When I left Elk Horn City this morning, there wasn’t any getting warmed up. Straight to work climbing. I had over 1200′ in the first 10 miles. Within that 10, I crossed into Virginia. I’m now in my last state!
I stopped at Breaks Interstate Park, which is part in Kentucky and part in Virginia. Beautiful views there. My reason for stopping was it said on the map that the state of Virginia likes for all cyclists to stop and sign their log so they know how many cyclists cross the state and then can use those numbers to allocate funding for cyclist specific improvements. Whatever. I signed in, just about had to hit the park ranger in the head to get away from him and then got back to the road.
Today was more of the same from the last couple days. Very small and mostly poor communities nestled here and there in the mountains. It’s a backward way of life that they lead really.
I stopped in Haysi for lunch at a gas station that had a Subway. After eating, I hit the road again, but before I left town, I missed a turn but didn’t realize it. The road I stayed on led out of town along a river and came to a dead end two miles out. Good for me. Otherwise I might not have caught my mistake! I turned around, retraced my “steps” and got back on track. Just a 4 mile detour.
Back on course, I kept slugging along. My legs were just beat all day. Hard to keep a good pace and the climbing seemed to be relentless. No sooner would I have a downhill and I was back to climbing again.
After what ended up being my biggest climb of the day, Big A mountain, I was beat. I rolled into Honaker questioning what I was going to be able to do the rest of the day. I checked the map and saw that I had 40 miles left to Damascus and in that, I had 2 pretty good climbs, then one big one and then 3 more pretty good ones. I decided to see what I could do with it. Not much choice as there was nowhere to stay there anyway.
Right outside town I hit the first climb and realized my situation. I was spent. I could carry on to Damascus, but I would be very late getting there. Way after dark. So I decided to cut my losses and find a place to stay. 7 miles south of the route was Lebanon with a couple motels. So off I went.
I ended up getting the last room at the Super 8. Evidently this place is full of guys doing fiber optic cable work. I ordered delivery from a local pizza joint and chilled in the room all evening. Tired and sore, but looking to the end that is coming soon.
Not only did I make it into the last state on my trip today, I also broke the 4000 mile barrier. Just about a week and I’ll be finished!