current location: Chattanooga, TN
total mileage: 645
approximate # of kayaks I've seen in the past 3 days: see total mileage
# of days I've cried: 6
identifiable types of roadkill: 19
servings of ice cream consumed: 23
# of marriage proposals: 1
level of seat comfort (on a scale of 1 to 11): 8.74
Note to self: "Self, scenic tours are meant for driving, not cycling." After learning this the hard way coming into Asheville, my subsequent route included deviating from the Blue Ridge Parkway ASAP. Busier, more direct roads have faster traffic, but an existent shoulder, and (usually) more gradual inclines and declines. Sounds good to me! My mom joined up with me in Asheville and has been riding along on a bike to remind me that I can't coast... I mean, to accompany me for my personal safety. We've had a great time, between steep hills coming out of the Nantahala and Ocoee gorges, dealing with the creepy stalker guy, finding out that Verizon (unlike Visa) is NOT everywhere we want to be, tenting in a wild thunderstorm, a flat tire on her bike, 216 miles, FINALLY arriving in Tennessee, pizza, ice cream, laughing, and pillow fights.
My favorite reactions so far:
- the motorcyclists who pass, subtly glance in their mirror, then shake their head.
- "You're so hot! Will you marry me?!"... yelled from a rafter on the Nantahala River.
Reactions generating my fakest courtesy laughs (ahem.. properly juxtaposed from the reactions above):
- "You're missing a wheel!"
- "Don't fall!" (are we still in kindergarten?)
- "Helmet!" (spoken reprovingly to me as I passed because I was wearing my visor instead. Look, buddy, sometimes skin protection takes precedence over head protection - get over it!)
Hooray for finally reaching The Volunteer State, the land of "Agriculture and Commerce," the 36th biggest state, or shall I optimistically say, the 15th smallest? And now I just hope it won't take another 14 days of riding to get through this second state in my journey....
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
Carolina Fatz bike shop in Asheville, NC
Eric, Marian, & Stella Larson
Todd Campbell & Jan
Scott's Bikes in Cleveland, TN
Click here to donate online. For additional donation info, please see the initial post, "Up and Rolling."
Coker unicycle product info.