Day 11: Hello, Kentucky! Also, not bad for camping behind a pizza joint! - Chris Cross America - CycleBlaze

May 3, 2022

Day 11: Hello, Kentucky! Also, not bad for camping behind a pizza joint!

A new state and a new state of cleanliness

My hammock hangs between two trees to the right. My yellow panniers and my bike shoes sit on the ground beside the hammock. In the background, the Russell Fork River, maybe 80 feet wide, flows past. The sandy riverbank lies only about 50 feet beyond the hammock. Not bad for camping behind a pizzeria!
Heart 3 Comment 0

Day 11 stats

Start: Council, Va. (Council Park and Pool)

End: Elkhorn City, KENTUCKY (Time Out Pizza & Grill)

The Daily Progress: 34.02 miles

Elevation gain: 2,110

Average speed: 10.7 mph

Maximum speed: 44.7 mph. Every time I go downhill, I enjoy it, but I also dread that it means I will just have to go back uphill. But I dare to wonder: As I start to leave the Appalachians, is it safe to believe that I might have more downhills than uphills in the days ahead? I'm trying not to get my hopes up prematurely.

Lodging expenses: $0! (Camping behind Time Out Pizza & Grill, hosted by Josh. Also met the neighbor, Sheryl Webster.)

Food expenses: $6.25 for a Subway sandwich, plus dinner at Time Out for $26.25.

Day 11 highlights and ramblings

I finally made it out of Virginia! Not that I have anything against Virginia; I'm just glad to make it to a new state. It feels like real progress. From here out, it's all states that I've never reached before on a bike tour. 

Wearing my helmet and biking glasses and rearview mirror, I stop for a quick selfie with the blue road sign that says, "Welcome To Kentucky. Unbridled spirit. Andy Beshear, Governor."
Heart 3 Comment 0

Right on the Virginia-Kentucky border lies Breaks Interstate Park, which was a nice stop for a short rest and a great view.

I smile for a selfie with the "towers" in the background. The towers are tall columns of sandstone left behind after a river, the Russell Fork, carved away the shale, creating a full semicircle of a gorge around the large, green, dome-like landmass on top of which the towers stand.
Heart 1 Comment 0

I haven't seen much of Kentucky yet — I'm only a few miles beyond the Virginia border — so I don't have a strong impression yet (well, except that I can't understand anyone because I'm not used to this accent), but I'll just say I'm again struck by people's hospitality. Time Out Pizza & Grill, the first business that I'm camping at, is on the official TransAmerica map, so I guess that means its owner wants to host cyclists, but I was surprised by how much attention Josh gave me when I arrived. We chatted a bit and he gave me the lay of the land. Plenty of space to camp, and several picnic tables, along the river.

Josh and I smile for a photo in front of Time Out Pizza & Grill, which looks a lot like a mini mart at a gas station. There's a big green mountain looming in the background.
Heart 1 Comment 0

Speaking of the river, that is the best option here for cleaning oneself. But this cyclist, who had not had a shower since Sunday night and has since biked for two full days, and who had outright bathed himself in sunscreen three times over those two days, was very happy to go jump in the river. Granted, it was shallow, right up against other people's back yards and within sight of an overpass. So, you know, I did what I could do given the circumstances. Bottom line: I'm much cleaner than I was a few hours ago. But in the moment, I was, as usual, a little self-conscious. Is it weird for a grown man to be bathing in a river in the middle of town? It occurred to me that I might not have had this thought 15 or 20 years ago. So I decided, no, it's not weird, just act like you're 20 or 25 and do it with confidence and nobody's gonna care. Thinking it's weird is what makes it weird.

Cool. I'm 25 again. 

Except that I probably should not eat like I'm still 25. Damn, did I just polish off an entire pizza? (Hey, it was a small! It was gone before I could even think about it!) Shoot, I've been really good up till this point, but eating like this is just asking for trouble. I guess I'll have to remember that tomorrow.

Today's ride: 34 miles (55 km)
Total: 508 miles (818 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 6
Comment on this entry Comment 0