Tuesday, August 31, 2010
On the last morning of the ride, I woke before sunrise and was on the bike by 0730. The sun came up over the pristine fields and fences of the of this grand public farm as I rode around the park looking for a restaurant to eat breakfast. I was informed the restaurant was under renovation and my next best/closest option was a Mcdonalds. Getting there was a detour that would take some time and add about 3 miles to the longest ride I had ever attempted. Fortunately, if I could have chosen any 3 mile stretch of road to add to my trip, it would have been something very close to this one. Riding out of the bluegrass was a lovely experience. Riding into Flemingsburg was less so. The road was crowded with trucks. The wind was blowing hard against me. It was overcast and I actually got cold for a short time, which I could feel was robbing me of energy. I stopped in Flemingsburg to reconsider my options. I was 60 miles into the ride by 2 PM and too far North to consider camping again in any of the campgrounds to the South. I called Amanda to see of there was any route that was more forgiving than the one I had chosen off of a 2 dimensional road map of Kentucky. I was tired and frustrated and committed to a route I was not confident I could complete. I drank some coffee for warmth and artificial energy. Then I left Flemingsburg before I could agonize myself into a hole I couldn’t climb out from prior to the sun going down. The signage was bad so I almost immediately took a wrong turn and realized it after climbing a substantial hill. I got back on track with the help of a carpenter who knew a county road heading east. Not far out of Flemingsburg I went over a little mountain pass and on the other side the sun came out and the wind abated. There were orchards along the ridge and some of my favorite wildflowers lining the road. After a long descent I arrived in Lewis County and was greeted with about 15 miles of picturesque flat road through the county neighboring my destination. People on the side of the road looked at me like they had never seen a guy on a bike. I assume this was because they knew the reality of getting to this place meant one would have to ride over some very demanding terrain. I hopped on a road heading a bit south and east and found myself back in the hills. I might not have had the stamina except that the scenery was so beautiful it was energizing to see what was at the top of each climb. After a couple more hours of pedaling I arrived in Carter, KY. I had ridden 106 miles. My brother met me on the road with the much needed beer and sandwich I had telepathically requested earlier in the ride. I rode in my brother's truck with the windows down back to his house. I took a bath and tried not to fall down while attempting to use my legs. The trip across Kentucky was complete. My first 100 mile ride was logged. I slept like a rock in a familiar bed for close to 12 hours. In all the trip was difficult but mostly awe inspiring. I have a renewed sense of place, and my life will be richer because of it. I am extremely thankful to all who supported me before and during the trip. I wholeheartedly encourage anyone to do any version this trip or join me next year for what will hopefully become the second annual Tour du Kentucky. Aba di aba di aba di, That's all folks!
Monday, August 30, 2010
This town is the most hospitable city I have ever lived in or visited. Everyone I meet seems to have something interesting to offer in the way of friendship, guidance, or hospitality. For 3 days I romped around and rode my bike back and forth across my favorite neighborhoods. On Sunday, my last evening in town, I was privileged to a ride on a pontoon boat going downriver below the falls of the Ohio. The current was strong, and the engine was finicky, we discussed a water bound trip to New Orleans with very few dissenting opinions. An interesting historical note is that the Falls of the Ohio was also the initial meeting place of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Nine members of the Corps of Discovery were recruited from Kentucky. expedition. I especially liked the tale of “York”. He was the slave who became the first African American to cross the continent. The Native Americans believed he had great spiritual power on account of his stature and complexion. While in Louisville, my hosts Peyton and Jenny were awesome. They live in a very cool house with lots of soulful aesthetically pleasing amendments. Staying there for three nights was exceptionally nice, and very appreciated. Some of the most beautiful carpentry and fine woodworking I have seen can be viewed on their facebook page. Their company is called birdsquare carpentry.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
After a nice long sleep, I got to ride my bike across town to Americana community center where I worked before attending nursing school.
Most who know me have heard me discuss this part of my life with great fondness for the opportunity to function in the most unique environment I had ever been employed. The best part was building the garden. Now it has grown mature and continues to make me proud. Here are some pics…
I woke up to the sound of overflowing gutters. The 30% chance of rain forecasted the night before was now a flood watch. I waited to depart until 900AM. The first ten miles through Powell and Clark County were only a little damp. Then the rain picked up and I was soaked. I thought of encouraging words people have told me while being pelted by the rain during descents. My feet were squishy with water when I got to Winchester. I ate biscuits and gravy at Stinky and Coco’s restaurant on main street. The talk was of horses, family, and recipes. I left revitalized and continued my entrance into the bluegrass region of Kentucky through Fayette County. I passed horse farm estates sprawled out over the foggy undulating landscape for another 20 miles until arriving to Lexington. I visited another family friend Seth at his amazing house under renovation in the historic district of town. From there I went a few blocks to another amazing house house where he lives with his wife Renee and son Logan. I took an Epsom salt bath in the claw foot tub and rode around with Seth and Logan after school while we discovered our lives had been closely parallel over the last few months. We had been on the same hiking trails in Virginia and seen the same concert recently. The discovery about the concert occurred as the wife of one of the musicians from the concert walked in the store where we were talking. It turns out the musician is currently on a bike tour in California with his cello. The coincidence was dizzying. That night we ate pasta puttanesca (translates as “whore’s pasta” in Italian) that was marvelous and consistent with my transient nature and high calorie requirement. Then there was bourbon, sleep, breakfast, and the biggest mile day of the trip.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Day 2 – Grayson, KY to Cave Run Lake State Park
Monday morning I was off by 8:00 AM. My legs felt good and my bike was
performing admirably. The route I picked took me a little South then due West through
Elliot County on back roads and finally to Rowan County where there is a state park at a lake with a campground. I made it to Elliotville, about halfway, by noon and ate pizza from a gas station. The old guys sitting around the dining area were excited to talk. I engaged in more than one conversation in which most of what I heard was nearly indecipherable. I relied on intonation and intuition to garner the general nature of what was being said, how I should respond and when I should ride away on my bike, which turned out to be when I was asked who I voted for in the last election. I turned left about a mile down the road and about an hour and a half later I was once again in Elliotville. The distance I had covered was grueling. My heart broke a little, I just kept pedaling until I got to a Dairy Queen in Morehead. I ate an inappropriate amount of food and slept under a tree on the college campus there. It wasn’t restful and when I woke up it was hot. I finished the last 15 miles under distress but still in time to catch a late evening soak in the lake after about a 70 mile day. The park ranger who sold me the campsite was very friendly.
Day 1 –
It was Sunday, and 90 something degrees until late afternoon when I left from the farm. A little apprehensive and already quite sweaty, I traveled about 25 miles over a couple of ridges to visit family friends in Grayson. The route took me through Boyd, Lawrence and Carter counties. I set up my camping gear and stayed overnight next to their pool. My hosts Marty and Tersa’s enthusiasm for the concept of riding a bike across