26. May 2016 · Comments Off on Day 19 – May 26 – Virgie to Wytheville – 146 miles · Categories: 2016 Ride

Today a shout out to all of you that continue to donate! Every contribution is a personal connection to the journey our family is on and they are very heart felt. Every day I wake up being overwhelmed by the days challenge but the constant emails, texts and contributions give us purpose to continue on. We are very blessed to have such incredible support around us and this journey has helped me gain perspective on how many great people we have come to know. Thank you!

Today’s journey started in Kentucky and I shared the road with coal and logging trucks. The roads followed streams and rivers so even though the day was hot, where I was riding was cool. It was exciting to get to Virginia to mark the progress of our journey but I also felt a loyalty to Kentucky as I had many good miles in that state.

Today we had a bit of everything including some rain. There were some good up-hills, down-hills, beautiful vistas, and flats through agricultural land to enjoy. There is no question I am getting tired and I needed Heather to help in a couple of spots today. I am also loosing the nails of my big toes due to the constant riding so today I had a few pains to deal with.

Some of the roads I was on had very steep edges and were missing large chunks of pavement. When you are being forced to the edge to make way for the faster traffic it was tricky not to end up down a cliff and into the river below. There were some areas of heavy truck traffic and at one section a truck passed me so closely It almost felt like it brushed me.

IMG_2121 250Having said all that, today was probably one of the most rewarding riding days because there was a little of everything.

The sounds of the birds that accompanied me were incredible and I was amazed at all the wildlife including a large deer that I startled.

There are lots of wild flowers in the Appalachians – azaleas, honeysuckle, blackberry, irises, peonies and other flowers so the fresh fragrances were a real treat as I peddled on.

There were some communities today that were abuzz with activity while others were almost too quiet.

I did notice two styles of road building today. I suspect some of the roads were built by miners as you could see they had drilled and blasted through tons of rock to lay a road bed.

These sections were steep but effective. The other form of road building was more like rail beds that followed gentle contours so the grades were longer but a lot easier on the legs. I am sure there is a whole history of the roads in the area and as Heather pointed out – a lot easier to ride a bicycle when there are roads – good point.

whitetop 250After being in the Appalachians for the past couple of days, there was a noticeable change in the landscape at a place called Konnarock and Grayson Highlands State Park.

The vegetation changed opening up to a spectacular view of Whitetop Mountain.

After the long downhill from Konnarock I arrived at Sugar Grove and was back into the small farm agriculture.

I enjoyed about 30 miles winding through small farms and I don’t recall one car passing me – very peaceful.

It was later in the day so I was grateful for the tail wind and smooth blacktop that took me to Rural Retreat and then on to Whytheville where we stopped for the day.

Tonight Heather and I are treating ourselves to stay at the historic Bolling Wilson Hotel – named after Woodrow Wilson’s second wife who was Whytheville’s most prominent citizen. The hotel looks out onto the Blue Ridge mountains.

It is good be in Virginia and we hope to be at the coast in three days. One thing Heather noticed in several small towns in Kentucky is that there was no local store but there was access to tanning beds!

Not sure of the relevance and I am sure there is some story behind it. If you want to get a tan – go to Kentucky. Gardens are also common in the area and you could see the pride that was put into them – some were truly amazing and a labour of love.

Thanks again everyone for all the support!

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