July 20, Day 49: Breaks to a Stranger’s Condo in Abingdon (72 miles)

Breaks Interstate Park. Matt imitating a hillbilly that tried to give us directions, or whatever he was trying to give us. I can only imagine how much we must get made fun of.

We met a another couple touring here as well, but they were going west. This is their first tour and they have no idea what they’re doing — really bad gearing, no rain gear, and irrationally afraid of catching rabies. Matt gave them his pepper spray and a heads up on the dogs in Kentucky.

Foggy like nobody’s business. What we saw of the “Grand Canyon of the South” from the viewpoint in the morning. Not sure what we were thinking waiting until the morning, but we really didn’t feel like biking any more last night.

View from Mill Rock Point was kind of better.

Vines taking over everything on the 80.


The picture isn’t great but this was the most beautiful garden.


Stopped at a country market in Council to buy a cantaloupe.

The owner of the store had just been cheated out of $800 by one of this sellers. He warned us of the nasty hill out of Council.

No shoulder on this portion of the 80. Later there was one, but it was full of loose gravel. This was one of the most stressful parts of the TransAm, I have no idea why it’s part of the route. There were speeding coal trucks and cars once again.

After turning off by Rosedale we had a quiet road at last. We saw this sign outside of a church and went in to enjoy the A/C and play their piano. A Dutch couple was there as well.

On the road again… One hour later.




But let’s not talk about where we slaughtered all the Native Americans.


All of a sudden we started climbing Clinch Mountain. Ow. As we got higher and higher I wondered, where are the guardrails? It being a one-lane road was a bit sketchy but traffic was rather light.

At the top we met three roadies taking a breather from booking it up the other side. When we asked if there was a place to camp in Meadowview (16 miles away), one of them invited us to pitch our tent in his backyard.

After a really fast and curvy 3 mile descent we went through Hayters Gap and then turned off to a residential street to get to David’s house (we’ve been meeting so many nice people with that name) in Abingdon.

We’re here!


David was at dinner with his wife by the time we showed up, but we were greeted by a cat, a couple of French bulldogs, and a cooler of beer and water.

The view. Right before we were going to pitch out tent, David called and told us he was going to have us stay in one of his vacant company condos down below the house so we could shower and sleep in real bed. Amazing! We ate all of our emergency food (Top Ramen, bits of tortilla, fruit, and peanut butter) while we waited for their return.

Where are we? It felt so good to stay indoors in a clean house. We zoned out watching TV until midnight. Thanks David for helping us out!



  1. I cringe every time you mention coal trucks, hopefully they will stop rumbling by soon.
    Peanut and I laughed at the picture of Matthew.
    I’m sure he had a great accent to go with those gestures.

  2. Yes, great accent i am sure. A lot of my mom’s family comes from a county in Kentucky not that far from there.
    Golly I am so incredibly proud of you both!! Judy just told me , of course, that you have a blog of the trip. So this is the first time that I am reading your entries. Wonderful and I really like the pictures. Matt makes an excellent hill-billy — I guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree —
    Which is exactly what my Garrard County, Kentucky relatives would say.

    The Vine is called Kudzu, an invasive plant originally from Japan. It now covers Millions of Acres of the South and is steadily advancing whereever it can go.

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