We are riding in more desolate areas now, fewer convenience stores and restaurants and fewer hotels.
More Appalachia country as we are in Southeast VA and will be in eastern Kentucky tomorrow. The landscape is definitely changing but still hardwood forests and mountains to climb. The houses and towns we do come across seem more depressed economically. This means we have to think ahead a bit more, carry more food and plan our lodging or camping more strategically.
We seemed to climb all day today, the first big pass over Big A mountain. Did the Indians name it that? Thats the name, and it was a big A mountain. Just climbing and hot. Very tough riding on narrow roads.
We planned on staying at Breaks Interstate Park on the border of Kentucky and Virginia, they claim it is the Grand Canyon of the east. After a series of climbs we came around a switchback and wow, the view.
So so beautiful. The park was quite empty so we were able to get a cheap lodge room overlooking the gorge. We spent the night watching the hawks below us riding the thermals. Why hadn’t we heard of this area before?
I also wonder what other things we haven’t seen that are so unbelievable, can’t wait to find them.
-As a side note, when I am working hard on the hills I often listen to podcasts in one ear to distract me from the effort. I have been listening to Embedded by NPR which just finished a six part series called Coal Stories based on this exact county we are riding in. We pass many many signs in yards and stores that say “friends of coal”. Truck pass us all day hauling coal, these people waiting for coal to make the comeback the President has promised. The podcast interviewed a young man who had grown up in a hollow on a mountain in a trailer with a large family, hoping to work in the mines like his dad. So interesting to hear the stories while riding through this area.