Thursday, May 20, 2010

Harrisville, West Virginia

"Country roads, take me home
To the place, I be-long
West virginia, mountain momma
Take me home, country roads"
                                  - John Denver (You're welcome Mike Kelley)

We started the day climbing and ended much the same as we have now entered into the Appalachian foothills territory. It was a long day on the road thanks to the time it takes to climb some of those hills and a few detours due to poor road conditions. One of the more interesting moments of the day happened at about mile 30 when we were descending on a country road at about 40 miles per hour that then decided to change into a gravel road about half way down, I have never gripped the handle bars so tightly and I basically held my breath the rest of the way down, praying that I would stay up right on my bike (and alive).  We biked on back country roads, divided highways and a few gravel roads (at least 15 miles worth, not a lot of fun) to arrive in Harrisville, West Virginia, which is basically the definition of the middle of nowhere.  Chris keeps walking around humming the theme from the movie Deliverance which really seems fitting right now as I stare out the window at the rain coming down in the dark.  Wild and wonderful (state slogan) West Virginia really is beautiful country though as we are surrounded by peaks and forests in every direction and were continually today as we rode.  We ended up going up 4600 feet today, the second largest climbing day of the trip and the most since Arizona.  Two climbs in particular really put it to us today, one as we exited Athens which was noteworthy due its steep grade over about 3/4 of a mile and one just after we entered into West Virginia a long a busy stretch of highway 50 east that lasted nearly 2 miles and took a lot of persistence to overcome.  I think we were all pretty beat towards the end but we still chose to take the hillier route into town through North Bend State park rather than stay a long the main road, it added about 1000 feet of climbing over the last 7 miles but was definitely worth the effort as the views were amazing and the steep, curvy descent was a great way to finish into town.  Pete, Chris and I had ridden pretty fast all day so we knew we had some time to kill before the rest of the group arrived we stopped by an old school 5 and dime store and chatted with the owner for awhile before he recommended that we grab a bite to eat at the diner next door, Caroline's.  Some cheeseburgers and milk shakes later we biked the last couple miles (luckily that were down hill) to the 4-H campground where we are staying for the night.  Just another location to add to the list of places where I thought I would never spend a night but now have.  Big Big climbing day tomorrow, (a common theme since we've left Columbus) can't wait for the challenge. No chain!

A happy rider even 75 miles in.

One of many climbs. I've come to learn that not being able to see the top when you start is never a good sign.

Riding partners.

Berdine's 5 & Dime (the oldest 5 & dime in the country). I swear this store had everything you could ever need in your entire life. It's been in business since 1908 so people must keep finding what they need.

The owner really liked Pete so he got the biggest jawbreaker I have ever seen for free.

Caroline and her diner. A fine dining experience.

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