There was a heavy fog this morning so we hung around until 8:30. George was just ahead of Seth and me, and Josh stayed in Hazard to wait for Claudia so they can ride the TransAmerica route.
It was actually a bit cool this morning and it was so wonderful. We heard that the humidity was supposed to be down as well and it was, making for a very pleasant riding day. I actually commented to Seth how dry the air seemed...it just goes to show how incredibly humid it has been! Today was highway riding all day and it got progressively worse as the day passed. We started with a great bike lane, which turned to small bike lane, which turned to rumble strip/gravel/no bike lane on a busy, busy highway.
At the top of our first of 2 big climbs today ("big" being relative to the recent terrain), we crossed into Virginia! State 9 of 9! Seth and I met in Virginia while hiking the AT, so it is a neat feeling to be back again on another journey together! We had a wonderful shoulder to ride on during the climb, and immediately after crossing the border, it disappeared beneath gravel and rumble strip. We were forced to alternate between riding in the road and trying to balance on a 8-14 inch section of sometimes there pavement next to a brain-rattling rumble strip and a 4+-inch drop off into gravel. It was probably the worst riding we've had, and the ride tomorrow looks to be similar. It is stressful to have to look at every car in my mirror and try to weave in and out of the gravel and rough spots, especially going downhill!
We made it to Norton, VA for a total of 66 miles and are staying in a hotel tonight. We hope to get an early start tomorrow for the 62 miles into Damascus. Seth's mom, Josh's mom and stepdad, and my parents are all coming to visit us in Damascus, so we are excited to get there!