I have s tradition of ending my journeys in catastrophes of one form or another, and this trip was no exception. My dad showed up at my campground around noon with a replacement derailleur. Unfortunately, as the bike shop in Huntington was closed, he had to pick up what was available at Dick's Sporting Goods, which was a 7-speed Shimano Altus. I have a 9-speed cassette, so after a great deal of adjustment, I was only able to get four gears working.
In a single day I'd more or less fallen in love with Huntington, so my departure was very reluctantly executed. I was quickly cheered though by the quiet, empty streets. Everyone, it seemed, was in bed on their day off.
Out on the highway, the road was flat, the shoulder was wide, the traffic sparse, the weather cool, the skies brilliant blue with cottony clouds. I rode like this for 25 miles, a portion of it with company — an older man who was out for a training ride from Huntington. The twenty miles after that lacked the shoulder, but the traffic remained light.
I keep thinking eventually this will get easier.
But let's go back a couple days and take a look at Huntington. I woke up Thursday at 10 a.m., lounged around until noon, and then set off, on foot, down the side of the highway.
I'm sitting in a hotel room in Huntington, West Virginia watching Sixteen Candles. It's a pretty awful movie if you ask me, but it does have three things going for it: Anthony Michael Hall, who is hilarious every moment he's on screen; Joan Cusack — she's only got the one headgear joke that gets repeated over the whole course of the movie, but then, it's Joan Cusack; and John Cusack, who is also has a one-joke bit part, but does it quite well.
All this by way of saying, I'm sure you're tired of hearing how hard this is.
Just a brief note today. I've got to pay bills tonight so no time for writing.
It was another hard day. Started off ok, but two flats in the last two hours drained my cells and some of my reserves. Tomorrow I'm bound for Huntington and a much needed day off.
Another tough day today. It didn't rain, except for a little sprinkle this morning, and distance-wise it was short, but it was a challenge none-the-less.
God knows when I'll be able to post this. There's a good cellular signal here at Carr Creek State Park, but data throughput is non-existent. No big surprise there, but I can still type, so I'm typing. You can read it when you can read it.
The photo upload functionality I built turns out to be garbage. Sorry. I'll post photos when I get back to Atlanta.
This was supposed to be an easy day. 33 miles to Corbin, Kentucky, then lunch, then an easy 21 mile ride to tonight's campground. The first leg was indeed a breeze. I arrived in Corbin at around 1pm (having started late this morning) and stopped by Runner's Sports Shop for some supplies.
As a recumbent rider, I am a novelty. It would be fair to say that 50% of the people that see me watch me pass with gape-mouthed shock. People in cars often slow down. Sometimes they stop, right in the middle of the highway. I always wave at people who take an especially great interest. Sometimes they wave back. A lot of times they just keep staring, all googly-eyed, like they're watching a zebra go by.
I said farewell to Chattanooga at about 8 this morning. The route out of town was supposed to take me along the Chattanooga Riverwalk, but something went wrong and I wound up just suffering through a pretty ugly state highway. The roads were, at least, relatively flat; the weather was agreeable; the miles clicked by with clockwork regularity.