Day 12 - Rosedale, VA to Elkhorn, KY - Can('t) Hurt Me - CycleBlaze

May 24, 2021

Day 12 - Rosedale, VA to Elkhorn, KY

Coal rolled

We got up at 6 and packed up, ate oatmeal, and hit the road around 8. The road was mild until we approached big A mountain. Pretty sure we know what it stands for now. It was a long climb with several close passes by cable utility trucks. We saw tommy from this old house tearing it up on a big ATV and before we knew it, we were at the top. The down hill was sweet and it continued to be generally downhill all the way to haysi. There is a marked difference in the landscape here: there are now aggressive land destruction vehicles (coal and logging trucks), with the addition of alot more trash. The climbs up to break interstate park were long, but there are some amazing lookouts. They overlook mountains with a nice river running in the valley below.

Interstate breaks park before Kentucky. This climb almost killed us.
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The river below runs to the town of Elkhorn city, where we are staying tonight
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We dropped down in through the town of breaks and hit the entering Kentucky sign. Shortly after, we passed a mountain cut in half (for coal, I presume) and found the entry exit for a bunch of coal trucks. The winding road to Elkhorn city had a coal truck pass about every 3 minutes. It's dump trucks as well but primarily 18 wheelers stacked to the brim: coal flying out over the bumps. I read some travel journals from the 2000's talking about all of them, and really expected it to be all but gone. In reality, it seems a portion of the country still uses coal to fire electric plants (about 20% in 2020). I think the trash and coal are related; I imagine the locals who have witnessed destruction of their homeland for 100's of years no longer care about the local environment. It doesn't feel good to give way to the coal trucks.

We made it to Elkhorn city around 2 pm and found a grocery and our camp spot for the night. It was behind a pizza spot called time out pizza The owner showed us the place down by the river.

Spot down by the river. We didn't end up staying, which was nice because it was sandy. Also, after seeing the creeks that feed these rivers in the next days, I'm surprised we didn't get sick or infected...
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He also rented tubes, so we had him take us up river and we floated down to camp over a few rapids. I had a hard time understanding the owners accent and had to ask several times for him to repeat himself. It was a quick country accent. While we were ordering a pizza, Mallory said she arrived in town and that the mayor offered the city hall for us to sleep in. After eating, we packed up the tent and went up the hill to our indoor place, complete with bathroom and kitchen. The owner of the pizza shop seemed kinda bummed for some reason. He did go on and on about how he hated the mayor though. We are kinda glad that it will be a quiet night (no ATVs on the bridge near the tent) and to have a bathroom. It also helps to not have to break full camp in the morning. We ate a little more food, prepped our sleeping arrangements, stretched and chilled before bed time.

Altitude gain:3500

Note: due to poor service, I'll try to upload pictures later

Today's ride: 53 miles (85 km)
Total: 569 miles (916 km)

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