The day started off quickly and comfortably, over rolling hills on an empty, shady road.
After a stop at the Dollar General in Haysi, we climbed a series of hills, the climax of which was Breaks Interstate Park, which some refer to as the Grand Canyon of the South.
By the end of lunch, we had set our sights on a cyclists-only hostel in Hindman, KY. This was no easy task from where we sat at lunch today, some 50+ miles away on a hot afternoon. These miles included two more big climbs, after which we rewarded ourselves with a break at a mini mart where we split an icy fountain soda.
Just before reaching the hostel, we caught up to another touring cyclist named Alyssa, who is also crossing the country but at a more leisurely pace and by herself. Coincidentally, she was also headed for the hostel in Hindman, so we were happy to trade stories and ride the last few miles together.
When we spoke to the owner of the hostel, Dave, on the phone, he mentioned to us that the driveway is very steep and that he rewards anyone who can ride up it without stopping with two complimentary beers instead of the one beer that all guests get by default. He said it’s been calculated to be about a 20% grade. The view was daunting after a long day, but the extra beer was enough incentive for me to ride to the top 🙂
As soon as we arrived, we were handed iced tea, given plenty of snacks, and were introduced to a few of the cats who were milling about on the porch, including Booger and Edgar Allen Toe (a polydactyl cat). In total, there were 5 touring cyclists spending the night with Dave. Another group, Nick and Mike, are on their way to San Francisco. Coincidentally, we had been seeing their names in guest books as we followed them for the past few days.
Dave produced an impressive dinner spread, followed by ice cream sundaes and tastes of local bourbon and moonshine before turning in; what a great host! We highly recommend staying here… he even did our laundry!
Trip stats, to date (Day 30)
- Council, VA to Hindman, KY
- Daily mileage: 95.4mi; Trip total to date: 1,717.4mi
- Daily riding time: 8hr 0min; Trip total time: 154hr 27min
- Daily ascent: 8,319ft; Trip total ascent: 90,708ft
- Flat tires: Rachel – 1; Chris – 0