We’re happily in Abingdon,Va. today for our layover day at the southernmost point of the two-week Appalachian Adventure tour. For MG and me, the day off the bike came just in time due to our increasingly tired legs. At about 1,000 feet of climbing every 10-15 miles, with 427 miles in five days,with panniers, we’re bushed. Though, it’s a good tired in a “we made it!” sort of way.
Eduardo has also posted a Slideshow.
We’ve ridden through some of the most quiet, visually stunning hills and valleys in southern Virginia, all under bright sunny skies.
On Wednesday we rolled from Covington to Blacksburg. We took the shortcut options to cut the 91 mile route down to 74 miles, and we were glad we did. Our “shortcut route” included the infamous Jamison Mountain Road over Potts Mountain. This stairstep climb of about 1.6 miles took every tooth of our 26×34 low gear. We stood some of the way but were able to sit the two easier sections and we didn’t walk — thought it might have been just as fast.
Later that day we enjoyed the Blue Grass Valley along VA 42 with one picturesque pastoral valley after another. This segment included the Great Eastern Divide, where Sinking Creek flows west to the New River and ultimately to the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. We worked hard through this 30-mile segment, with many rolling hills. We stopped often take photos and give our legs a break.
In Blacksburg we made a nice stop at East Coasters bicycle shop and bought spare cables and more Chamois Butter and a post ride snack and espresso at Mill Mountain Coffee before hotel, shower, and Italian delivery to our room — too tired to go out to dinner.
On Thursday we knocked the 99-mile route to Wythevlille down to 79 miles. Again, Crista gave us truly remote, absolutey quiet roads through scenic hills and dales. We spent more time on US 42 through the Walkers Valley area. An unexpected surprise came in the appearance of an Amish bulk foods and grocery store just as we were getting very hungry, thirsty and tired.
“It’s With-ville,” we were told by the friendly lady running the store while the Amish owners were at an all-day wedding. She told us about the murderer on the Appalachian Trail who got out of
prison, tried to kill two fishermen on the trail after they fed him, died mysteriously in the county jail, and then how her sister tried to adopt the guy’s dog. I kid you not.
We rejoined Crista’s long route just in time for the major climb over Walkers Mountain, with a stop at the Big Walker Lookout tourist attraction. We didn’t pay the $5 to climb the lookout tower.
Wytheville is home to the Log Cabin 1776 Restaurant and we had a wonderful meal. Highly recommended. Friday we decided to get back on the full-mileage plan and skip the shortcuts on the 92-mile route to Abingdon. Despite leaden legs we braved a major climb over Mount Nebo and an many sawtooth ups and downs through the Rich Valley. The skies finally opened up on us in Saltville and we were delayed a while under shelter before stopping for lunch at a truly Southern diner, Edd’s Drive In, where the specialty was fried apple wedges. Let’s just say they were more fried than apple!
Another downpour stopped us for a half-hour under a carport, and Crista and Eduardo cooked up a shortcut to get us into Abingdon before the evening, and we ended up with 82 miles.
On Sunday we’re off on the return portion, starting with a jaunt to Galax. In the meantime we”ll be tracking the progress of our D.C. and Seattle/Portland friends ridng the Cascade 1200. Go go go!