Saturday, July 23, 2011

Day 15

Friday, July 22

Miles today: 81

Everyone kept telling us that today we would be out of the hills and we were so excited! Well, our first 30 miles were in a forest with no services, little shade, and constant steep uphills with little relief on the downs. It was so frustrating and we both agreed it was harder than any mountains we had ridden because those are just one long up and one long down. This was constant back and forth it was really mentally difficult to keep climbing those hills. We had to ask a random person in their yard for water and even stopped at a bluegrass festival for more water. That turned out to be so entertaining, as we talked to the locals and they were so excited to have us there. The owner of the farm thanked us for coming and said to come back soon. I don't think we'll be back for at least a few years... But we did have fun! After we left, a truck that was passing us even stopped to invite us to the festival. We are really surprised at how friendly the people are here. It is so different from home, with a lot of poverty in many places (there really isn't anywhere to work) and it is so incredibly rural that we weren't sure how people would react to us. But everyone we've met has been kind, helpful, informative and fun. It's so cool that we get to meet so many different types of people, each one with their own unique stories.

There was absolutely no gas station or store for 35 miles. It was definitely a necessity that we stopped at that festival! Luckily, we were able to stay hydrated and we finished up the day around 8 at our hosts' beautiful home. Andy, Paige and their children, Lily and Claire welcomed us into heir home, fed us an awesome dinner, gave us a shower and bed to sleep in, and made us feel so at home there. They really are an awesome family and so generous to open their home to us (and many other cyclists who come through). Now I'm enjoying a cup of coffee as I write this and try to prepare for another hot day of riding! I don't think the heat wave is hitting here like it is at home. We were been in the mountains for the worst of it, and now that we are in flat land (supposedly) the highs are back into the 90s but at least not the 100s.

We are onto to section 10 of the maps. We also hit the 700 mile mark, so we are 1/6 done with the trip. Feeling good!

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