I got up to a pretty cold and misty morning, but was over the state line after about 5 minutes, which gave me a boost straight away.
The good feeling didn’t last – the difference between Virginia and Kentucky was imediately apparent. Although the terrain didn’t change, everything else did. Eastern Kentuck is really poor, and that is reflected both in both the buildings and the people. In Virginia all the service stations are respectable places – a lot like the ones you get in the UK. About 30 seconds into my first visit to a Kentucky one showed me that things had changed: it was a shabby place, and most of the guys in there were fat, bearded, topless, and tatooed.
The houses went along the same lines, all were run down – and social status seemed to be determined by how much rubbish you could fit into your front garden! Almost all the buildings I passed today had different electoral banners pasted all over them, which added a bit of interest.
I’d heard the dogs were a nightmare in Kentucky, and I wasn’t disapointed, I must have been chased by over 30 today – something about cyclists must drive them crazy. I had my pepper spray handy for the first part of the day – until the clip snapped and it went under a truck. I made a quick gataway, trying to avoid the cloud of stinging orange mist that errupted. I did try and look for more, but nowhere seems to stock it. I never actually used it on a dog, as my first instinct seems to be to sprint off as fast as I can. It is surprising how fast and how far they can go when chasing you. I was chased by one for about half a kilometer today, at about 20mph.
It was another boiling day, which didn’t help with some of the climbs I had to deal with. While not as long as some of the mountains I’ve come over they were definately steeper – and the endless swichbacks stop you seeing how far you’ve got to the top. After tomorrows leg to Berea, I officialy leave the appalacians – Berea is billed as ‘the gateway to the Appalacians’ – although my next maps elevation chart looks like a heart rate monitor there are so many ups and downs!
By the time I reached Hazard – my destination for the day – after 90 miles i was exhausted, and am looking forward to a good nights sleep.