04/25/2010 — Embrace the unknown

April 26, 2010

We woke up early, made breakfast, and optimistically rode towards Breaks Interstate Park and the Kentucky state line.

We knew that we had three medium climbs to do in order to get to the Breaks, but we had the motivation of a night in a motel, hot showers, and real food behind us.

The ride in the early morning was through Dickenson County, Virginia – which is known as the “Grand Canyon of the South” – and while a lot of it was downhill, we weren’t really too impressed by it. I think the real Grand Canyon is probably a lot more enjoyable.

However, the closer we got to the Breaks, the prettier everything got.  It wasn’t long before we were making our third and “final” climb for the day, and we were both in the greatest of spirits.

Everything was going as planned, and we stopped to take pictures at some viewing points within the park.

We rode beyond Breaks Park and into the valley where we finally crossed over into Kentucky, and words cannot describe how enthusiastic and optimistic we were at this point.

We rode up the the other side of the valley into Elkhorn City, KY, which was supposedly going to be a tourist area where we could get a motel and some real food.  However, to our dismay, we found a seemingly dying town.

The first thing that we saw as we rode into town was the motel that we intended to stay at was out of business.  As we road into town we saw more local businesses that had gone under: the grocery store, the gas stations, several restaurants. Not only this, we rode past several buildings that had burned down, had caution tape around them, but were left as they were.  We were truly bummed out, not only because we wanted a motel to stay in, but also to be in such a depressed place.

I found this image of the Elkhorn City School to be quite expressive of the situation — it looks as if the school went under construction many years ago and was never completed. The school has been fenced in with barbed wire, and vines have grown over the building.

We checked our maps and saw that there were no “big” towns or cities for a while, and that we might be out of luck on our desire for a night of comfort. To add to our discomfort, the clouds in the sky were getting darker and closing in – so we could tell that rain would come soon.

We rode on to Ashcamp, KY which was pretty similar to Elkhorn City – most gas stations and local businesses were closed down with windows boarded up. We knew there weren’t going to be any campgrounds in the area either, so we began to seek a place where we could camp.

We came across a small dirt road that lead to a cemetery so we headed down and picked a somewhat hidden spot in the woods off the road to camp. Our space was limited, so we decided to just set up one tent. We cooked some pasta for dinner, and just finished eating as the rain started coming down.

We headed into the tent for the night, somewhat demoralized by the days events. We had gotten our hopes up, and had been let down. I think that the depression of the towns we road through somewhat rubbed off on us.

However, we are not yet beaten – we both know that like anything this trip will have ups and downs. We’ll get up and ride tomorrow: wet or dry, hot or cold, hurting or feeling fine, tired or ready to go – because this is the adventure that we’ve both accepted.


5 Responses to “04/25/2010 — Embrace the unknown”

  1. jon said

    haha aw man, was the town full of people? sounds rough but it looks like the weather was agreeing with you guys during most of the days trekking. like you said Matt, just keep going for better or for worse, because things will always change. good luck with the next few days adventures!

  2. Megan said

    SO HAPPY YOU ARE IN KENTUCKY! !!! BUTTT I really wanted a photo of a makeout sesh with the sign! Glad to see some pics of you now too!!!! I’m pretty sure you are at a hotel as we speak so atleast you didn’t have to wait long! I can feel you getting closer to me!

  3. Sean Martin said

    I don’t think Kentucky would ever allow you inside it’s borders if certain mesh shirt pictures ever surfaced. Regardless. I just read the blog, glad to see you’re doing well!

  4. KJ said

    Yay! pictures of Matt finally!! haha
    glad to see you boys are having a great adventure… keep up the good work! that school looks very depressing, but that park looked pretty 😀 you guys are gonna see some pretty amazing things along the way! lookin’ forward to more pictures 🙂
    keep on keepin’ on…

  5. Trev said

    Dude such a bummer about that town. Ive been down that way before. Kentucky is such a wild place, honestly it seems like something from the frontier over a 100 years ago. Haha be prepared for wild dogs, trailer parks and more burned out buildings haha. Cheers Fellas!

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