Old Flying Farts Bicycling Club
Hazard, Ky to Elkhorn, Ky

Just as I start typing Don and Sal show up at the door begging for food.  I guess I will have to finish this after dinner.

I forgot about a few things from yesterday.  First, we rode through one of the poorest counties in country (Owsley) and it was definition of 'culture shock.'  The total disregard for the environment and their own living conditions was appalling.  Garbage is thrown out their front doors or worse, into the river.  I saw cars, motorcycles, wheels, everyday garbage and dead animals littering the riverbed.  The sides of the road were even worse with garbage that had been thrown out the windows of passing cars.  There were few regular houses in the area as most of land tracts were early (1970's) mobile homes in major need of repairs.  People were living in a tent outside of one burned out mobile home while on the land next door, sat a pretty nice house.  No rhyme or reason to the whole exsistence down here. 
To add to the weirdness of the county, we come to my second observation:  The "Ten Commandments" signs that were posted on buildings, staked in the ground on most every lawn, etc....By the end of the day, Don and I could recite the ten commandments, like good altar boys.  It was a hard to wrap our minds around the idea of these people having the ten commandments posted on their lawn, but then have a total disrespect for themselves.

Today's ride started late, due the heavy fog that covered the town when we awoke.  We had planned to be on the road at 7am but had to wait until after 8am to start pedaling.  The first 40 miles was uneventful and was a nice enjoyable ride.  It was easy to see that both Don and I did not have the motivation to cover much ground today at breakneck speeds.  Before lunch, we had two big climbs and they took the little wind we had right out of our sails.   The 13% grade caused some frustration and some walking to get to the top.  Consider this:  Don and I are in good shape after all the riding we have done over the last 35 days.  We have 2500 miles under our belts including the Rocky mountains...when I say these mountains are tough--they are tough.  Although they may not be high in altititude, thier sharp grades make for some tough climbs. 

After lunch, we knew we had a few more hills to defeat and we attacked them with everything we had--which was not enough today.  After having to walk much of the first hill, I met the van at the top and told them to go check on Don.  They found Don walking his bike up the mountain and he stated that he was done for the day--he had lost his legs.   When they arrived back up at the top of the mountain, Don and I discussed our options, and I decided to ride on and see how far I could make it before the moutains got me.  I knew I had one more big climb and then a pretty easy ride into Elkhorn City after the climb.  I flew through the curves on the downhill of that first moutain having a pretty good time knowing that it would soon turn to work as the road curved upwards and into the trees.  I downshifted and started the climb as a few cars passed by honking their horns.  I'm not sure if it was in support or if they wanted me the hell off the road, but I waved back and kept going.  As the climb continued, I continued to push myself saying that the mountain was not going to claim me as a victim.  It was just then, half way up the mountain, when I got a suprise.  As I slowly rode up the asphalt, on the shoulder of the road lay a white puppy with brown spots on it.  I figured it was another victim of the cars and the careless owners who do not leash their dogs.  As I downshifted again, right next to the carcass---it jumped up and turned to look at me.  I was so shocked that I almost fell off my bike.  It sat on the shoulder of the rode wagging its tail and not running away.  I stopped, laided down my bike, took off my helmet (so I didnt scare it) and crawled towards the puppy.  It sat their wagging its tail but kept moving just out of reach.  Finally, I saw the bag of puppy chow (opened) on the shoulder.  I then realized that this cute puppy had been abandoned on the shoulder of the road.  I was pissed.  I took some food and tried to feed it but it would not come close enough to eat out of my hand.  When I laid the food down, it would eat some of it.  At this time, the support van came around the corner and stopped.  Sal took some pictures of it as I tried to coax it towards me.  I was not successful--it just did not trust me..Why would it after what it had obviously been through.  Sal called the fire dept and they refused to help, so they stopped by a local church but no one was around.  In the meantime, I realized that there was nothing more I could do--which pissed me off even more, and I hopped backed on my bike.  Going on emotion alone, I climbed the rest of the mountain and really do not remember it.  I flew down the other side and rode like a madman into Elkhorn City.  
It stills breaks my heart to recall that puppy beside the road.

Looking at the map, we have found a shortcut to get to Christianburg, VA that will take another 53 miles of the total mileage of the trip.  As I have stated before, the maps that we are using are based on the transamerica route that was established in 1976.  There have not been many changes since then but by speaking with locals and looking at the atlas, we have been able to find different routes (newer roads) that get us to the same location but in less time.

Tomorrow, we enter Virginia!!!  Our last state



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