After staying up entirely too late watching the baseball game and seeing the forecasted low of 35, I decided to sleep in a bit and let it warm up. Up at 9:00, breakfast, gather everything and prepare for the day. Out the door right at 10:00.
Berea is quite the neat little city. Beautiful actually. I think it would be great to come back and visit. Riding out of town along the rolling countryside was very relaxing and afforded nice views.
Just 7 miles into the day and I found the first real hill marking the start of the Appalachians. The climb got me warmed up nicely and I stopped at the top to shed my jacket and long pants. The temperature was climbing as well and had reached the upper 50’s.
The more difficult climbs continued to come around every so often. It’s a nice change from the rolling hills and let’s me know I’m getting closer to the end!
I stopped in Booneville for lunch at a little dinner. Cheeseburger and fries did the trick. After that the waitress asked if I cared for anything else. I asked what they had for dessert. Along with an assortment of pies and cakes, there was banana split cake, which I chose. There was also “better than love cake” as she said. I almost lost it, but managed to keep my cool. It’s amazing the difference in moral view here. It’s so much more conservative, which is refreshing.
After lunch it was back to the road. I was concerned that my late start might put me in a bind on daylight so I wanted to stay moving. More and larger hills kept coming and the views got better and better. I’m really looking forward to the next few days as I reach the real mountains!
Come to find out, my time concerns were not warranted. I had plenty enough time to stop in Chavais for a break and a snack and talked to a local for a good 30 minutes. Then rolled on down the road to Hazard where I checked into the Super 8 and had Taco Bell for dinner.
What a day. Almost 100 miles and almost 7000′ of climb. Basically today matched my hardest day of the trip, which had been from Houston, MO to Johnson Shut-Ins. Probably going to be more of the same over the next two days as well.
One of the best things about today was the stroke of luck to be where I am when I am. Today I rode right through the heart of some big coal mining areas and on some really crooked roads with no shoulders. Any other day of the week they would be teaming with semis hauling coal as well. Being Sunday, I saw not a truck one. According to the guy in Chavais, the farther east I go from Hazard tomorrow, the farther away from the mines I will get. I know there are other areas I will have to watch for, but it was nice to be able to skip a day of stress.
Oh, I forgot to mention yesterday that reaching Berea put me at the end of map 10. Starting map 11 today means there is only one more to go after this!