Posted by: rustymccain | July 22, 2011

Dr. Ray and Captain Alpo

Dr. Ray and Captain Alpo woke this morning in an indecisive mood. We weren’t sure how my leg would be. We kept the wrap on it from last night since it was difficult to get the bleeding stopped yesterday, despite the best efforts of Dr. Ray. However, my biggest problem was not the leg, but the complete fatigue from 2 consecutive days of nearly 100 miles a day in mountains and heat.

We had a few options. One was to take a full rest day at the Breaks. Breaks is an interstate park right on the Kentucky/Virginia border. And, like state parks in Tennessee, it is very nice and would be a great place to take a rest day. However, we hate to burn a day with the Blue Ridge mountains staring at us. So we split the difference. We decided to ride about 40 miles today and see if we could make some progress, but allow time for some rest.

The Breaks, VA

The ride was great for the first 1.57 miles! We started at the top of a mountain and right from the start we were coasting. But what we have learned is not, “What goes up must come down”, but rather, “What goes down must go up twice as far”. At least that seems to be the truism of this trip. While the route was short today, it did not lack climbing. We remembered a really tough climb out of Berea called Big Hill. We were not encouraged when we saw the map today and saw that one of our climbs was up Big Mountain.

But, the morning clouds kept the temperature manageable and we were able to make decent time and enjoy our first full day in Virginia. During the first part of our ride, the countryside was very much like the area of Eastern Kentucky that we just left. The hills were steep, wooded and very tight. In other words, there were not expanding vistas and broad valleys. It is a very rough landscape with not a lot of land available for development, whether on a large-scale with a town, or for individuals trying to carve out a home place. This type of environment also makes the going tough for us and the traffic.

Countryside near Honnaker, VA

Then all of a sudden, beginning at the top of Big Mountain, a switch seemed to be flipped yet again and the Blue Ridge mountains could be seen in the distance. There were wide valleys and gorgeous long-range views. We flew down into the town of Honnaker, VA, then took a break before climbing the last little bit into the town of Rosedale.

Here, we are in a motel museum. It is a motel that appears to have been built in the 1950’s and has not been touched since. We found out after we checked in that it is listed as closed on our maps. It certainly would not do for most normal people. But Carson, the old fella who runs it is a really sweet soul. Just talking with him is a treat. Meeting him will make up for the lack of luxury and is another brick in the great memory wall we are building.

We are altering our original plan just a bit by staying here without adding a day. We still have that day in our back pocket in case we need it. We hope to make it the Wytheville tomorrow and will be right back on schedule if we can do that. It is hard to believe that we have only 7 rides before we hit the Atlantic. If all goes well, we will get there next Thursday. However, we have to focus on today, so right now, I am going to rest, consult with Dr. Ray, and get ready to rock on tomorrow!


  1. Good Plan guys. I saw Robert E. today as I picked up some last minutes stuff for this weekend at his shop. He thought it best to remind you that you need an ice bath! He’s right! Take care of the bit and those legs. 7 more rides. You guys will make it and I can’t wait to celebrate your return.

  2. YOU CAN DO IT!!

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