Elias, Hazel, Shelby, and I awoke pretty early on Friday morning -- just after 7 a.m.
It had rained most of the night.
I hurriedly began packing everything to begin my route into Abingdon, Virginia. Although I did not have a place to stay, I felt confident airbnb listings would be available in the area.
My three coyote rescuers did not allow me to leave without a cup of coffee, some Gatorade, and a few snacks. We exchanged addresses, and I hugged everyone before saying adieu.
Off I went towards 41 South then onto 19 South.
More twists and turns and mountains awaited me on 41 South.
Due to the mist, the impending rain, and the unfamiliar territory, I took it nice and slow for the initial part of the ride.
I stopped between two West Virginia counties to take shots of the New River.
Navigating very carefully, I merged onto 19 South which blends with 41.
I hit some congestion for a few miles.
Once I hit Shady Spring, the traffic decreased.
Riding on 19 was memorable. I hit areas of elevation followed, of course, by the descent. Moreover, the stretch between Camp Creek and Spanishburg challenged some of my maneuvering skills with its sharp bends and curves.
Near Princeton and Bluefield, the ride leveled out, and I pretty much hit straightaways for the next several miles from West Virginia into Virginia.
So far, no rain; still, it was cold.
Even with gloves, my fingers were freezing.
Following Rosedale, I looked for 80 East signs through an area called The Channels.
As I approached 80 and entered it, I saw a house advertising a hostel for bicyclists; I wondered if they would consider motorcyclists, too.
This section of my trip was extremely challenging.
Not only did this stretch have many u-turns, it also had zero guard rails.
Unfortunately because there were no shoulders on either side, I could not stop to take photos, for my right offered a cliff tumble while my left offered the side of a mountain.
Manure lingered through the air as I leaned from one side to the other as pockets of sunshine glared through the trees.
Then, the road -- comparatively speaking -- leveled out.
I was off the mountain ranges.
Here, I followed 80 all the way into Meadowview; then, I turned right onto Route 11 (Lee Highway) into Abingdon.
Seeing a Wendy's after crossing under 81, I pulled over to eat.
It was approaching 2 p.m.
I ordered two meals and lingered on every single bite.
While there, I researched airbnb spots and found a place less than five miles away.
When I made the booking request, I received an email from my host saying that there had been a mistake/error with respect to availability.
Because Allen was so gracious, he offered me his room.
Instead, I bargained for his couch, and he allowed me to stay for no charge/fee.
I was thankful and ecstatic.
It's hard to come by free lodging in 2016!
I finished my Wendy's meal and toured a little bit of quaint Abingdon before going to Allen's home.
When I arrived, Allen assisted me with all my belongings. In addition, he let me park my motorcycle in his garage, and he helped me hose off my tent.
Another car pulled up, and a couple exited the vehicle.
They, too, were staying at his place.
We all entered his immaculately clean home, and I walked into the kitchen to make a cup of tea.
The couple -- from Asheville -- left for a wedding rehearsal, and I sat down at Allen's kitchen table.
Once he helped his Asheville guests, he joined me.
We discussed my ride and all the places I had been. Later, Allen brought out his map, and he went over all of his adventures.
We had a nice time sharing our travel experiences.
Shortly thereafter, I showered.
Around 8 p.m. or so, Allen's long-term guest -- Drew -- arrived. He rode a Harley, so he and I went back and forth on rides and routes.
Drew mentioned a big ride the following morning near the Bristol area. He suggested I get an early start to the morning, and I agreed.
By 9:30 p.m., exhaustion set in, and I laid out my sleeping bag on Allen's couch.
Allen and I went over my route -- 11 to 75 to 421, and he suggested a local breakfast place (Chick-N-Little).
With plans in place, I bid goodnight to Allen and Drew and drifted off into a deep sleep.
Until we meet again, my friend.