Day 15 (Breaks Interstate Park, Virginia to Hindman, Kentucky)

I think what surprises most people is that it takes two weeks to go through Virginia. It is the longest State we pass through. Kentucky is eight or nine days. Illinois is a scant four or five and the includes a rest day.


So passing this state line is yet another little milestone of achievement earned. 

Having left early I was on the the lookout for some of the later departing, but much faster, cyclists but thus far now one had overtaken me. After Ashcamp it started raining so I put on my jacket and started the first of five steep climbs. It was during that that that I felt and heard the sad (clunk) of a rear wheel spoke going out. I twisted it into place, loosed the back brakes and kept riding. The tire was holding out ok, but I was making slow progress. Reaching the top of the hill and coming down, I realized that I could not fully stop using the rear break and barely come to a stop using the front brake.


In Hellier, Phil, driving the van came by and I signaled him that I didn't feel safe coming down the hills until the spoke was fixed. So in the van I sit. 20 miles today.


Our first night in a state OTHER than Virginia. The differences between Virginia and Kentucky are immediate and unalloyed. There is a poverty here that is both proud and depressing.


Two things. We could not go ten miles without seeing some house, trailer, or dwelling utterly ransacked or burned and destroyed. At the Map Meeting the whole discussion is about how to handle both feral and let-loose dogs which make a sport of barking, chasing, or attacking cyclists. It's a problem that's worse here but may extend into Missouri.


After dinner tonight we met with Doug Naselroad, Master Luthier, at the Appalachian Artisans Center here in Hindman. He teaches people how to make a variety of acoustic instruments including the Appalachian Dulcimer. It's a beautiful instrument. The Artisans Center works to preserve Appalachian Arts, Music, and Culture.


A sense of place is terribly important here, Mr Naselroad tells of a student of his making a guitar from the wood scavenged from shelves of a family grocery that had served the valley. When he was done he had a beautiful guitar, but more important it had a story. β€œAll stringed instruments should be made with wood that is a 100 years old and has a story,” Naselroad said.