Elk Garden, Virginia

We ran into John and Anne again. We have been either slightly ahead or behind them for the better part of a couple thousand miles. We learned that their riding partners Fran and Orasue decided to end their trip short of the Virginia coast. Tonight, Shannon, Steve, John, Anne, and I have been invited to sleep in the chapel of the Methodist Church. We accepted the offer.

Yesterday, we left Kentucky and entered Virginia, Shannon’s home state, and the last on our tour. We stayed at Breaks Interstate Park set deep in the densely forested Appalachians. While the effects were equally undesirable, it did not rain; the fog was so heavy, however, the leaves on the trees above accumulated enough water to produce a constant drizzle throughout the night, and everything we own became thoroughly soaked.

I must add a bit about the conversation Shannon and I had with the manager of the Family Dollar store in Honaker, Virginia. She asked us with a straight face, “Why don’t y’all get off the road?” She had obviously become frustrated with having to negotiate bicyclists while driving in her car, and continued throughout our conversation to note that we did not belong on the road. Shannon and I assured her that bicyclists had the same rights as motorists, but she had no intent to reason with us; she merely wanted to express her opinion of bikers. I mentioned the general situation in my hometown of Portland, where motorists are mindful and responsible towards bicyclists and vice versa, but she only replied that the next bicyclist she saw, she “might just hit.” I would invite Becky to visit Portland where hopefully she would learn a) bicycles are a viable means of transportation and automobile drivers respect bicyclists’ rights, b) intentionally hitting a bicyclist might be considered manslaughter, and c) imbeciles are encouraged to keep their mouths shut.