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Blog 191 Bristol to Wytheville

17th April

20 miles to go to the end of my day - which in a good way I long for, there are long sloping lawns down to the shallow valley floor, almost a wide creek but the houses, the lawns are a cultivation and continuous growth of a place I pass through in about a minute. This is how I get to know the world. For me, on my two lane, double yellow marked road with no safety shoulder, this quick observation is my modus operandi for understanding what I see as I pass by so quickly.

Rain in the air.

Perhaps it's though short meditative moments that splice together any journey which exemplify the latest social observations of an around the world ride. What is it all about? Hard to say until you add context to the thoughts but there is a tick list of imperatives which are being ignored.

Climate change conscientiousness is nil. Modest reduction in car movement on the road equally does not hit any targets and with peasant farmer new builds happening all over the Indian subcontinent as one simple example of rural 3rd world development, the chance of remaining beneath the critical 1.5c marker for climate control has surely become a fantasy. How do you tell 10 million Indian farmers not to build a safe house for their family on their small holdings because we need to save the world.

Hard to believe, but on journeys like this - just 8 months to cycle 30,000 kms around the world - you don't get a lot of time to meet a lot of people. So most of it is related to whatever comes out of your head.

It's all just notes

54 miles done, nearly through my day. I cross the interstate then left on highway 11 north and ride alongside the freeway and still on the Lee Highway. Such a system of auto trails was an informal network of marked routes that existed in the United States and Canada in the early part of the 20th century. Marked with colored bands on utility poles, the trails were intended to help travellers in the early days of the automobile and I've been on this route for days.

Bit of information

The Lee Highway was an early American transcontinental auto trail. It connected the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., and San Diego, California on the Pacific. An extension connected San Diego to Los Angeles and San Francisco via El Camino Real. The Lee Highway was a very important transcontinental route, and its name still appears on roads in Virginia, Tennessee, and Alabama to this day.

The Lee Highway was named for General Robert E. Lee. Robert Edward Lee (1807-1870) was the son of Revolutionary War hero and Governor of Virginia Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee. Robert E. Lee was a graduate of the United States Military Academy, an engineer, and a U.S. Army colonel. However, he was most famous as General-in-Chief for the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. After the war, Lee was president of Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) in Lexington, Virginia where he is buried.

And so the ride endures, over many weeks and months. Characteristically rides like this can take years to accomplish;

I have 8 months.

Eased back onto the Lee highway when a black smokey old car coughed past as if I wasn’t there. For some American motorists cyclists really don’t belong on the highway. Inches away from my arm being ripped off. But it didn’t happen. But it nearly did.

“I don’t care what other people think about me. Most people are idiots, and they can think whatever they want,” he said

Map of the Day

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