The next dawned overcast and drizzly. We rode in a light rain all morning but there was enough of a breeze to keep things relatively dry. We passed an Arby’s around lunch time and used our “2 free combos” coupon, that we acquired from a warmshowers host, and had a filling lunch.
I don’t think I’ve eaten at Arby’s for more than a decade. In fact, if you asked me if Arby’s was still in business I might say no. Apparently they are and if you are riding your bike around the country the roast beef sandwich tastes pretty darn good.
The days ride was along route 11 and there was a terrible headwind! For this reason there aren’t too many pictures of the riding. It felt like each downhill was a flat and each flat was an uphill. That made the actual uphills quite tiring. In the midst of all this unexpected hard work I discovered that I can now ride hills in my second chainring! For those of you who do not bike, this means I’m getting in better shape. It’s about time!
Since our mileage was slowed by the wind and the end of the day was promising more rain we stopped when we reached Atkins, VA.
Now, Atkins is a bit of a special place for me despite it being…not much to look at. The Appalachian Trail crosses the road here and when you come out of the woods you are looking at the Relax Inn, which might just be one of the most disgusting motels in America. I stayed here twelve years ago with Jennie (Blue Heron) when we hiked the A.T. and at that point it was pretty bad but seemed like a palace after hiking for days in wet weather. It cost us $40 twelve years ago and now it cost $50 and it was obvious nothing had been improved upon. After the past days of heavy rain we found the motel to be full of thru-hikers and it was quite enjoyable to meet some of them and share stories about the trail and discuss the differences between backpacking and bike touring.
We sat outside and moved the benches under the overhang out of the rain and lit someone’s alcohol stove in place of a campfire.
A father and son team from Australia named Jacko and The Invisible Man were hiking north and we also spoke with Jet Lag, Army Ant, Mother Teresa, ‘Lil SAS (slow and steady), Sparky and Wooden Spoon and her dog Gaia.
Sparky is from Arkansas and also likes to cycle. He gave us some good tips on major routes to ride and asked how we planned to cross the Mississippi River? We both looked at each other blankly….It had not occurred to us yet that we would need to cross the Mississippi on our bikes in some way. I guess that’s real living day-to-day for you.
In the end it did rain.
With the room we did stay dry but the room left something to be desired. Mainly working plumbing, a working door knob and clean bedding. At lest the television worked and there were at least 6 stations of Nascar. There was a washer and dryer and we did have a chance to do laundry so it wasn’t all bad.