This should be the route I'll be following...

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

4th Time Lucky

If this doesn't work this time I'm sacking it off. I spent over an hour yesterday doing 3 attempts at updating this. Twice in the morning on my mobile, didn't publish, then about half an hour on a computer in a little town, and just when I went to publish the essay I'd written, the stupid thing crashed.
Anyway, it's another gorgeous morning in sunny Virginia, which means it'll be baking by 1pm. Hopefully I'll be back in the forests again by then. Spent last night in the Grindstone Campsite (not Grindhouse as I kept calling it) in the Jefferson National Forest. More beautiful forest. There must be more forest here than there is England. It's cool during the day but I nearly froze when I set off this morning - I actually had to put extra layers on - and I even slept IN my sleeping bag last night, not just on it. They make you pitch your tent on gravel in these State Park campsites, which doesn't make sense to me. It is small gravel but I'd still rather be on the grass. I was particularly unimpressed the night before last at Claytor Lake State Park when I turned up half an hour before dark, pitched my tent on a nice soft bit of grass, went for a shower, by which time it was dark. I'd been on the road 11 hours that day. I was tired. Then the police turned up and told me I had to re-pitch my tent on the gravel. But I didn't swear, well, not out loud.
I'm surviving quite well so far. The sore bits are only short-term sore, ie once I've had a rest or a nights kip, I'm ok again. My poor thighs have taken a battering with all these hills. If I'd spent 2 months cycling around the Lakes I might have been better prepared. The muscle just on the inside of your thigh, behing your knee has been really sore. I've barely been able to touch it at night, when attempting to massage it back to normality. Some of the hills have been seemingly endless...lot sof swearing and rest stops involved. And I'm working my way through the massive variety of drinks on sale here. There are hundreds. I can only drink so much water before I'm bored. There are sodas, caffeine free, sugar free, only natural, elecrolyte only, electrolyte with sugar, with juice, without juice, isotonic.....too much choce. And not enough recycling!
As you may be aware, I'm not a particular fan of dogs. This isn't likely to change whilst I'm here. The stupid f**king things. I've spent a reasonable amount of time trying to decide if I could launch one of them with a single kick, without falling off my bike, as they chase me down the road. I figure if it's a jack russell or smaller I'll be ok. Most of the big ones just get to the edge of their property and lose interest, it's the little yappy things with something to prove that chase you forever. Which is ok if its early, or you've just had a break, or your going downhill, but whn its hot, you're going uphill and you're knackered I want to get off and stamp on them. Rant over. For now. A retired couple I met yesterday discussed tactics with me. They had set off from San Francisco, cycling, on 11th May so had had the experience. The recommended course of attack is to scream at the offending dog, then apply airhorn followed by pepper spray. The airhorns are available from Walmart, the pepper spray from bike shops (where else?). Pepper spray is about to be bought as I should be in Kentucky in the next couple of days, where the problem is worse it seems.
I met 3 American lads yesterday, who are going the same way as me but to San Francisco. All just finished architecture degrees and cant get work so decided to travel instead. Two of them were physically fit, the 3rd isn't, yet. I gathered from the conversation with the unfit one (June)that this was proving to be an issue as the others wanted to press on and he was holding them back. And they are only 5 days into the trip...That's partly why are only half-heartedly tried to convince anyone to join me on this ride. I didn't want to negotiate on rest stops, distances to night stops etc etc. I wanted the freedom to do what I wanted, when I felt like it, without a different from ususal really. (sorry love x)
I can't remember where I'm heading for tonight and the map is outside, which is too far to locate. I think it's Breaks. I do know there is a major hill between me and it. Then into Kentucky tomorrow...perhaps I'll have to try some Bourbons.


  1. hola. god that s an essay did yo od that on yuor phone. whats with all the dogs chasing yuo. make sure yuo do some stretching at the emd of the day or yuo ll not recover from the cycles. yuo should eat some carbs wiht the dirnks as that put s wter in yuor muscles. there i knew id come in handy. take it easy. xx its tues 14th in case yuo lost track of days .

  2. Hi Matt, Enjoying your blog! Had a blonde moment after reading todays chapter (been on nights - my excuse) when you said that you'll have to try some Bourbons, my first thought was that they're my fave biscuits as well! Good luck with the pepper spray. :)

  3. The thought of you getting off your bike and stamping on a rat dog has put a smile on my face! You'd probably get a 175 year sentence for doing something like that there or even the chair - as ever I am of course thinking of the legal consequences...

    Please do not abandon this blog - just get a new phone - you know that's what you want to do!

    Great news BTW - you have edged over the £7k mark

    Alex D

  4. Hey Matt! I finally got my act together to be organised enough to blog back. Dog lover as I am, your comments about chasing dogs made me laugh and I can't say I blame you for taking action. Sounds like you're holding up though I must say, sleeping on gravel, however small, is taking the piss. Bamboo is surviving!! Well done mate, keep going! x x x x

  5. Bamboo, what bamboo? Oh shit!! :p haha xx

  6. Please keep up with the blogs, I am sure they will become easier to post via the many varieties of PC and GPS you are using! Re the sore bits I imagine you already know to use vaseline etc.

  7. Yo dude,
    I've been keeping up with your blog and its fantastic that you're on your way, shouldn't be long before the comedy belly is a distant memeory or, a goal for when you get back. If it wasn't for Gerwin I wouldn't understand the bears joke tch tch. I've got some news for you which if we'd had got our timings in synch you would have found out at the party that you and Alex were invited too. Guess what I got engaged!!! Anyway keep eating and drinking enough and I'll keep a watch on your progress, take care bud