Today’s Route: Knox to Woodland, PA
It was another roller coaster ride today. 75 miles of up and down. My “total climb” was 6,400 feet, just about as insane as yesterday’s 7,000. The one benefit of a roller coaster is that there is always a fast part after a slow part. Today I descended 6,600 feet. At one point I rode a 5-mile downhill (which means, I didn’t peddle for 5 miles and instead gripped the handlebars fiercely, focusing on not hitting any potholes at 35mph). Fortunately, from Knox to Woodland kept me on Route 322, a state highway which provided me with a clean, medium shoulder most of the way. All in all a fantastic ride!
In Clarion, a sweet little town on our route, I stopped at the farmer’s market and met Larry, the goat farmer. As I was purchasing some goat soap, I asked Larry what he loves about being a farmer. He smiled and said, “I know exactly what goes in my goats so I know what comes out.” He proudly pointed out the limited ingredients and non-chemical products that he puts into his soap (like olive oil!). I tried it tonight, and let’s just say that Larry’s on to something great. Glad I got his card to reorder!
We met Jeremy and Brian at the RV park in Woodland. They are seismic drillers for Destiny Drilling. Their job is to drill holes and find gas, oil, or minerals. They spend months to years in certain locations before moving on to another location in the country. What they love about their job is working outdoors and working with other people who love this lifestyle. They also love the competition – finding something before another driller does.
In about 5 days I will reach the Atlantic Ocean – hard to fathom. To process the end of the adventure, I’ve been thinking about lessons I’ve learned over these past 9 weeks. Adding to the list I started on Day 61, here are 5 more lessons:
- Everyone loves something about their job. People just need to be asked. And what question I ask makes a difference. When I ask, “Why do you love your job?” people sometimes respond, “I don’t.” But if I ask, “What do you love about your job?” People can always find something, and it’s never about money.
- Dogs are a cyclist’s worst enemy. Dogs seem to lose their mind when I ride by. They become unpredictable, they bark territorially, and on too many occasions, they chase after me. I’m often relieved when we both (me and the dog) discover that the dog is still on a chain.
- Walmart has everything you never knew you needed. Over the past 9 weeks, I have been to Walmart just about every week (which is about 8 times more than ever before). It is mind-boggling the things you can buy that you never knew existed and never knew you needed. We can poke fun at the store and its patrons, but I am grateful that I had one place to go when I had such limited knowledge of an area and limisted time to shop.
- I can only appreciate how much I accomplish when I pick my head up and look around. For a while I was solely focused on the Adventure Cycling maps, which are incredibly thorough day-to-day maps. In so doing, I completely lost sight of my movement across a state, let alone the country. When we got an atlas in Colorado, I was amazed to see how far we had come. I went back and highlighted the entire route from city to city to really appreciate it all. (What a great lesson for life.)
- S’mores taste better with melted chocolate. We’ve grilled dinner most nights on the Joe Webber, my mini-grill. And when the coals are still hot, I always bring out the s’mores supplies. I’ve mastered the art of easily melting the chocolate prior to roasting the marshmallows. It has changed my love for s’mores. I’ve since experimented with lo-carb s’mores (only 1 graham cracker), gluten-free s’mores (no graham crackers), and dark chocolate with almonds s’mores (my favorite!).
- The Weinermobile (pictured above)
- Another majestic church (pictured here)
- Sign: “Buckle Up Next Million Miles” (pictured below)
- Barn painted with: “Chew Mail Pouch Tobacco – Treat Yourself to the Best” (pictured above)
Day 63 Stats
Day 63 miles: 75.13 miles
Total miles: 3,908.11 miles
Day 63 descent: 6,604 feet
Total interviews: 102
Road kill count: 1,747
(Added 46 today, including another porcupine – that makes 3 total: 1 in Utah on Cedar Mountain, 1 in Colorado, and 1 in Pennsylvania)
Destination for Day 64: Coburn, PA (more of the Appalachian Mountains!)