Thursday, June 21, 2012

I bid farewell to ol' Kentucky

To anyone who doesn't know what my title is in reference to (beyond the fact that I am no longer in Kentucky), here you go-

I think that at last update, I was in eastern Kentucky still getting chased by dogs and coal trucks.  Yep, I think I had another day or two of that, but it eventually passed.  I'd say the change in landscape really took place after say, Booneville, KY.  I also had an exceptional evening in Berea, KY which set the new stage.  Mike Zehr had told me earlier that his cousin Ginny and her husband, John, lived in Berea and might be willing to host me for an evening.  Once in their area, I contacted Ginny and John and they were absolutely delighted to have me over!  When I first arrived, Ginny admitted that she "wasn't too sure what cyclists want or need" and then began ply me with several cups of ice cold lemonade.  And then show me to a shower and washer/dryer.  And then John and Ginny made a delicious dinner.  And then we sat around a campfire and ate s'mores.  And she showed me to a guest room with a real bed!  Ginny and John- trust me, you two know EXACTLY what a travelling cyclist loves!  We also had the opportunity to discuss coon dogs which John breeds and look over the remainder of my route as they know some folks in Kansas and Idaho.  I couldn't have asked for a nicer evening or for two nicer people to spend it with.  And keep in mind, that I was a complete stranger to them before I rolled up!

(Mike-  John and Ginny live less than 1/2 mile from the TransAmerica route.  They made me promise that you and I would spend the night again when we ride the route next year.)

Once I departed Berea, the land started flattening out.  Not pancake flat yet, but compared to the steep thousand foot climbs with narrow twisty roads that I had just done it felt like Kansas already.  I was able to start riding for long stretches in my drops and in the big ring.  (The "drops" are the lower part of bullhorn type handlebars that let you get lower and more aerodynamic.  The "big ring" is the biggest gear in front which is next to impossible to use when going uphill but on long flat sections you can use it to go fairly fast.)  I couldn't help but think that my friend Jeef would love this riding right now because I think it's his favorite.  Just tuck into a ball and pedal at 12-15 mph for an hour or so.  The only downside to it getting flatter is that the wind picks up and so far it has been blowing against me.  Again, I found myself wishing that someone such as Jeef was riding with me.  With multiple people, you can take turns pedaling in front while others draft behind you, just like geese fly in formation and switch out in front over time.  Accordingly, I put in three days in a row that registered 92 miles, 103 miles and 82 miles.  Now that I am in Illinois, it seems to have gotten a little hillier.  Once I get into Missouri (I think by tomorrow actually) it will get steeper again through the Ozarks.

If you look closely, you can see my welcoming party already out on the road ahead.  Hindman, KY
C'mon, really?  All you had to do was switch them.  Dwarf, KY
Patrick, a Brit heading East, outside Mel's Diner  where we had breakfast and discussed America.  His site can be found here.  Booneville, KY
Ginny and John Veeder, my two new friends and bicycle host extraordinaires!  Berea, KY
Lunch break: time set aside for the transmis(s)ion of food to my mouth
This Kodak moment was made possible by Lucien B. Smith, the inventor of barbed wire.
Sorry Ieva.  Still no more sheep sightings.  Maybe these burros/donkeys will temporarily appease you?
On a hot day when I was riding 90 miles, I started having a conversation with an imaginary cyclist about where we should eat tonight.  We both agreed that we should go to "the Mexican restaurant".  Alas, I knew that there would be no Mexican places to be found in central Kentucky.  Then, in Hogdenville, the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, I struck paydirt.
There is a gas station at some unnamed crossroads whose policy is to give all cyclists a free freezie pop.  This is the best policy I have ever heard of.
So you're telling me that I can stay in your air conditioned fire department, alone and unsupervised and use a shower, laundry, mattress and kitchen?  Yes, that's what they told me.  Utica, KY
I was trying to capture all of the different horizontal layers that I was looking at while sitting on the side of the road.  I wish my brother Greg, a photographer, was along to take some photos sometimes where I just don't think I got what I was looking at.
These roads were make for truckin' and that's just what they'll do.  One of these days  I'm gonna go Long Haul Truckin' over you.
Alex, another eastbound Brit, who gave me some extra water when I miscalculated how much I would need.  Now I try to carry about one liter per ten miles of riding.  Sounds like too much?  Go ride a 100lb bicycle in 95+ degree heat for a while.  His site can be found here.
Just crossing the Ohio River by ferry to Cave In Rock, IL.
I bet Jesus could still oust Mitt Romney for the nomination if he threw his hat in the ring.  Provided he's Republican.  I'm really not sure.
Dessert connoisseurs will recognize this as "a piece of cherry a la mode".  At Delaney's, all cyclists get free dessert.  Another exceptional policy.  Goreville, IL 


  1. Replies
    1. Good! I was starting to worry if I would ever succeed...

  2. This is all very good news. The big ring is also a state of mind and clearly that's where your mind is at.

  3. Jesus Christ > Mitt Romney < free cherry pie a la mode

    1. I would cast a vote for cherry pie to be the President before I would vote for Mitt Romney.

  4. Love the Rowdy Dwarf obviously don't fit at least one-half of that description (I don't know about the other half)! Keep up the positive attitude and sense of will carry you a long way. You're over 1/4 of the way there. Don't forget to schedule an occasional day off (mother nature has a way of working that in if you don't). Keep on freewheeling!

    1. Thanks Mike! I'm still having a terrific time. You played a large part in getting me off on the right foot back at the beginning.

  5. Cherry A La Mode! Do you know what you ordered? I don't think you do. I believe what you meant was a piece of Cherry Pie A La Mode. And, you can have that with a side of "Doggy Styles" if you would like.