*Mile 1,000* Days 9-13: July 8th-July 12th: 385 miles: Troutville, Virginia to Berea, Kentucky

12 07 2011

We are about one mile away from hitting mile 1,000 on the speedometer! The days are starting to blur together as we are feeling like all we are doing with our lives is riding bikes, eating absurd amounts of food, ceaselessly hydrating, and chugging chocolate milk a 1/2 gallon at a time. On our way out of western Virginia, the early morning dew and sun beams seeping through trees onto empty, back-country roads refreshed our spirits. Nature has its own inexplicable way of communicating to us each day- and it isn’t always mystically “beautiful.” After a cumulative 12 flat tires for the trip, two broken spokes, and another flash flood that left us only able to do 56 miles on July 9th, we finally got into a groove from the 10th-12th logging 96 miles on Saturday, 91 on Sunday, and another 91 on Monday. Game on! A motel was our only option on the 9th; we then camped three nights in a row wherever we decided that we could no longer bike. We arrived in Kentucky two days ago and we are currently in the city of Berea; today we did an easy 52 miler as a mileage setback day to rest our bodies (and also to fix James’ back rack which snapped today). We just put a local Chinese buffet restaurant out of business and are ready to finally get a full-night’s rest at a motel.

The journey over the past few days has had some gnarley moments including a woman shrieking blood-curdling screams near our tent at midnight, being chased by stray dogs while throwing rocks (several times already in Kentucky), hitting over 40 miles per hour on a downhill while our map for the 150 miles to Berea flew off a cliff, and running out of water on the hottest day of the year in Kentucky yesterday (100+ heat index) and having to stop at a house to ask for water. We also had to pull over at dusk to set up camp yesterday after 91 miles of riding, unable to find lodging, food, or more water to wash off. Kentucky was a sauna yesterday so we were drenched in sweat; within five minutes of riding on our second session of the day we were already soaked. I woke up to lightning the following morning (today) with my skin attached to the floor of the tent like adhesive tape. Kentucky is a different ball game- there are desolate stretches where it may take 50 miles to get any food or water- we are adjusting with new strategies. Teamwork has been pivotal whether drafting behind each other to alleviate the work output or just cracking jokes all day long to stay positive.

Thanks to other traveling cyclist Thorin who pushed us to get that 96 miler in, the boys from Georgia at St. George’s Catholic Church for inviting us to their epic chicken pot-pie dinner, the waitress at Bobb’s for the best peanut-butter milkshake, fresh toast, eggs, and coffee of my life, Jamie and Jerry for the emergency water stop, and Dennis here in Berea for operating on our spokes. We’re beginning to discover that it’s the people that inspire us to keep going and not the destinations. We get random encouragement at all hours of the day whether it’s motorcyclists giving us the hang-loose sign or people in cars asking us where we’re going, hearing California, and then giving us a look of shock-and then a thumbs up. We advocate our website and charities to the friendly people we encounter and pedal away from the sketchy ones. We also get lots of bewildered looks in public places. As one woman said at a Country Pride diner, “Are ya’ll soccer players?” We are not, but it’s time to go leave the library and back to the motel where I can kick it. (sleep) I’ll try to get a picture of stray dogs chasing us tomorrow.

After lots of climbing in the Appalachians, nature revealed a reward

 

after 20 miles with olympian cyclist Kent Bostick!

on our way out of Virginia into Kentucky

a beautiful cliff in western Virginia

James repping for Debra Ireland, ready for the next stage of the journey

we have had to throw out over 20 pounds of "stuff" that isn't completely necessary to carry...including hair


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5 responses

13 07 2011
Dennis

Hey fellas,
Thanks again for stopping by the shop today – I’m really glad that James caught me before I left. I’m sorry that our Kentucky climate has been so brutal to ya for the past few days, but hopefully it’ll be more bearable as you make your leave tomorrow. It sounds like you guys have had one helluva a trip so far, and I’ll be looking forward to reading about the rest of the adventure as it progresses. Oh, and by the way, I gave you guys a shout out on the bike shop’s facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Berea-Bikes-Community-Shop/101639046583289), so hopefully that will help to garner you a few more donations.
Cheers!
-Dennis

13 07 2011
Patty

Joe and James,
1,000 miles! Amazing. The ride of a lifetime, peanut-butter milkshakes, chicken alfredo, and friends, along the way. It doesn’t get better than that! I can’t wait to see the Appalachian photos. Keep on rolling . . .
Best from East Millstone,
Patty

13 07 2011
Steve

Oh man! The Jackson China Buffet relocated???

Go Joe!

14 07 2011
kevin rooney

Buy a pistol and the Kentucky Quick Check and start shooting the stray dogs!

Big Dawg

Keep up the great adventure!

14 07 2011
kevin rooney

Go to the Quick Check in Kentucky purchase a pistol and let the stray dogs experience a Jersey Style Soprano Hit!

Best wishes!

Big Roondawg

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