Shorter, but good day. After yesterday we decided to take a shorter day, and a longer sleep. I passed right out after finishing writing last night’s post without even publishing it, and woke up around 7:30 for a planned 8 am departure. I hurried to pack but was late getting out by about 20 minutes. All my stuff was still soaked from the night before, putting my shoes on felt particularly bad. Paul had the good sense to run the hair dryer all night to dry out shoes and other things. I’ll do that next time. We got to the front gate of the park and saw an RV which Paul knew belonged to Darcy and Nancy, a couple who is doing a supported ride across the trans am, since 2008! Darcy rides and Nancy drives then they camp every night. Darcy waited for us to go, then Paul realized he forgot his glasses and had to go back into the park, and do a steep hill, to get them. He did, then we set out all three of us. It was a beautiful foggy morning.
We started with a descent which quickly turned into another climb, then another, then another, all before breakfast. We had a great descent down to the town of Haysi where we stopped for a convenience store breakfast. Paul got subway, I got convenience store food, he made the better choice. We ate, then I got a sandwich to go for later. We left and rode along a beautiful little river along mostly flat ground for a while.
The weather was good, the fog had lifted, and riding was so nice. The grade started to increase and we pulled over to a convenience store. Inside we met a very nice guy named Randy who was the definition of mountain hospitality. He told us about other riders he encountered, stories of dog attacks and all the other things he’s seen from his perch in the store. He was really fun to talk to. We said goodbye and he waved us off. Speaking of dogs there haven’t been any incidents over in Virginia yet, let’s hope that keeps up. The trash issue seems to be slightly better too, but I may be projecting my excitement to be leaving Kentucky on VA. We climbed a hill past the convenience store then kept moving through the town of Council. There’s a nice park you can stay at here, but we were aiming for a church further away.
At one point a woman was pulling out of a drive way and started pulling away before she looked our direction. It was a scary moment as Paul was behind me and didn’t see her. He avoided me then used those powerful disc breaks to come to an emergency stop. She waved and smiled like nothing happened. We kept going.
Past Council a serious climb began. Randy had called it Big A Mountain (I think I know what the A stands for) and it is indeed big. Here’s the summit, and while we didn’t go quite up to it, we did go almost up there, slightly off to the left of it.
I pulled ahead of Paul and enjoyed going all out on the hill, it was the major obstacle for the day so I didn’t mind blowing myself up on it. It was hot when out in the sun but not terrible. I took a rest and got a view back down into the valley we’d just escaped.
After just a few more turns I reached the top and got some rest. After a while I rode down to find Paul then we climbed back up to the top together. Paul kept moving right to the descent and I followed. It started out gentle but soon was steep and curvy. Traffic was somewhat heavy but not too bad. We bombed down the descents. I dangerously took this photo while moving
We arrived in the town of Honaker and headed to a cafe that someone had told us about: the Farmers Table. We got in just before they closed, and the waitress was the sweetest, she must have asked us 10 times if we needed anything. Turns out she was a mountain biker, and was very impressed with our trip. I got some excellent hamburger fried steak with corn and mashed potatoes, and a million sweet teas. Paul got a burger. Both were excellent. I also got some pie. We rolled out around 3 for the last bit of hills for the day, the stretch between Honaker and Rosedale. They were steep but manageable. The main issue was the cars and the magical shoulder: sometimes it would be there, then it would just vanish. Poof! It was really scary honestly and I didn’t enjoy that stretch. Traffic was mostly respectful though. Around halfway through my stomach started to rumble. I told Paul I was going to go ahead and he said fine. I rode as hard as I could up a steep hill to find a convenience store on the far side, thankfully. I felt better as we left to go to a dollar general for some dinner stuff. There wasn’t much there but Paul said he found enough. We then had to ride on a four laner for only like 3 miles. Unfortunately this also had a magical shoulder. It was also rumble stripped, so you really had to thread the needle between the rumble strip and the the overgrown vegetation on the side of the road. Paul almost took a spill on a patch of gravel which was scary, but he recovered nicely. Soon enough it ended and we pulled into the church, right around 4.
Darcy is also here, in his RV. We spent the afternoon showering, planning and resting. We may split up tomorrow, I don’t know. For now, I’m gonna retst. Night.
- Chocolate milk
- Cliff bar
- Breakfast bowl (eggs, bacon, biscuit)
- Footling breakfast sandwich
- Hot chocolate
- Chobani drinkable
- Fig bar
- Steak fried burger
- Sweet tea
- Mashed potatoes