Day 14 (Elk Garden, Virginia to The Breaks Interstate Park, Virginia)

It rained hard last night.  I had set up my hammock in part not to bother my companions with my snoring.  I set up my hammock on these beautiful gronds and settled in.  In the middle of the night however I was woken to a tremendous storm of wind, thunder, lightning, and incredible sheets and blankets of rain.  Despite all of it - my hammock and the rain fly weathered it out.

As we creep into Western Virginia, the pastoral estates have given way to coal country.  Proudly so as we see homes and businesses declare where they perceive their butter coming from.

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We also see signs of how that industry has struggled, particularly in the last decade with the regulations coming from the Obama Administration.  Not surprisingly we see lots of Trump support here.

Stopped for an impromptu lunch.  We had our first run in with the dreaded dogs of southwest Virginia.  A white dog tried to attack at least half of our group.   (I never saw it. ). Jim sprayed it with green Gatorade from his bottle and that did the trick.

Exhausted after a seemingly never ending climb up the hill to get to this park.  It takes me FOREVER to get up these steep long hills.

But I get up them.

We follow the United States Bike Route USBR 76 - established in 1976 as a bike route across America.  Rarely are we on divided highways.  Mostly it's country and state roads with little traffic.

Listening to Bluegrass at the park amphitheater tonight courtesy of the Backwoods Boys where the introductions include which county you come from because it matters.

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The Breaks is known as the Grand Canyon of the South and the picture doesn't do it justice but there is a Canyon down there obscured by all the foliage.

Large Amish family behind us. Norm introduced himself and we got to talking. They are originally from Northern Indiana and then Ohio but now from Eastern Kentucky. They didn't come here by horse and buggy, hiring someone to bring them here. We got to discussing the relative discomforts of traveling by bike versus by buggy. It's possible, the man said, to travel to New York Amish by buggy and keep to a route that gets you to an Amish Community every thirty or forty miles to take care of your horses but, he paused with a chuckle, not sure if you would like traveling that long by buggy.

Large Amish family behind us. Norm introduced himself and we got to talking. They are originally from Northern Indiana and then Ohio but now from Eastern Kentucky. They didn't come here by horse and buggy, hiring someone to bring them here. We got to discussing the relative discomforts of traveling by bike versus by buggy. It's possible, the man said, to travel to New York Amish by buggy and keep to a route that gets you to an Amish Community every thirty or forty miles to take care of your horses but, he paused with a chuckle, not sure if you would like traveling that long by buggy.

Map Meeting. After every dinner we go over the next days maps and route.  Tomorrow is 69 miles - really 70 plus and Philip says the Notes say it is the most challenging day with five large steep Kentucky hills.  Plus I cook so I need to try to be at camp at 4pm.

Nervous.

The Numbers:

42 miles for a total of 549 Miles.

Last ten miles dominated by three steep hills in the oppressive heat.   Ugh.  Fell asleep for a nap after my shower.