BOBBY AND THANE TACKLE THE TRANSAM Day 15; Resting in Berea

Day 15 Resting in Berea: thoughts from back east (lives, loves and tears in Virgina)

Wednesday May 15, 2013

As Boo and I were standing at the sign which said welcome to the state of Kentucky I was truly flooded with emotions. Yes! I felt the elation of just having cycled across an entire state. An entire state! What new adventures lye ahead as we continue to travel west? Are the dogs and the coal truck sightings in Eastern Kentucky really as bad as I have been told?But before I could throw my leg back over the top tub the true scope of what now was in the mirror as I looked behind me invaded my soul. Virginia! What I now am waving good bye to has changed me forever!

The memories came back to me like the torrential rains that we cycled through for much of the first leg or our journey. The miles I have put on my bicycle in the state of Virginia have touched me in ways I never dreamt of. The joy of standing at the monument which marks the beginning of this trip was incredible. The weirdness of colonial Williamsburg with its costumed characters marked the beginning of the flood of memories.

I had never cycled up a true mountain before and the climb to the top of Mt.Afton was the most brutal two or three hours I had ever spent on a bicycle. At the top, at the beautiful entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway I had my first cry! That climb, that beautiful suffering had humbled me. On that mountain. During all that suffering I was nothing more than a visitor in a place of true magic traveling on a bicycle on my way to heaven.

On that day, I was shown a tiny piece of heaven in the form of rivers raging down either side of this mountain. It struck my senses as beautiful white noise. Mixed with the sounds of a man trying to stay focused on breathing and reaching down inside to a place he never knew existed. I am not at all ashamed to say has we stopped for a brief photo opportunity and made the left turn onto the parkway I could not hold back the tears.

The absolute beauty of cycling the parkway is beyond words. The road continued to point up, often pitching vertical for miles but the climb up Mt. Afton had taught me many, many things. Even during the suffering of these climbs I was able to absorb much of the world around me. Never have I seen Mother Nature’s beauty spread out before me like this and I fear I never will again.

Over the next week or so we continued to climb. As many as five mountain passes in one day. For reasons I simple cannot explain why I have fallen in love with the long, unforgiving pitches of mountain roads. At the speed of 4 mph trying to navigate a bicycle up a 13 degree pitched road the world is different.

On the beast of a climb up Hayters Gap I saw a beautiful woolly bear caterpillar traversing right to left and for a brief second she and I were silently speaking to one another. I thanked her for being on that mountain at that time. Sharing her beauty with me. She moved gracefully off to my left and as we parted ways I think she wished me well. That experience has touched my soul.

Riding a bicycle through the state of Virginia will beautifully wreck anyone. Many, many times I soared as the wind rushed over my helmet on the descents of these mountains. The assents convinced me I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. Traveling to the bottom of a mountain at speeds touching 40 mph while crying tears of absolute joy is as humbling an experience as I have ever had in my life.

The people, the beautiful, gracious people of this state will forever be in my heart of hearts. Some touched us only briefly. Some simply smiled at us and wondered why the hell anyone in their right minds would ride a bicycle across this country.

Some, like Thomas, who chatted us up from his tiny bicycle shop next to the mercantile store we at lunch at after three days of rain and mountains truly gave us the determination to keep moving west. We were cold, and wet and fatigued. We had each cracked in our own way that day and the words he spoke of the beating and the brutality of what cycling through this beautiful state can do to someone. He hadriddenthisjourney himself only one year ago.

From short order cooks at the waffle house to incredible smiling faces of random strangers I will forever feel the love they cast upon us. As I photographed each of their beautiful faces I truly don’t think they had any idea what an impact they made on this crazy old grampy.

At the beginning of this journey I told myself that a big part of the reason my soul needed this experience was to find the goodness in people. I have found that in the people of Virginia and as I sit here crying in front of a small café in Berea Kentucky I am humbled and so very very thankful for all the gifts that the state of Virginia has bestowed on me.

It’s time for Bobby and Chester and Boo and I to keep moving west. Good by Virginia.

I will forever love you

Bobby’s supposed to be resting in Berea.: I think happiness are those mountains in my handle bar mirror.

Wednesday May 15, 2013

I gotta look up the definition of rest day. Today found us running around town yes on our bikes. Just can’t seem to get away from that. Everything is so far from where we camped.

Slipped into town and got a hair cut and then LOL took some more stuff to the Post Office to ship home. I think I’ve just about paired down to where I’m going to have to haul what I got now. Berea is a pretty neat town to hang out in for a day and the camp ground has lots of hot water and a laundry.

When I came out of the Post Office there was an elderly gentleman looking at our bikes and spotted the MI tags on the back. He is retired from the college here but he said that he sailed on the Great Lakes. Although he left the ships before I hired on to them I was still able to finish a lot of his sentences for him. We had some great conversation and it was almost like we sailed together.

He gave me some history on the college here and said that their students are from low to moderate income families and pay no tuition. But they do have to work while attending. The school operates on a one billion dollar endowment.

I gotta tell ya this place is a bit different than what we rode through the last couple of days. So glad we decided to lay over here for a day and rest up.

That being said I am ready to get up early and continue on our beautiful adventure. There are still places to be and friends I haven’t met yet.

Thanks again for all your comments and prayers they mean so much to us out on the trail. I can’t tell you how sweet it is to lay down exhausted and read so many beautiful thoughts from our friends.

See ya out on the trail.

OMG Lemon Pie Oh by the way this is outside.

OMG Lemon Pie
Oh by the way this is outside.

Been carrying this since day one when I opened my pannier and saw it on the top. Cheryl you are the love of my life.

Been carrying this since day one when I opened my pannier and saw it on the top. Cheryl you are the love of my life.

This one is for my buddy Ron at Lafarge. Hope all is well in East Grand Lake

This one is for my buddy Ron at Lafarge. Hope all is well in East Grand Lake

What a beautiful place. I love college towns cause the young people bring cool coffee shops.

What a beautiful place. I love college towns cause the young people bring cool coffee shops.

I try to get my dog fix as often as I can. I miss my dogs so much.

I try to get my dog fix as often as I can. I miss my dogs so much.

We both got our hair cut so we should be some faster.

We both got our hair cut so we should be some faster.