Sunday, June 12, 2005

Our Last Day in West Virginia...

We last heard from our cyclists in Marlinton, just before what turned
out to be one of the most amazing meals we've been fed along the trip
so far (and coming from this always-hungry group, that's saying
something). After dinner and our slideshow, some of the church
members took our group sightseeing around West Virginia. The tour
included Snowshoe Ski Resort and the world's largest satellite dish
(used in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence). The next
morning, our hosts impressed us again by showing up at 5:30 AM (even
though the group slept in to a leisurely 5:45 AM). We had a rare
morning of delicious hot breakfast before setting off for the town of
Gauley Bridge - our longest ride yet at a daunting 95 miles.

The ride to Gauley Bridge was beautiful. We had a few gradual hills
at the start, but they led us up to the Monongahela National Forest,
so we spent the morning cruising through the shaded woods and past the
occaisional creek. We stopped for lunch at a little over halfway, and
the rest of the way was thankfully pretty flat. The day was really
hot, and when we finally arrived in Gauley Bridge, most of us were
glad to jump right into the river, still in our biking clothes.

We had another delicious dinner with some folks from Gauley Bridge,
followed by another West Virginia sightseeing excursion - this time to
see the New River Gorge. We slept well after all the biking we had
done and woke up to get another early morning start on our ride from
Gauley Bridge to the infamous town of Big Ugly.

We're staying at the Big Ugly Community Center tonight, where we've
discovered that Big Ugly is really neither big nor ugly. Those of us
with the foresight to bring cash here, where ATMs are a rarity, are
now sporting new T-shirts that read "I'm with Big Ugly." We're
looking forward to a dinner of hamburgers and chili, and hoping to
finally finish our trailer painting!