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Now That's What I Call Music VIII

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Virginia Plain

The riding isn't exactly flat but the terrain is a welcome change from the sodding Appalachians!  Virginia is very pretty and we have enjoyed two 'easy' days.

The First Cut Is The Deepest

In Kentucky and Virginia approximately 106% of all citizens are engaged in mowing their lawns.  I don't think we have been out of earshot of a lawnmower for over a week.  It occurs to me that the reason they harvest tobacco is because they just think it is a really broad-leaved variety of grass.  Today was Saturday and there  was a mass lawnmowimg frenzy.

One More Night

Yup.  We hit Yoktown tomorrow.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

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A nice touch by the Timberlake Motel!  So that is the last tough day done.....84 miles and 5000 feet of climb.  Tomorrow we start our way across the eastern Virginia Plain (if only there was a song for that!).  Our last 3 days are shortish and fairly flat so there is a bit of an end of term feel this evening.  Since our motel is 2.5 miles out of town we may celebrate with a delivery pizza!

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Can You Dig It

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We are in the Appalachians, having passed from Kentucky to Virginia to West Virginia and back into Virginia.  This is mining country.....mostly salad vegetables but also some coal.  


It is very beautiful but hilly as hell. Typically only a handful of climbs each day, but each with a mile or two at 10% or worse. We even had a twenty percenter the other day!





We while away the time by counting churches and for several days now we have been averaging almost 0.5 churches per mile.  Yesterday was a new record - a magnificent 0.6!
We think we now have the definitive list of options if you are considering becoming a baptist:

Baptist First Baptist United Baptist (clearly a false claim......unless they just mean United against all the other Baptists) Missionary Baptist Regular Baptist Old Regular Baptist (presumably some sort of schism within the Regular Baptists) Slightly irregular, disunited Baptists ( I may have made this one up)

We are now in Blacksburg (home of Virginia Tech University).…

Now That's What I Call Music VII

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I'm Still Standing

Hello, it's me.  It is many days since my last confession.  Using an I credibly clever and sophisticated formula that takes account of distance ridden and hills climbed, today has been the hardest of the trip by a country mile.  91 miles and 7000ft since you ask.

I am pleased to say that I did it with only moderate whimpering.  We have just 1 more day in Kentucky and fewer than 600 miles to go.  No poultry counting but the end is in sight.......

Lets Twist Again

.......unless Hurricane Florence has other ideas.  We are trying to make sense of all the weather reports but we still have no idea whether any of our route is now under water.  I suppose, technically, so long as we ride to the edge of the flooding, we have reached the 'coast' (though not where it used to be located).

It is certain that we are going to get wet and this appears to start tomorrow, with heavy rain forecast.  Bugger.

Tobacco Road

Kentucky and Virginia are tobacco gro…

Faith

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The trick when writing a blog is to avoid all contentious subjects: sport, politics, religion.

Earlier today we cycled through an area absolutely covered in churches.  At first I was just reflecting on the wide variety of 'flavours' of religion covered by them but then I thought "hang on a minute....what the hell are the Baptists playing at?".  Within less than 20 miles I saw:

Baptists Regular Baptists General Baptists Missionary Batists

Each had a church a little larger than the Royal Albert Hall.

Now, I am sure they all have petty (and mostly imaginary) differences in ideology but this is silly.  There can't possibly be enough Baptists  to fill all these churches so here is an idea.....

Why not create an all--embracing Baptist religion? To save time I have got a name.....The Amalgamated Baptist Church (The ABC for short).  This should allow the closure of several churches in each town and the resulting cash windfall and on-going cost reduction could be use…

Days

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I am still alive but badly behind with the blog!  So:

Wed/Thur/Fri - The Man On The Hill

We rode through the Ozarks in Missouri.  It was hilly.  To expand:

For 300 miles we have been grinding up and down in the sodding Ozarks.  Climbs are seldom more than half a mile and often only a hundred yards but gradiants are up to 15% and there is seldom more than 1 mile between them.  One was 80 miles and 5500 feet of climb!

Fri - Mississippi Mud

The day was forecast to be wet but we somehow managed to avoid all the showers and finally cleared Missouri by crossing the Mississippi into Chester, Illinois.  The Mississippi drains more than 40% of the USA and is an impressive thing to cross.

Chester is the birthplace of Popeye....if cartoon characters have a birth....and it was the weekend of the annual Popeye festival.  Our hotel was full of Popeye fanatics, including some dressed as their favourite characters.  Twats.  

Sat - Here Comes The Rain Again

We may have missed the rain on Friday…

Now That's What I Call Music VI

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Puppy Love


So, having tried clickbait I thought I would give the other approach a try......kitten or puppy photos.  This little fella was being offered free by the owner of a little store we stopped in.  I have called him Donald after the King of Merica and he rides in my bar bag.  He isn't toilet trained yet so delving into my bar bag for a boiled sweet now has a little extra frisson of excitement.

Simpsons Theme Tune

I believe that Bart's home town was called Springfield because it is one of the most common city names and almost all Americans will live near a Sprinfield.  We passed through the Missouri version yesterday - an affluent university town with an excellent 8 mile cycle path that snuck through town along the side of the river.

The day was lumpy with an endless series of short sharp climbs.   It was only 53 miles but everyone was glad to finish.

Route 66...

....doesn't techically exist anymore but the original route is still marked and is a Mecca for anyo…

Labour of Love

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Yesterday was our third rest day and the routine is now well established:

Morning: breakfast, chain cleaning, pant washing, paperwork, brunch.

Afternoon: a visit to a nearby bar to soak up the local culture.

Evening:  sleeping it off in a gutter somewhere.

We are slightly more than two thirds of the way.  This means we have cycled 2700 miles.....which is a lot...but we still have plenty of work to do and most of the hardest days are still ahead of us in Kentucky. 

Today we saddled up and headed out for the next leg.  A few miles down the road we passed into Missouri.....known as the 'show me' state and we are now all tensed for the assault by dogs that is a particularly lovely feature of cycling in this part of the world. 


The weather is warm but noticeably more humid and we are promised sporadic thunderstorms for the coming days.  For our 74 miles to Mt Vernon the terrain was typical Missouri - an endless rollercoaster of small hills across a lush green landscape.  It is…

French Kissing In The USA

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Yesterday's score in the good versus evil wind match was: Heaven 0 - 63 Hell. It didn't seem to matter which way we turned the wind was always bang on our noses. Just for good measure our luck finally ran out and we got a good old soaking for the final hour and a half.

We stayed in Chanute, KS whose claims to fame are:

1/ Octave Chanute claims to have been an aviation pioneer who provided the inspiration for the Wright brothers and



2/ If you load Google Earth from the USA and keep zooming in, you eventually find yourself looking at the intersection on Main Street Chanute where our hotel was located.  To celebrate this astonishing fact the town closed Main Street for 6 months to create the paved inlay shown above.  In the process the hotel almost went bust as nobody could get to it!!!

By now you may be wondering how this connects to the song de jour and title photo.  It doesn't.  I am experimenting with what I believe is called 'clickbait' in an effort to boost…

When The Wild Wind Blows

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This is my second time cycling across Kansas and I can now confirm that the ONLY thing that matters in Kansas is the wind direction.  Wind strength is a given.....it always blows here......but the direction makes the difference between heaven and hell.  Today we had 50 miles of hell and 24 of heaven. 

By Kansas standards it was a lumpy day with 1000 feet of climb, but by every other standard it was another flat day thrashing away into a headwind that varied between annoying and bloody horrid. 

After leaving Newton I think it is fairy to say that significantly more than half the buildings we passed were churches.  Sodding great big churches in the middle of nowhere.  I have no idea whether anyone attends to worship buy if they do they have a fair old drive and plenty of choice once they get there.  The most popular flavour of Christianity here seems to be Mennonite......I must confess that I thought that was the stuff that Superman was afraid of.....or possibly some sort of lam…