I rode out of Greenup about 9 AM and crossed the Ohio River at West Portsmouth about 10:30. Traffic was light and, although the 80% or more of the shoulder was covered by a rumble strip, I only had one vehicle that was a problem. Unfortunately, that vehicle was a coal truck. Coal trucks are big - almost as wide as the lane, ten feet high and about 40 feet long and they - go fast - 65 mph is what I had to do to stay ahead of them on my way home from this ride. Fortunately, I was keeping an eye on my mirror and was able to bail out across the rumble strip when I realized that this truck wasn't going to pull out as he passed me. I moved over about two feet and he came by no more than three feet away a few second later. The wind blast was impressive, but not dangerous. It would have been quite dangerous if I had not moved over. Don't ride 23 without using a good mirror!
Crossing the Ohio was no problem: The bridge on Truck route 23 has great
shoulders. In Ohio, I rode OH 104 north instead of riding through Portsmouth
and heading north on US 23. The one section of 23 from the TN to Columbus
that I knew I did not want to ride was the first five miles or so going
north from Portsmouth. Narrow, bumpy, pavement with no shoulders and lots of
traffic. 104 was much better, but, after getting passed into twice in ten
miles (!) and having several wide vehicles come uncomfortably close, I took
348 over to 23 just north of Lucasville.
Something big was going on over there - there was a traffic jam where 328 reaches 23 - but, once I got heading north on 23, riding was much better than it had been on 104. That only lasted till I reached Pike County maybe five miles later. Pike county has recently repaved 23 and, in the process, ruined the shoulder. The wide, reasonably clean, shoulder with three or four feet of good shoulder outside the rumble strip, has been covered with rough gravel. The gravel is stuck down, so it isn't dangerous to ride, but it is quite rough - the shaking damaged my camera mount - and it almost impossible to see stuff - tire wires, glass, or metal - that might damage your tires.
My rear tire went flat after riding on that bad shoulder for about five miles. I first thought it was a pinch flat that was the result of low tire pressure due to the slow leak that tire had developed riding into Pikesville, but that turned out not to be the case. The tire went flat as I entered Piketon and it was time for lunch, so I walked my bike across the road and a quarter mile or so down the other side to a down home restaurant. After a high carb meal - chicken and dumplings and mashed potatoes with white gravy (!) - I found that a piece of beer bottle glass was stuck in my rear tire. This is the first flat caused by glass that I have had on a Conti TT. Since I've been touring on TTs for at least 25,000 miles on all kinds of roads, I think the gravel must have held that shard of glass at just the right angle for it to penetrate that tire. I rode the next couple of miles, from Piketon to Waverly City, without going onto that shoulder again!
Entering Waverly City, I left 23 for W 2nd St which I followed through town to 335. This is a much more pleasant route than 23. Then I took 335 to Higby Road and Higby Road to Three Locks Road which becomes 104 before going into Chillicothe. This route, recommended by a fellow who lives in the area, was great fun to ride. US 23 from Waverly City to Chillicothe isn't bad - the shoulder is not ruined - and it is about four miles shorter with less climbing, but the Three Locks ride is awfully nice and was a very nice break from riding on 23.
In Chillicothe I stopped for a second meal - I was very tired and the food and coffee helped a lot - before riding through town on Bus 23 and getting back on 23 for the remaining fourteen miles to Circleville. I did those miles in less than an hour and stopped for the night at about 5 PM. I could have ridden on into Columbus - I had enough energy and enough daylight to make it - but it would have been dangerous to do so on a Saturday night in football season (OSU lost to Wisconsin while I was riding to Circleville).
It would have been and OK to ride in the morning - Sunday morning - but my daughter drove down and picked my and my bike up so we could have few more more hours together that day. On Monday morning, I rode from my daughters house near the OSU campus to a car rental place and rented a car to drive back to Asheville. It took me about eight hours to drive home, about one fourth the time I spent riding up.
This ride, in mid October, was really spectacular for the scenery in NC and VA, and for the weather all the way up. It was a physically very demanding ride. I enjoyed pushing myself to my limits doing those hundred mile days in the mountains, and I didn't have time not to push, but it would be possible to do this trip in a week with 60 to 70 mile days. There are some long stretches without much in the way of services, but nothing longer than fifty miles.