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Grandpa Lost His Mind
A Journal - Crossing America by Bicycle

July 6, 2007      Miles 49      Total miles 3728      Ended at: Marion, Virginia


The pastor, Paul, was right. There would be no traffic on highway 80 for about 25 miles. The road was very narrow, very curvy, and very steep in some places. This sign keeps all large vehicles off the road. Anything longer than a Suburban is not allowed on the road so it helped keep a lot of traffic away.
The inclinometer on my bike will only show up to a 20% grade. You can see the level is all the way to the top. I don't know what the actual grade is because this is pegged out. Fortunately this incline was very short and the rest of the mountain was steadily at 10%. When I was out west, I just hated to see the seven percent grades coming up because they are just hard to climb. At this point, I am thinking seven percent isn't too bad.
These markers are everywhere and I love to stop and read them. They are a glimpse into the past.
The mountains just keep on coming. My first 25 miles today had two very hard mountains to climb. I haven't been able to enjoy a lot of the downhills like I should because the tires on my trailer are paper thin and I am afraid of having a blow out when going real fast. I finally got onto a state highway which had plenty of hills but they were moderate. The highway will take me to Marion where there is a bicycle shop.

These four young people are students at Peddie School in Hightstown, New Jersey and they are being escorted on a trip from Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. by their teacher Pat Clements. From left to right are: Page, Charlotte, Katlin, and Will. They planned their own route to follow some of the stories of American history. The significance of the beginning and ending of their trip is to be where Martin Luther King preached and gave famous speaches. They are following the Cherokee story and the trail of tears as they passed through parts of Tennessee and Georgia. The students are the youngest I have met on my trip. They are all between 15 and 16 years old. They are just a delightful bunch.

I went off my route because my trailer tires were just shot. I knew there was a bicycle shop in Marion, so I headed that way. They didn't have tires to fit the trailer and after going to other places, I stopped at Walmart and they had what I needed. It took me a while to change out the tires and afterwards I went to a Subway sandwich shop. While I finished my meal, here came the bunch from New Jersey again. We talked for quite a while before parting ways again.

Here is a very shallow brook which ran alongside the roadway.

These are a couple of the beautiful roads I was on today. The temperature was cool all morning and the roads in the mountains were covered with shade.

After my harrowing ride yesterday, it was a relief to get away from the traffic. I can't really explain how bad it was but it was sort of like riding between two lines of cars on the interstate and just hope that you won't get hit. Today was totally different and I hope the rest of my trip will not be anywhere near that bad. If you remember, I had a similar experience back in Idaho after I came out of Hell's Canyon.