I hadn't slept much last night and woke up with a headache and feeling both hot and cold at the same time. I couldn't figure out what was wrong, but I wasn't going to let that ruin this trip.
Ricky's wife Frida had breakfast ready on the table when we got up: omelets, toast, and mouth-watering homemade apple butter jelly. After eating we went out to the garage and Ricky checked my chain alignment, and according to him, "I've never seen one so far out of whack."
His wife sewed some repairs on a strap I had made before the trip, securing my fuel bottle.
And then Ricky showed me around his farm, where he harvests Christmas trees. This implement wraps the trees in twine for shipping.
And this conveyer lifts the trees into the truck.
And this view from behind Ricky's farm shows a neighboring tree farm. "I remember when this was all farmland as far as the eye could see. Old Man Peabody owned all of this. He had this crazy idea about breeding pine trees."
Just before I left, a group photo. Big thanks Ricky and Frida. Excellent hosts and good food!
I headed north.
My plan was to go see the New River Gorge bridge in West Virginia today. I dig bridges.
But with my late start and stopping for photos and riding the back roads, I wasn't sure I'd make it, let alone have time to see the place.
Quick story--no pics. I stopped for a short break at a convenience store and parked next to two cruisers. A couple guys came out and we started talking about riding. The younger guy looks at my license plate. "Did you ride from Mississippi?" I tell him I rode in the day before from the Memphis area. He sheepishly admits that he and his friend trailered their bikes from Nashville and are spending the weekend riding. A moment later a girl comes out of the store and does a double-take at the cruisers.
"Nice bikes!" she says to them. She makes a circle and notices their license plates. "Did you ride all the way from Tennessee?" she asks the guys, her eyes agape.
He looks up at her. "Sure did."
I rode down to historic Thurmond on the New River with the plan to see the old town and look for a place to camp for the night.
Stone Cliff Beach is a free campground near Thurmond where I hoped to stay. I stopped by an information booth to see what there was to know. Then I checked out the campground. It was mostly an open area near the beach and several families had already claimed it. The prospect of trying to sleep near a bunch of cutoff jeans-wearing, beer-drinking rednecks and their multiple kids turned me off, so I located Army Camp campground on my map which didn't look to be too far away.
The road was smooth gravel.
And there were some homes along the way. I found this abandoned farm to be particularly interesting.
But after the last house, the road worsened.
And worse than that.
Some spots had fallen trees.
Some hadn't yet been cleared out of the way.
The terrain was beautiful. I was nervous of encountering a show-stopper where I'd have to turn around and go back.
But pretty scary in the waning light.
I eventually made it to the other campground, which was much better suited to me. I made some dinner and aimed for bed. It had been a rough, but fun day.
Though an adventurous ride, that gravel road cost me a couple hours when I was planning to see Thurmond. Now, not only would I have to wait until tomorrow to see the town, but I'll have to go up and around about an hour to get back there tomorrow. No way I'm riding that hellish gravel again.