After riding 1230 miles in 27 days (26 riding days and 1 rest day) with 81,300 feet of ascent across three states and into the fourth I have seen some interesting and varied things. Below are some of the things I have observed or reflected upon.
Government policies and regulations can economically devastate areas that are already chronically economically disadvantaged. This is quite evident in eastern Kentucky where coal has been the source of income for generations, current regulations have made things much worse in this area. There are few if any alternatives as the infrastructure and education are not available for other sources of income. Also many of the people in this region are very tied to the land thus will not or can not move to other areas.
Rural and small town America is severely under served in regards to the availability of nutritious food particularly fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat. Many small towns and rural areas have no grocery stores and people must travel more than 30 miles each way to get to grocery stores. This lack of stores impacts the poor most. If a person is buying gas $2 to $3 at a time as I observed many times, they are not going to drive 60 miles round trip to buy groceries. They are going to buy what is available in their area which is usually from a convenience store, which is usually food high in fat and/or sugar and/or salt and not very nutritious. Some believe that it is a lack of education that has people in these regions eating less than healthy food however if that food is not available it does not matter if they know it is healthy or not, they will eat what is available. This problem will continue to get worse as more small town grocery stores close.
The more rubbish and junk in a yard and more dilapidated the house is the more likely there will be multiple no trespassing signs. In eastern Kentucky nearly every home has at least one no trespassing sign, must be a required lawn ornament.
If one is involved in a long physically demanding task it is important to listen to one's body. If you start thinking about meat constantly, your body is saying you need protein. If you start thinking of cakes and bread constantly then you need carbs. Don't wait to have your body tell you need water just drink as you need it. If your body gets tired earlier and earlier each day it is probably time to take a rest day.
Sometimes your body/mind lie. As you are climbing a hill your body/mind might say you can't make it to the top don't believe it... you can make it. Suck it up the top is there somewhere.
Possums must be the stupidest animals in eastern United States as determined by an unscientific study of roadkill. Dead possums out number all other road kill combined by 5 to 1. The next closest is UAR's (unidentified animals remains) and often these are probably possums. Then it is deer, squirrels and turtles all about equal.
Loudon Wainwright III was correct in his 1972 classic song "Dead Skunk" when he said "Dead skunk in the middle of the road, Stinking to high heaven" They do stink to high heaven. Those on the side of the road are pretty bad too.
Hills are one thing that the up side is much worse than the down side.
I will be back on the road on Sunday after a few days rest and getting trike tuned up some.