride

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   Day 1-Sebree to Fordsville    

Day 2-Fordsville to Buffalo

  Day 3-Buffalo to Rose Hill   

Day 4-Rose Hill to Mckee

Day 5-McGee to Drawf

Day 6 Drawf to Elkhorn City

...end of our ride in Kentucky...

...beginning of the Virginia ride...

          The Virginia Ride          

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Elkhorn City to Rosedale

Rosedale to Cedar Springs

Cedar Springs to Christiansburg

Christiansburg to Buchanan

 Buchanan to Rockfish Gap

Rockfish Gap to Mineral

Mineral to Mechanicsville

Mechanicsville to Yorktown

...we began our ride to the Atlantic Ocean in Sebree, Kentucky. We crossed the Virginia border east of "Big Hill" Kentucky. Our Kentucky ride was (a lot of) miles. The climbing was difficult and we considered stopping at the Virginia border...

...Big Hill was long and 6%........

We began our ride across the US one state at a time in 2006. We rode from the Carson City Nevada to San Francisco on the Pacific. Each year we rode across another state in a west to east direction. When we began our ride in Kentucky we had ridden across the staes of Nevada, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.

Our route had deviated after Colorado. We did not continue to ride across consecutive states. We signed up to do RAGBRAI a state ride across Iowa. It was an excellent choice and a great experience.

Now that we had broken with our original plan of riding consecutive states we decided to ride across South Dakota. Kansas would have been the logical choice after leaving Colorado. Again, South Dakota, was an excellent choice. We changed the name of our ride from RAAM to RAAMOSTNPD (Ride Across America One State at a Time in No Particular Direction) to RAAMOSTNPOD (Ride Across America One State at a Time in No Particular Order or Direction).

Now we wanted to complete our ride across America by riding to the Atlantic Ocean. We considered riding two state rides in the next two years but we wanted to finish. After a lot of discussion we selected Kentucky and Virginia to complete our trek across the United States.

I had grown up in Kentucky and assumed that family would support the ride. No one was interested. I thought I could find a bike club in Kentucky to support our ride. No way! Since we had adopted the rule that when the time comes to ride we hit the road. We would hit the road but when?

My wife was sheduled to begin teaching at the University in September. The best weather to ride in Kentucky and Virginia is September or October. Because of commitments our only choice was August.

In August the temperature should be in the 100's and the humidity should be close behind. Thunderstorms can be expected in the afternoon. It is hurricane season and one could come up the coast and dump 10 inches of rain in one hour on our route. We had a team meeting to discuss what we should do and the decision was "it is time to complete our goal of getting to the Atlantic Ocean." Game on.

We decided to use Adventure Cycling Maps to guide us across Kentucky and Virginia. The route as expected does not travel through the most populated areas of the States but the route a few more miles could be expected. To make it back in time to support my wife’s schedule we needed to ride 75 plus mile days.

We decided not to carry everything on our bicycles. We would rent a and split the riding day between us. Our thinking being if we crashed and burned on a particular day or the hurricane hits, we could get in the van and drive to our day’s destination. We would also be able to drive to a recovery location, nice hotel, each night after the ride.

The details were we would fly with our bicycles to Louisville, Ky. We would pick up our van at the airport and drive to our start location between our first two bicycling days. We would drive to the start town each day and then return to the hotel after completing the day’s ride. Now all we had to do was execute!

....Norfork, Virginia....it had been a long difficult ride...

 

...after discussing blowing off the Virginia ride we decided to ride the next day with the goal of reducing the remaining miles on our route when we returned to finish....the climbing got easier in Virginia...we finished our goal of riding across America....



DAY 1 - August 6, 2009 - Sebree to Fordsville - 54 miles

...Our trek began in Sebree, Kentucky with the goal of riding to the Atlantic Ocean completing our "Ride Across America"...

...failing to organize a "cycling group" we opted to split the day's mileage between the two of us with a cyclist on the road and one driving a support van...

...the road surfaces along most of our route were good but as we found using the Adventure Cycling Maps in South Dakota we had to "rough it" occasionally...

...the Adventure Cycling Maps avoided the larger populated areas and the associated traffic exposing us to the rural areas of both states...

Plan for the day Using Adventure Cycling Map TransAmerica Section 10 we plan to begin the day's ride in Sebree, Kentucky and complete the day's ride in Fordsville, Kentucky a distance of 54 miles. Before the ride begins we must take our bikes out of the bike boxes we shipped them in to Kentucky, put our bikes together and FEDEX our bike boxes to the Marriott where we plan to complete our two state tour in Norfolk, Virginia.

 

Today's ride will be used to get oriented. We will reduce the daily mileage to a value of about 50 miles to allow us the time needed to ship our bike boxes (via FEDEX) and to plan and purchase what we need to carry in the car as energy food and drink. After the shipping and shopping adventure we will drive to Sebree and begin our ride. The minimum distance of the ride should support our late start and allow each of us to ride our bikes and correct any "ugly bike problems" that may have resulted from the bike assembly. The supplies selected to support the day's ride can also be assessed.

 

Today's route will follow the Adventure Cycling TransAmerica Maps, Section 10 Maps 119 - 121

Our ride across Kentucky-Virginia will start in Sebree, Kentucky exiting on KY56. After 8 miles we turn onto KY136 in Beech Grove. After we leave Beech Grove we ride 5 miles turning left onto KY140 heading for Glendale. We continue on KY140 for 5 miles into Utica. We exit Utica and continue on KY140 for 9 miles turning right onto US 231 for a short distance. We turn right onto KY764 and ride on KY764 until we reach Whitesville. We exit Whitesville turning onto KY54. KY54 takes us through Reynolds Station and onto Fordsville our destination for today's ride.

 

Getting started – We were staying at the Marriott Fairfield Inn in Owensboro, Kentucky. They offered a complimentary breakfast. We dressed in our bike clothes and went to breakfast. We were staying for two nights so we did not have to move our luggage to the van.

 

After breakfast we headed off to the FEDEX office. We were held up at the FEDEX office because the fellow helping us made the same "rounding error" that FEDEX had made in the past on the "bike box measurements" and to further complicate matters their computer system failed when they attempted to make the correction. After standing around a bit we were told we could leave and they would do the transaction by hand. They tagged the boxes for shipment to Norfolk and we left. I left thinking I will never see my bike box again but it was time to ride.

 

We located a Walmart and purchased what was needed to create our support car environment. We purchased a cheap styrofoam cooler. We bought chips, cookies, jugs of water and other goodies to carry in the car for driver and rider support. We returned to the hotel to fill our cooler with ice then headed for the start of the day's ride stopping on our exit from Owensboro to eat White Castle hamburgers (energy food) for lunch.

 

Today’s adventure - After our trip prep we were getting a late start. We drove toward the town of Sebree to start the ride. As we drove my wife was fighting with the US Mail service on the phone attempting to verify that the mail had been stopped while we were on our trip. Driving to Sebree I dumped the ice chest twice slamming on the brakes because I had to make an aggressive route change as we navigated the route to the start of the ride. Lessons Learned: Secure the ice chest.

 

We reached Sebree and found a parking lot and pulled in. We took pictures and I started to ride. As I rode away from the car I quickly entered a state of "go for the gold" and lost my concentration. I missed the "right hand turn" onto KY56 from where we had stopped to get my bike out of the car to start the ride. I kept riding straight and exited Sebree on US 41.

 

I rode for about 5 miles before I realized my mistake when I saw a sign indicating I was on US 41 I knew I had screwed up. Oops! My wife had been delayed from leaving our starting point and had not followed me in the van so had no idea that I had screwed up. We were now separated and our experience of me doing "dumb things on bike trips" and her knowledge that "I do dumb things on a bike trips" would have to save us.

 

I turned around and rode back to Sebree on US 41. I stopped on the way into Sebree at a store and the owner allowed me to use his phone. I called my wife but her phone was turned off. I left a message on her phone and got on my bike and continued the short distance to the road I should have turned on, Kentucky 56.

 

After I had ridden a few miles my wife passed me going in the opposite direction. She turned around caught up with me and I told her my sad story. I learned that my wife had driven back and forth looking for me on the route I should have taken. Being veterans of "bicycling mistakes" we spent zero time categorizing my stupidity and I got on my bike and began to ride again east on Kentucky 56.

 

I rode my twenty-five miles. Unfortunately ten of those miles were in the wrong direction. After our late start because of the time required to gather the logistics to support the days trip and of course my give away of an hour riding the wrong route, we were forced to push.

 

Also it was August. We would not be able to ride to 9 PM. We would be running out of daylight in an hour or so. My wife started her ride to make sure her bike did not have any mechnical problems. She rode 10 plus miles after taking over into Utica. It was dark by the time we arrived. The town is due south of Owensboro where we were to stay the night at the Marriott. We decided to call it a day and try to overcome my 10 mile error tomorrow.

 

Unfortunately we would have about 25 miles extra miles to ride tomorrow. The original plan for tomorrow had been to ride 75 miles. With the additional 25 plus miles we failed to complete today, we were each looking at 50 miles of riding for each of us tomorrow. The distance was well within what we could ride in a day but we were still fighting the time change. The good news was that we had shipped our bike boxes, our bikes were mechanically operational, we had an ice chest, and the supplies we bought to carry in the car had worked. We could start the ride tomarrow with little effort. All we needed to do was get out of bed at a reasonable hour tomorrow morning and ride!

 

Today’s landscape I believe that cycling is one of the best ways to fully experience one's surrounding on a trip. When cycling along at 15 miles an hour it is impossible not to become one with the surroundings. This has been my experience every place in the world where we have bicycled. I am forced by the method of travel that I have selected to visit every town, city and village along the route.

 

One of the most interesting and unexpected experiences on our adventure's has been the curosity and friendliness of the people along our route. They are curious about what we are doing and want to interact with the cyclist. Everyone has offered to help us when we need help and have often stopped along the route or come forward in the towns along the route to inquire if we need help or assistance.

 

Unfortunately when the cyclist begins his ride late in the day there is little time to enjoy the surroundings. 

 

It becomes an all out maximum effort to recover the miles allocated for the day. It is head down and crank. On these days if it were not for the photos taken by the driver of the support van while the other rider is leaving it all on the road it would not be possible to describe what the landscape offered. I was into mileage on the way to Fordsville, and to make things worse we didn't make it to Fordsville!

 

Bicycling notes - The temperature had been in the 100s the week before we arrived in Kentucky but on our first riding day it was cool. The humidity was not a problem. There was some wind. We encountered no insects. The roads we rode on had very good surfaces, but, there was no shoulder and no reliable surface to ride on after leaving the road. The traffic was very light on KY140. KY54 had moderate traffic.

 

I was surprised by the courtesy on the road that the Kentucky drivers gave us. The drivers were bike friendly. The cars slowed behind us until the road was clear to pass. When they passed they pulled across the road.

 

When I took the bike boxes to FEDEX to send them to Norfork the guy at the counter made a rounding error in the “box height” measurement. I have learned from past experience to carry the box measurements with me on a piece of paper and they have been accepted by the people at the counter without question. When I gave the box measurements to the fellow in Sebree, Kentucky he rounded the 11.25 inch “box width" value on my paper I gave him to 12 inches rather than 11 inches. The reason I provide the bike box dimensions at the FEDEX counter is to prevent this rounding error because I know it increases the cost of each box from 50 dollars to a 100 dollars. After I told him about 11 inches vs 12 inches he measured the box himself and found that my measurement was correct. He then told me that it shouldn’t make a difference if he used 11 or 12 and he entered 11 inches to prove his point. He was amazed to find the cost had been reduced to 50 dollars. Lessons learned: Carry the "bike box" measurements!

 

Our riding experience had taught us to end our riding day in Utica. We have "learned" not to push the envelope when conditions do not support our effort. Riding after "dark" attempting to recover 15 miles is dumb. We have the confidence in our riding prowess to wait until conditions support an all out effort. It is a difficult but necessary discipline to develop. Wait until tomorrow!

 

Post ride activity We drove back from Utica to the hotel. We were disappointed to find that the Jacuzzi was only warm! It had been very hot in Kentucky for several weeks before we arrived so maybe a hot Jacuzzi was not very popular. The locals must have been using the Jacuzzi to cool off rather than bring back sore muscles!

 

We went to our room and ate the leftovers from the food we had brought from home and watched TV. I typed notes about the day's ride into my computer. I took a shower and went to bed. I had made the mistake of giving up 10 miles of time and associated physical effort today. I hoped it didn’t have a negative effect on the trip. It did alert me to the fact that I would have to be more alert about staying on the route. We definitely did not need to absorb extra miles on this ride!

 

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DAY 2 - August 7, 2009 - Fordsville to Buffalo - 76 miles (oops! its 105 miles!!!)

...we move to a different hotel today so everything must to be packed and carried in the van during our ride...

...the cell phone is a must on a bike trip...we rented one to carry in France during our first adventure and it proved to be very valuable...

...tobacco...our Adventure Cycling Maps took us through Kentucky farm country..

..we pick up money we see along the route of our adventures...we found 6 pennies during the Kentucky-Virginia ride...

Plan for the day The original plan for today was to start our ride in Fordsville and complete our ride in Buffalo Kentucky. The distance is 76 miles. Since we failed to complete the planned number of miles for yesterday's ride due in part to my 10 mile blunder at the start of the ride, we have to add 29 miles to today's ride. We had to attempt to make up the "lost" distance today because there are no free day's on the schedule that could be turned into riding days to recover lost miles i.e. time.

We had finished our ride day yesterday in Utica, Kentucky. Moving the start of the ride to Utica will increase today's mileage to 102 miles. Each of us will have to be on the road for 51 miles. The number of miles is not a problem. The amount of daylight hours we will have to ride the extra distance will determine if we are back on schedule tomorrow. We will have to get started earlier today and we will have to crank to turn out 102 miles before dark.

We move our home tonight from the Marriott in Owensboro to the Fairfield Inn Marriott in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. That will require that we pack everything into the support van this morning before we head out to drive to the start of today’s route.

Today's route will follow Adventure Cycling TransAmerica Maps Section 10, Maps 120 - 124

Our adjusted route will be to start west of Utica on KY140 turning south onto US 231. After a brief ride on US 231 we turn onto KY764 and ride all the way to Whitesville. At Whitesville we turn onto KY54 and pass through Reynolds Station and into Fordsville where we should have started our day if I had not gotten lost the day before. We continue on KY54 through Fordsville and at the junction of KY54 and KY110 we will turn left onto KY110. We ride on KY110 through Falls of Rough and turn left onto 79. KY79 takes us around the Falls of the Rough Road and returns us to KY110. We follow KY110 into McDanials, exiting on KY259 which takes us into Madrid. We exit Madrid on KY401 turning right onto KY84. We follow KY84 through Eastview, White Mills and Sonora. We turn right onto KY61 which takes us to Buffalo which is today's destination and if we make it before dark will put us back on schedule.

 

Getting started – The hotel started breakfast early to allow those who need an early start to eat and go. We went to breakfast later than we should for the hotel schedule but earlier than yesterday. There was only one hour left in the breakfast time set by the hotel when we sat down to eat. I wore my pajamas/workout outfit as usual attempting to pass as just having left the workout room hiding the fact that I just got out of bed.

 

We took a look at today's route while eating our breakfast. The plan for today had been to start our ride in Fordsville but we had to start in Utica because of "my" error missing the turn at the start yesterday's ride. We had to pick up 29 miles today. We will see!

 

After breakfast we returned to our room, dressed in our bike clothes, loaded or night clothes into our luggage and took the luggage to the car. We asked if we could fill our ice chest with ice from the kitchen again. Getting a positive response we filled the ice chest, checked out at the desk and exited the hotel. We got into our van and drove to a gas station to fill up the car with gas. We assumed we could live on the "goodies" we had in the car.

 

Today’s adventure – We drove from Owensboro to Utica where we had punted the night before. We talked about what we could do to get back on our riding schedule. We needed to recover our "lost miles" from the day before because we could experience another set back on one our future days and we wanted to zero out our lost miles.

 

We reached the start point west of Utica, stopped and unloaded my wife's bike. We reassembled her bike which consisted of reattaching the front tire to the fork. Hopefully she would not get lost as I had the day before!

 

My wife began to ride east of Utica on KY140 transitioning to KY764 which would take us into the small town of Whitesville. Our ride began on the flat which lasted for about 12 miles and my wife was making good time. After about 12 miles the road dropped down and then began to follow a very “steep” climb that I would estimate to be a mile and a half. The road that followed the climb began to roll.

 

She continued on KY764 to the north to Whitesville where we turned east on KY54 to Fordsville. The small, rolling climbs were short (tenth of a mile) but tiring. We reached Fordsville, yesterday's goal for the ride, and my wife continued on KY54. We turned northeast on KY110 and bicycled to the Falls of the Rough River Road, KY79.

 

I drove ahead, found a spot to pull off the road and got my bike out. By the time my wife reached the car I was ready to ride. I loaded her bike into the van and was off. We turned northeast on KY79 which took us near the State Park located there and provided us a view of the many lakes in the area. A dam across the river at this point has produced several lakes which were used for lake activities. It was Saturday and we were passed by a lot of boat people on the road traveling to the lake area.

 

I continued to experience some climbing during the first part of my ride. The climbs were short (tenth of a mile) but took their toll. We were making good time eventhough the climbing continued. During our trip planning we had assumed that all of the difficult climbing would be in the western part of the State. I had hoped that I would enjoy a few days at the start of the ride to get my legs adjusted to the routine before the hurt began. But, I was being challenged on the second day of our ride. What would happen when we got to the real climbing?

 

The route changed from the KY110 to KY259 after McDaniels and again to KY401 at Madrid. The route turned south onto KY84. KY 84 would take us almost all the way to Buffalo and the end of "the recovery ride day." Kentucky 84 was a typical Kentucky road as I remembered growing up in the State. It was a two lane road with no shoulder. And, at the edge of the road was a ditch to carry “heavy rain” water away from the road. The ditch could be several feet deep in places. The shoulder surface could not be expected to support a bike if a tire did leave the road and entering the ditch could be expected to be unpleasant.

 

I exited Sonora on the 84 but after about 18 miles turned south on KY61 which took us into Buffalo. I had had a full riding day. My wife drove ahead of me and found a good start point for the next morning on our exit from Buffalo on KY470. By the time I reached the van it was dark but we had pulled it off. I loaded my bike and we began the drive to our new home in Elizabethtown, again at the Marriott. We were tired but we were back on our daily mileage average so tomorrow we start even.

 

Today’s landscape - I grew up in Northern Kentucky on a dairy farm where we also grew crops of corn, soybeans and tobacco. I did not realize at the time that in Kentucky one had to cut ones environment out of the lush green foliage. The view in Kentucky was always interrupted by forests, fruit trees, corn or some plant life growing nearby.

 

I went to college in Colorado and caught a ride with a friend who was moving to Colorado. Once we crossed the Mississippi River the rolling hills and large forest began to disappear and the landscape became flat.

 

When we reached Colorado the foliedge that had restricted my view in Kentucky had disappeared for the most part. I was amazed that I could see for miles across the plains in all directions. Nothing obstructed the view accept the Rockies.

 

As we "now" bicycled on the route that the Adventure Cycling Maps took us along I again found myself surrounded by fields of corn and tobacco interrupted by large forests. It brought me home.

 

Bicycling notes - We were not prepared for the climbing we experienced on the first day of the ride. The profile on the Adventure Cycling Maps had indicated there would be climbing but we did not expect that the road would "just" follow the terrain. On some of the hills we would be climbing at 6% and suddenly the hill would change to 10% and then back to 5%. The change from less to more is tough and to have it seesaw back an forth on a climb is difficult both physically and mentally.

 

Our experience on other rides had been that the road was cut through the hills producing a reasonable grade. What we encountered was the grade of the hill. If the side of the hill went up at 10% then the road went up at 10%. We knew from experience that the grades we climbed were one of the hazards of riding on the roads in rural areas and the Adventure Cycling route took us through the rural areas. There were a lot of pluses but the climbing had worn me out the first day and we had a lot of miles ahead of us.

The unexpected climbing we have experienced in the first two days of our adventure have been a challenge so the terrain will be a factor if we are to be successful in staying on schedule for the rest of ride. To be successful we need to have the cimbing versus the flat to be 50-50. Also 2 days in the state will allow us to get and early start and we have learned how to avoid delays caused by time lost getting water and supplies.

Past experience has taught us that when we move to a ride location in a different time zone we have to adjust. We know that the change will require patience. We sleep later in the morning during the first few days of our adventure to acclimate to the "new time."

We also know that a late start on a riding day will make it more difficult to ride the necessary “miles” each day. We have also learned that too much of a "physical push" early in a ride to stay on schedle will come back to haunt us in the later days of a ride and could turn a ride into a drudge.

 

We have learned that "free days" should be added to the ride schedule so they can be used to recover from unexpected problems, such as "loss of miles per hour due to unexpected climbing," if that becomes necessary. The option of a "free day" was not available on our ride across Kentucky and Virginia. Without a free day to solve "lost of miles ridden the first day" the plan for the day would be to relax and slowly adjust to the time change while pulling back the mileage we had lost on our first day of riding. It may take one day. It may take 14 days!

 

I had been worried about the weather before the start of the trip. My experience growing up in Kentucky had been very hot and humid summers. Thunder storms could start instantaneously in the afternoon. The first two days we had gotten up to weather which was reasonable to ride in. The weather reports had been about very hot and humid days in Kentucky the week before we started our adventure. But the weather had been good to us and we had no rain so far.

 

The road along today's route was only wide enough for two cars to pass as they approached each other. There was no room for a bike. But the Saint of cycling was with us. We encountered very little traffic during the day and the road surface was good. I give the credit to Adventure Cycling for the “bike friendly” road selection.

 

Post ride activity After loading my bike into the car at the western edge of Buffalo we headed for Elizabethtown. We had reservations at the Marriott there and planned to stay two nights. We reached the Marriott hotel in Elizabethtown and checked in. We carried our luggage to our room and crashed. We were pleased with our success but we were "beat."

 

The hotel had a Jacuzzi and we checked the temperature before we went to our room. It was 104 degrees. Perfect! We had worked hard today to get back on schedule. The Jacuzzi could remove the soreness from all the climbing and put me back in shape to tackle tomorrows terrain. We put our swimming outfits on and went down to enjoy our soak. It was great.

 

After our Jacuzzi we returned to our room. We were tired and not interested in finding a place to eat so we opted for leftovers. We had leftovers we had brought from home to eat on our flight to Louisville and stuff left over from the support of today's ride. One of the leftovers from home was a bit of flank steak which was good even reheated in the microwave in the room. I typed in some trip information about our catchup ride and watched a bit of TV before going to bed. What would be the supprise on the route tomorrow?

 

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DAY 3 - August 8 - Buffalo to Rose Hill - 79 miles

...Kentucky's finest bourbon aging in wooden barrels in a warehouse along the route...

...I was pleasantly surprised by the courtesy the drivers afforded us on our trek across Kentucky...

...the surface of the road along the Adventure Cycling route was "good" which allowed the rider to relax and enjoy the scene...

..each one of the dips on a climb increase the grade and the grade at the start of the climb was tough...

Plan for the Day – The plan for today is to continue our ride across Kentucky in quest of our goal to complete our ride across the US one state at a time by riding to the Atlantic Coast. We are using an Adventure Cycling Map series to guide us across Kentucky and Virginia to the Atlantic Coast. Today is our third day of cycling and we plan to ride from Buffalo, Kentucky to Rose Hill, Kentucky on the route proposed by Adventure Cycling.

 

Today's ride will cover a distance of approximately 80 miles. We plan to split the riding day into two 40 mile segments. It is my turn to ride first.

 

We reserved our room at the Marriott in Elizabethtown for two nights. Tonight will be our second night. Since our home tonight will again be at the Marriott in Elizabethtown Kentucky we do not have to pack our suitcases and move into the car today. We only have to execute the riding assignment for the day. Tomorrow we worry about the move.

During the planning for or ride across Kentucky-Virginia I discussed with my brother, who lives near Elizabethtown, about getting together for a reunion and hug. The plan is to meet with the family at a resturant near the hotel tonight for a reunion after we complete our ride.

Today's route will follow Adventure Cycling TransAmerica Maps Section 10, Maps 124 - 126

Today's ride starts west of Buffalo on KY470 for about 6 miles and then we turn south onto KY84 for 5 miles to Howardstown. We take KY247 out of Howardstown. KY247 joins KY52 and after about 4 miles we turn left onto Fogle Road for about a mile turning left onto KY49. We ride on KY49 to Bardstown turning left onto US62 and ride for 12 miles turning left onto County1858. County1858 terminates into KY55 We turned right onto KY55. We rode through Maud and after 5 miles turned left onto KY438. We rode on KY438 through Fenwick onto Mackville. We exited Mackville on KY152 and rode 9 miles to today's destination town, Rose Hill.

 

Getting started We went down to breakfast in our "PJs" to enjoy the complimentary breakfast offered by the hotel. We are staying at a Marriott which does not serve my favorite breakfast but not having to get up, dress and hunt breakfast is a plus on a bicycle trip i.e. food is food. Afterward breakfast we went to our room and dressed into our bike clothes for the day’s ride. We exited our room, stopped to get some ice for the cooler and headed for the start of the day's ride west of Buffalo, Kentucky.

 

Today’s adventure – It was my turn to ride first. I pulled my bike out of the car and assembled it. Assembly is defined as putting the front wheel on the bike, putting my seat back into the seat cylinder and adjusting it. I put my water bottle into the holder on the frame and I was off. Hopefully riding in the right direction!

 

The first several miles of today's route that I rode were "bicycle" friendly. The road was basically flat with a few very small hills. The route ran through a valley with hills rising along each side. A small stream or creek ran beside the road as it made its way through the hills. I was grateful that the terrain allowed me to relax and prepare my legs for the climbing that I had come to expect during our ride across Kentucky.

 

I made good time on the flat but the short climbs I encountered along the route reduced my speed to 5 miles hour by the time I made it to the top of a climb. I only stayed at the 5 mile rate for a short period of time on each climb, but it was necessary to maintain a respectible "miles per hour" average to make sure we covered the 80 miles assigned to todays route. That meant that I could not relax and just ride down the opposite side of a climb I had to push on every break the route offered me.

The hills I was climbing over today were short but they followed one after the other. And, even though the climbs were short the constant push took a toll of my strength. I had to stay on top of my game to keep a respectable average time on the road for my 40 mile leg. Many of the roads that Adventure Cycling had put us on followed this type of terrain. Some were country roads and when they were constructed the road followed the terrain i.e. they were not cut through the hill to reduce the climbing. The road went up one side of the hill and down the other. As a result I would estimate the climbs to be anywhere from 8 to 10 percent. In most cases they were no more than a quarter of a mile in length but they came one after the other.

 

My 40 mile leg of the route ended just after we rode through Bardstown, Kentucky. I would ride through Bardstown and then my wife would start her leg of the day's adventure. My wife drove ahead to get her bike out and be prepared to ride once I reached her on my bike. The route changed from KY49 to US62 as I rode through Bardstown. Would I miss the turn? I had to pay attention to detail. Fortunately there were few distractions and I did not dose off. I turned onto US62 and located the van. My wife had already unloaded her bike and was set to ride. She waved and started her 40 mile ride as I approached. We knew every second counted!

 

I had "successfully" turned onto US62 as I rode through Bardstown. The route continued along US62 after my wife began to ride. After exiting Bardstown the route continued along US62 for about 8 miles. I noticed on our ride across the states of Kentucky and Virginia that our Adventure Cycling Maps would use the state roads occasionally to connect our routes to roads less travelled. In this case we turned onto County 1858 which was again a short ride to KY55. The county roads we rode on where one lane roads with no shoulder. If we did meet a car the roads were wide enough to pass. If we encountered two cars passing both would have to pull onto the grass that ran along the road. We did not have the experience of meeting two cars on a country road!

 

On the last leg of the day's route my wife continued to experience the rollers. A rider can tell how rapidly the incline takes over the bike speed by the rapid reduction in speed up a hill. The speed is reduced to a crawl. It was down at 20 plus miles and hour over the top of the climb followed by a quick reduction to 5 miles an hour by the time the rider reached the top. There were flat stretches interspersed as well between the rollers but the joy was lessened by the realization that another set of rollers could be seen just a mile or so ahead. It was a very difficult ride and it was unexpected.

 

The difficulty of cycling the terrain in Kentucky superseded enjoying the surroundings. I have memories of some events that occurred along the route in Kentucky but the fact that we were off the beaten path (few cars, no commerce, few people to interact with) my riding environment stopped about 50 feet in front of my bike and no further than the shoulder of the road. If the driver of the van had not been taking pictures as each of us rode I would have a difficult time remembering the scenery we rode through while cycling through Kentucky.

 

Today’s landscape – The Adventure Cycling Maps we were using to support our trip directed us through a countryside which was very pleasant to bicycle through.

There were forests in many places on both sides of the road. At times the route would be covered in a canopy of trees.

 

We would ride for miles without seeing any civilization. There were few houses along our route and fewer cars.

It had been my experience living on a farm in Kentucky that the farm houses were near the road and they were about a mile apart. I did not consider the farm I lived on small but maybe the farms along our route were much bigger. Thus the absence of farm houses.

 

The houses we did see along our route were quit nice. I would assume that whatever crops supported the farm made their owners successful.

 

Bicycle notesThe "hot" Jacuzzi I enjoyed at the hotel last night had reduced the effect of the climbing on my body today. One of the criteria high on our list for selecting a hotel is a Jacuzzi. It was really a help with the unexpected climbing early in the Kentucky ride.

 

One of my concerns had been that the traffic along the route would not be bike friendly. But the traffic was very friendly and remained so for the entire trip. The road surface remained good for 80 percent of the route we were on. We encountered some cracks in the asphalt and gravel on the road in some places but with very little traffic the road "ugliness could be easily avoided.

The weather continued to support our ride. We experienced only light winds and it was not a factor. No rain only sunny skies. The temperature was hot but not as hot as Kentucky had experienced in the month before we started our ride. And, it was not as hot as I had experienced growing up in Kentucky. Best of all the humidity was mild. The humidity had been my worst concern during the trip planning phase but so far on our ride it had not been a factor.

 

I had assumed that the bugs would be around us all the time but they were not a factor. The dogs however were a bit scary. My wife had two incidents. One dog ran out of its yard in front of her bike which is always a bit dicey when riding a bike at 15 miles an hour. After missing the dog it chased for a 100 yards before it dropped back. It was a bit scary because a fall can end a bike trip. Her second encounter was with a big German Shepard who was mostly bark and no bite. My encounter was with a short dog that ran straight toward me several yards ahead of me and then dropped off. I have been harassed by more aggressive dogs on other rides but have so far been successful in dropping them without dropping myself.

 

We passed two cyclists at two different locations on the route today. One couple was heading west on their way to California. I do not remember where the second couple were headed for but they too were on quite an adventure. All four bikes were fully loaded. I thought to myself that their pull over the rollers must be an extreme effort!

 

Post ride activity - We planned to meet my "in-laws" after the ride at the hotel. We were late completing the day's route (what's new) and missed dinner with them at the Cracker Barrel. When we arrived they were at the Marriott and we had a good time together. Ten of my relatives had hung on through our late arrival. We had lost 3 because they had early commitments the next day and had to leave. It was our fault. Our route had taken us 60 miles west of Elizabethtown (the location where we were to meet) and we had gotten a late morning start. As a result the time I had scheduled with my brother had come and passed. Everyone could not adjust to our bicycle schedule.

 

Afterward a couple of hours of talking about "old times" our guest's left. We located food at the Ruby Tuesday a short distance from the Marriott. We had lobster and steak to go. We went back to the room for TV and sleep. We are in survival mode from the time loss first day and the unexpected climbing in what I had assumed would be the flat part of the course. Thanks to Adventure Cycling we were avoiding the cars and enjoying green tree lined roads along our route but the price for the privacy was the climbing. The climbing was having a negative effect!!! I was exhausted!

 

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...immediate family....



DAY 4 - August 9 - Rose Hill to Mckee - 79 miles

...we encountered very little gravel or ruts in the road along our route through Kentucky..

...on moving day the contents of the van were a bit cramped so organizaion was key to a "quick" rider change...

...we had experienced little traffic using "Adventure Cycling Maps" on our Kentucky ride and other adventures...

...our route used major highways to transition to bicycle friendly roads which were more interesting...

Plan for the day Today we continue our trek toward our goal of the Atlantic Ocean. We are using the path proposed by Adventure Cycling Maps to guide us across Kentucky and Virginia. Today we are using Sections 10 and 11 of the Adventure Cycling Maps. They will guide us from Rose Hill to McGee Kentucky which is located in the western part of the state.

 

Today's ride will cover a distance of approximately 79 miles. We plan to split the riding day into two segments. My wife would ride first today.

Today is a move day so we have to pack everything into our suitcases and carry them with us in the car. After we complete today's ride we will stay the night in Brea, Kentucky at the Fairfield Inn another Marrott. We have a reservation.

 

Today's route will follow Adventure Cycling TransAmerica Maps Section 10 - 11, Maps 126,127,128

Today's ride starts west of Rose Hill on KY152. We ride 5 miles to Harrodsburg on KY152. We exit on KY152 and ride 4 miles to Burgin and continue 10 miles to the intersection with KY753 turning south to Bryantsville. At Bryantsville we turn left (west) onto County 1355 riding about 8 miles to the intersection of KY563 where we turn south 4 miles. We turn west on County 1131for 4 miles turning onto County 1295 to Kirksville. We take KY595 out of Kirksville and ride 12 miles into Berea. We turn onto KY21 in Berea and ride about 5 miles west to US421and turn right and climb Big Hill. After climbing Big Hill we ride 23 miles which takes us through Sandgap and finally our goal for the day McGee.

 

Start to the Day – We were staying at the Marriott in Elizabethtown, Kentucky and breakfast was included with the room i.e. we did not have to get up and hunt breakfast before we started our ride. We could also be lazy. We did have to pack all of our belongings and carry them with us today in the car but that was an after we had breakfast chore. We got up and went to breakfast in our PJs (workout uniform). We relaxed and read a bit of the newspaper during our meal.

 

When we finished we returned to our room to prepare for our day. We dressed in our bike clothes and packed away our “sleep/workout breakfast” outfits.

Being a move day so we continued to pack until we had everything ready to take to the car. We carried everything to the lobby and checked out.

We loaded everything into the car and replenished our ice chest from the hotel.

 

We got into the car headed off to find a store to replenish our "road" supplies before we drove to start our ride. Resupplied we headed for the start of today's adventure, just west of Rose Hill, Kentucky.

 

We were getting more efficient about getting to the start of the ride but we had not completely gotten ourselves organized. We were still a bit chaotic in the morning. Other rides had taught us to just allow the routine to happen as long as the "riding schedule" could be maintained or is within reach. My planning at home for this ride had been flawed and correction on the road would be tough.

 

Today’s adventureWe had to drive an hour from the Marriott in Elizabethtown where we had spent the evening to the start of today's ride. We located our start point west of Rose Hill. We unloaded my wife's bike and mounted the front tire. The seat did not have to be removed from my wife's bike for it to fit in the car. Ride prep was easier. She was ready to roll.

 

We exited Rose Hill on KY152. My wife rode through Harrodsburg and Burgin. The road continued to go up and down. The county and state roads followed the terrain. The road was not cut through the hill to reduce the grade. On the steep climbs our strategy became one of riding as fast as we could downhill until we reached the bottom of the hill, dropping down in my gearing and then cranking to the top of the next climb. It worked well on the shorter climbs but on the long ones we would slowly loose momentum until "work" was required to reach the top.

 

My wife continued to ride on KY152 until she turned onto KY753. The route took US27 for a mile or less and turned us onto County 1355. The Adventure Cycling Maps we were using the US highways to get us from and to the lesser traveled KY and County roads. We appreciated their efforts because with fewer cars it was easier to relax and concentrate on on just cycling. One must stay viligent in traffic. The climbing was distracting enough.

 

She turned onto 1355 rode to the turn onto KY563. She continued to follow KY563 onto KY39 for a short distance and again turned onto a county road, County 1131. It was my turn to ride my 40 mile leg. I drove ahead and got my bike ready to ride. When she approached the van I waved got on my bike and began to ride. We were attempting to save time on the rider exchange.

 

I turned onto County 1295. I rode to the intersection with KY595. We were east of Berea at Big Hill, I turned onto US 521. US 521 began to climb up a two mile 6 % grade. It was "only" 6% because the grade had been reduced by cutting the road through the hill. After riding on the small rollers which could encrease to 10% without warning the Big Hill climb was not that ugly. It was also true that I was getting into better shape as well.

 

I had thought that Big Hill was close to end of the day's ride. I rolled over the top of Big Hill and cranked down to the bottom with that feeling of accomplishment after successfully reaching the top of the last climb of the day. At the bottom I started climbing to the top of a second significant grade which was at least a mile in length. At the bottom of the second climb I repeated the climb on a third hill which was as difficult and long as the last climb. I later named the second and third climbs, Big Hill 2 and Big Hill 3.

 

After I reached the bottom of "Big Hill" 3 I continued on to Sandgap which was about 10 miles from Berea and then on to McKee which was our destination town for the day. McGee was 12 miles west of Sandgap. Half of my day's ride had come after Berea.

 

We were late finishing again. We just beat the sunset. By the time I reached the finished the cars had their lights on but we wore our high visibility bike shirts and easy to spot, or at least we hope so. The drivers remained courteous and a few honked as they passed with a thumbs up. At one point I was followed by about 5 cars and doing about 20 miles an hour on a grade with the cars close behind. They began to pass as we entered a right hand turn and I rolled it over and cranked through the turn behind them. A bit of a show for the locals.

 

 

Scenery – Our Adventure Cycling Maps route took us on small narrow country roads through very lust green foliage with little or no traffic. We would exit the thick forest areas and ride through open green farm areas for a few miles and then back into the forest.

 

Horses and cows grazed in the fields. The crops that we saw most in the were tobacco, corn and soy beans. It was August and time to harvest the tobacco crop. We passed barns filled with tobacco hanging up to dry. We did not pass a field where the tobacco was being cut but it was August and I remembered from my farm experience in Kentucky that it was the beginning of the season to harvest the tobacco.

 

 

Cycling notes The day’s weather was sunshine with a temperature of 90 plus degrees. It was humid. The temperature was still below what I thought we would experience based on the weather reports before we left for our bicycling adventure. The great thing was that we had not experienced rain (a down pour) in the afternoon which had been my experience growing up in the State.

 

We did have bugs again today. The bugs got worse as we rode into the twilight of the day. If my memory served we right it would really get bad after the sun went down.

 

All of the farm houses had dogs and they barked at us as we rode past. None left the yard of their house to chase which was a relief. Riding with a dog nipping at ones heals can be ugly because the dog gets so interested in its pray it will not notice the rider coming up from behind and drop off into the front of the bike. Hitting a dog on a bike can be unpleasant for the dog but the cyclist will not leave unscathed. We were cautious when a dog barked at us.

 

We encountered only two cars along our country route today. Once on the four lane highway we saw many cars but the shoulder was wide enough for a trailer truck to park on which allowed us to ride away from traffic.

 

The county roads were narrow. They were wide enough to support one car. If two cars met on the road it would be necessary for both of the cars to pull off the road for the cars to pass. The state roads were two car widths wide with a center line separating the lanes. The US routes were two or four lanes with a paved shoulder. The absence of traffic made the narrow county roads very bike friendly.

 

There was a lot of climbing today but most of the worst was along the four lane highway (Big Hill) and the road had been cut through the hills to reduce the climb for the trucks. Thus it was a manageable 6 plus percent but the climb went on for a few miles.

 

We finished in darkness today. We were in sink with the time zone now. We were getting up and getting an early start but the difficulty of the ride each day was reducing our "miles per hour." At the same time I think I was getting into better shape as we rode. The six percent climb up Big Hill was not easy but did not leave me exhausted.

 

 

post ride activity - We reached McKee with little daylight left. We had reservations at the Marriott in Brea. We had ridden through Bera on our way to Mckee and had about 20 miles to drive back to the hotel.  I took the front tire off my bike, pulled the seat and loaded it into the car.

 

We got in and headed back to Brea. We drove back over "Big Hill" which I had assumed would be the day's difficult climb when I was reviewing the day's route. The locals must have thought so because they named it "Big Hill." It was dark but we took pictures anyway. I was standing in the car lights under the 6% sign at the top of the climb.

 

We had ridden pass a Dairy Queen ice cream shop on our ride through Berea. We looked for it on our drive back through to the Marriott. We found it, stopped and bought our desert. We sat and discussed the day's adventure as we ate our treat.

After our treat we drove to the Marriott where we were staying. It was a one night stay so we decided that we would not take our luggage to our room. We grabbed what we needed to sleep in, our swim trunks for the Jacuzzi and went into the hotel to check in.

 

We checked in and went to our room. We dressed for the Jacuzzi and headed off to relax and bring our legs back for tomorrows ride. We returned to our room for a bit of Tv. I made notes on the days ride. I do not remember what we did for dinner! Good night!

  

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DAY 5 - August 9 - McGee to Drawf - 71 miles

...pushing to make the day's mileage interfered with the beautiful scenes captured by the camera along our route...

...end of the ride...marking down the miles and time to evaluate performance...

...our luck with the rain ran out in western Kentucky...I rode in a down pour along the Daniel Boone Parkway...the shoulder helped..

Dwarf had murals painted on the buildings..a welcome sign on the road...unique

Plan for the Day – Today we would bicycle from McKee to Dwarf, Kentucky a distance of about 71 miles. We plan to stay tonight in Hazard, Kentucky at the Hampton Inn. We do not have a reservation. The planning got a bit complicated the last few weeks before we left to ride and I did not make a reservation at the Hampton Inn. I had assumed we would have an excellent chance of finding a room there after we arrived. I did not even think about calling for a reservation last night. The Marriott would have made a reservation for us at the Hampton Inn if I had asked. But I was confident we would be ok.

 

Today's route will follow Adventure Cycling TransAmerica Maps Section 11, Maps 128, 129, 130

Today's ride starts west of McKee on US421. We ride out of town for about a mile and turn onto County 3445 for a mile. We transition from the County 3445 onto County 1071 for about 7 miles. At the intersection of KY30 we turn left. We follow KY30 through Vincent into Boonville. At the intersection of KY30 and KY28 inside Booneville we continue straight onto KY28. We stay on KY28 for 38 miles until it intersects with KY15. We ride on KY15 until we reach the intersection with KY80. We turn left onto KY80 and ride to Dwarf, Kentucky our destination for the day.

 

Getting started - We go up and went down to eat breakfast in our finest "sleeping attire." The Fairfield Inn also provides a complimentary breakfast. It is not as wonderful in my opinion as the Residence Inn but not having to hunt for breakfast on a bicycle in the morning is a real plus on a bike trip.

 

After breakfast we returned to our room to put our bike clothes on and pack. We had only one night in Berea. We finished the busy work and took everything to the car. We loaded our bikes and headed for the store. We got drink and food for the day and headed back to McKee where we would begin today's ride. We had hit the Marriott up for ice.

 

Today’s adventureWe began our ride along a river or creek and the route was rather flat. The game plan for the day was my wife would ride first on today's route. I would then take over and complete the ride to Dwarf.

 

As I drove I noticed the road we started on ran beside a river which had created a small valley between two hills. The valley along the river was not very wide. The community along the creek was spread out in a long line of homes or businesses along the road. Basically there was only the one main street. It interested me that after passing through a "populated" town I would pass a hardware store or some other business which did not seem to me could be supported because of its distance from town. It was a couple of miles outside the town. It must be that everyone knows where the auto store is located.

 

We were travelling through a valley which was about a mile wide. A creek ran along the side of the road near one side of the valley. The road was built next to the creek and the remainder of the valley was open or left to construction of building or crops.

 

The side of the hills were also used for agriculture or were covered with lush, green forests. I would assume these were oak forest. The trees were tall and very thin. Trucks passed me pulling a load of logs which were bigger than what I had seen adjacent to the road.

 

My wife finished her ride and I took over. The weather had been threatening us with rain all day but had been restrained. But after I completed about 30 miles of my ride it began to rain.

 

It rained very hard as I rode along a four lane highway as we headed for Dwarf, Kentucky. It fact it rained very hard up and down US 80. The heavy rain produced a heavy mist in the air and the tires of the traffic added to the "fog" creating a water spray as they passed. The trucks and cars were hidden by the spray until they were right alongside.

 

I assumed if the cars were hidden from me then no one in a car could see me. I moved as close to the shoulder of the road as was physically possible. I discovered the road was covered with gravel as I moved toward the shoulder. The shoulder had a cement surface with cracks between the "slabs." The cracks were not filled in places. As I cranked along my front tire dropped suddenly into the rut between the shoulder and the road. I could not move my front wheel initially but ran into a section of the crack filled with dirt and gravel and my front tire jumped out of the crack. My bike swerved dramatically as my tire exited the rut but I stayed up. Dropping into the empty crack between the highway and the edge occurred a second time as I rode along the wet foggy edge of the road but I was prepared and the exit was less dramatic.

The rain stopped and I continued my ride to Dwarf. I turned onto KY476 and road a short distance into Dwarf. Dwarf had "some" buildings with murals painted on the sides. It was not what I had expected. The decorations must have been a tourist attraction. We stopped, took couple of pictures of the building and loaded the bike. There were a few people checking out the place and shopping. We got into the car and drove to Hazard.

 

Today’s landscape – Our route ran along creeks that had cut canyons into the hills. A rock wall ran along the creek. In places the wall appeared to be hundreds of feet high. Lush, green forest hid the rock wall in places. The top of the wall was covered by a forest.

 

The communities along the creek were spread out in a long line of homes interspersed with a few businesses. It interested me that after passing the town I would ride past a hardware store or a business which I did not think could be supported easily by the towns people. It must be that everyone knows the auto store is located three miles out of town.

 

In the narrow valleys the creek usually ran along one side. The road was build next to the creek leaving the largest amount of land possible for farming. On the road following the string of houses were fields planted with various crops.

 

Some of the fields were covered with green lush forests. I would assume the trees were oak. Trucks passed me in places pulling a load of logs which were much bigger than what I had seen adjacent to the road.

 

Bicycling notesThe weather was hot and humid but the continuous climbing along the route continued to be our major problem. Our start time had improved but we were still pushing to make the days mileage. The climbing killed the average miles per hour and we did not have daylight to spare. We could not relax and maintain our daily schedule.

 

Post ride activity – I had not made a hotel reservation for Elkhorn. We have made (a few) hotel reservations on the road in Europe but I don't like making it up as I go. I only want to bicycle. I want to have everything settled before my bicycle trip begins.

 

I had selected the Hampton Inn from the list of hotels on the web but had not made the reservation. We drove from Dwarf back into to Hazard and located the Hampton Inn. We went in and asked for a room and were told that they did not have a room. Wow! I thought we were the only travelers in Hazard!

 

The fellow at the desk told us that we could probably find a room at another place located about three miles away. He gave us directions and we were off. When we drove into the parking lot I got the feeling that this was where all of the truckers stay. There was a walk along the front of each of the stories and there must have been 25 "guys" looking over the railing of the balcony drinking beer. Pass!

 

Since economical place (cheap hotel) had not worked out we drove to a second place that he had told us. It had a higher rate. We got lost finding the place but when we finally located the hotel they had a room and we took it. The rule is when at home worry about money. When on the road pay the money. I had screwed up and since it is very possible that there may be no other rooms in Hazard tonight, "the hotel was perfect!" And, they had free breakfast in the morning?

 

We checked in and carried a minimum of clothes to our room. We showered. I changed into my gym suit and went down to the hotel desk to ask about a place t eat. We were given directions and went to enjoy. My notes do not provide information about dinner but I am sure it was good. We returned to the hotel, I created notes about the day's ride, watched a bit of TV and went to bed. It had been a long day but tomorrow God willing we should each the Virginia boarder. We will have completed half our trip.

 

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DAY 6 - August 11 Day 6 - Drawf to Elkhorn City - 79 miles

...the modest traffic in many of the small towns along our route was a welcome surprise...

...the climbing continued in Kentucky...the continuous climbing had exhausted us...

...changing into my rain jacket after being caught in a down pour on my ride...

...our first goal the Virginia boarder...next stop the Atlantic???

Plan for the DayToday we continue to ride toward the Kentucky-Virginia Border. In fact if all goes as planned we should reach the Kentucky-Virginia border today. We continue to be guided by the Adventure Cycling Maps we carry. It seems like a long time ago that we had started our ride in Owensboro, Kentucky. It's one of the great things about cycling. After a couple of days on the road your mind clears of all the stress. It is all about the cycling.

The plan for the day is to start our ride in Dwarf and ride to the Virginia border. The Virginia border is just west of Hazard Kentucky where we plan to stay the evening. We have another day of about 80 miles to ride. Not bad for a couple of "veteran cyclist" but the climbing continues to take its toll. We have completed our riding assignment each day since the first ride day and we are starting earlier. We will meet our goal for the day.

We are a tad exhausted. Once we reached the Virginia border we would look at all of our options and we are discussing if we should modify our plans for the remainder of the ride. Our effort had become "no joy!"

 

Again we do not have a hotel reservation! Another bit of excitement at the end of our ride waits us.

 

Today's route will follow Adventure Cycling TransAmerica Maps Section 11, Maps 130, 131, 132

Today's ride starts west of Dwarf on KY550. We ride 16 miles on KY550 through Emmalena and Carrie to Hindman. In Hindman we turn right onto KY160. After a short distance we turn off KY160 onto KY899. We ride for 16 miles on KY899 through Mallie and Pippa Passes to Dena. We exit Dena on KY7. After 3 miles on KY7 we turn left onto KY1091. We ride for 7 miles on KY1091 into Bevinsville. We exit Bevensville on KY122 and ride 16 miles passing through Bypro and Melvin. When we reach the intersection of the KY122 and the KY1469 we turn left (north). After a few miles the 1469 turns west and after a few more miles we turn right (south) onto US119. We stay on US119 for about 4 miles until we reach KY611. We turn left onto KY611 and ride about six miles to Lookout. We take KY195 from Lookout riding through Hellier to Ashcamp. From Ashcamp we take KY197 to Elkhorn City today's destination.

 

We do not have a reservation for a place to stay again tonight. My fantasy that the people at the Hampton Inn in Hazard, Kentucky were holding a room for me because they knew I was on my way had been proven to be wrong last night. The room we finally found was not as bad as some of the places where we have stayed on the road but it cost a bit more than I want to pay for a room. It was a bit arrogant of me to assume that we would be the only people traveling in southeastern Kentucky.

To digress a bit, our original goal was to ride all the way to Norfolk Virginia which would be the completion of "our ride across America." We had to maintain our schedule (number of days to reach Virginia) to support my wife’s University teaching schedule. The climbing made the miles per day difficult. We were meeting our daily distance goals but the climbing had dropped our overall miles per hour average. It was dark by the time we finished the day's ride. And, the climbing was exhausting us.

Getting started - The cost of our room came with a continental breakfast. Continental breakfast is not exactly what I enjoy for breakfast in the morning but it is better than hustling down the road hungry attempting to locate what you want. How bad can toast and coffee be? And, a bit of yogurt will carry me until lunch.

 

We got and went down to breakfast in our "workout uniform." We ate enough breakfast to support the start of the ride day and returned to our room to put on our bike clothes and pack. We carried our clothes down to the desk and checked out. The room had been expensive based on our riding experience but that is what "late reservations" cost. I felt lucky to have found a room.

 

Bren's bike seat had developed a problem. It had come loose and in an attempt to adjust it one of the bolts which held the seat on the bike had been striped. We were almost at the end of the ride when the problem developed so we put my wife's bike in car and I finished the day on the road.

 

As we were leaving we asked at the desk if they knew of a bike shop in town where we could have the seat fixed. There was no bike shops but the attendant told us there was a Walmart which sold bikes and may be able to help. We asked for directions.

 

We set off to have the bike repaired. We found the Walmart but they did not sell bike parts. They did sell hardware and bolts. The store attendant who was talking with us asked to see the seat and he rounded up some hardware. After a bit of experimentation he succeeded in cobbling together a solution and attached the seat. The fix was not perfect but the bike could be ridden until we found a bike shop. We thanked him, paid up and drove to Dwarf to start the day's ride.

Today’s adventureMy wife was the first to ride. The elevation continued to support us. We exited Dwarf on KY550. The route exiting Dwarf was flat, or maybe I should say "flat for Kentucky." My time on the road was a bit easy compared to the "unexpected" climbing we had experienced on the first few days of the ride.

 

We passed through the small town of Emmalena and continued on the 550 to Carrie and then onto Hindman the largest town along today' route. My wife had ridden about 15 miles and been spared the difficult climbs we had experienced on previous days of our adventure.

 

We entered Hindman and turned onto KY160. Hindman was the largest town we would pass through on our journey today. We turned onto KY899 a few miles outside of Hindman which took us through Mallie and Pipa Passes to Dema. We exited Dema on KY7 transistioning to KY1091 into Bensville. We exited Bensville on KY122. We had 40 more miles before we reached today's destination Elkhorn City and the route was beginning to punish us.

 

The road was beginning to break up a bit. Not bad but patches that ran parallel along the road for several feet with the occasional pot hole or the occasional ugly crack. The traffic along today's route had been light which allowed me to catch the scene. But when one's mind is elsewhere being careful about "road problems" becomes a lower priority and only a pot hole can become problematic because the mind was off somewhere else. As a result I caught a couple on my adventure but "no harm no foul." It was good riding day.

 

I took over and started ride on KY122 after passing through Bypro. I rode through Melvin on KY122 and transitioned onto the KY1467 about 6 miles east of Melvin. At the junction of US 23/119 I turned onto KY611 which took us into Lookout.

I was the cyclist on the road when the down pour began. It began on the most difficult climb of the day into Elk Horn City. I reached the support van just as the worst began. I stopped and opened the back door to the van which swung up so I could stand under it while the rain came down as if someone had dumped it from a bucket.

 

A truck aproached on the opposite side of the road and then pulled over and stopped across from us. It had the marking of a state or county truck on the door. The driver sat in the truck until the rain stopped. He then got out and walked across to the van and asked what we were doing.

 

We told him about our quest to ride across Kentucky and Virginia and we got into a discussion about cycling. during our chat he told us he did not know why the Adventure Cycling Map people had selected this road because he did not think it was very bicycle friendly. He said he would keep an eye out for us and give us a hand if we needed it. We thanked him and I got back on the bike to continue.

 

At Lookout we turned onto KY195 a turning to the KY197and into Elkhorn our destination for the day. We rode through Helier and Ashcamp along KY195 and 197.

 

Today’s landscapeThe pictures tells it all. We were riding (climbing) through a beautiful secluded area with our head down trying to keep a reasonable cadence. The pictures saved the terrain for us. When I look at the pictures at the end of the day I ask; "Is that where I rode today?"

 

The picture on the left illustrates the difficulty. It is difficult to see what the climbing angle is from a picture but the picture on the left could be 5 to 10 percent. But I know from experience it is a climb. The climbs where you cannot see what is around the corner are interesting. My mind always tells me that the top of the climb is around the corner. That is why the road turns.

 

But once I reach the turn and it is still going up it is bit stressful. Especially if the road continues up and there is a second turn. I am now wondering if this will be the end but on the last turn I was disappointed. If the road continues up after a second turn then I have to turn off your brain and get into a rhythm that is fast enough that I don't fall over but will let me climb for a mile or two. Heroics are over. It is time to to enter "get it done mode."

 

 

Bicycling notesThe dreaded humidity and heat continued not to be a factor. The humidity was felt but the heat was no worse than California. We had the "traditional" afternoon down pour about 3 PM. It had been my experience that it would rain every afternoon in late summer. It was typically a heavy down pour for a short time. The afternoon shower typically reduced or eliminated the humidity or at least it felt that way when I lived in Kentucky.

 

The small rollers gave me an excellent opportunity to work on my downhill "roller technique." I would ride as hard as I could downhill, leave my bike in a big gear as I started the climb and crank in the big gear until I had counted between 10 to 20 revolutions before changing to a lower gear. Once in the lower gear I cranked like mad to the top and over.

 

Changing cyclist on a climb was a bit dicey. Some were 10% grades. To get on a bike and start to ride on a 10% grade is exciting. I had to ride across the road and back a few times before I had sufficient speed to turn the front wheel directly uphill. I rode faster than pushing the bike to the top but it may have been a close race!

 

The climbing was slowing us down but we lost time reading the map and looking for the correct turn as well. We were also loosing time on our exchange. It was taking us 9 to 10 hours to ride 80 miles. I had rationalized poor technique for the first 3 days but it was the climbing that was killing us. We were not having any fun. We were too stressed about making the day's destination town. Today if we had nominal luck we should make the Kentucky border. With one state out of the way we were discussing if we should rethink the plan for Virginia.

 

Our original plan had been to ride five days and take a day off. Lessons learned had taught us that the day off could be used to recover or ride miles lost the day before. A reduced number of days had forced us to plan for 80 mile days. We were getting a late start because of the time change. Maybe poor conditioning was a factor but the schedule was not working in our favor. The same strategy had worked for us in the climbing in Utah and climbing over the Rockies in Colorado but on the Kentucky-Virginia ride we were suffering.

 

Post ride activity – I had found a Holiday Inn in Pikesville Kentucky during the trip planning. We had stayed at Holiday Inn's during our quest to ride across the US and they had become our second choice to the Marriott hotels.

 

The drive to Elkhorn City was only 23 miles or about a half hours drive.

 

We reached the goal for the day's ride Elkhorn City. I followed the van to the western side of town and loaded my bike. I had considered where we should stay the night during the planning but had not made a reservation. I hoped our quest for a hotel did not prove to be simular to our experience in Hazard, Kentucky the night before.

I had the telephone number of the Holiday Inn Express in Pikeville, Kentucky. We have had success with the Holiday Inn on other rides so we had an idea of what to expect which is helpful. My wife used her IPHONE to call the hotel after we loaded my bike. They had a room and we told them we were on our way.

 

We drove to Pikesville and checked in. The room was nonsmoking, had two beds and came with a comlimentary breakfast. Our experience with breakfast at the Holiday Inn had been excellent on our other trips. We were home.

 

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Virginia Ride - August 12 - DAY 7 - Elkhorn City to Rosedale - 78 miles

..we continued to climb as we continued our ride in Virginia to the Atlantic Ocean...

..the road surface was a tab rough but was absent the "pot holes" which can be ugly for a cyclist...

...no shoulder along the roads and the traffic was not as patient as we had experienced in Kentucky...

..our bike route had been marked by the State of Virginia and was much appreciated...

Plan for the day - We had completed our ride across Kentucky. Describing our trek in the elegant words of William Shakespeare; "It had been a bitch!." We were beat to our socks! We were in the process of developing Plan B for the continuation of our trek across Virginia.

 

"Plan B: Today we would continue our ride from the Virginia-Kentucky border while assessing our options. We would relax as we weighed our options. Relax being defined as not wearing ourselves out each day to meet our original plan." We had worn ourselves out physically and mentally on our ride in Kentucky.

 

We were discussing several options. Before reaching the Virginia we had thought about terminating the ride across Virginia and simply touring Virginia in the car.

We were now considering riding east across as much of Virginia as we could physically do in the remaining days and then come back to complete the ride next year. And in the back of our brains, who knows, once we relax we may recover and that old energy inherited from our ancestors may come back enabling us to ride all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

 

Today's route will follow the Adventure Cycling TransAmerica Maps, Section 11 Maps 132 - 134

Our ride across Virginia will start at the Virginia border east of Elkhorn Kentucky. In Virginia we entered the land of bicycling and we would be riding on "Bicycle Route 76." We simply had to follow the 76 route signs. Better said than done. I could get lost anywhere.

 

From the Virginia border we rode on Virginia 80 for about 10 miles through Breaks, Virginia to Haysi. We continued on Virginia 80 for 10 miles to Bee, Virginia passing through Birchleaf. From Bee we continued on the Virginia 80 for 7 miles passing through Davenport to Council, Virginia. From Council we continued for 10 miles on Virginia 80 to Honaker followed by 6 miles to Rosedale our destination for the day's ride.

 

We decided to put the termination of our adventure on hold until we knew we had failed. We had a week left on our trip calendar. That should provide plenty of time to punt if that became necessary.

 

We decided to use the strategy we had used during our first Furnace Creek 508 race. The basic strategy is to reduce the amount of time a rider is on the road. The rider on the road would ride as hard as she or he could for the time increment of each interval. In the 508 the increment was 15 minutes. Our strategy for Virginia would be that the rider would be on the road for intervals of 30 minutes and then be replaced.

 

We were staying at the Marriott in Wytheville, Virginia. Today's ride would end in Rosedale. Wytheville was on our Adventure Cycling route but would be an hour and a half drive from our destination for the day, Rosedale. The good news was that 75% of the drive to Wytheville would be on Interstate 81. We also planned to stay tomorrow night at the Marriott in Wytheville but tomorrow's ride would reduce our mileage to the hotel by about 100 miles.

 

Today’s ride would begin at the Virginia border. We had ridden to the Virginia border outside Elkhorn City the day before. We would return to the Virginia border and begin our journey across Virginia. I would ride first.

Start to the day –. We were staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Pikeville. We relaxed and had a long breakfast. The menu included biscuits and gravy a personal favorite. We also had scrambled eggs, sausage and potatoes. It was a good start to the day.

 

We had brought only our "night clothes" and bike clothes from the car to our room. The car was fully loaded with our bike stuff. We returned to our room after breakfast and dressed in our bike clothes. We returned to the eating area and asked if it would be possible to fill our ice chest. The answer was of course. When we had completed our ice restoration we went to the desk, paid our bill, checked out and returned to our van to drive to the Virginia Border.

 

Today’s adventureOur plan for completion of the ride was evolving. We just wanted to get started on the ride and see how it went. Now we had options. We could quit and return next year to do Virginia or another state. We could continue to ride and reduce the distance we had to ride when we returned next year by continuing our ride east. We could complete the ride as planned.

 

We drove to the Virginia border and I put my bike together to start the ride. The climbing away from the border continued to be difficult. There were 3 up and downs immediately from the start of about 1000 feet each (it was really only about 750 feet). It was my task to get over these climbs in 30 minutes. I made it but almost bonked on one of the climbs. I should have eaten GUE for breakfast.

 

Actually the climbing had gotten tolerable. The roads in Virginia had been cut through the hills which reduced the grade which allowed me to get into a rhythm on the climbs. I could ride at a comfortable rate which was fast enough that I would not fall over and I could maintain my cadence for some distance.

 

I completed my thirty minute adventure and my wife took over. We continued to trade the riding back and forth and it was working.

 

We were making good time. As the ride progressed I found that I was not as anxious to get off the bike. My brain knew I only had a short time to ride and I actually pushed a bit and wanted to continue when I could see the van stopped ahead of me and my wife prepared to take over. That was our goal to remove the feeling of drudge. Rather than setting a goal of riding 50 miles on each turn on the bike, which had been leaving us drained at the end of the ride, we opted for smaller legs whose distance was determined by the effort required. It put a bit of fun back into the experience.

 

We had a slight uphill climb into the town of Council. My wife was on the road and I had just finished my turn. After we passed through Council the road narrowed. A short distance after passing through Council we had a bear of climb. Adventure cycling had appeared to pick every "ugly" hill it could find for our route. Even though my wife had not been on the road 30 minutes the climbing had been tough. I drove ahead and got my bike out of the car and prepared to ride. When she approached I signaled her to stop. Loaded her bike for her and started to ride.

 

The climb was about 1000 feet but again the grade was doable because the road was cut through the hills. My wife took over again at the top of the climb even though I had not been on the road for 30 minutes. After the "Council challenge" my wife enjoyed a good downhill stretch followed by a small climb into Rosedale our goal for the day. We did not have a lot of daylight remaining in the day but we wanted to use it to reduce the following day's ride. We decided to add a few miles.

 

I took over outside Rosedale and after a few miles it was getting dark. We loaded my bike into the car and headed for Wytheville, Kentucky. We had completed a hard riding day and I did not feel totally exhausted. The amount of climbing had remained the same but the grade of the climbs had been drastically reduced. I also believe that our strategy of timed rides rather than distance had worked.

 

Today’s landscape Adventure Cycling continued to direct us through the best of the countryside or maybe it was "Bicycle Route 76" that the State of Virginia had provided for us that was responsible.

 

I found today's scene along the road very pretty. It could have been that I had relaxed and took the time to look at my surrounding today because we had decided to cancel the push we had been into on our ride through Kentucky. We had decided to relax in Virginia, go with the flow and ride as many miles as feasible each day. That also allowed us to take the time to enjoy the view. If our first riding day in Virginia proved to be the norm we were in for a beautiful and interesting ride in Virginia.

 

After making a the turn that we had almost missed we saw some of the most beautiful scenes we had seen on or trek across Kentucky and Virginia. We climbed a "reasonable" hill and were presented with a view of a varied landscape below us that we experienced in several places along the day's route.

 

In some places we would leave the heavily forested areas we were riding through and climb up above the tree line. Riding above the hills we could look for some distance in all directions. In some places we saw large open green areas with forests in and around them. In other locations the hills were covered with crops. I took pictures when I was not on the bike trying to capture the view. It was quite a change from riding through the forests in Kentucky which had also been very beautiful.

 

In contrast, at one point on the day's route we were below the hills riding along a stream or creek. A large natural rock wall ran along on one side of the road. A stream ran along the foot of the wall. We were cranking along on the road that ran beside the river. On the opposite side of the road were houses and businesses. The small community ran for several miles one building deep. There were used car lots, furniture stores, auto repair stores plus gas and food stores. We passed similar communities in several places along today' route.

 

Cycling notesThe heat experienced during today's ride was not a problem. Again, the heat reported on the news before we left to start our ride was ugly and we were sure we would be in difficulty. The climbing had proven to be the problem! It rained in Virginia before we arrived at the border to start our ride so were expecting bugs during our ride. Bugs were flying around but not a factor. After one of my wife's turns on the road she told me that the wind was in her face which is never something a cyclist enjoys. When I started to ride I actually begn to enjoy the wind. It took the heat away which it my top priority. The climbing remained a beast. The Tour de France would have had a problem with this terrain.

 

My chain had come off 6 times so far and we have a lot of miles to cycle before we reach the Atlantic. I was surprised by the climbing and my climbing technique was poor. I had not responded to changes of a climb smoothly which translated means I was "crawling" along on a steep climb before I realized I better change to a lower gear or fall over. The result was the chain came off when I attempted to change to a lower gear and I got to change gears while stopped. I had the bike serviced before I left for the ride but it had not saved me on the climbs. I just had bad technique. The times when my chain had came off were not that stressful or maybe I was getting used to the pressure of the ride.

 

On my first day in Virginia I had my first 6 inch seperation with a passing by a car. It was a surprise because I had assumed that Kentucky would be the "buzz" State. No more friendly Kentucky driver pullovers or waits for cyclist. We were now in Virginia. Actually the first day "buzz" turned out to be the only "really bad car vs bike experience" but the protective brain is always there. "Remember the other day that car came awfully close! Be aware!" It stays with you. It is interesting to me how I can remember the ugly on a bike ride. I am sure it is animal instinct but it's too bad I cannot just forget it. I "do remember" all of the good experiences and they are a magitude larger than the ugy ones. I want to dump the ugly. I want that happy voice; "its ok, its ok!" But maybe I am doing something stupid on a bike that I should work on! Remember and work on it!

 

The road got a bit rough in places. The road surface was important because we were cranking on the downhill, the traffic was tight and we were flying. I tried to help the traffic behind me as much as possible but that is not always a clever idea. The goal is to stay safe and with no shoulder riding near the edge of the road one can make a slight mistake and be off the road and down hard quickly.

 

To help us recover from the "Kentucky climbing" we decided to use the "time on the bike" strategy we had used for the Furnace Creek 508 race. The "508" as it is called is a ride of 508 miles across the Mojave Desert in California. On our first 508 ride we organized a team of four riders. The strategy used was to put each rider on the road for 15 minutes. The rider on the road cranked as hard as he or she could for 15 minutes. Our goal on the 508 was to pull a rider off the road before they exhausted themselves and let them rest for 45 minutes. It works. Riding for 50 miles today with the climbing we were experiencing would result in each of us getting slower and slower and we would be exhausted at the end of the day which would affect tomorrow's ride. We had proven that to ourselves on yesterday's ride.

 

Swapping riders after a time period works. To recover our lost miles in Kentucky it was necessary we ride faster because the sun did not support a long day. We had to ride more miles per hour, i.e. faster. The goal of a time period is not how far you could ride but how fast you can ride. One benefit of this strategy is the rider becomes competitive with himself or herself which helps to curb the exhaustion. I do not want to get off the bike when the time comes. It sounds a little crazy but the pain, exhaustion, etc. is pushed aside and the rider is able to push hard during his or her turn and be anxious to ride when the next time comes.

 

We did our best "508" time using this technique. The 508 race criteria has been changed and we lost the use of this technique on our future 508 rides. We had to have two cars on the road to support our "15 minute ride" technique and the California State Patrol because of safety reasons ruled that each group of riders could only use one car.

 

Back to our Kentucky-Virginia adventure, we would "not" be flexible. Once "on the road" when the riders time expired we would change riders. The maximum time for each rider on the road would be 30 minutes but we decided that if the terrain required that we change before 30 minutes had elapsed the cyclist on the road could signal an early change. Since we knew that no cyclist wants to declare defeat the driver of the support van would be the referee. To terminate heroics the driver of the van could pull ahead and stop, pull out his or her bike and take over once the rider on the road reached the van, i.e. declare time over!

 

Post ride activity We had about 65 miles to drive to Wytheville where our Marriott was located. It would take and hour or so but we would be on the Interstate for about 75% of the trip so we should make good time. We were staying at the Marriott in Wytheville for two nights. The extra day meant we would have time for laundry to dry so we took all of our luggage to the room.

 

We checked in and I was told that I had made a mistake about the number of days we planned to stay. I had only made the reservation for one night. The Marriott had a room avilable so we would be able to stay the following night. My mistake would be minor. We finished checking in and went to our room. We dumped our stuff in the room and decided to go find dinner in our bike clothes.

 

We went back to the desk and asked for restaurant suggestions. Steak is a favorite of ours, second only to the Dairy Queen, so when the clerk at the desk suggested steak our diner had been decided. We were directed to "Smokes" a steak house within walking distance of the Marriott. It was a great steak. Our meal began with a salad which was very good. It was covered in a creamy dressing that I would not eat for heath concerns at home. A bread roll and butter was included to help my fall from grace. And of course we had a baked potato filled with sour cream. Water was the only sober diet selection we made.

 

One of the advantages of cycling on the road is that no matter how unhealthy the food you order is for body you are allowed to eat it. I will have to repair my body with a healthful diet at home.

 

We discussed the days ride during the meal. We evaluated the new riding strategy we had adopted. We agreed it had been a success. Tomorrow we would be faced with a very difficult climb but after that it looked like the worst was over. That being that the rest of our trip to the coast would be absent of climbing. Neither of us wanted to punt and we were still on schedule to make it to the Atlantic. It was game on for tomorrow.

 

We finished our meal and walked back to the Marriott. We washed bike clothes and hung them up to dry. We watched a bit of TV and I entered notes about today's ride. We then went to bed. Tomorrow would be another test of our ability.

 

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Virginia Ride - DAY 8 - August 13 - Rosedale to Cedar Springs - 78 miles

...we were tired but we wanted to ride as far as we could before we punted...

..."Route 76" took us away from traffic and allowed us to ride peacefully...the road surface was not always the best but better than playing "mongoose and snake" with a car...

...without a shoulder along the road, two cars and a bike would have difficulty passing at the same time...

Plan for the day - We continue across Virginia following the route provided by my Adventure Cycling TransAmerica Bicycle Trail map. We have moved onto Section 11. The plan for the day will be to ride from Rosedale to Cedar Springs a distance of 78 miles.

We do not have to move from our home at the Marriott in Wytheville, Virginia today. The bad news is that today's leg of our ride across Virginia starts about 60 miles west of where we are staying. The good news is that we will be only a few miles from the Marriott when we finish today's adventure.

 

I had failed before we left to start our trip to reserve the Marriott in Wytheville for "two" nights. We had fixed our reservation when we arrived. We were fortunate to be able to reserve the room for a second night. I have failed to make reservations for two nights before. I had screwed up the reservations when we bicycled in Germany and the Marriott where we were staying did not have a reservation for us the following night. We not as fortunate in that case. We had to move some distance away to another Marriott the next night. We also did not have "car support" so we had to travel on the light rail to the new location. We had a ton of luggage to carry to the new location. The Marriott where we had made the mistake allowed us to leave our luggage and bike boxes with them over night. We returned the next morning by light rail where transportation to the airport had been scheduled to carry us with all of our stuff. The Marriott made the airport transport arrangements for us. I love Marriott!

 

Today's route will follow the Adventure Cycling TransAmerica Maps, Section 11 Maps 134 - 136

At Rosedale State 80 joined US 19. We rode with the expected traffic south for a short distance until we again turned south onto Virginia 80 again for fourteen and a half miles to Haysters Gap. From Haysters Gap we rode 8 miles to Meadowview near Interstate 81. We exited Meadowview on County 803 passing under Interstate 81 and continued for 7 miles turning onto Virginia 91. We continued on Virginia 91 for 6 miles to Damascus. From Damascus we turned east on US58 to the intersection with County 603. We turned onto County 603. After a short ride we reached Konnarock continuing on County 603 into Troutdale. In Troutdale we turned onto State 16 and rode for 8 miles into Sugar Grove. We exited Sugar Grove on County 614 which we took to Cedar Grove our destination for today.

 

Getting started - We got up and went to breakfast. As usual I wore my workout/PJ's outfit to breakfast. We did not change hotels today so we could be a bit more relaxed. The drive to the start would consume an hour so we could not dally too long. We located the US Today and read it along with the local news as we enjoyed our breakfast. After a relaxed breakfast we went back to the room to prepare to ride.

 

I put my sunscreen on followed by my riding clothes. Pulled on my riding shoes and I was ready to ride. It was great not having to pack. I went to the lobby to get ice for our ice chest and carried it to the van. We had purchased a case of bottled water the night before to support an early start. I put the bottled water into the chest.

 

My bike buddy joined me at the car with the day's parishables to support the days ride which I put into the ice chest. We got into the car and we were off to where we had stopped the day before near Rosedale. We stopped for gas on the way out of town. We had learned that we could pick up supplies on the road along the bike route which saved time each morning getting started. That is with a cyclist on the road reducing the milage the driver would stop at a market or whatever on the route and buy goodies to replinish the car supplies. We also stopped for treats we saw along the road. Dairy Queen was a favorite.

 

Todays ride appeared to be a bit complicated on the Adventure Cycling Maps. We would find out just how complicated when we executed the ride. We talked about the success of our 30 minte rule the day before and agreed we would continue to use "time on the bike" as the determiner when a cyclist was to stop riding.

 

Today’s adventure - There is nothing more fun than when I am attempting to save as much daylight as possible in the morning and lost attempting to find where I had stopped the night before. On the road to Rosedale we exited Interstate 81 and drove north for 18 miles to the start of the ride. Along the way I discovered I had made a wrong turn by turning south rather than north off of Interstate 81. Driving south looking for the start near Rosedale I discovered I was on County 91. A quick look at the map told me I had to turn around. I returned to the freeway and headed north retracing the Adventure Cycling route to where we had left off the day before.

 

My wife would ride the first 30 minute increment. I pulled her bike out and assembled it and she began the ride. My adventure finding the start of the ride made for a late start. The road was relatively flat at the start of the ride but we knew from our look at the Adventure cycling map that we had a 1000 feet to climb after the first 10 miles and the first climb was followed by two more thousand foot climbs! Oh Joy!

 

My wife consumed her 30 minutes before we reached our first climb of the day. I pulled ahead and got my bike out to start my ride. When I saw her approaching I took off on my bike. After a mile an a half I was climbing. The road did not follow the terrain as it had in Kentucky so I had a chance to get into a rhythm and climb to the top without exhausting myself. At 5 miles an hour I got to the top of the climb and as my wife drove along beside me on the road I told her I would continue to ride to the bottom of the hill before I got off the bike.

 

The great thing about climbing is there is no fear on the decent. When I am tired I just let it fly and never think about the chances I am taking on the way down. I have earned it! My wife was ready to ride as I approached the van. She left just before I reached the van. I loaded my bike and got into the van to follow.

We stopped to trade "riders" at Haysters Gap. I had learned that a name like "gap" was a dead giveaway. A "gap" was the lowest point through the "hills" we were now riding through and I should be grateful that I did not have to ride over the top of the hills (mountains). Looking at the map I could see that we were climbing through a small leg of Thomas Jefferson National Forest. There would be more climbing to come during the day.

 

I took over the riding again and the climbing through the National Forest was very reasonable. We made good time through the Forest and were soon cranking toward Damascus. Looking at the profile map provided on the Adventure Cycling Maps the rest of today's ride would be a "bitch." We would experience two thousand feet of climbing as we again entered and exited Thomas Jefferson National Forest. We would finish the day with 25 miles of climbing!

 

Even though the grade would be reduced because of the length of the climb, as my wife and I remind each other about finance, "50 bucks is 50 bucks." Translated into cycling lingo; "2000 feet is 2000 feet." The great thing is that after this climb the profile of the route we are on a downhill trajectory to the coast. We just have to keep reminding ourselves that its all downhill after this climb!

 

We continued to trade off the riding chores as we climbed between Iron Mountain (3800 feet) and Chestnut Mountain. Then between Round Top (4600 feet) and Mount Rogers (5700 feet) on our way to Koonarock, Virginia. After Koonarock we had one more significant climb and then the down hill began. Well maybe a bit of up and down but the fact that we knew we were on the downhill run to the ocean should inspire us. We had also ridden ourselves into very good shape. Atlantic coast here we come.

 

Today's goal was Cedar Springs, Virginia. It was not clear whether we would have the strength or the daylight to add a few miles. We were making good time. The trade off of riding to "time on the road" rather than miles accumulated was paying dividends. The climbing was tiring but I was able to recover quickly and be prepared to ride again when my turn began.

 

After Kannarock we had about ten miles to climb and then it was "downhill" to Troutdale followed by a couple of miles of climbing. After that we would be on the downhill express to the Atlantic. We traded off cycling along at 5 miles an hour after Troutdale to the top of the last signifacnt climb on the map. We started down and rode to Cedar Springs which was 15 miles downhill from Cedar Grove which was at the bottom of the last climb. We changed riders in Cedar grove and twice more before we reached Cedar Springs. My wife was the last to ride. I drove past her into Cedar Springs and waited. When she rode in it was "high fives." No one said it but we knew we were going to be able to ride to the Atlantic.

 

It was threatening to rain but we wanted to continue and pick up a few miles for tomarrow. We had seen water in places along the road but so far we had avoided the rain. We began our quest to pick up a few extra miles for tomorrow after Cedar Springs and actually had thoughts of making it to Wytheville before we lost all of our daylight. But our luck ran out with the rain. It began to thunder and we could see lightening flashs in the clouds. I was on the road so I found a place to stop and my wife pulled up behind me. I tore down my bike and loaded it into the van. I took over driving and we headed for Wytheville with was only about 10 miles away. As we drove home to the Marriott the rain started. The rain only lasted for about 15 minutes but it was a downpour and had waited until we had accomplished what we set out to do. It had been a good day!

 

Today’s landscape - The Adventure Cycling Maps took us on the back roads which helped to avoid traffic. And, I should give credit to Virginia's cycling interest which produced "Bicycle Route 76" and the great signage that was helping me stay on course.

 

It is assumed that The route had been ridden by the folks at Adventure Cycling and I would not find myself in a non-bicycle situation on the road. It was also assumed that the route had been selected so the landscape would give me the flavor of Virginia.

The scene in Virginia had not changed from Kentucky. It remained very green. We rode through lush green forests. We rode through rolling hills along valleys which took us between the Appalachian Mountains.

 

In the valleys were farmland. We passed by fields of corn and other crops. There were grasslands. Horses populated some of the fields. Cows and cattle were grazing in many of the fields we rode past.

 

There were more houses and farm building located along the roads we rode on in Virginia than we had seen in Kenucky. The Virginia landscape was not as rural as it had been in Kentucky. We were closer to the Interstate Highways. The people who worked in the businesses along the Interstate Highways must have lived along the road on which we rode.

 

It was also the case that we were not as exhausted as we had been in Kentucky. We were more into the experience. We were "looking" at the scene around us because we were not being physically punished each day.

 

Everyday we were more secure in the belief that we would reach our goal of completing our ride through Virginia. We were more relaxed and enjoying the ride and the view.

 

Bicycling notes - We "expected" most of the climbing before our trip to be in western part Virginia. We expected to experience rollers during our ride across the middle of the state and we assumed the terrian would be flat all the way to the Atlantic cost. With the mountains behind us we expected our legs to recover quickly. We assumed the climbing in Kentucky would improve our conditioning for climbing and riding in general. We should be able to set the pace. But we had not recovered physically yet as we had hoped. 

 

The traffic as expected along the route selected by Adventure Cycling was light. The road did not have an adequate shoulder to allow two cars and a bicycle to pass. Moving to the "small, poorly maintained" shoulder to avoid traffic would have been a bit dicey. Trucks would have been especially scary. The cars and trucks had moved across the center line to pass us in Kentucky which was very much appreciated. For some reason that courtesy was lost in Virginia. I had thought the motorist in Virginia would be bike friendly. They were a bit impatient with us.

 

The heat on the ride across Kentucky-Virginia took its toll. It was very hot today. Our early start allowed us to ride in reasonable heat for the first few hours but by midday it was unpleasant. During the planning for our ride across Kentucky-Virginia I had been told that the month to ride was September so I knew we were taking a risk with the heat riding in August.

We had our first taste of heat or I should say humidity today. I was surprised by how hot I got while riding. The humidity was very high and drained my strength. I carried my CamalBak on my back on the bike and attempted to stay hydrated. I must have been successful because I did not get "totally" exhausted. I was able to complete my turns on the bike at reasonable pace even with the climbing. My riding clothes were soaked with sweat when we completed our day of riding.

 

Bike path signs (route 76) were a savior. It was obvious they had been placed along the route by cyclist. When in a car it is easy to recover when I realize I have missed the route and turn around and correct the mistake. As I did on the first day of the ride I missed the turn and rode 5 miles before I saw the sign indicating I was on the wrong road. That is a ten mile error which blows an hour of daylight when the time taken to call the support van and the conversation about "what happened?" is added to the riding time. The bike signs saved us many times in Virginia and allowed the cyclist to relax and ride which is what makes these trips enjoyable.

 

The wind today was not a problem. The high humidity brought the bugs out to eat. The slow pace over the climbs gave the little creatures an opportunity to join me on the road so they took advantage. The good news was that we had avoided the rain. A little heat and humidity is always preferable to rain.

 

Post ride activity - We were on our second night at the Marriott in Wytheville so we pulled into the parking lot and went to our room. We went down to the Jacuzzi after dumping what we carried to the room. The Jacuzzi was welcome. It helped my legs to recover. I was still feeling the effects of the ride in Kentucky. After 15 minutes of therapy in the Jacuzzi we returned to our room.

 

We took a shower and I dressed in my "work out outfit" and we discussed where we should go for dinner. We didn't want to think so we opted for the Sagbrush Cantina again tonight. The food had been good and I was not into "experimentation" tonight.  Ignorance was bliss tonight.  We went to Sagebrush Cantina and ordered the same meal as the night before. We ordered steak, potatoes and salad. It was great! I do not remember the desert we had but "it must have been good!" After our meal we walked back to the Marriott.

 

We would move to a new home tomorrow so we packed the clothes we had washed along with everything else. We collected and packed what we had scattered about the room during our stay and I carried the results along with our luggage to the car. When I returned we watched TV and I created notes in my log for today's adventure on the road. We were tired but it had been a good day. We were getting closer to our goal of riding to the Atlantic? Good night!

 

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Ride Across Virginia - August 14 - DAY 9 - Cedar Springs to Christiansburg - 73 miles

...logging data after completing a leg of the day's ride...

...showing off...

..we stop for ice cream where ever we can fund it...

...oops! Road ends?

Plan for the day We woke up to black clouds and we assumed it would be raining "cats and dogs" in two hours. Our start was west of Wytheville at the point on the road where we "punted" the day before to avoid the downpour that we were sure would occur and did within a few minutes after getting my bike into the car. We were only a few miles west of Wytheville when we stopped. We also planned, I should say wanted, not to make the same “time consuming” mistakes of the day before finding the start of the day's adventure.

 

The goal for the day was Christiansburg, Virginia. Today's terrain along the route supports us. The climbing is over. I also believe the great landscape that we have ridden through the last couple of days in Virginia will be absent from today's ride but we will see. We plan to ride 73 miles today.

Our home for the evening will be the Marriott in Christiansburg which should or I should say "will" support our end of the day recovery.

 

Today's route will follow the Adventure Cycling TransAmerica Maps, Section 11 Maps 132 - 134

Today's route begins in Cedar Springs. We exit Cedar Springs on County 749 headng north . County 749 becomes State 90 at Rura Retreat. We ride on State 90 to US 11 and turn east onto US11 which runs parallel to Interstate 81. We ride on US 11 into Wytheville. We turn onto County 610 in Wytheville and exit heading toward Max Meadows. We turn onto State 121 in Max Meadows which returns to and follows Interstate 81. We ride for 10 miles on State 121 parallel to Interstate 81 and cross under the Intestate to County 654. County 654 becomes County 658 at Draper and we follow 658 to Newborn. We exit Newborn on County 611 which takes us under Interstate 81 toward Radford. We turn north on County 626 which we ride on into Radford. In Radford we head south on US11, then west on County 232 and then south on 787 which takes us out of Radford. From the 787 we turn east onto County 664 and then again, west, onto County 600 and finally onto County 666 which takes us into Christiansburg.

 

Getting started We got up and a looked outside to find that the weather would be a factor today. With the threating weather we wanted to get on the road and see how many miles we could ride before we got attacked by the rain which may force us to stop riding.

 

We were staying at the Marriott Wytheville. We had to move today but we had taken most of the "unnecessary stuff" to support sleeping, intertainment and the start of the day to the car last night. We packed the remainder of the clothes in "Marriott plastic laundry bags." I changed out of my "running suit" I had slept in and I changed into my bike clothes. I carried our "left overs" down to the car. Our room came with breakfast so after taking care of the luggage we went to breakfast.

 

It was good! Toast and coffee, a great fruit cup, and a quiche made of ham and cheese. We did not terry. We needed to get to the start of the ride and go before the rain hit. My wife checked us out while I got the ice chest out of the car and filled it. We met at the car and headed for the start of the ride. We stopped at the store on the way to the start of our riding day to buy "goodies" for car. We assumed we would not want to stop at the store after the rain started. With rain expected the van had to be on the route to support the rider all day.

 

Today’s adventure - We drove to where we had stopped riding the day before yesterday's downpour. My wife would ride first. I unloaded her bike and she began to ride. We were on the downhill side of our adventure but that doesn't mean there are not a few rollers on the way down. The good news was that the grade was reasonable and the climbs were short. My wife was cranking and she turned onto US 11 before I took over the riding. US 11 ran along beside Interstate 81.

 

I continued to crank because the dark clouds in the morning made me believe that it could start raining at any time. There was one respectable climb on the way to Wytheville other than that it was a piece of cake compared to Kentucky. By the time we reached Wytheville my 30 minutes had elapsed. It was my wife's turn to ride. I told her I would ride through town and she could take over the riding chores on the west side of Wytheville.

 

We rode into Wytheville on US 11 but we would exit on County 610. With a history of getting lost could I be trusted? I made the transition easily because US 11 joins Intestate 81 in Wytheville and the transition was obvious. I exited on County 610 and rode to the car. As I approached the van my wife started her ride. My wife continued maintain a very good pace and we were on our way to Max Meadow.

 

Today's bicycle route turned an ran parallel to Interstate 81. The seperation of our route and the Interstate was not far but with the heavy foliage in Virginia it was hidden. We rode through farmland along a river a few miles. The business community had moved close to Interstate 81. Housing communities with few businesses populated the route we rode along. We rode under the interstate several times during the course of the day which reacquainted us with the cement and traffic but our route gave us the feeling we were miles from civilization.

 

The dark clouds we had seen in the morning did not produce rain. We lucked out with the weather. We rode into several spots where the road was damp and some puddles could be seen at the edge f the road but we did not experience a drp of rail. were there but we did not get a drop of rain. The overcast actually made for a very cool day to ride – humid but cool – it cleared up around 5 and the clouds were gone

 

We made it all the way to Christiansburg by 5 o’clock and rode half way to Ettell which is the next town which I think was about 5 miles east of Christiansburg. We stopped loaded my bike and drove to the Marriott. I remember from looking at the map that the Marriott had been on our route so we must have passed it on the way through Christiansburg but I did not see it. It had been a good riding day. We only encountered one ugly climb. The lack of climbing had left me with a bit of energy which was new for this adventure.

 

Today’s landscape Our route continued to take us through a varied and beautiful landscape. We rode through farmland, some with large, open treeless fields.

In other areas we rode past and through large forested areas with rolling hills covered with trees. At times we cycled through a canopy produced by large trees that grew along the sides of the route.

 

As we approached Interstate 81 the scene began to change. First, as we rode the few miles that remained toward Interstate 81 the road changed from County 749 to State 90. I first noticed this while looking at the map. I assumed this meant that the town of Rural Retreat which was a few miles from the Interstate now had folks living in it who worked in the commercial areas along the Interstate. We were leaving the rural areas of Virginia and moving toward a denser populated area.

 

State 90 turned after a few miles and followed along the southern side of Interstate 81. We had left rural Virginia.

 

 

Bicycle notes - The over cast cooled temperatures and made for a very comfortable ride. We rode through areas where it had rained earlier in the day and it felt to me that the humidity had been reduced. We had no bugs all day. I think the bugs were waiting for the rain but we did not get the moisture that supports their attack.

The climbing had reduced significantly. The rollers were still a challenge but doable. My legs were still struggling so that meant any hill was a challenge.

I had lost my chain 10 times so far in Kentucky and now in Virginia. Three times I lost my change off the large ring and it was dragging on the road by the time I stopped. I was afraid I would break my chain and a chain is not something I carry and finding one could be time consuming. Also the loss of momentum when it came off was a pain. Obviously it always exited the chain ring during a climb. The reason it exited was that I was trying to make a gear change at a very low speed. The reason I was making the gear chain is that I could not continue to climb in my current gear selection. I had to change to pull the hill. While stopped to put the chain back on I changed the gear lower and then get back on the bike and start from zero miles per hour and try to continue on a climb which was already punching me out. No joy!

 

To restart my bike after "dropping the chain" on a "steep" climb I ride back and forth across the road a "few" times pointing the bike uphill a bit more on each pass across the road. I can typically return to "straight up hill" after three passes. But, I must confess that I also have gotten off my bike and it to the top of a climb. I did this twice in our ride across Utah!

 

The wind was not a factor today and had not been so far on the trip. It came up briefly today which I believe were the results of the rain showers (black clouds) we were riding toward. The wind did not last long but of course it was in our face. Since we had so much luck with the wind I guess the prevailing wind in Virginia and Kentucky must be west to east.

 

I estimated we must have lost 2 riding hours before we got to the start of yesterday’s ride because we drove north from Waytheville rather than south on Interstate 81 for 20 miles before turning back south and then for good measure missing a road sign turn to the 80 the day before. Our progress had been slow enough and we had to attempt to avoid these errors.

 

On today's ride another cyclist passed on the opposite side of the road with a support van behind him. The van followed immediately behind him and had the lights flashing. He was using bars to position him over the handle bars and really hauling. He going a down hill when we passed him but my guess would be that he was training for a time trial of some sort. He was checking his time over a similar route.

 

Post ride - We drove back to Christiansburg and found the Marriott. It was a Fairfield Inn. We were only there for one night so we took only what we needed for a one night stand. We checked in and went to our room. We dressed for the Jacuzzi and went down to recover.

 

After Jacuzzi we returned to our room and kicked back for 30 minutes while I entered trip notes on my computer. We decided to have carry out so we could just veg in our room. We asked at the desk and they told us there was a Ruby Tuesday near by. We called and ordered steak to take out. We drove to pick up our meal and my wife had an "energy Margareta" drink while we waited for our order.

 

We drove back to the Marriott and enjoyed our steak while watching TV. I also looked at the plan I had created for the ride to determine what we had left to accomplish. To my dismay I had made another mistake in my day planning and we would have to use a free day I thought was available to use anyway we wanted. Oh great! This trip will have a long list of lessons learned! I went to bed.

 

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Ride Across Virginia - August 15 - DAY 10 - Christainsburg to Buchanan - 67 miles

...our home away from home...note the bag of clothes to support a 1 night stay..

...I have raced tractors on my bike in France and South Dakota. I have been close but no cigar!

...the traffic was a bit more frequent in Virginia...I am in the middle of the raod passing our parked support van!

...energy food...note the tan pouch..found it to be the best way to carry credit cards, drivers licience, medical card, cash, etc. on a bike trip!

Plan for the dayThe plan for the day is to return to the Adventure Cycling TransAmerica Bike Touring Map and follow the route from Christiansburg to Buchanan. We reached Christiansburg yesterday with time to spare so we continued to ride and eliminate a few miles of today’s route. Today we locate "Plank Street" where our ride ended the day before and begin our adventure to Buchanan, Virginia.

The plan calls for a 73 mile effort today. We have reservatinos at the Marriott Residence Inn in Waynesboro, Virginia for tonight. The reservation is for two nights which is always great. No packing tomorrow. A bit more relaxed at breakfast. Home!

Today's route will follow the Adventure Cycling TransAmerica Maps, Section 12 Maps 139 - 141

We make our way out of Christiansburg on County 723. We continue on 723 through Elliott for ten miles unyil it intersectes with County 785. We continue on 785 into Catawba. At Catawba we ride onto County 779 and ride 20 miles to Daleville. We continue on County 779 under Interstate 81 into Troutville turning onto County 651 inside the town. We continue to ride on County 651 for 4 miles turning right onto US11 for less than a mile turning left onto County 640. We continue to ride on County 640 for 15 miles until it joins US11 which we ride on into Buchanan our destination for the day.

 

Getting startedWe had left our bikes and luggage in the car when we arrived at the hotel from yesterday's ride because we only had a one night stay in Christianburg. We had brought our bed clothes, swim suits, bathroom kit, crocks and computer to the room with us. We used the plastic bags that are in the room from prievious Marriott stays to carry our "one night stand" essentials. We would use the same to carry "our stuff" back to the car.

Hoping to get an early start we broke tradition and put our bike clothes on before breakfast. My "charade" of workout clothes as PJ's would not be used today. After we dressed we carried our overnight clothes and associated "stuff" to the car before we went to breakfast.

 

We ate the complementary breakfast provided at the Marriott. We had discovered "quiche" at the Marriott Fairfield Inn which I do not remember eating in the past at a Fairfield Inn. The quiche was growing on me. It consisted of ham and cheese and I found it to be quite tasty. The "quiche" put the Fairfield Inn in competition with the Residence Inn which makes my favorite breakfast of scrambled eggs, potatoes and bacon that I love.

As usual home or away I drank my “cups” of coffee. It was a good, relaxed start to the day. Looking out the window at the sky the weather did not look any better than yesterday. It looked like rain! But we had lucked out yesterday and it did not have to ride in the rain. After we finished our breakfast I filled up the ice chest while my wife checked us out of the hotel. We went to the van and drove to where we had stopped the day before to start our ride.

 

Today’s adventure - Today's route was along country back roads. The profile for the ride on the map was “down” so we thought we would do well today. But as the route had done in Kentucky we encountered a few difficult climbs with a few short ugly rollers.

 

The fact that our legs had not fully recovered made any climb a chore and made something with a punch an ouch! To add to the adventure the road was rough to Ettel and continued that way almost all the way to Buchanan.

 

I remember that during the last 5 miles of my first marathon I was exhausted. I was so exhausted that after I crossed the finish line I had to use both hands to lift "each" of my legs above the curb and onto the sidewalk. I was having a similar experience riding across Kentucky and Virginia.

 

Would I need help to get off my bike when we reached our destination at the Atlantic coast or would I just collapse like the French Tour de France guy at the finish when he was beaten by the American, Greg LeMond?

 

After our first two 30 minute turns on the bikes we decided to break the ride into 5 mile turns. The goal was to force a rider off the bike as he or she slowed down. The hope being that a fresh rider would allow us stay within our time budget.

 

I rode first then my wife an so on. We had a few miles in the bank from the night before. We were glad we had done well the day before and even with the few surprise climbs we had made good time. With our poor performance today we would need the extra miles to complete the plan for today!

 

To add to our physical concerns it started to rain hard on us about 5 miles from the end of the ride to Buchanan. It had been drizzling here and there but not enough to provide the excuse to get off the bike. I was riding the last 5 mile leg and told my wife that being wet already I would finish the ride through the town of Buchanan before stopping.

 

I rode through Buchanan and continued for a "bit" hoping to reduce tomorrow's adventure. My wife found a good place to stop to load my bike and also to start the following morning ahead of me and stopped. When I reached the spot I stopped near the car. It continued to rain but the rear door of the van we were using as a "roof" allowed me to stand under it and take my bike apart so I could put it in the back of the van. We got into the van and set out for Home. I used my sweat shirt from my PJ bag to cover the front seat of the van and absorb the moisture from my bike outfit as we drove to our home for the evening, the Residence Inn.

 

Today’s landscapeThe Adventure Cycling Maps (an Bike Route 76) continued to take us on County roads where possible which allowed us to ride traffic free and enjoy our sourroundings. I must admit, however, that the climbing took a toll on my "desire" to take in my sourroundng as I plodded along. I was afraid that I was slipping back into my Kentucky "drudge" feeling.

 

Today's route took us through a valley between large hills or "mountains" which produced the climbing we experienced on our ride today.

 

Our route took as past large green meadows and thick stands of trees. On the County Roads in places the trees were near the road and very thick. In some places the trees were on both sides of the road and met above us as we rode.

The houses and farm buildings were larger and more abundant. They were located on both sides of the roads and we did not ride through areas for miles where we saw no hint of civilization as we had on other days of our trek trough Kentucky and Virginia.

 

The houses were also very large. We rode pass one and two story houses. They were very large and looked expensive. Some had brick siding. Others had wooden siding. The houses were built on large areas of lush green lawn which was surrounded by acres of grass lands. The fields may have been cut and bailed for hay. I do not remember passing fields that had large bails of hay scattered in them. I also do not remember any corn or other crops. I did discover herds of cows and fields of corn looking at the pictures we took today! And, what I did see and remember was quite beautiful.

 

Bicycling notesThe weather had been a major concern the week before we left home to start the ride but so far so good! As that old Kentucky saying goes, "Never look a gift horse in the mouth!" We are just going to start to ride! We had been having good luck with the weather so far on our trek across Kentucky and now on the ride through Virginia we were hoping for no change. When we started the day’s ride, however, it looked like rain and we got rained on at the end of the ride. But on the positive side rain makes for a cool ride and it was still hot enough not to get chilled when the rain did start while a rider was on the road.

 

The country roads we rode on today were very rough at times. I guess even Adventure Cycling has to make tough choices when making a route selection. The road surface made it unwise to let it all out on a hard downhill run. On the flat it was uncomfortable to ride on and my bike took a beating. It was also necessary to be very vigilant about looking for cracks that could take me down. Too close to the end to have to stop because of a lapse in caution! Luckily it did not rain hard on any of the poor roads.

I bicycled through Buchanan at the end of our ride and was soaked by the time I stopped. I had to break down my bike and remove my wife’s and load it. Then I loaded my wife’s bike. It rained like mad as I loaded the car but I was able to stand under the rear door of the van as I did so. The fact that we had completed the distance we planned for the day helped reduce the effect of the moisture.

 

Have to note the road kill. I spotted the remains of a tortoise on the road. I remember these guys from growing up in Kentucky. There were a lot of them. I also saw many other bodies which looked like possum to me. I saw several long low creatures about a foot in length running across the road in front of me which I were smaller than a posum. I also saw a deer along our route today. Animals have a way of sparking a reaction out of me even if I am tired!

 

Post ride activity - Our hotel for the evening was in Waynesboro. It was a Marriott and a Residence Inn. The location of the Marriott was about 50 miles north of Buchanan where we had stopped our ride for the day. My wife suggested we look for something closer to our current location but I convinced her it would take less than an hour on Interstate 81 and we were off.

 

As we drove to the Marriott my wife spotted an outdoor market. We stopped and discovered home grown tomatoes and peaches were being sold along with many other vegetables. We bought some of each to have with our dinner and enjoy during our TV time.

 

We spotted a Dairy Queen on the way into Waynesboro so we stopped and had our energy food for the day. We saw a Subway near by while enjoying our Dairy Queen and we decided to have Subway and fresh vegetables for dinner.

 

We got to the Marriott and checked in. Our room was great and we were staying fore two nights. We got into our swimming attire and headed down to the Jacuzzi.

 

Afterward we returned to the room and kicked back and ate our Subway with our fresh vegetables. The tomatoes were a big hit. One was green and had been recommended by the lady at the outdoor market. She was right it was very tasty.

 

I took a shower and put on my "workout PJs. I entered "tour notes" into my laptop computer for today's adventure while watching the local TV with my wife. We have 4 more days of riding and we would have pulled off the "Ride Across America." Unfortunately I was not getting that Runner's High" that I remembered as I got close to the completion of a successful 10K run. Maybe It will begin tomorrow!

 

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Ride Across Virginia - August 16 - DAY 11 - Buchanan to Rockfish Gap - 75 miles

..nothing more exciting than riding a bicycle downhill from an elevation of 3200 feet..

...a bit of climbing but choosing to ride from west to east saved us for our final push to the coast...

...road a bit rough,no shoulder but also little or no traffic...peace!

...standing under my umbrella out of the rain...

Today's route will follow the Adventure Cycling TransAmerica Maps, Section 12 Maps 141 - 143

We exit Buchanan on Main Street. After passing under Interstate 81 Main Street becomes F-054. Follow F-054 for about 5 miles turning right under Interstate 81 on County 623. On the other side of the Interstate we immediately turn left onto F-55. We continue on F-055 for about 5 miles turning left onto County 609 followed by a left turn onto County 692.  After a short distance we ride over Interstate 81. After passing over the Interstate we turn right onto County 610. We turn left onto County 764 and then right onto State 51 which takes us into Lexington. We are riding on Main Street in Lexington and turn right after crossing over Maury River onto County 631. We ride on County 631 for 4 miles and turn left onto County 608. We follow County 608 to Vesuvius. At Vesuvius we turn right onto State 56 which becomes the "Blue Ridge Parkway." We follow the Blue Ridge Parkway to Rockfish Gap our destination for today's adventure.

 

Plan for the day The plan for the day would be to ride from Buchanan to Rockfish Gap. Yesterday when I looked at the profile on Section 12 of the Adventure Cycling maps we were using to guide us across Kentucky and Virginia I noticed the "big climb" getting upto the "Park." I had assumed the difficult climbing was over. Ouch!

 

Today's ride would take us "up" to the "Blue Ridge Parkway." The climb up to the park is described by the Adventure Cycling Maps folks as a "bitch." The words they use are not as direct but I wanted to be precise and clear and thus I chose the adjective, "bitch." After we complete the climb we ride several miles along the Blue Ridge Parkway finally descending into Rockfish Gap which is our destination for the day. The distance will be approximately 75 miles.

 

We discussed the reality of climbing 2200 feet and still finishing today or our ride across the state of Virginia. The "idea of could we make the climb and finish" was put to a vote and "NO" won two to nothing. I proposed that we initiate the day's ride by climbing ten miles up in the "van" from Rockfish Gap and then bicycle 65 miles along the "flat" Blue Ridge Parkway then dashing down the "2200 foot" downhill run into Buchanan. We would then load our bikes and drive back "up" to the 10 mile point where we had started our ride "west" to Buchanan and decend into Rockfish Gap from the packway continuing on to Afton to complete today's ride. Again the vote was 2 to 0 in favor.

 

We are staying at the Marriott in Waynesboro again tonight. Afton is only 6 miles from Waynesboro. Afton is located at the east end of the Adventure Cycling Maps' route along the Blue Ridge Parkway which we plan to ride today. We only have to drive about 15 miles to the start of our ride to Buchanan this morning from the Marriott. This plan is getting better and better!

 

Getting startedWe just had to get up and start. No packing today. We dressed in our bike clothes and went to breakfast. The breakfast at the Residence Inn is the best. Only biscuits and gravy are missing. We eat all of the forbidden food on the road, Dairy Queen as an example, which is part of the adventure. At home it is back to a healthy diet.

 

After breakfast I got the styrafoam chest from the car and filled it curtiousy of the Marriott. We got in the car out to find a start point along the Blue Ridge Parkway to start our ride to Buchanan. along the way we stopped at a store to buy goodies for the road. We also filled up with gas. We were looking at starting the day's ride at around 10 o’clock. Later than I wanted but I thought there would be more than enough time to pull off our "downhill" ride.

 

Today’s adventureWe drove 10 miles west on the Blue Ridge Parkway and stopped. I had brought a piece of cloth from the room to tie on a tree to mark where we would start our ride.

 

I tied the cloth to a tree limb a few yards off the Parkway. We placed the marker where we had started to help us find our start point in the afternoon. I unloaded my wife's bike and she began to ride along the Parkway. The road was flat and we made good time.

 

The weather forecast predicted heavy rain during the day. We were lucky for the first 40 miles and experienced no rain. Then we ran into heavy rain east of Lexington, Virginia. I was on the bike and we only a few miles from town so I continued to ride into Lexington. By the time we stopped in Lexington the rain was really coming down. It was a downpour.

 

The rain kept coming down hard and gave no indication that it would end anytime soon. We needed to get back on the road if we hoped to finish our ride. We decided that since we had already broken the "cyclist oath" by designing a ride which would only take the downhill portion of the day's route we should push the ethics code a bit more and drive to where the rain had stopped and then continue to ride.

 

The vote was "two to nil" in favor of driving west to where the rain stopped and starting to ride again. We drove about 5 miles and were out of the rain. Or maybe I should say we only got damp when we continued our ride to Buchanan. We were able to quickly cover the remaining miles to the spot where we had stopped the day before west of Buchanan.

 

I was on the bike when we reached Buchanan. I rode up to the car, disassembled "both" bikes so they could fit easily into the back of the van. Our chore now was to find and ride the few miles we had skipped over to avoid the rain. Obviously it would be faster to take the Interstate to where we had leapfrogged past the rain. We would drive back to Lexington and then drive the route to where we had stopped. Easier said than done!

 

We drove onto the Interstate east of Buchanan and begin to drive east to Lexington. We exited the Interstate an onto our route east of Lexington and began the drive west into Lexington. Believing we should have driven the correct distance to where we had stopped riding I turned around, with some difficulty with the traffic, and drove back along the day's route. Unfortunately I made a wrong turn and found myself off the route headed north. Realizing my mistake I corrected my error and returned to the route. We drove for several miles east along the route and did not see anything familiar. We turned around and drove east past where I had turned and we located where had punted because of the rain.

 

We drove back past were we had started and could not find the start point. We turned again and drove west past where we had turned and finally located where we had pulled the plug because of the rain.

 

I got out to ride because I assumed my frustration level could be used to produce a good mileage rate to complete the ride, say 20 miles an hour. We completed the few miles that we had skipped and loaded the bike and started back toward Afton to complete the last 10 miles. We had lost a lot time trying to recover from the few miles we had skipped during the downpour. It is funny that I had accepted the riding backwards downhill as ok but could not bring myself to skip 5 miles. Surely we could have come up with an acceptable scheme where we would ride in a circle around the parking lot of the Marriott until we had recorded 5 miles! Tie score!

 

By the time we reached the point where we were to return to our start point and complete our ride it was late. We drove back along the Interstate 81 until we reached Afton which would take us back to the Blue Ridge Parkway. As we drove to the Blue Ridge Parkway we discussed whether we should get out and ride the 10 miles left in today's journey or "blow it off" until tomorrow. It was getting dark and by the time we reached the Parkway we assumed we would have very little time by the time we loacted our flag which marked our start point. The Marriott was very close or about the same distance as the start of our ride. We continued to drive to our home for the evening.

Today’s landscape – Most of today's route was along Blue Ridge Highway. Our cycling route ran through a national park.

 

The road we started our "backward ride" on ran along the side of a mountain. One side of the road faced a mountain slope coved with a thick forest of trees. The opposite side of the road looked out over the trees that continued down the side of the mountain. The view over the trees ran for as far as the eye could see.

 

We rode on bike paths in the park. We rode along back roads as well.  Reversing the route to take advantage of the downhill made it possible to see everything along the road. We stopped twice in the park to take advantage of the views that the park provided.

 

I did not see farms or structures of any kind along the route. The route was also absent of crops and farm animals. We rode through a huge forest filled with lush geen plants.

 

Bicycling notes – We have adjusted the route to meet our physical ability in the past. When we rode across the State of South Dakota the winds were keeping us from meeting our daily schedule. We started changing the direction of our rides so we could ride with the wind and make good time. In Utah we also changed direction "once" to avoid some bruttal climbing. On that climb my wife asked if I wanted her to drive me to the top of the climb and she would pick me up and drive me back to where I had started my downhill? I took the offer.

 

We had seen 7 riders on the road during our trip across Kentucky and Virginia. One couple we met in Virginia was travelling on bikes with "their bags" hanging on the sides. They had not reached the real climbing yet and they did not seem to me to be doing that well on the flat. Dragging the weight they carried over the hills in Kentucky we had climbed would be cruel. We met several cyclist going the opposite way along the road. They were all dressed in bike clothes on expensive bikes and I would guess they were part of the bike club out for the weekend ride.

 

It was a beautiful national park that the Blue Ridge Parkway took us through. The parkway was very wide or at least sufficient to carry the traffic and allow a bicycle through. But we did not see many cars. I was sure it would be busy but it was not. As a result we had a comfortable and easy ride through the park. We also rode on the bike paths that ran parallel to the road in the park.

 

A one point on the day's route, we came to a fork in the road and during our investigation to insure we were turning in the right direction a woman came out of a house nearby to get her mail. We struck up a conversation and of course she asked what we were doing. We told her about our ride across America and she was interested. She said that many cyclist rode the route we were using and that some had spent the night at her house which was two story and quite large.

 

The rider switch continued to evolve to meet the current effort. Before we ran into the rain after leaving the park we made very good time. We were basically riding on a road that was flat or slightly down and we made good time. The road was very wide and the traffic was very light. We maintained an excellent speed on our ride and our average speed was approaching 20 miles an hour.

 

Post ride activity- We were staying again at the Residence Inn in Waynesboro. Most of our stuff was there. When we arrived we went to our room and got out of our damp clothes and hung them up to dry. We dressed for the Jazzuci and went down to soak and relax. We had lost ten miles on the route but we were closer and closer to our goal. Now there was no discussion about not making it across America.

 

After our Jacuzzi we returned to our room and dressed to go eat. Of course we went for steak. We went to Outback Resturant that we had visited the night before for dinner. No need to change from a good thing.

 

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Ride Across Virginia - August 17 - DAY 12 - Rockfish Gap to Mineral - 77 miles

...occasionally we rode on bike paths along the route a sign that America is becoming more bike friendly....

...there was more than Dairy Queen along today's route..

...in the old days (2000) we carried 50 pounds of maps and instructions plus a cell phone...now we use the iPhone...

...we are getting close to the Atlantic Coast and Adventure Cycling continues to provide us with great scenery...

Plan for the day - We had 10 miles left from our "breaking the bicycling code" ride the day before. We had punted and not ridden the last 10 miles "downhill" to Rockfish Gap so we have to add the loss onto day's ride. Fortunately the 10 miles we have added are downhill and the profile for to today's ride shows no climbs of interest.

 

Today's ride will be 87 miles when the "lost 10" from the day before are added on. Flat roads should allow us to crank today and be back on schedule tomorrow. We stay at the Fairfield Inn in Richmond tonight. It is another Marriott brand. Food is good but not as wonderful as at the Residence Inn.

 

Today's route will follow the Adventure Cycling TransAmerica Maps, Section 11 Maps 132 - 134

Today's ride will be from Rockfish Gap to Mineral, Virginia. We exit Rockfish Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway making a sharp, downhill turn left onto County 750. We follow County 750 through Afton. We turn right onto County 796 which takes us under Interstate 64. We turn right onto County 690 after passing under the interstate and ride through Greenberg exiting on County 691. We turn left onto county 684 and then right onto county 788 after a short distance turning left onto County 789. County 789 transitions onto County 810 which we follow into White Hall. We exit White Hall on County 614 and after about 4 miles we turn right onto County 839.

 

Getting started - Today we move to the Marriott in Richmond. We packed everything to take to the car accept our PJ's before we came down to breakfast.

 

We went down to the great breakfast created at the Residence Inn. We assumed we would each be able to complete 43.5 miles in good time today so we did not try to rush through breakfast to get an early start on the road. We enjoyed breakfast and the newspaper. After our fill of food and news we returned to our room.

 

Back in our room we packed our PJ's. I put sunscreen on followed by my riding clothes. Ready to ride we headed down to the van carrying our luggage. I loaded everything into the van while my wife checked out of the hotel.

I brought the ice chest from the van into the hotel and filled it with ice. We had purchased a case of bottled water the night before. Back at the car I filled the ice chest with bottled water and the day's "food" perishables to support our ride.

 

Today’s adventure - We started to drive to the start of the day's ride. We had filled the car with gas last night.

 

We drove west back along the Blue Ridge Parkway looking for the rag that I had tied to a tree limb to make were we had started our ride west the day before. We could not find it! We drove up and down but it was gone. I thought that I knew where I had tied the "flag." I showed my wife the tree where I believed I had tied flag and told her someone must have taken it! We decided not to waste anymore time and accept my memory.

 

My wife rode first. I got her bike out of the car, assembled it and she started to ride. She rode along the flat part of the 10 miles we had to make up and after her time expired I took over. My ride began down a very steep decline and the road surface was not the best as I rode to the bottom. To make matters worse I had to make a 180 degree turn "before" the bottom of the decent and I didn't even try to turn at the speed I was travelling when I first saw the exit. I braked as I passed the turn off and once stopped turned and climbed back up to the turn. After the turn we rode on a very poor road. The road I turned on continued downhill. I was very cautious and made sure I did not loose control of my bike as I rode.

 

After the road leveled off I continued to ride on a road with a very poor surface. It was narrow in places and the trees covered the road touching each other. Houses appeared in places along the road. At first the homes were very plain but as we continued our ride they became more expensive and farms began to appear as well. Traffic was nonexistent.

 

We rode on narrow back roads for the remainder of the day. The surface of the road changed from smooth to rough and back again as we rode. We rode on surfaces today which I believe should not be ridden on a touring bike. All of the roads were narrow and if we had encountered traffic it would probably not be bike friendly.

 

It rained at the end of the day again and of course I was on the road at the time. I got soaking wet. The clouds were thick and it did not look like it was going to stop any time soon. We decided to call it a day. We had not reach our target town for the day. We were 10 miles short of our goal as we had been the day before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s landscape - Our ten mile ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway was beautiful and interesting. No commerical traffic is allowed on the parkway so the traffic is less complicated I guess is the best way to describe it.  We passed several deer grazing along the road. They seemed to know they were safe and only watched us as we passed to make sure we understood their status in the park.

 

We saw several cyclist along the Parkway. The ones I saw were riding alone or in twos. They did not have a "support car" so I would assume they were on day rides from one of the towns nearby. What a great area to train in!

 

The road we turned onto after the Parkway was the poorest that Adventure Cycling had selected for the ride across Virginia. The surface was rough and had the associated "piles" of gravel along the road that can put one on the ground if one is not careful.

But, we were riding through very dense, green foliage which at times was very thick along the sides of the route. I sure had the feeling it was me and my bike alone on today's ride. I remember only one car passing me after I left the parkway.

 

Bicycling notes - We had missed our "riding distance" goal again today. We were casual about getting an early start this morning and it had cost us. Maybe its avoidance behavior! We know from experience on other rides that if we want to do something about our poor performance we have to start earlier. The extra time will allow us to cope with changes during the day which threaten our goals. Or, since we have become so "liberal with the definition of our cycling goals" we could declare Richmond to be on the Atlantic coast!

Our bikes are holding up well. We have not been careful putting them in and pulling them out of the car. The two front tires are removed to allow the bike to fit easily into the car and we have not been "positive" about securing them so they don't roam around in back of the van. Our bike tires have stood up to the beating they have taken on the rough roads. The moisture we experienced causes the bike to pick up grim and "what not" along the route. The gears and sprockets are mess. So far (knock on wood) we have had no "chain problems" and no flats. The quality of the bike is important on a trip. When a bike can't go anymore the ride is over until a solution is found!

 

The climate is changing as we approach the ocean. The temperature had not changed significantly but it was a bit more muggy today. If I stopped and stood for a bit it felt much warmer than on our earlier days. When I was on the bike I did not notice the heat. And, when riding through or standing in the shade of a canopy of trees it felt cool to me.

 

Post ride activity - We move our "home on the road" to Richmond tonight. We are staying at a Fairfield Inn. We loaded our bikes into the car and drove "home." I don't remember how far it was. We got to the Marriott and checked in. We carried our "overnight stuff" to our room. The room was a surprise. Last night we stayed at the best. Tonight was ho-hum. Maybe we were still upset with missing today's riding goal and needed something to take the spotlight off our failure!

 

We put our swim suits on and went down to Jacuzzi. The Jacuzzi always brings us back. We returned to ho-hum and decided we wanted to find pizza. We got dressed and went down to ask at the desk about a pizza spot. We selected a pizza spot and went to the car. we drove to the pizza spot, ordered and ate. It was good.

 

Back in our room I made notes about the day's adventure and we watched a bit of TV. Since the Fairfield Inn does not provide the "best breakfast" we made a pact to get an early start tomorrow and get back on schedule. We went to bed.

 

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Ride Across Virginia - August 18 - DAY 13 - Mineral to Mechanicsville - 58 miles

...it would be flat and comfortable riding the rest of the way to Yorktown...

...our mobile home for the ride continued to support us very well..

...it threatened to rain on us and did rain ahead of us but we were spared...

Plan for the day - Today we continue our quest to reach the Atlantic Ocean. We have 130 miles to finish our ride across the United States in Norfolk, Virginia. We will not be at the Atlantic Ocean shore but it is close enough. We continue to follow the Adventure Cycling

TransAmerica Bicycle Trail map Section 11.

 

The plan for the day will be to ride from Mineral to Mechanicsville a distance of 58 miles. We will split the ride into fifteen minute intervals which has been a strategy we have successfully used since the Kentucky border.

 

We do not move our home tonight. We stay a second night at the Fairfield Inn in Richmand, Virginia. We have a "few" miles to drive to the start of todays ride but luckily our ride ends in Mechanicsville which is only a stone's throw from Richmond.

 

Today's route will follow the Adventure Cycling TransAmerica Maps, Section 11 Maps 146 - 148

We exit Mineral on County 618 and after a short distance turn right onto County 700. At the intersection of County 65 we turn right. When we reach County 5 we turn right and after about 2 miles turn left onto County 618. We ride through Bumpass on County 618 turning left after about 3 miles onto County 680. We ride on County 680 less than a mile turning right onto County 658. County 658 becomes County 738 which we continue to ride on through Coatsville. We exit Coatsville on County 671 and after about three miles we turn left onto County 685. We stay on County 685 for about 4 miles turning right onto County 738. We ride on County 738 for less than 2 miles turning right at the intersection with County 667. We stay on County 667 through Ashland turning left onto County 657. We ride on County 657 for about 4 miles turning right onto County 656. After two miles we turn right onto 637 and follow it for about 2 plus miles through Mechanicsville our destination for today.

 

Getting started - It was raining very hard when we got up. We went to breakfast in our PJ's (workout clothes). We were staying a second night at the Fairfield Inn in Richmond so we did not have to pack.

 

The Fairfield Inn typically does not serve my favorite breakfast but today's breakfast was a surprise. We had everything one would want for breakfast or at least everything I would want. It was a good start to the day.

 

Our ride today should be easy. We only had 60 miles to ride. We were riding 15 minute intervals. The route was downhill. But I thought we would not be able to start our ride because it was raining. But by the time we finished our breakfast and got our riding clothes on the rain had stopped.

 

Today’s adventure - We exited the hotel parking lot and headed for the start of today's ride. Along the way we stopped to buy treats and fill up with gas.

 

The rain had stopped and we had clear skies by the time we got to Mineral and started our ride. I would ride the first 15 minute interval. I got my bike out of the van and assembled it. Assembly meant that I put the front tire and seat on my bike. The assembly complete I checked my work and satisfied I got on my bike and began to ride.

I was quickly cranking down the road. The hills were behind us and the climbing had disappeared. Adventure Cycling even in the more populated eastern part of Virginia kept us on mostly deserted country roads. The road continued to follow the terrain but it was a very mellow, rolling landscape.

 

Basically it was flat. I made great time on my first 15 minute leg. I traded off with my wife who continued to crank. Even with clear skies the temperature was reasonable. It was humid but not exhausting.

 

The most exciting experience of the day came during a rider change. It was my turn to ride and as I exited the car "I" accidently locked the keys in the van! I had left the keys in the ignition. I did not know the door would automatically lock after I closed the door.

 

I had not started to ride before we discovered my error. The van had a key pad on the door which would allow us to open the door in case of such a mishap but we did not know the combination. All of the rental information was on paperwork in the glove compartment of the car.

 

There was a house near the road where we had parked to make the rider change. I went to the house and knocked at the door. An elderly woman came to the door and I told her about our delima. I asked her if she had a phone book which we could use to contact the rental agency for help. I have AAA insurance and if all else failed hoped I would be able contact them for assisdance.

 

The woman produced a phone book but it was a phone book for the rural area and proved not to be very useful. Her son had come to the door during the discussion and told me as we walked back to the car that he had a friend who worked on cars who might know how to get the car door open.

 

The two of us walked back to where the car was parked and by the time we got there my wife had used her cell phone to contact the operator who had put us in touch with the rental car agency. The local rental car agency could not solve our problem but contacted the locaton where we had rented the car in Lousiville, Kentucky. They called us and after "verfying who we were" gave us a code to open the door. God had saved us again. He must be a cyclist!

 

We thanked the young man from the house near by for his help. My wife got into the car and I got on my bike to ride. One has to love the cell phone and the general capability to communicate to the world from any location.

 

We continued to follow Virginia's Bicycle Route 76. I was very impressed with the bicycling support that Virginia had provided. I missed a detour because of road construction which added a bit of stress to the day. I had been warned but missed the turn and rode to the construction site before I realized I had made the error.

 

We loaded the bike into the van and drove back along the road until we found the turn. It was a short distance so little time was lost. I returned to my bike and continued to ride. The route around the area under construction was not as bike friendly as the Adventure Cycling route. It was a bit rougher and had a bit more traffic as well.

 

We were making good time even with my missing the detour and the locked car episode. We decided as we approached Mechanicsville that we would ride a bit further to remove miles from tomorrow's ride. We were minutes from the Marriott which meant we would not spend a long time on the road getting home for the evening. We had also allowed our riding time on the road to lapse a bit as well and we were riding longer. Tomorrow we should make it to the Virginia coast even if it rained.

 

We continued to ride trading off until we had ridden about 40 extra miles for the day. The day had been planned as a short one, 58 miles, but with the added 40 we had almost ridden 100 miles today. My wife was on the road as the sun was setting. When she reached the van I told her we had done enough and we did our high-5's and loaded her bike.

 

Today’s landscape - The Interstate highway was only a few miles away from us as we rode. But, Adventure Cycling kept us on roads which gave us the impression that we were alone and miles from civilization. The countryside was impressive.

 

We had learned on earlier bike trips that commerce moves to the Interstate. It allows them to attract the traffic from the Interstate as well as the local people. For us it made the surrounding much more peaceful and attractive to ride through.

 

We were still riding in the countryside on small roads with heavy forests on each side. Our route was flat. All of the climbing and suffering was behind us. Our view for the day was to ride through a hugh green scene. The large trees formed a green canopy in places as we rode. Occasionally the scene was broken by farmland and a house.

 

The towns we rode through were small. If we rode through a town it was in name only. In the past it may have been more important but the interstates had made going to the city easier and the shoping along the interstate had been difficult to compete with. The small town's business was restricted mainly to the local post office.

 

Bicycling notes - As we aproached the coast there was more traffic and it was more agressive today. The drivers are more impatient and agressive. They have places to go and things to do. A different crowd.

 

Today's route was basically downhill. We experienced rollers but the trend was downhill and the climbs were "not climbs." We were making good time all day.

 

The road did not have an adquate shoulder so if the traffic had been heavy we would have been tough to avoid if two cars approached. Single cars pproaching from behind moved across the center line to pass which was very much appreciated.

 

The wind had not been a problem the entire trip. The temperature as we approached the coast with the rain ahead of us was not bad either. It had rained before we started to ride and I could see heavy clouds ahead of us. The early rain and our early start allowed us to ride in reasonable heat for the first few hours. The humidity was high but not as bad as on the early days of the ride. I continued to carry my CamalBak on my back and attempted to stay hidriated.  The early morning rain had driven the bugs away and we rode without thme all day.

 

Post ride activity - The destination town for today's ride is Mechanicsville which is located only a few miles from the Marriott in Richmond our home for the evening. It took us about an hour to get back to Mechanicsville after we added 40 miles to today's route. We went to our room and put on our swim clothes and went to Jazzuci. It felt good. Even though we were pumped about getting so close to the end of the ride we had ridden 50 miles apiece and we were tired. The Jacuzzi felt good.

 

We Showered and put on our best and went to dinner. We had seen an Olive Garden near the Marriott. I do not remember what we had but the Olive Garden near our home offers a varity of dishes all of which I enjoy so I am sure it was good. And I am sure we had desert! I do remmber the meal was good!

 

We had washed clothes the night before so we packed them and got our luggage ready to move tomorrow. We prepared our cooler for the next day,i.e. we dumped the water out and threw away the used "stuff." We watched a bit TV. I wrote notes about the day's ride. A we went to sleep. Tomorrow the coast!

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Ride Across Virginia - August 19 - DAY 14 - Mechanicsville to Yorktown - 81 miles

..I am ready to complete our ride across the United States...bring it on!

...not even a bit of rain is going to take away from the great feeling that we had made it...

...the bridge across the York River to Yorktown where we finish our Ride Across America....

...standing at the Yorktown War Memorial...nothing could capture the feeling better..it had been a battle but we had won!

Plan for the dayThe plan for the day was to complete the RAAOSTNPOD. We were on the last page of the Adventure Cycling Map. We were 42 miles from Yorktown and based on the mileage we rode the day before, today's distance should be a "piece of cake." It appeared to be a straight shot on the map so few places to screw up but we had thought that before and gotten lost.

 

The forecast was for rain and we wanted to crank out as many miles as possible before it rained. We were determined! The completion of our quest to ride cross America one State at a time was near.

 

Today's route will follow the Adventure Cycling TransAmerica Maps, Section 12 Maps 148-150

We exit Mechanicsville on State 156. We quickly ride under Interstate 295 and continue to ride on State 156 for the next 25 miles passing through Elko and Glendale Virginia. Five miles east of Glendale we merge with State 5 and we turn southeast onto State 156 and State 5. After about 6 miles State 156 turns due south and we continue east on State 5. State 5 is about a mile north of the James River. We continue east through Charles City on State 5 heading for Williamsburg. The Capital Trail bike path runs along State 5 and we rode on the trail until we reached Colonial Parkway which we followed into Yorktown. We continued on until we "found" Yorktown Victory Monument which marked the end of our journey across the United States from the Pacific Ocean!

 

Getting started We got up to rain. It had stopped by the time we went to breakfast and the sky appeared to be turning blue. The clouds were breaking up. The weather report predicted more rain during the day.

 

We were staying at the Resience Inn. Their complimentary breakfast is my favorite of all the Marriott hotels. It was a great way to start our ride to the Atlantic Ocean to complete our Ride Across America.

 

We picked up our complimentary USA Today on the way through the lobby. I immediately got my first cup of coffee and headed for a table and began to scan the paper and sip my coffee. I followed my first cup of coffee with eggs, sausage, potatoes, and fruit plus another cup of coffee. I enjoyed it all. Great start to the day. Breakfast is my favorite meal.

 

We returned to our room, dressed for the ride, packed up our overnight clothes and took them to the car. We returned to the lobby with the cooler. I went to the breakfast area to fill the cooler with ice while my wife checked us out. We went to the car and started to drive to today's start location where we had stopped the day before.

 

Today’s adventure - Our start location was about 45 miles west of the hotel. Unfortunately we got lost again driving from the Marriott to the start of the day's ride. We refused to accept what St Christorpher was telling us on my wife’s iPhone and got lost on the way to start of our ride to Yorktown.

 

Our problem began when we drove off course to fill the van with gas. As we returned from our gas adventure my wife disagreed with iPhone which wanted us to use the Interstate highway to get to the start of our ride.

 

The night before we had completed our day on US 5 and we were attempting to return to the location where we had stopped the day before. We were unsuccessful. We punted and drove the route suggested by Google (the iPhone). It took us about 45 minutes to locate our start point.

 

My wife rode first. We were still using our 5 mile stint program. Since we only had 40 plus miles to ride to Norfolk we assumed it would be a short day. Today’s route would take us pass Jamestown, then through Williamsburg finishing at the statue erected by the Government to commemorate the siege at Yorktown. We passed a lot of American history along the route but we did not stop because we needed to finish.

 

The Adventure Cycling Map route ended at the foot of the statue in Yorktown commemorating the siege of Yorktown. We finished the forty plus miles rather quickly. Once in Yorktown we located the parking lot near the statue and got on the bicycles to complete the ride to the statue.

 

Of course we got lost locating the path from the parking lot to the statue. We punted and finally rode on a walking path to the site. Once there we took a picture of the two of us standing beneath the statue, and one of me collapsed from exhaustion at the foot of the statue.

We located a spot along the Yorktown River which allowed us to take our bikes to the water. We took a picture of us dipping our front tires into the river. We had done it!  We had bicycled across America. We had completed RAAOSTNPOD (Ride Across America One State at Time in No Particular Order or Direction).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s landscape - Today's landscape has to be about American history. We were still riding with lush green forests on each side of the road. But today's landscape was all about riding "by" Jamestown and Williamsburg and completing our ride in Yorktown. We did not stop to tour the sites which "is" one of the great advantages of cycling through an area and has become our goal for our bike rides. The goal is to stop and explore and as we ride through an area and become one with the local history.

 

Today we cycled "near" the James River and the York River on our way to Yorktown. It provided a great view and a perfect way to end our ride across the US!

 

 

Cycling notesMost of the “road” along today's route was sealed gravel. Not my favorite surface to ride on but it's better than "ok." It was raining off and on all day but we were in "total success mode" so we blew off the moisture and cranked. The "sealed gravel" road was soaked for most of the day's ride and we rode into and out of the rain all day. It was downhill most of the way and there was no wind. We cranked. We finished our 40 miles plus in less than three hours.

 

We rode on the Capitol Trail bike path which follows State 5 on our trek to Yorktown. The bike path transistioned onto Colonial Parkway which we would ride on until we reached Yorktown. It was a very pleasant ride. We passed Williamsburg along Colonial Parkway but only stopped briefly. The parkway was very wide and I was surpised that traffic was light. There was plenty of room for a car to pass.

The planning for this trip was very flawed. We missed a lot of American History because we had to hurry and we had no "free days" to correct the flaws. Bad Planning! This is not how a bike ride should be planned. The goal is to stop, look at ones surrounding. Not ride, head down, beat to ones socks across two states or anywhere for that matter!

 

Saint Christopher is a reference to the saint in charge of "travel" or "directions" in our case. My wife has assigned the name "Saint Christopher" to the Google maps technology on her iPhone that she uses to guide as on our adventures. We are not as lost on occasion as we once were using the iPhone. Before the iPhone we carried "pounds" of paper to keep us on our route. On some trips it got wet and became unusable. Our maps also lacked the detail required in cities and towns. It was a problem. We carried cell phones on all of our bike trips. With the iPhone we have a cell phone and the paper maps we carried have been eliminated reducing our cycling weight significantly. With internet access we have the information on the web available on the open road. We have an easy way to stay in touch with civilization at home or in the country where we are cycling. We can easily locate the hotel where we are staying and locate a place to eat once we reach a town. The iPhone really is a Saint!

 

Post ride activity After the photo ops at the Yorktown monument we decided to find a restaurant to eat dinner before we left to find our hotel which was located in Williamsburg.

 

We checked out a couple places to eat finding a Ben and Jerry's ice cream shop in the mix. That would be a must after we ate.

 

We selected the "Yorktown Pub" a bar which had been recommended by a shop owner as his favorite.

We were on our bikes so we rode back to the van which was still parked near the monument. We loaded our bikes into the van and returned to a parking lot near the Yorktown Pub.

 

They had oysters on the menu a favorite of ours so we ordered a dozen. They were great. I ordered the fish of the day which when it arrived I discovered was deep fried and not a favorite of mine. It was too much bread and too dry. I ate what I could and punted. My wife ordered scallops which she described as good. She also had a margarita in celebration of the completion of our journey across the States.

 

We returned to the Ben and Jerry’s shop selected our ice cream and walked back to the car. Williamsburg where our hotel was located is about 10 miles away. We drove the ten miles checked into the hotel and crashed. We snacked on what remained of our food stash from the van and watched TV and fell asleep. The ride across America was complete! It was time to relax. Where would we ride next?

 

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"car free adventure"