74.74 miles (Total: 657.15.35) Average Speed: 11mph Max Speed: 39mph
The rain continues to drop on top of my tent so I glance out the doorway to see its actually stopped and the wind is just blowing some. I got up to find just about everything stained and dirty, my bike especially. It takes forever for us to clean up even though we know the only option for tonight is to cycle 75 miles to Hindman. We leave Breaks and glide downhill towards the border. I glanced back to see the welcome to Virginia sign then just around the corner we had arrive in Kentucky, it felt like a real milestone.
I had heard and read some crazy stories about Kentucky and not a few metres over the state line we saw our first feral dog just trotting along the roadside. Alongside this we noticed the roadside suddenly becoming increasingly trash filled. We stop in Elkhorn city to have breakfast, I manage to get wifi so call home. Keen to get back on the road concious of the big day ahead we soon hit the road again to find we must now share it with more coal trucks. This is coal truck central, even the homes and shops have banners and stickers that read “We love our coal miners” I guess the whole place depends on it.
We struggle up and over each climb then stop at a Dairy bar for food. The locals have thick accents but have all been friendly enough so far. We soon press on down a busy road with a large shoulder, lumps of coal that had fallen from trucks covered the side. The scenery is strange, they strip mine entire mountains for the coal leaving devastating gaps in the landscape.
Its getting into late afternoon and we still have around 30 miles to cover, then a feel my back wheel throbbing up and down. We pull over to find I have my first flat, now I feel like a genuine touring cyclist. We fish out the tube check the tyre, I can’t find the hole or what caused it. I fish out a fresh tube I can patch the other one later. After I start pumping the new tube I check the tyre isn’t pinching it anywhere then continue to pump. After some more pumps I check how the pressure is building in the tyre and feel a bubble underneath. The tube HAD become pinched and looked like a small bubble coming out the side of the tyre so I take the pump of straight away but it explodes, great. I fish out my second spare tube and we both double check everything a million times after each pump, it seems seated right and eventually pumps up nicely.
Once were back on the road the clouds turn black and light fades we race the last 25 miles to Hindman sprinting up and over the hills. We had two choices, find the motel just off route or stay at the Historical Society. The latter would have been our first choice but you had to camp and our tents were soaking from last night, plus the ACA group said they were heading there so we didn’t know if there was room and got no response from calling the place. We passed through Hindman and found another huge climb towards the motel. Both tired and angry we stayed civil and trudged up. We get to the intersection to find no sign of the motel so ask in the station for directions. They tell us its 2 miles up another hill but it was a nasty motel for drug addicts. We try the Historical Society once more and David answers, he tells us we would have to camp but we would get a free beer, laundry done for us, supper & breakfast for $25. Deal.
We finally arrive exhausted to find Terry is there also, he helps us with the bags then fetches us a beer. David greats you at the entrance with a large glass of ice tea. We then settle down for beer, pizza and potatoes as the stresses of the day soon fade away. Cooper asks Terry what he makes of Kentucky, he replies in his best oz accent “Its bloody primitive!”. David then brings out jars of moonshine and offers us a shot, we all oblige, its actually pretty good.