Tuesday, May 23, 2006
current location: Asheville, NC
total mileage: 429
# of days I've cried: 4
identifiable types of roadkill: 14
servings of ice cream consumed: 13
# of dogs that have chased me: 8
level of seat comfort (on a scale of 1 to 11): 9
Safe and sound in Ashevegas, relaxing and catching up on organizational tasks in the Ferguson home. The best way to describe how my quads have felt 24/7 since the beginning of this journey is "swollen." So swollen, in fact, that I've lost most of the muscular definition in my quads, and can't touch my heel to my rear. Despite this lack of muscular cooperation, I was able to ride 24 miles while only resting my bottom once... my crowning achievement for the week.
Between changing terrain, the immeasureable amount of hospitality, and fatigue, I've learned a lot about my surroundings, people, and myself:
- The only time I enjoy a headwind is going downhill, when it becomes a huge relief to my often-aching knees; a headwind any other time makes the flat seem steep and the steep seem steeper.
- If the map notes that a town has services, this may not be accurate, so be prepared for 35 miles without any food or water.
- Maps may also fail to label road names, so be prepared for many miles of extraneous riding.
- In North Carolina, tobacco is a crop still very much a part of the rural economy and lives of rural citizens, as I discovered from passing a contraption consisting of 1 tractor, 4 boxes of tobacco plants, and 5 people. Perhaps the coolest thing I've seen so far.
- The sweetest words to a hungry rider's ears are, "Would you like to come into our house for some refreshments?"
- When people are taken by surprise, they like to stare and point, rarely bothering to wave and/or smile, even if waved at and smiled at.
- Horse-drawn carriages are still used, and when they cross paths with a unicyclist in the middle of nowhere, both parties get a good chuckle.
- Country-folk warn me of city-folk, and city-folk warn me of country-folk. I've met only amazing people in both contexts, so I'd say I have nothing to worry about!
- Dense fog that provides only 15 yards of visibility is a blessing in disguise, forcing me to stay in the present.
- It's okay to walk up parts of 15-mile climbs. I already lost one wheel and all my gears, so I have little left to lose except a little pride.
- If your parents are worried sick about your solo activity, do it anyway, and maybe they'll come with you.... [my mom flies into Asheville today to ride along!]
- Gummi worms, music, and friendly horses can cure a cranky mood.
- Delight = cruising downhill after an exhausting day, rockin' to some Jesus music, a mystical sunset, and optimism undampened by severe fog or wind.
[Mt. Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi]
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
Steve and Debbie Shough
Barry and Lou Ann Dinkins
Lisa & Mickey Hauser
Steve and Margie Wooten
Rick of the 15-mile climb
Ed and Daniel of the Linville Falls campground
Click here to donate online. For additional donation info, please see the initial post, "Up and Rolling."
Coker unicycle product info.