Bicycling the TransAmerica Trail

Cycling Across the US, Coast to Coast

Bicycling Adventure #3

54 days, 3,783 miles, Jul-Aug 2010

Ray Jardine

2010-08-28Virginia page 44 of 54

Day 44, Virginia

From Middleboro to Kingsport

I left Middleboro at dawn and pedaled the mile up to the Cumberland Gap Tunnel in a chilly fog. An escort saw me approaching, and came and helped me load the bike into his truck. Then he drove me through the tunnel and let me out on the other side. The driver was very friendly, and said he sees bikes here often. "One guy was even walking," he said "pulling a cart loaded with his gear."

Bicycles are prohibited in the tunnel but escorts work 24/7 (mainly for Hazardous cargo and wide loads). This friendly worker carried my bike and me through the tunnel.

Looking back at the tunnel entrance. Cumberland Gap is a major low point in Appalachian Mountains, and also the juncture of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia.

My route crossed over into Tennessee, then in less than a mile crossed over into Virginia.

The Virginia state line.

Sunrise burning through the fog

Highway 58 led through rolling hills in a pretty valley and had many possibilities for snack stops - gas stations with small c-stores.

But the further I traveled, the bigger the hills, and the more traffic. The day was a Saturday, and the people were out "enjoying" the countryside in their cars. At least that's how things used to work. In this day and age, they were more out trying to outdo each other in their powerful cars and pickup trucks. And unfortunately for me, the road often had no shoulder.

I took a break in this shady rest place. Where there is nowhere to park the bike upright, I lay it down, dérailleur side up.

I peddled through Joneville, Duffield, and Weber City, and by then the day was late and I was knackered mentally from the traffic and physically from the heat and steep and long hills. So I took a five-mile detour down into Tennessee, to the city of Kingsport, and found a room.

Miles pedaled today: 83

The story has 54 pages. This is page 44.
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