April 8 - 23: Virginia

4/23 - Pippa Passes, KY (61 miles 607 total)
61 painful miles to alice lloyd college, pippa passes, ky, easter sunday
fog again enshrouded breaks interstate park when we got up this morning. a half dozen or so of us ventured out to attend the easter sunrise service beginning at 6 a.m. joan hendricks & i mistook the directions & ended up on an extra-long, extra-dark walk before hearing the group singing an easter hymn on our way back, which led us to the right shelter house. it was a warm, friendly group of local folks plus us few bikers; we were glad to have an opportunity to worship on easter sunday despite the full day's biking agenda.
breakfast was set up in the parking lot of our motel by 7 a.m.; the temps at that point were 38 degrees. the thick air made it feel even colder. we grabbed our bowls of cereal & other goodies & took them back to our rooms. finally the sun seemed to be shining thru the fog & we 3 took off down the hill around 9. as it turned out, it was beautiful & clear down below; we should've left earlier. most everyone else did.
that's me, phyllis, & sari feeling triumphant at having entered the second state in our cross-country tour. notice that we aren't standing on level ground.
i don't think we ever stood, biked, or did anything else on level ground today. marcia's altimeter reading today reports a grueling 4300 ft of climbing. that was 3 big mountains, tho' i thot it was 8 or 10. it seemed that a new & steeper incline greeted us after every turn in the road. now i realize that 'passes' is really a biking term & is short for 'passing out,' which is what happens after you bike to the top of mountains. some riders today said that these were the steepest inclines we've ridden yet. the descents were pretty steep, too. fortunately the traffic, being easter sunday, wasn't terrible, tho' several of the drivers we encountered were traveling at speeds that seemed unwise for those narrow roads; fortunately the logging & coal trucks weren't out. but the roads themselves were often VERY narrow & had immediate dropoffs on their edges....often not just dropoffs of the blacktop surface itself, but dropoffs to a ravine below.
at least the weather was nice all day....mostly a hazy sun & probably in the 60's. in fact, it became so much warmer during the day than it had been this morning that sue found the entire back seat of the suburu (little bo peep) was heaped high with clothing by mid afternoon as riders kept tossing their castoff garb into the suburu instead of carrying it on their bikes.
that's today's sag driver, sue, behind the suburu scooping powdered gatorade into my water bottle. notice the supplies in the back of the suburu...a basketful of assorted energy bars (& a few hershey's chocolates), a basket of bananas, jugs of bottled water.
notice also under my right forearm my new dog dazer setup; i found a red luggage strap & an Apple (computer) shoelace in my overnight bag, so rigged them up so that i can carry the dazer at my waist. i used it once today (it kept the marauder at bay) & the rig worked well.
roosters....i have NEVER heard so many roosters crow on one day in my life. they were crowing along the way this morning & they were still crowing late afternoon. people in this area keep lots of chickens...& lots of dogs. it turns out that deanna, who often rides at the head of the pack, used her dog dazer on quite a few dogs, so that by the time the rest of us happened upon the dogs they were pretty shy. some....not all. anne reported that a rottweiler broke its chain in its rush to pursue her. anne was able to outbike it. anne's probably the only one in our group who could outbike a rottweiler; she could probably outbike a greyhound.
one unpleasant sight & smell this afternoon was a huge area of garbage that was burning alongside the road. a half dozen or so cars had stopped & people were standing there watching it....or maybe they had come to throw things into the smoldering fire. there was furniture in there & just about everything else imagineable. it must have taken up a good football-field-sized piece of roadside. riding thru that smoke was unpleasant.
some of us hadn't taken into account that easter sunday would mean very few stores were open. especially disappointing were all the 'dairy store' signs atop closed shops. but i did manage to find one convenience store & i even managed to find a chocolate-covered krispie kreme donut in the store. i should point out--for the relatives of some bikers who have assumed that my donut-eating habits are shared by others--that most of the bikers are much more prudent than i am when encountering the krispie kreme kounter.
by very late afternoon we all found alice lloyd college here in pippa passes. the folks here are treating us royally. they had some muffins & a big basket of fruit out for us in the dance studio where we're camping. tomorrow they'll treat us to breakfast in the college cafeteria. but we need to eat at 7, because the students start eating at 7:15. we also need to clear all our stuff out of the dance studio & our bikes out of the building (they're now lining the hallways) before breakfast, as they'll hold classes here tomorrow.
patti grilled the steaks & chicken breasts tonight that she was going to grill last fri night. she also made some wonderful garlic mashed potatoes, cooked baby carrots, & some great slaw. dessert was a birthday cake for rose; today is her birthday.
notice the birthday girl to the right in the picture of our campsite in the dance studio. moving on left, that's lin in orange, deanna with the baseball hat, & closeby to the left is darleene organizing her bags.
it'll be pretty cozy in the dance studio, but we're all tired enuf to sleep anyway. the restroom isn't too far down the hall. our showers were across the way & down the road a bit at the gym. reminded me of some of ragbrai's shower accommodations .... plus or minus 5,000 people.
i can hardly bear to write this, let alone think about it....but at tonight's map meeting gloria told us that tomorrow will be much like today with respect to climbing...tho' maybe a bit less, perhaps only 3000 ft. i didn't think i'd ever consider a 3000-ft climb a plus! but our mileage will be more....70 mi. right now i can't even imagine pedaling a mile on the straightaway. hope my attitude & muscle-strength improve by tomorrow morning .......& that the rains forecast for tomorrow don't materialize.
Higher quality versions of the pictures from my trip are available here. If you would like copies of the original, full-size photos, feel free to e-mail my son Mark with your request. Stay tuned....

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