It felt so nice to wake up and know that I didn’t have to ride to yet another destination. Don’t get me wrong, I have loved this biking adventure and project (“Beer on a Roll“). Seeing small town America by bike has been a unique experience and has been a joyous adventure to complete. It has also been a privilege to meet so many great people throughout the U.S. from California (hey bra!) all the way to New York (fuhgettaboutit!). It’s also been a blast to meet so many great people in the Craft Brewing industry. You all freaking rock!
It was a beautiful day, as Terry and I went into Brooklyn to visit the Brooklyn Brewery, in time to attend the 1pm public tour. It was too bad that Brooklyn Brewery chose not to have one of their staff join us and talk about their company/be a part of the Craft Beer documentary film. They were somewhat skittish, protective, and emanated an air of fear when I called them to see if they would like to be included in the film. Of all the craft breweries and brewpubs, they were the only one that exhibited such an introverted/awkward posture. It was really weird. Bizarre. I almost decided to go to another craft brewery, but decided to go ahead and finish with B.B. as I had heard they had very good beer. Charlie was the tour guide, very entertaining, knowledgeable, and funny as hell (the guy could do stand-up comedy). After the tour, Terry took some B-roll shots. One of my Twitter followers lives in Brooklyn, NY and has followed my ride across the U.S. She goes by the name, “Brooklyn Beer Bitch“. She met up with Terry and I, joining us for a beer after the tour. I must say, of all the lagers I’ve tasted across the country, Brooklyn Brewery had the best I’ve tasted. It was light, but full of flavor. A true thirst-quencher, but full of delicious taste. What a nice balance! There were additional exceptional beers on tap of course, but the lager did it for me today!
After visiting Brooklyn Brewery, the Brooklyn Beer Bitch recommended we stop for a beer at a place she said was *the* beer bar in Brooklyn, NY. The name was Torst. If you love beer, then this is an awesome place to visit in Brooklyn. It has a long marble bar with wood taps that run a spectrum from white birch to dark oak stained, and correspond to the color of the beers they contain, which are written in soap pen on a mirror above each tap. Their chef gave us a tour of their place, which included a stop in their legendary beer cellar.
So that’s it folks. I’m done. The biking, the beer, the filming, the writing…all is completed. Next up is the post-production work, to create a DVD…that hopefully will be a decent piece of work. I’m going to write a book as well, and get it out to the public. “Beer on a Roll” 2013 is officially over. I’m going to see some U.S. Open tennis action then fly out of NYC and visit family in Houston and Austin, TX. Then, it’s back to San Diego. Thanks to everyone for following me on this trip/project. Thanks especially to those who emailed me (or via Facebook and Twitter) with encouragement and cheer.
Will I do a 2014 “Beer on a Roll”? We’ll see. 🙂
This is about my last bike ride for “Beer on a Roll”, from New Jersey to New York City.
I was up at 7:30am, with the smell of bacon wafting in the air. It had been years since I had that experience. It turned out that Bill had cooked breakfast this morning. I wanted to be out of Lambertville, NJ by 9am, as there was a ferry I wanted to catch at 3:55pm in Belford, NJ crossing Sandy Hook Bay and arriving into NYC at Pier 11, Wall Street. Bill said he would ride with me for the first ten miles then turn around and return home. I was looking forward to chatting with him some more. Bill’s an intriguing guy, who knows quite a bit about Lambertville’s history.
I went downstairs to the breakfast table where Bill, Marianne, and Terry were already sitting at the table. In addition to the bacon, Bill had cook eggs and toast. I’m not really a coffee drinker, but this morning I took a cup. For some reason, it just seemed to go with the meal. Then I tilted my head back and dropped a gallon of water down my mouth. Hydration, baby…I have a big freaking ride ahead of me — and I have to go very fast. I’m sick of freaking deadlines, making an appointment on time, getting to a destination by darkness, etc. In this case, it was to make a ferry ride so I could get to a friend’s place. He was out of town, but he was offering his place to me with the condition I get there by 5pm, as his accountant would be leaving the building for the weekend.
I said goodbye to Marianne, as well as her mother Josephine, who was easily recognized to be Marianne’s mom, as they both have the most blue, beautiful eyes. Bill said that when Josephine was younger, she was quite a dish. Apple pie, maybe? I pumped up the tires, re-filled the water bottles, and took off with Bill. I got a nice history lesson from Bill as he told me about how the canal next to our bike path was dug *by hand* about 120 years ago by Irish immigrants. Unbelievable when you get a look at the canal.
After the ride with Bill, I had about five more miles on the bike path before I entered Trenton, NJ. After that, I was bobbing and weaving in and out of city streets, neighborhood streets, and county roads. The total ride was eighty-seven miles (72 by bike and 15 by ferry—arriving into Manhattan, via Wall Street). It was a freaking awesome last day of biking for “Beer on a Roll”. I was pumped, and my legs were stronger than ever. I still took delight in my ability to go–in a suddent burst–from an easy 12mph pace to 22mph. I have added some mass to my legs and it has served me well (especially in Kentucky when the mentally disturbed dogs came after me). Now in this city traffic, I can blast through certain situations when it’s appropriate—as it is sometimes.
I was continually sprinting throughout the day in order to make it to the ferry by 3:55pm. There were so many changes in the route, I must have taken about thirty different roads on my way to my destination. Would I make it? I thought I could. Then there was a barricade (road construction) which involved a complete section of the road being torn away with nothing but a canal running through it, about 10ft below. I saw a steel beam that served as a 60ft plank to the other side of the road. Fuck it, I lifted my bike (including panniers), put it on my shoulder, extended my left arm for balance and *slowly* walked across the steel plank. They say if you don’t look down, but instead fix your sight at the end of the plank/beam/high wire, you have a much better chance of making it without falling. It worked. Even the construction workers were impressed, as they watched me while they ate their lunches. Wonder if they made any bets?
I felt a sense of victory—and that I would somehow make it to the ferry on time. But would I? I got some shoddy directions from a couple who were *sure* they knew where an unmarked road was located—I needed to find it. It turned out they were wrong and it set me back at least twenty minutes (damnit!). Will I make it to the ferry on time? The last fifteen miles included a bike path (thank god!) but then a lot of weaving through a conglomeration of streets to reconnect with the path, and find the ferry landing. I found a lady, Gabi, from Hungary who was biking along the path. She knew where I needed to go and she led me to the path (how awesome!). I sprinted like a cheetah down the bike path as fast as I could pedal for the last 10 miles. I was feeling depleted, but I wanted to make it to that ferry. On the final one-mile stretch, I took a wrong turn which set me back 5 minutes, thus arriving at the landing to see the 3:55pm ferry take off (Fuuuuuuuuuu!!!!!). I was a sweating like a pig, hands on hips, watching the ferry take off. Damn.
Just then, Terry texted me and said he made it to my friend’s address and got the key from my friend’s accountant. Yes! He made it there in time. I wasn’t sure he would. Oh man, what a freaking relief! I boarded the 4:30pm ferry, slammed a victory Heineken, and took some pics of the awesome views as I was approaching the Statue of Liberty, and then Manhattan Island. How cool. After we arrived at the Wall Street Pier, I got on my bike and rode through the streets of downtown NYC. What a rush! Man, you really have to be aware of your surroundings. I biked all the way to 64th St. and Lexington, near Central Park. I dismounted and Terry let me in. I had arrived. San Francisco – New York…I was done.
It’s over. No more biking. Tomorrow I’ll be visiting Brooklyn Brew Company for some filming, then it will all be over. I’ll spend three days at my friend’s place, then fly out to Houston, Texas and visit family (and sleeeeeep!)
This is about a day in downtown Philly, visiting the historic sites, and making a stop at Dock Street Brewery.
Again, it was an early morning and we had to be out by 7am. The cool part of this morning involved Chris and his buddy — both of whom work in downtown Philly — taking me with them into Philly via our bikes. What a treat, as we immediately went up and down some streets and then took a scenic path all the way into the downtown area. Both Chris and his friend continued on as I stayed at the Rocky statue next to the Philadelphia Art Museum, waiting for Terry.
After Terry arrived, we walked into downtown Philly, with the idea of doing some filming near some of the historic landmarks. We walked first to the Liberty Bell, then on to Independence Hall (signing of Declaration of Independence), and finally to Carpenters Hall where the First Continental Congress met to consider options in response to British policy — boycotting British goods was one of the options. This area was so rich in history…and I loved it. We stopped at a local tavern that went back in time as well. In fact the servers wore 18th Century regalia.
The other highlight of the day was making a visit to Dock Street Brewery, located about five miles from Downtown Philly. It has been around since 1985, and is located in a former Fire Station…a cool venue indeed! Not only is the beer phenomenal, but their pizza is so good they’ve been voted the best place for pizza, by Philadelphia Magazine. Marilyn, their friendly VP at the company, showed me around their establishment. They have a great beer selection on tap, with Justin — the Head Brewer — ensuring nothing but excellent beers are served to the patrons. While I was there, Justin was creating a pumpkin ale, dropping large amounts of pumpkin puree into the tanks. I’m sure it will be very tasty! The beer I tasted — and really enjoyed — was the OMG Pale Ale. It’s balanced by Columbus and Cascade hops for a mellow grassy and citrus flavor. It went well with their delicious pizza!
After our visit Dock Street Brewery, Terry and I went to Lambertville, NJ, about 35 miles northwest of Philly. We were greeted by our hosts Bill and Marianne. They were so friendly. Terry and I put away our belongings, then I took a shower. They had a beautiful house, which I learned was built by Marianne’s great-grandfather. Bill invited me to get a beer at the local tavern, only about 100 ft away. We went there and met up with two guys who ran a local bike shop. Bill introduced me to them and we had a nice chat and some beer for the next hour. Then it was bedtime, where Bill showed me my room back at the house. I fell asleep quickly.
Hey Everyone….today is about my bike ride from York, PA to Philly.
As Debra and Gary needed to be out the door for work at 7am, I was up at 6am, trying mightily to wake myself up. That’s rough, especially when my body is telling me to continue sleeping after the previous day’s ride of 95 miles. Sorry body, we need to get up. Gary left early, so Terry and I thanked Debra for their hospitality. They were so nice.
Terry and I went down to a local coffee shop, got on their WiFi and planned where we would meet for today’s destination, Philadelphia. Our Warm Shower hosts were just outside the city limits, but I didn’t want to get caught up in the traffic as I neared their address. So Terry and I agreed to meet at a town just outside of Philly where we would put the bike on his car for the last ten miles to our hosts. The ride would be about 60 miles, a nice “break” from the previous day. Terry then took off and I stayed at the coffee shop to do some writing. Just then it occurred to me that my hefty backpack (about 30lbs of belongings) was still with me at the table. Crap, I forgot to put it into Terry’s car. Now I would be biking up and down hills with this extra weight. Schiesser!
It was definitely hot and humid today, and the sun was beating down on me. That’s ok, I put on plenty of sunscreen — just wish it would also protect me from sweating like a freaking pig too. I mean, I could take off my shirt at any given point, squeeze it, and a puddle would form on the ground. I had a good pace going as I wanted to meet Terry at our meeting point at 4pm.”You can do it!” I told myself. But there were so many small towns and therefore, a multitude of changes in streets to follow. Biking without the luxury of the Adventure Cycling Association’s bike maps made it challenging. I used Google, but it wasn’t as clear as what I actually encountered at certain junctures. Therefore I relied on the locals, and would ask for directions. I actually don’t mind that…it’s nice to say Hello to the locals anyway, and then they ask what I’m doing, and we have a nice chat for a few minutes. One place I stopped for directions was a car garage. One of the guys who was working on a car invited me to come into their office and use their computer, if necessary. He also offered cold water to refill my water bottles. These are the nice moments along the trip, another reason why I like stopping to chat with folks.
I met up with Terry just past 4pm, and we went to see our host, Chris. I learned that Chris was a home beer brewer—sweet! I told him about my “Beer on a Roll” project and he became very enthusiastic about our staying with him. I stopped at a store on the way over and picked up some extra craft beer as well. Chris was a cool guy, as he warmly invited Terry and I into his home. He worked in IT at a local university, was an avid bicyclist, made his own beer (damn good, too), was married, and had a young son. Chris definitely has a full life! He’s also an excellent cook, as he made a nice pasta dish, and home made bread to boot. He invited one of his friends to join us for some beer tastings, and we spent the remainder of the evening chatting and sampling Chris’ latest creations.
Today was one of the most broad/extensive/varied rides of the entire trip. Why? Because for the first time, I biked along a “Rails to Trails” path (more on that shortly), took my bike aboard a commuter train to get through downtown Baltimore, then biked at night on a path (no cars) with the light of the moon guiding my way.
As I’ve said in other postings, I usually am on my bike around 10am-11am, as before I ride, I’m writing a blog about the previous day, updating my social media, editing pics/film, calling to confirm appointments, calling to set up accommodations, etc. It just eats away at my time. Honestly, more often than not, biking is the easy part of the project. Today was no different as I was out the door about 11am. Bob and Sarah were great hosts, and I especially want to thank Bob for his showing me around D.C., Georgetown, and Bethesda on our bicycles yesterday. It was truly a treat.
As soon as I was out of the neighborhood, I connected with the local trail system that Bob and I took to get to D.C. yesterday. This time however, I went northward to Baltimore, with my final destination being York, Pennsylvania — about 90 miles away — where Terry and I would be hosted by a local couple via Warm Showers. The local trail system (the Anacostia Tributary Trail) connected me on a nice ride through forest and alongside creeks on my way up to the next trail, The Light Trail. This trail connected me to Baltimore, and at one point, I was biking along side a grassy hill that looked down towards the Baltimore/Washington Airport. Once in the Baltimore city limits, I lifted my bike up into a commuter train which took me to the other side of Baltimore city limits where I could hook up onto the NCRR (North Central Rail Road Trail) and ride all the way (40 miles) to York, PA. The NCRR was one of the many “Rails to Trails” bike paths found throughout the U.S. These trails were formed as a result of the consolidation of the rail industry back in the 60’s and 70’s which led to the closure of a number of uneconomical lines. Some were maintained as short line railways, but many others were abandoned. They were funded and developed via the state and federal government to be transformed into trails. Some can stretch for over 200 miles. For me to actually go 40 miles on a path dedicated to bikes, all the way to York…that’s just damn cool.
It was hard to comprehend that the trail on which I was riding through forest and bush would continue for more than 40 miles. It just seemed it would end soon, near a town perhaps and dead end into an actual road. That wasn’t the case, as it continued extending itself. Then history presented itself once I entered Pennsylvania. This stretch of the NCRR was known as the Freedom Trail, the Underground Railroad Route, meant to give riders a route representative of the historic freedom trail. While there is no singular route that slaves took to freedom, it’s definitely a route representative of the freedom trail that also went through areas of historic significance. The entire route essentially became it’s own historical marker. I made so many stops to really take in the area, that it became very late — and dark. This time it was ok, as I didn’t have to deal with cars. Tonight was a wonder, as there was a full-moon — which guided me along the path, even through thick foliage. There was no one else, and the experience was surreal — especially when, about ten miles before York, there was a field that opened up in front of me. Thick fog lay low on the field and with the full moon shining down on it…I felt as though I was in a transformed environment. It would have been appropriate to hear “Funeral for a Friend” (by Elton John). Listen to the first minute, and imagine what I just described.
Finally, to my right I saw in the distance some light. Although I had no idea, I estimated after all my biking that it was probably York. I went off the trail and after a few minutes, arrived into civilization. I saw a sign “York College” near a traffic signal. I had made it. It was 9:30pm. I was so tired and hungry. I went just another two miles to our host’s home, where they welcomed me with a home made dinner and my own bed for the night. Thank you.
Today was about checking out the sites of D.C. on bicycle, with a tourist guide — also on bike — Bob, my host. Pretty damn cool that Bob took this day to show me around. He didn’t have to do that. But Bob is not only generous, he has a lot of energy and just loves to share with others.
We took off at 11am and went to D.C. via an excellent network of biking paths that stretch around the greater D.C. area, yet also continue north to Pennsylvania. It’s really impressive. Tomorrow I plan to take two of those paths northward as I bike up to a city called York, PA. It was a pleasant and scenic ride — about ten miles — to D.C. When we arrived to the Mall (basically the entire outdoor area between the Lincoln Memorial and The Capitol), there were throngs of people–no doubt, government workers–catching a quick lunch, before heading back to their desks. We made our first stop at The Capitol, where we took some photo opportunities. Of course, I had to do The Pose in front of the camera. Visiting downtown D.C. via a bike is *the* way to go, as everything was easily accessible and one was not caught up in the continual traffic–both public and private. If you have plans to visit D.C., that’s my high recommendation. Yes, the metro is great, but you can’t see the above ground aesthetics as you move to various areas of the city. Our final stop was The White House, where I had to take one more pic with The Pose.
At about 3pm, we took off and went back him via the Georgetown area. As it’s right next to Georgetown University, it was a pretty hip area with shops, restaurants, cafes, etc. Before we ventured off the Georgetown streets and onto the paths, we stopped at the bottom of the stairs that split two Georgetown apartment buildings. It was those stairs where the priest tumbled to his death in the 1975 movie, The Exorcist. Yes, I did a Pose pic in front of the stairs. Bob and I then went towards Bethesda as we scrambled back to his house in Maryland. Bob wanted to take me to a popular hangout for Happy Hour in Bethesda, so if we returned back to the house quickly enough, we could change, shower, and go to the establishment. We ended up biking thirty-five miles during our afternoon visit in D.C. (not bad).
Bob’s place for Happy Hour was fantastic. It was right in the heart of the restaurant/cafe district of downtown Bethesda. We had half-price champagne, wine, salmon, and steak (and not expensive at all). In fact the staff threw in some freebies as they love Bob, who frequents their place at least twice weekly (and generously tips them). We completed the evening visiting the Lincoln Memorial as well as the “W” hotel rooftop bar, where there is a stellar arial view of downtown D.C. Our final stop was Ford’s Theater, a short walk from the “W.” Amazing that just inside that building was where Lincoln was shot back in 1865. The theater is still functioning today, and it even has the seats where Lincoln and his wife sat in his last moments. However, those chairs are cordoned off from the rest of the seats. It must be eerie to be attending a show in the evening, especially if your seat is next to Lincoln’s. What history. What a great day as well. Thanks Bob.
About our visit to Bluejacket brewpub near the Washington Nationals Baseball Stadium in D.C. — this morning began with some steady rain, which continued into the afternoon. Unfortunately, that made the conditions challenging for the grand opening of a new Craft Brewery called Blue Jacket, located near the Washington Nationals baseball stadium. The co-owner and brewmaster is also Greg Engert, the Brewing Director at Church Key. What a passionate-about-beer-guy, and a shrewd business man–although Greg did not study business, but rather English literature and was seriously contemplating a career as a University professor. Talent dude.
Terry and I arrived at Blue Jacket at 12:30pm, about two hours before their opening. Greg and his staff were setting up the tables, bar, taps, etc. this big event. Again, the weather could have been more cooperative, but it’s what we all had to deal with today. Terry and I did get some excellent footage, nonetheless. Greg was really excited about the prospects of this place. It’s almost a “can’t miss”, as it is a spacious, nicely aesthetic craft brewing space, in a great location, where patrons have plenty of room to make themselves comfortable. Like Churchkey, Greg has another winner (soon-to-be).
After the shoot at Blue Jacket, Terry and I took off back to Bob and Sarah’s, but stopped by the grocery store to pick up some items to cook for dinner. Tonight I was going to cook dinner. I have a few dishes that I enjoy cooking, and they consistently turn out good. I grilled chicken breast, steamed some veggies, and boiled pasta. Then mixed it all together in a large pot, and added shredded cheddar cheese to the top. Finally, I put a lid over the pot. Ten minutes later, the cheese had melted through the pasta casserole, and it was ready for consuming! Sarah was out with friends for dinner, so Terry, Bob, and I chowed. I got positive feedback from both guys. The cool thing about biking is that I could chow like a pig, so I had a second and third helping. Yes!
Bob is a great conversationalist and we spoke about his running days, when he ran ultra-marathons. He could maintain a torrid pace. He was good. In fact when he was in his 20’s, he was invited to Scotland to run a 36-mile race–representing the States. His last race took place when he was forty-five. All the years of running had taken a toll on his knees, so he took up biking as a alternative. Bob suggested that tomorrow he and I could ride our bikes through D.C. and check out the sites. It would be an easy thirty-five mile ride. Sounds good!
We left early this morning as we had to get up to D.C. for a last second gig with a solid brewpub in Arlington, VA. In order to meet their timeline, we needed to drive there, and it was a 250-mile trip from Wytheville, VA. We said goodbye to Peter and Ilsa, who were a few doors away from us, and then took off. It was a long drive, but I was able to grab a few more winks, so I did some “bobble-doll” head movements as my chin rested on my chest.
We arrived for our appointment with the brewpub on time, but unfortunately, the owner was not able to make it to the filming. Craft Beer Week was on tap in D.C. and there were many local events to support it. Therefore, he was not able to get away and come back to the brewery for a shooting. It was definitely frustrating, as we busted our butts to be there on time for him. We still have another gig in the afternoon, so we werelooking forward to that.
We killed some time by taking care of a few things like stopping at the grocery store, then stopping at Terry’s cell phone provider as he was not receiving service. When 2:30pm rolled around, we went to downtown D.C. where we visited a restaurant that makes its own beer, but it is not in the same category as a brewpub. The place is called Churchkey and has a two-story building in a perfect location, where so many local people tend to hang out. We had made an appointment with the Director of brewing, Greg Engert about two weeks prior. The filming was quite good, and Greg is so knowledgeable about beer.
Then we went to our Warm Showers hosts, Bob and Sarah, in Hyattsville, MD, not far away at all. Bob and Sarah were very welcoming as they immediately put the beds in order for Terry and I. Bob and Sarah also provided us with dinner and wine, which we absolutely appreciated. We spoke about our ride, and listened to Bob’s stories about his biking, although when he was younger he was a standout long-distance runner. He was invited to events internationally back in the 70’s (when he was a young chap), and with his knees feeling the sum of all that running, he now bikes. Sarah is not a cyclist — is more avid in politics and social issues (she attends meetings regularly in her community). They both recently retired, and have two kids in their 30’s who live outside of Hyatsville.
After the great dinner and conversation, Terry and I hit it around 11pm.
So this is about my ride (only 56 miles today!) to Wytheville, VA, seeing some beautiful scenery, and a successful reunion with the Dutch couple. I slept well in the hostel last night. The windows were open and there was a slight cool breeze coming through the room. For me that is almost perfect sleeping conditions. I especially love cool air in the room — in fact, I crank up the cool air when I’m in a hotel room and pull over the covers. For some reason, I sleep well that way. It was a beautiful day today…sunny, cool, and no humidity. I was next to the Appalachian Trail and I’m sure the hikers loved this weather. I did some writing, packed up, and took off late in the morning.
I took some GoPro footage as I descended down a few mountains, which was a much different experience/landscape than the Rocky mountains. Here, I was at 3,000-4,000ft, still a good workout going up and down the various grades. The Whitetop Laurel River runs adjacent to the right of the TransAm trail…a nice, pleasant, flowing sound next to the road. Even though I had stretched myself by biking 116 miles yesterday, I was moving at a good pace today. I figured I’d arrive into Wytheville at about 6pm.
Several times I took stops at local gas stations to relax and drink some water. I had just run out of Core Power, and was really looking forward to the next shipment, due to arrive in Washington, DC in a few days at our Warm Showers host’s house. At the gas stations today — more than any other time in my trip — a steady flow of people stopped to ask me where I was going, where I began, and how many miles I averaged each day. I almost felt like I was at press conference. They were friendly folks, and — unlike yesterday — no one screamed “faggot!” or flipped me off — while I was riding my bike. In fact, there were a few people who put their hands out the window, either waving or giving a thumbs up. That was a more positive experience. 🙂
I arrived into Wytheville and went to the motel that Terry had found for us. Wytheville is definitely big enough that you could very well miss meeting up with fellow bicyclists as a meet up point. But as I biked into the motel parking lot, and went up to Terry’s car, I heard some screaming in the behind me. It was Peter and Ilsa, the Dutchies! One final reunion was taking place tonight. We had a few beers and talked about our respective riding experiences since the last time we saw each other in Sebree, KY, ten days prior. We grabbed some Sonic across the street (pushing Ilsa in an abandoned shopping cart, right up to the Sonic microphone to order take out). Freaking hilarious. Then we brought our food back to the hotel and ate outside. At one point, we heard some cops yell, “Open the door!” then one of them ran back twenty feet, and ran full out into the door, breaking it open and nabbing some dude. I guess you can observe some weird things when you travel.
After a great evening with the Dutchies, Terry and I went to our room and called it a night. Tomorrow, we’re going to Washington, D.C.
This is about biking 116 miles from Hindman, KY to Rosedale, VA — and then getting a lift into Damascus, VA. One of the highlights was crossing over The Breaks Interstate park in KY/VA.
Thanks to Steven, the pastor at First Baptist Church, for allowing Terry and I to crash in the church for the night in Hindman, KY. The churches along the route have been great. Thanks again!
Today I had an urge to catch up with my two Dutch friends, Peter and Ilsa. They were a day ahead of me, but I was determined to catch up with them and hang out one more time, before we split off a few days later. In order to do that, I would need to establish a new mileage record to achieve that. I’d need to leave early, about 7:30am, and bike until 8pm. I could do it; I’d be dead, but I could do it.
Unfortunately at 7:30am the narrow road had a plethora of cars making their way to work, school, etc. There was no shoulder and I didn’t want to put myself in jeopardy, so I decided to roll out at 9am, when it was much safer. Sure enough, when 9am arrived, traffic had dramatically lessened along the road. I felt I made a good decision to just wait it out. I was on my bike and took off to Damascus, VA where I wrote the Dutchies that I would be by end of day, and that we could meet up there. I figured that would be a logical stop for them–based on their schedule. I was hauling butt along the Appalachian Mtn range….so beautiful. The actual Appalachian Trail was only about a half mile away….wouldn’t mind hiking that baby one day (at least a portion of it). The road went up and down, with very winding turns, especially felt while flying down the descents of the mountain passes. Funny how even though the mountains were not as high as the Rockies in Colorado, they were actually steeper. I found myself having to stand on my pedals—in the “Granny” gear!! I was working/breathing hard. Fortunately, we had a reprieve from the humidity and heat, as it was about 75 F, and clear. Thanks!
After about five hours I had biked about 55 miles and had arrived into Elkhorn City, KY. I took a rest, which was the last rest I took before crossing the border into Virginia. I biked about twenty-five minutes and came across The Breaks Interstate Park. It was a massive park, and the road had a lookout down a mountainside to see a rushing river below (The Breaks). I took a few pics then pedaled about 10 more minutes until I crossed into Virginia (yay!). I had finally reached the Eastern most State along my route (SF – VA)…although I’ll be going in a northern direction from Virginia….gotta get to NY (Brooklyn). I made it all the way to a place called Rosedale, then it became too dark, so I called Terry to give me a lift the rest of the way to Damascus. I had bike 116 miles today….not too shabby.
In Damascus, we stayed at a hostel for just cyclists and hikers. It was $6/night–a great deal, and tucked inside some trees and on a half acre of land. The temperature dropped as I lay down for the night. It was about 60F. Unfortunately I did not find the Dutchies, but maybe tomorrow…my last chance to see them, before we split up for good.