Day 23

August 9, 2004

Athens, OH to Elkins, WV

 

Today’s ride heads us into the foothills of the Apalachians.  We started in a early morning dense fog.

 

I stopped at a small general store to get fresh batteries for my rear light.  As I changed batteries, I chatted with this handyman, fixing the door.  He was impressed that we were headed to Elkins, nearly 160 miles away.

 

 

Along the way, I saw this curious sign

 

pulling into the driveway, I saw this huge birdhouse in front of a barn

 

The fog finally lifted, revealing a nice view along Meat House Fork Road for about 20 miles.

 

 

Unfortunately, this is as good as it got today.  The remaining 135 miles for the day was spent on busy 4-lane highways with cars and trucks whizzing by at 65 MPH.  We rode on the shoulder that was at times, very rough.  And there was all sorts of crap there as well including broken glass, metal shards from blown radials, and other flotsam and jetsam that we had to dodge.  I ended up getting two flat tires, the second one trashing my rear tire with a pretty good slice.  On top of all that, the back of my left knee hurt for most of the day.  Lowering the seat a bit made this little ache manageable.

 

 

The distance between lunch and the next rest stop was pretty far – nearly 40 miles – I stopped at a small convenience store where I met Anthony who is also trying to survive the day by “living off the land.”

 

Finally at the destination hotel – a great sight to see after a very long and for me, a very slow day.  I met up with “E” as we rolled into town.  I mentioned to him about all the junk-heaps that people seem to drive around here.  A few moments later, a beat-up Chevy passed by with the left rear tire bouncing in the wheel well.  The bouncing got worse until finally, the wheel actually fell off and rolled down the street for a bit before ending up in someone’s yard.  We couldn’t believe what we just saw.  I regret not getting a picture of this but I was just so beat and wasted tired, that I didn’t feel much like stopping.  One of tonight’s priorities is getting some massage therapy from Dena to work on the sore knee.  She has a variety of oils available that help relax tight muscles – tonight, I’ll be asking for the high-octane one!

 

 

Today’s message board

 

and progress, to date.

 

Profile and statistics

Lots of long rollers on busy highways as we near the Appalachians.  Besides the long distance, we had a bunch more “up” than “down” today.   Thankfully, the weather again was superb and we even had a bit of a tail wind.  With all my difficulties today, I got a chance to see some other riders that are generally behind the pace of the main group.  As these riders struggle through their own difficulties, it is inspiring to see them finish the day under their own power, shunning the temptation of taking a ride in the sag wagon.