DAY63- NEW NEW NEW out of Lystery Camp and........
Good morning and thanks for coming along with me for the spin this morning. I had spent the night in a private Ruritan Campers Club set up that provided me with a roof over head to shiled me from the spotty rain that came thru the night. It is 55 degrees at 7:30 and very heavy fog for me to get started in, I dont feel to bad since this road has such light traffic, so I put my tiny tail light on and get to pedalling.
I have a fair amount of my clothing on, matter of fact there is very little else that I can put on, the fog and damp just seems to cut through everything I own. I hope you are warm enough to make it, the little town of Bland is not far off now. So, there we are , you and I and struggling up yet one more grade amidst the cloaked but still colorful leaves of the fall folliage..............when out of ALMOST nowhere comes and goes another cyclist.
Poochie Maggie, it all happens so fast that you are really wondering if what you seen was real or not. It just had to be, but nobody had time to speak or stop and share words amongst the back road fraternity of velo-apsirants.
So we may as well just keep pedalling and get the ride to Bland done, my breakfast of two gulps of morning air is now wearing off and I could use a cup of hot coffee, and I think will buy a gatorade to throw on the trailer for later. The sky is beginning to break a little and even show alittle blue hidden there amidst the leaden clouds of this Virgina morning. The coffee tastes great and it is not a $5.00 cup of Star.....something either. I have been trying to get on my cell phone.......YES that almost useless Cingular outfit I am using.
I have an Uncle in Canada whom has passed away and I was wanting to call my Aunt and talk to her. I have been watching for payphones but none so far on my ride up this holler, I even bought a phone card just in case I found one.
I get back on and keep riding, mostly north by by northeast, we are riding along a river, but not along a river bottom but more up amongst the hills that bank the river. Besides that we are heading to the crest of the Eastern Continental Divide for the Appalachan and Allegany chains of mountains, so the last 15 miles or so have always had a grade to them. I am in one of the prettiest spots that I have ridden to date, the clouds have dissolved leaving those white billowy picturesque type clouds and sunshine, the leaves are looking like stained glass windows now with the sunshine illuminating thier resplendant autumn colors. Wow is it ever a pretty ride, it is so pretty that I am forgetting to keep an eye on the traffic coming from behind..................well I will be darned.
NOt sure where he came from, but there is another cyclist coming up from behind as I am climbing this grade at a relaxed tourist pace. Say he is older than I am and wow, I have to hump up to stay up as he pulls along side. You know, us cyclists we sorta snobbish at times.............I am immediatly analyzing his ride.........silently in my mind you how you do..........it goes like this.
The man, fit, tall, and dressed like he spends time on the bike.........legs look like al ot of time on the bike. The bike, an old steel frame Paramount...............YIKES I say to myself........as I stop to pick my false teeth up................my God, he's riding a 3 speed and I am grunting and farting to keep up.............OKAY JEREMIAH don't panic, just look for the tiny chord that leads to the electric motor, there has to be a catch here someplace.
So it is that we stop at the top of the grade, and my visitor is the same fella whom I passed in the fog earlier this am. HIs name if Gene Oliver, and he is retired from the Rail Road Company now living in one of the tiny towns that dot the western Virgina landscape. Gene is an avid cyclist, and has ridden in both Europe and all over the USA. He has never done a cross USA trip, but would like to. Gene is very active in ultra marathin riding, it is an age catagorized event in which each rider sees how far they can ride in an alotted time.
To date, genes best is 375 miles in 24 hours non-stop. Folks, now I am here to tell you, that I am in no sort of condition for that sort of thing. Gene, tells me that he and I are standing on the hill that actually forms the crest of the Appalachian Divide for this east cost range. I just have to ask Gene about his bike, why the old 3 speed, and is that your standard ride. Well, as it turns out no, Gene is like most bikers in that he has several rides hanging in the stable at home..............yes I said stable. Since Gene is a horse raiser and a cyclist as well. BUt back to the ride, he likes the ride from the steel frame, and the work out he gets from doing a 3 speed in these hills.
But when I enter the competative rides says Gene, I ride a carbon fiber framed bike and a Dura Ace 20 speed componentry. Gene is also a leather saddle seat fan, looked just like the seat that I am using on this ride. Each day begins with a 45 mile spin, almost no matter what the weather looks like says Gene..............it has to be real bad to keep me off the bike.
So it is that we meet on the road , and depart heading the same direction but one rider is going alot faster than the other. I ride on for several more miles and off to my right on the top of a ridge I spot a tower and it makes me think that I should try my Cell-Phone once again just in case. Wow Mama, my Cingular is working. SO I get to talk to my Aunt Lucy, then my wife and also my older brother Niel. It was good to touch base and let them know that I am still alive and fine.
It is time to stop at the next small town Library and do some catching up on the blog. So it is that I pull in at 12:15pm and work on text only till 4:05pm, by 4:20 I am on the road and committred to riding like a mad man and see how far I can make it. The sky is such a rich blue, and I am being showered with falling leaves from the trees that canopy the road. The crrek is a fast running creek on this side with a rocky Limestone bottom which leaves the creeks very clear and with many tiny waterfalls in their course.............just beautiful.
I am really humping along, hitting that 22-25 mile per hpur mark alot as I ride, the terrain is rolling but no pitches that are too steep along this section. Still plenty of dogs, but no close encounters here today. I actually hit the junction of road 100 and sorta confused, becasue the map I had showed 2 small towns that I would pass thru, but I ver seen hide nor hair of them as I rode???? I don't know.....Aliens maybe!! So, I flag down a car and get an update on the roads and directions, then hop back on and hit it due west and up over a steep pitch of a mountain, yes it is a low gear grind for me but the scenery with the falling sun is all worth it. The fact that is is getting darker makes me aware of a need to look for a camp site. I hit the bottom side of the grade and make a hard right onto a tiny little road with out any paint on it anyplace. Looks like a side walk really, this little road will cut across to Maybrrok and shorten my ride a little to the coast.
I zip right along on this road, even though it winds and rises as it traverses the river bottoms and edges of the hollers. All the time I am riding I am thinking about the sausages (Bratwurst ,that I had bought 2 days ago thinking about my friend Fritz), I know that I need to get them cooked tonight and to do it I need to find a safe place to light a hobo fire..............so LOrd, please send me a Church with brother Emile for my Chef...........even just a Church would be fine. The river bottom is full of MAples, and the color on this evening was just glorious, then we rose up out of the river valley and commenced an up hill climb thru White and Red Oaks, these were big fellas with planty of color.
I climbed up a series of short switchbacks, and came around a corner to see the top of a Steeple that was on the hill out in front of me. Hey Lordy, thankyou, now lets hope it had a pavilliaon cover near it. As it turned out it not only had a pavillion cover but also a bar-b-que pit just for me. I didn't bother with a tent, just put my bag of sleep on the table top after I ate. I gathered some small wood and built a nice fire thenlet that burn down to some good coals. I managed to eat 4 of the 6 Brat's, and decided to donate the last two too the Red Foxes that I could here barking out in the darkness. The Brats had been traveliong with me for 2 days, and I didn't want to take a chance getting sick. My campp was the Green Valley Episcopal Church, set amongst the huge Oaks, just a perfect ending to a 54 mile day.
Good NIght and God Bless