May 1, 2001

5/1/01 Pippa Passes, KY


65.1 miles


Whew! What a day. After a warmer night than we've had in a while, we got an early start because of the distance we had planned on doing.

The Breaks Gorge is the deepest canyon east of the Mississippi. After our long climb yesterday, we had a screamer descent. Top speed 42 mph!

Entering Kentucky

We stopped for breakfast at the Goldring Restaurant for some "home style" food -- large quantity, low price. Unfortunately, we came out to the bikes in the rain. Traffic around Elkhorn City was a lot of heavy trucks and I wasn't looking forward to getting sprayed by passing trucks. But before we got a few blocks, the pavement became dry again.

The first major climb of the day came after Lookout. We took a road called "Poor Bottom Road." I knew we were in a different state -- the poverty was much worse and much more concentrated. After that, it was a winding up, up, and away.

Short ride on the interstate

Dogs are always on a cyclist's mind when in Kentucky. While we saw more dogs, most were tied up or in a pen. We waved at passing cars and said hello to people, but very few returned the gesture. Near Virgie and outside of Bevinsville, motorists yelled, screamed, and generally were pissed we were on the road. Not once did this happen in Virginia.

Then we had the second major climb of the day on our way to Melvin. It seems that we would go a couple of hundred yards, then stop to catch our breath and take a water break, then start again. Believe it or not, there was a liquor store at the top. And we passed more liquor stores today than in the last two weeks.

After our last climb, we had a gradual ascent to Pippa Passes. After getting lost, directions from a store owner got us to the "house hostel" of Charlotte and Ed Madden. Charlotte has been taking cyclists in since the BikeCentennial folks asked her in 1976. She says that she's definitely seen a drop in people stopping by. Her granddaughters live here while attending Alice Lloyd College. Casey is studying biology and later hopes to get into veterinary school. Her sister wants to go into nursing. We were even able to access our email at the college's computer lab.

Another long day tomorrow, but hopefully a big breakfast at the campus cafeteria.