. They seem to be attracted to the red panniers, so at first they come at us toward Devon and then do all the chasing at Larry! So Devon's new tactic is to save hush puppies or cornbread from the previous night's dinner and use them to throw as a distraction for the dogs. Since a hush puppy is about the size of a golf ball they should be easy to throw, if only they were as easy to pull out of a bag while wearing mittens, On the first try, half the bag of corn goodies spilled out; that dog had a nice reward on his walk back! Not to mention, the dogs don't go after the hush puppies, they continue chasing Larry! As a back-up defense both of us do have pepper spray, but just haven't used it yet, mostly because we tend to forget in the heat of the moment!
Today was picture perfect weather, sunny and warm. So when we had ridden 17 miles where there was a place to spend the night, we had decided instead to ride on to Waverly, just 29 more miles. We rode another eight miles through very hilly, very narrow, nasty roads and we were very nearly to our breaking point when we heard the strangest sound that came from behind us to the northwest and what we came to describe as EXTREME thunder. Oh, did we mention that the last thing we did before we left this morning was check the weather? It did say a 40% chance of rain but not until 7 pm and thunderstorms not until after midnight. So when we looked behind us and saw the dark, gigantic ominous clouds we thought we better get a move on
! Larry was already at the top of the hill so you know who hopped back on her bike and peddled as fast as she could up the remainder of the slope! We stopped to confirm we were on our routed road since two streets ago they had become un-signed! We continued riding only 3.5 mph up these huge hills. The thunder and those ominous clouds seemed to be gaining on us. We came upon a house where a man was out in front splitting wood so Larry walked up the driveway and just then the man's better half came out to tell him that the weather station showed a huge storm system right over their area. She told him that he should come in and then yelled out to us to come up to the house and under their carport. We made it up there just before the rain came, and by the time we made our introductions and she asked us inside, the hail began and it hailed like we've never seen before. When it ended we figured if we had continued riding it would have been dark before we got to town, and that wasn't a chance we wanted to take on these dangerous roads. We told Lisa where we had planned on staying and so wanted to call The Nolan House. It was the only bed & breakfast in Waverly and she offered to make the call herself as she was good friends with the owner, Patrick. Lisa and Dean so graciously invited us to stay for dinner and also offered to take us into town. It was so nice to have a home cooked meal and with the company of such generous people. After dinner we loaded everything in Lisa's suv and drove to Waverly where we met our host Patrick O'Lee. By the time we finished hoisting our belongings up to our room, it was way past our bedtime.
Today after breakfast we left for Waverly, Tennessee, an anticipated forty six-mile ride and what a ride it was! This was probably the hardest day to date because of the hills, o m G! We're sure He was there with us,... we're both still alive! The never-ending road was woven through the hillsides, up, down and around. To the left the road goes, then up and then curves way to the right and it goes down, way down. There was a six inch band of asphalt on the right side of the white line that was our bike lane and no shoulder, so if a car is coming from each direction there is very little room for a bicyclist on the road. When possible we stop and let cars pass but when we're in the middle of a 200-foot incline a half mile long it we absolutely cannot stop! Our speeds going down the hills were about 35 mph with our heart rates down around 88, and going up our speed is 3.5 and our heart rate is 145; funny how those numbers play out! There are still dogs chasing us but not as many as in Southern Illinois