I went to bed last night filled with worry about today. The weather forecast called for heavy rains and thunderstorms all morning for every area from Caryville to Knoxville. My body and my bike are both showing the damage and wear all these miles have done. I’m concerned about the failure of both.
I left the hotel in darkness again this morning. Even without the sun, black clouds were visible overhead, lit by distant flashes from the sky. Yet all morning long, these storms would appear over the hillsides, then move away in a harmless direction. While I stopped for breakfast at a quaint local place called Rami’s Cafe, the last large cell disappeared over ridges to the east. I would stay dry all day.
As I passed through downtown Knoxville, I paid a visit to small shop called Two Bikes. I wanted to pick up a couple of items, just to be safe. The guys there were amazing, and got me just what I needed to feel a little better about my ride’s condition.
I had forgotten one of the most important lessons these journeys have to offer. Go forward, and address life’s challenges as they come. Deal with each moment, in that moment. You will find there are more positives there then all the negatives you worried about. While I took a few extra minutes to sit down and eat as the storm passed, I met a nice couple from New York at the next table. Only after they left did I find out they paid for my meal. This interaction would have never occurred had I tried to rush on and beat the storm.
Only 1 day remains of this journey now. So far it’s been everything I hoped it would be, and nothing short of incredible. I’ve seen so much already, and know that tomorrow promises views like nothing to this point. Tomorrow also will be far and away the most difficult day of riding I’ve faced yet. Only about 70 miles lie between me and the goal, but so does the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I’ll need to cross both…..
Day 7: 81.3 miles