Riding my bicycle across Vietnam
Big news today: The Biking Fam” has officially crossed into Kentucky, the king of energy. Whoopee! Here is a picture of one of my cycling companions, “Trekker Dan”, posing at the KY sign. You can follow him on Facebook using the button above.
I was shocked by the shear rock faces looming on one side of the road, and cliff on the other side as we entered the new state. In the morning, we rode through Breaks Highway Park, which offers some pretty awesome views, as well as some serious hills. On the other hand, I was immediately flabbergasted by the abrupt change in the roadside litter population. There was very little in Virginia, but as soon as we crossed the border there it was! Also, I was already chased by two dogs in my 10 miles of Kentucky riding, compared to 0 in Virginia. Luckily, the maps that we follow have a note about the abundance of loose dogs in Kentucky, and as such the entire troupe has prepared a mixture of diluted ammonia water to spray right at the buggers if we are attacked. At the time of writing we are staying in a lovely church gymnasium. It is only for cyclists. Has gym pads for sleeping, a kitchen (with stove and fridge), bathrooms and a shower, and AC, and above all, its free!!! Trekker Dan and I took a ride up to the local convenience store to get food supplies, and we were greeted by about five shirtless men riding ATV’s and smoking cigarettes. Between all of them, I doubt that a full set of teethkkitas could have been cobbled together. It is a very sad standard of living here, and it makes me remember how fortunate I am in life. For dinner, Dan and I cooked a feast: cheddar mashed potatoes, pepper and bean mix, turkey, and gravy. The best part about the meal is that we cobbled it together from everyones separate food, and created a meal for everyone. It was fantastic. Now, my lids are growing heavy, the taste of what I promised myself was the last powered mini donut, and it is time to hit the sack!
Good evening, Francis
Yesterday was not too difficult of a day. The most difficult part, Hayter’s Gap, was 1,500 feet of elevation gain. We landed in a nice town park in Council, VA, under a pavilion. The rain started falling about 15 minutes before I got to the park. Luckily it was only a light drizzle, and made me no more wet than my sweat was already. I smoked everyone else by about an hour to the pavilion. My official Road Names are Dougie Fresh, and Fresh Legs. I was told that apparently Dougie Fresh was a rapper, and they call me Fresh Legs because I am so fast! The handle for our entire troupe is: “The Biking Fam”. Not sure how that one got started… Good day, Francis. See pix below
Luckily, we had a rest day on 6/15. I was ready for one, and everyone else, even moreso! Damascus is a small town in rural VA. However it is unique in the fact that the AT (Appalachian Trail), TransAmerica Bike Trail, and VA Creeper trail all run through the town. As a result, there are not two but three bike / outdoor gear stores, along with several nice restaurants; and also a bonafide coffee (meaning real espresso) beverage shop: rejoice! This place also served food. It was so good, I went back for lunch!
Ahh, pictured above is a lovely cappuccino and French toast!
Besides all of the wonderful food, Damascus also provided an excellent opportunity to purchase some items. I got a nice big sun hat, and a speedometer, which proved to be difficult to install. In fact, I had to have my Chinese touring companion Ping help me through it, even though he does not speak any English, apparently he is a retired engineer, and he knew what he was doing! Damascus was a wonderful town for a rest day to rejuvenate the legs. I would absolutely reccomend it for a weekend get-away, and I know that personally I would love to visit it again.
Good evening, Francis
Last evening, our biking troupe stayed at the Wytheville town park pavilion. A small update on the contents of the company: from the beginning, I have been travelling with Danny Beck, a Philadelphia resident. He is attempting the entire TransAmerica trail. He started in Yorktown, VA, and is biking all the way to Astoria, Oregon! We have also met up with a father - daughter team on a tandem bicycle. They started in Charlottesville, VA, and are going to St. Louis, as am I. Most recently, we have met up with a Chinese couple, also completing the entire route. From what I understand, I believe that they are meeting their daughter for graduation in California. As an added impediment, they do not speak any English. I am absoulutely astounded that they are journeying across the USA, and without a grasp of the English language no less! Anyway, this morning, we woke up early to the crisp 50 degree Apalachian air, and packed up our stuff. Breakfast unfortunately was not up to expectations, just a crumby diner. Most of today was spent climbing a big hill, luckily it was a very gradual climb, and the scenery was absolutely stunning. We went through Jefferson National Forest and Mt. Rogers state park for the duration of the day. I noticed that there is some great rock features here. I wonder if it is sandstone like it is in West Virginia. See the pictures below, peace!