Elkhorn City to Pippa Passes Hostel, Kentucky. (56 mi.) Mile 682
Escape from Elkhorn City
We had a break in the weather so we made a run for it, and made it to our goal, the American Youth Hostel at Pippa Passes where I am typing this now. Weather has either been sultry, hot, and humid, or drizzling slightly.
This has been another hard day with 3 steep climbs. The route winds up and down through economically depressed eastern Kentucky's Appalachia. We've seen a lot of single wide mobiles, dogs, roosters, coal trucks, and sorry to say, roadside trash.
Pippa Passes Hostel
Mike only had to pepper spray one dog, but there were many others that really wanted at us. It is unnerving to have a huge muscular dog come shooting out of a dog house in your direction, all lathered up with murder on its mind, then have it jerked short by a chain that you had not seen. At least every other day in the summer, a TransAm cyclist rides by on this route, and I am guessing that the cyclists who have preceded us have helped decrease the potential for dog trouble.
We have experienced the usual goodwill too. As we rode by one house, the occupant noticed us through her window and hurried to the door to yell, "Y'all have a good trip." Another man sitting on his porch hollered out, "Watch out for the dog up the street!". The highlight of the day was probably discovering, after puffing and crawling up the longest, hottest, sweatiest climb of the day, a shop at the summit of the mountain with the sole purpose of selling cold beer and alcohol. The shop sits just inside the county line where alcohol sales are legal, and sells to customers in the adjacent country where alcohol is restricted. The salesgirl said bicycle tourists often stop. No doubt!
Beer stop at the top
We were exhausted when we reached the hostel. As we were sitting on the porch relaxing and wondering what ever happened to Walter from two days ago, he came puffing up the hill. He had been camping during all of that stormy weather recently and feeling "quite virtuous" for saving the expense of a motel. His tent was wet and muddy, and he was very glad to have shelter tonight. We split the price of a pizza and commiserated over having to eat it without beer. All three of us are enjoying sharing stories again.