Thursday, May 30, 2013

Day 15 to 19

Day 15 Lookout to Hindman started after ALL of the other cyclists left (so about 9.40 for us). Bang straight into a steep grade hill that I had to stop twice to catch my breath. Rest of the days past fast through valleys. Two more real tough climbs, one tacked behind retired couple Jeff and Barbara (who utterly smoked us on the ascent) and one after a late lunch. There were a couple of smaller hills before we got to the cyclists only camping in the Baptist church in Hindman. More new cyclists in the basement so we headed to the rafters and I slept in the music cupboard next to a drum kit.

Day 16 Hindman to Hazard was short as this was going to be a rest day. It started off with coffee inside a pharmacy and then after 10 miles or so we stopped at a beer shop where the owner gave us a taste of his corn liquor! Ted 'Blue' Ribbon's moonshine gave us a kick for the remaining 10 or so miles to Hazard. We didn't want to stay at a motel so we were able to secure accommodation at a church cottage in town. We settled down for the night with some nice warming bourbon after escaping some interesting chat with the local tattoo artist who was recently freed from an 8 year sentence for home invasion. He was a nutter.

Day 17 Hazard to Buckhorn was another quick day as we had hangovers from the previous night. We picked Buckhorn camp ground as our target (26 miles away). A few climbs again plus a really horrible stretch on highway 15 started the day. Highlights from the rest of it were talking to an elderly couple (Sheila and Willy) who delivered local newspapers, eating our first proper salads of the trip and getting a great campsite. The camp site was peaceful and we had a pretty spot on our own amongst the trees. Just what we needed.

Day 18 Buckhorn to McKee started excellent with us breaking camp by 8. We travelled 200 meters to the first cafe and then spent 1.5 hours on the Internet so we didn't actually start riding till 9.30 which defeated the object of waking early. Hills were tough going again but not as tough as realizing that we had taken a wrong turn that took us 10 miles off route! This combined with super hot temperatures over 90 degrees really took its toll. We wanted to hit Berea but decided that the motel in McKee would be more achievable. We got to the town and ate a buffet at the local restaurant. Extremely dodgy/gross sludge, but we needed the calories. Luckily no need for Imodium the next day.

Day 19 McKee to Bryantsville was efficient and fast. We finally actually managed to get on the road early as planned (7.30) and blew 25 miles to Berea before 9.30. The best section was a smooth downhill blast with a stunning scenic view over the valley below. Getting to Berea meant map 2 was completed! We celebrated by heading to an Amish shop for breakfast where we met 3 college students (Dave, Dave and Sam). We rode with these guys the rest of the day but man they were super fast. We kept up with them and were stopped around 6pm by an impending rain storm on the horizon. We saw a Baptist church and called to see if we could pitch our tents in the yard and they let us stay in the gym instead where it was much warmer - bonus.