For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, yesterday was the glorious first day of spring. As daylight finally caught up to darkness, amorous little birds chirped and strutted to impress potential mates, and trees sent forth their dustings of yellow-green pollen. While the vernal equinox is certainly a fine day to memorialize nature's annual resurrection, one might argue that it is today--the second day of spring--that deserves the greater celebration. If you watch closely this evening, you may notice a final celebratory wink from the setting sun as it actually outshines the night for the first time since late September. But the more immedaite cause for joy may be that day two of spring also marks the end of CWU's long winter slumber with the announcement of the newest project tour: Appalachia & Bluegrass Country.
CWU's fourth overall tour will cover the part of the country where many American phenomena spent their formative years: the energy industry, bourbon, country and bluegrass music, and the fierce independence for which we are known. Many of the United States' most celebrated and unique traditions and cultures came of age in the low mountains and narrow valleys of Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. By no means do these states make up the entirety of Appalachia or Bluegrass Country, but the multi-chambered heart of that regional culture beats strong within them.
You can view an outline of my planned route here. If you know of someone along the way who might be willing to sit and chat with me when I pass through...or a kind soul who could provide a tired cyclist with a warm shower and comfy sofa for a night...I'd love to hear from you. Click here to shoot me a message.
For a light primer on the region, check out these clips from a 2005 PBS documentary covering some of the history of Appalachia:
The Appalachians- Part 1 The Appalachians- Part 2
The Appalachians- Part 3 The Appalachians- Part 4
Finally, you might enjoy visiting CWU's Facebook and Instagram pages if you haven't already. I snap and post two photos per day when on tour: a bike portrait for Facebook, and a more freestyle photo for Instagram. Those two platforms are the best ways to follow CWU's tour progress on a daily basis. Here on the website you'll see the tour map and stats updated every couple of days at the lower right side of the homepage, and I'll also add clips of project interviews in three or four installments over the 5+ weeks I'll be pedaling. I really enjoy hearing from folks while on the road, so do say hello from time to time!