A tale of two states

Virginia has impressed us once again. Today was a beautiful riding day, full of rolling hills, great people, and wonderful food! We got a pretty late start out of Charlottesville because we had to wait until 10 for Mark to get his bike back. Thanks to Justin at Blue Ridge Cyclery, Mark’s bike was good as new this morning! So we took off and headed for Mineral. Today was probably our hottest day of the ride so far; it was in the upper 90’s with humidity that will take your breath away, literally. But even with the heat, the riding was great ~ beautiful countryside, gentle climbs, and some awesome stretches with the wind at our back. Unfortunately, there isn’t much more to blog about from today’s ride. It was, for the most part, uneventful. But don’t fret, I am going to talk a little bit about my impression of the two states we’ve ridden through this summer.

Before the ride when I thought of Virginia and Kentucky, I thought about white fences, horses, farms, and most of the populations centered in big cities. After riding through these states, I have a very different impression. From everything I’ve seen for the past couple of weeks it has become apparent that much of these states are densely forested. While we may pass a farm every so often, much of what we have been riding through has been lush, beautiful forest. Another thing to note from these places is that for the most part the people are some of the most trusting, kind, and generous individuals that I have ever met. I don’t know why this difference exists, but from my experiences it does. These states are very different from my impressions. They are much more than I ever imagined they would be.

There are also some stark differences between what we saw in Kentucky and what we’ve seen in Virginia. The one I want to mention and probably the most obvious is the coal industry. Eastern Kentucky seemed to have this love/hate relationship with coal. There were those who made their well-being on coal, and so of course were “friends of coal” , and then there were those who saw what the industry was doing to their state, and wanted it to stop. This conflict really seemed to divide the people of the state, in a deep-rooted conflict that we could never understand. In Virginia, that same conflict doesn’t seem to exist, and maybe that is because there isn’t as much economic depression, or maybe it’s just chance that we didn’t ride through these coal mining communities. The differences between these states could go on and on but I don’t want to put you to sleep!

No matter what the differences are, both of these states have woven a deep connection with me. I have continually been in awe of the beauty in the wilderness that we have seen. Cycling through a state allows for such a different perspective than driving through it, and I really feel privileged to have experienced these two states first hand.

We are just a couple of days away from Yorktown, and I am really looking forward to what lies ahead of us.

And that’s the way the cookie crumbles,

Devon

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Mark and I riding out of Radford a couple of days ago. This picture was taken by our good friend, and host Chuck!

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A great example of the resiliency of nature

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