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Grandpa Lost His Mind
A Journal - Crossing America by Bicycle

July 5, 2007      Miles 50      Total miles 3679      Ended at: Rosedale, Virginia


I decided to take a day of rest yesterday. I didn't really want to but my next leg would take me across an area called, The Breaks. It is a state park and it is a big attraction to local people especially on holidays. The ride to The Breaks is very steep with a lot of winding roads. I didn't really want to be on a crowded road like that when people might be drinking. I didn't do anything except rest.

I was on the road by 6:30 this morning and the traffic wasn't bad at all for a couple of hours. Just before leaving Kentucky there is this marker for the unknown soldiers of the civil war.

Well, this is the last state I will ride through with Ol' Blue. I am ready to shave this mess off my face. I figured it would help keep me from getting sunburned and it has helped.

You were probably thinking you wouldn't have to look at another one of these self photos. I put this on only to show you the difficulty of riding with glasses when it rains. When I was in Yellowstone the rain froze to my glasses and I rode without them for several hours. The next morning when I woke up my eyes were puffed up like I had been hit. I can't see very good without my glasses, so I opted to ride with them fogged up. It rained on me hard twice today.
It was very foggy and rainy today so none of these pictures came out too good. Riding a bicycle through these mountains is very hard but at least once I get to the other side and back down to the bottom there are generally a few miles with rolling hills which are pretty easy to ride.

It wasn't the dogs in Kentucky which got me but three dogs in Virginia caused me to take a spill. I can't blame it all on the dogs however. I was going down a hill, the roads were wet, a coal truck was coming at me and a car was coming behind me. I had everything under control when three medium sized dogs started barking at me from the side. It happened so fast and there was about a four inch lip on the side of the road and my front wheel went off while I turned to look at the dogs. The next thing I knew, I was skidding sideways on gravel and I was very fortunate that all I got was skinned up a bit. There I was sprawled out on the side of the road with a car driving only feet away from my head. The driver never slowed down.
All the mountains have names and the local people all think their mountain is the hardest one in the state to climb. This picture was taken on Big A mountain. No one seemed to know why it was named Big A but they were sure to let me know it would be the worst mountain I would have to climb on my trip. None of them are easy but they also aren't as hard as people would lead me to believe. People told me that cars have a hard time going up Big A but in the end it was just another very steep mountain.
These two pictures were taken on Blackford Mountain. I stopped to get an ice cream at a gas station. I thought my mountain climbing was over for the day so I asked the clerk if there were any more mountains before Rosedale and she said, "Oh my yes! You have to go over Blackford and it is straight up." Again, it was steep but not such a big deal. There are a lot of markers in Kentucky and Virginia to acquaint people with the history of the area.

All in all it was a good day of riding. I don't mind riding in the rain and I expect the mountains can't last more than a few more days .. maybe a couple hundred miles. When I left the town of Honaker everything changed. It was a pretty straight and hilly road with a narrow gravel shoulder. The traffic was just terrible. I expect there were five or six cars per minute whizzing past me, just feet away from me, at fifty or sixty miles per hour. It got to the point of just being scary. They were close enough that my bike would shake from their slipstream. That is just too close. I was dead serious on stopping my ride. It simply isn't worth getting killed over. I decided to ride one more day to see if things get better.

I was going to continue riding once I got to Rosedale but there was a sign in front of this church which invited cyclists to come in for some cold water. There is a very pretty pavillion behind the church and I was sitting there looking over my maps and trying to figure out why there was so much traffic after Honaker. The pastor of the church, Paul, drove up and invited me to stay in the church for the night and eat anything I wanted in the pantry. So here I am. The Methodist Church was established here in 1788 but it burned down a hundred years ago and this church was built on the same spot as the old church. So this church was actually built in 1888. The grave site is where the first preacher and his wife are buried behind the church. The brick on this church was made right here.

I talked with the pastor and he told me there is very little traffic on the road I will follow to Meadowview tomorrow. I will go onto a state road which is alongside an interstate after that and he said nearly all traffic is on the interstate and I shouldn't have too many problems. We'll see tomorrow.

The tires on my trailer are shot again. I hope they will make it for another 65 or 75 miles where there is a bike shop. Then I will hope the bike shop has tires that size. If not, I may have to get some shipped to me again. That is very frustrating. The first set lasted for 2,400 miles and this set has lasted about 1,300 miles. My bike tires are in good shape except the rear tire could be changed but should make it through the rest of this trip.