A full day of climbing, but closer to Virginia

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 29, 2013

For the first time on the whole journey, I overslept a little. Usually for me, that is a sign of being tired.
The skies were cloudy, which kept the morning darker for a while. First off, leaving McKee, there was significant climbing.
It is always hard to climb right off the bat. Turned out the whole day was much the same. It just wasn’t my best day.
There were some good highlights.
The forecast called for measurable rain during the morning, and that would have been fine with me. It was cloudy and humid through the morning, but I never felt a drop.
For the first 20 miles, I went up and down through old farming country. Lots of abandoned barns and houses, and almost no traffic.
The first significant town was Boonville, where I found many of the businesses suffering from a power shortage.
The Dollar General staff sat outside on the curb and couldn’t get in the building. Other stores were just dark.
I headed to Buckhorn next. Not much happening there either, but it was lively compared to an unhappy little town called Chavies.
Nobody was moving, even by late morning. The people in their convenience store seemed to be the only game in town. Even their outside water spigot was turned off. Glad to put that town behind me.
By this time, I realized that I was going to have to find a room with less mileage than I had hoped.
My motel is in Hazard, Kentucky. It is a nice place called Comb’s Motel. It would be another great place to spend an extra day if the weather got bad.
Lots of activity in the parks around downtown made it an inviting town. Several locals struck up conversations about my bike and travels. Others went out of their way to give me directions and help.
Total mileage for today was 71. It was just the best I could do.
One highlight of the day was a chance meeting on the road with a westbound cyclist from China.
I thought how unusual it is that the last westbound cyclist that I had seen was from Germany and now one from China. Both had never been to America and chose to use 90 day visas to travel across our country.
I learned the other day that westbound cyclists are getting late if they are still near the east coast at this time.
It will be cold at altitude in the Rockies by September, so most need to be nearing at least halfway across the country by now.
Tomorrow is slated to be more of the same. I will get as close to Virginia as possible with the goal of entering it on Monday. A real plus has been that I missed battling with coal trucks today because it is Saturday, and will miss them again tomorrow.
Coal trucks battling with cyclists for space on narrow Eastern Kentucky roads are something cyclists dread.
Maybe I will get a huge break. Great cool weather is predicted for early tomorrow.
I have a great room and a very inviting bed. A quick shower and I plan to get in it.