Distance: 71.90 mi
Average Speed: 10.6 mph; Max Speed: 33.5 mph
Elevation Gain: 2,032 ft
Average Temp: 85.8 F; Temp Range: 64.4-111.2 F
Today was a good day. The church in Sebree was comfortable and cool. And the couch I ultimately curled up on (rather than sleeping on my sleeping pad on the floor) was wonderful. I set an alarm for later than usual, but I woke up before that, also as usual. Martin was already awake and over in the kitchen area, trying to figure out the best way to stay in motels or hotels for the next while, because the humidity is really wearing on him. I know exactly what he means; there have been very few times in the last few days when I’ve been properly dry. Either I’m sweating actively or I had been sweating but it’s too humid for the sweat to evaporate. Sleeping in an air conditioned room after a lovely shower was spectacular.
I made coffee and breakfast and collected my laundry from the dryer upstairs where I had left it last night. I took my time getting ready, even though I figured it would be hot and disgusting again today. To my surprise when I got outside a few minutes after 7, it wasn’t actually that bad. It was warm, but the humidity wasn’t making me feel like I needed to chew the air before breathing it in. Lovely.
My plan for the day was to head for the Rough River Dam State Resort Park campground, around 70 miles, but there was a town I could stop in before that if necessary. I included that in the plan not just because of the expected heat, but because my legs are starting to feel worn out. I have plans to take a rest day when I reach Berea in a few days, but if I hadn’t already made plans I might have stayed a second day in Sebree.
My legs warmed up and got into the groove well enough once I was moving for a while. My head was another story, though. I had consumed a few cups of coffee at the church while getting ready and wasn’t dehydrated, so that eliminated two of the most common reasons I get headaches: caffeine withdrawal and dehydration.
The headache lingered through my first stop, where I got more coffee. This was the town of Utica, where Martin was planning to stop for the night. There had been a water main break in town a few days previous, and they were still being told to boil their tap water before drinking it, so I don’t know if he rode further or not. I probably would have.
Not only did the coffee not help the headache, it began to worsen as the day went on. At my second stop, I bought food for dinner tonight and some coke, hoping maybe the combo of sugar and caffeine would help. It didn’t.
Finally, several miles away from my backup stopping point, Fordsville, I found a patch of shade and grass to rest in that was wide enough to put me safely back from the road. I pulled out some ibuprofen from my first aid kit, then stretched out on the grass to close my eyes. This headache was skirting dangerously close to migraine territory, and my usual self-medication for that is caffeine and ibuprofen. I had consumed the former but not the latter, so I was hopeful that the addition of the medicine combined with the rest would improve matters.
I would not have been able to nap effectively at 1PM at any point in the last few days due to the combination of heat and humidity. Today, with the lower humidity and more comfortable temperature, it wasn’t long before I dropped off. The complete and utter lack of traffic on the road helped, too.
I had set my phone alarm to allow me a 30 minute nap. The plan was to judge at that point whether or not to stop in Fordville. I woke up a few minutes before I had set my alarm to buzz, only to discover that I had actually set my alarm to 1:40 AM not PM. I’m somewhat surprised I didn’t wake up at 3 PM. Perhaps my tendency to take 30 minute naps at home when possible has helped train my brain to short nap times. Or maybe the fact that I was on the ground on the side of the road made it harder to slip into a deep sleep. Either way, I’m glad I woke up when I did.
The headache wasn’t gone, but it was much improved, so I rode to Fordville, stopped at a diner to top off my water bottles, and kept on moving, now confident that I could reach my original spot for the night. I judged it to be about 16 more miles, and groaned a bit when after a few miles I saw a sign declaring the park to be 20 miles further up the road. Still, I was feeling well enough and had plenty of daylight.
The hills were minimal for the first part of the ride, but they started to pick up at this point. They weren’t steep like the Ozarks, but they didn’t quit. Climb a hill, get a quick descent, start climbing again immediately, repeat. Thankfully, none of the climbs were very high, so I didn’t get too frustrated with the situation.
The map for this section notes a campground in the park, but the addendum to the map said that the campground was closed for 2015 and 2016. I arrived to find that the campground is closed. End of sentence. No campground. After a few minutes of looking at the map and comparing it to my phone, I remembered had picked up an information sheet provided by the Sebree church which listed several destinations, their distance from Sebree, and accommodations. I pulled that out and saw that cyclists could camp at the airport in the park. I had passed that just before getting to the erstwhile campground, so I headed back that way. The signs in the airport had a number, and the woman who answered told me to come to the lodge to check in and pay the $10 fee.
The lodge also had a restaurant, so I went downstairs to check out the menu even though I had food for dinner. When I saw a Portobello mushroom burger on the menu, I knew I would stay. There haven’t been many places with vegetarian options more complicated than grilled cheese or pizza, and this was too good an opportunity to pass up.
Now happily sated, I’m back at the airport, sitting in the small air-conditioned lounge typing up the blog and posting some of my backlog. I haven’t decided if I’m going to sleep inside yet tonight, it’s actually a bit on the chilly side in here, but this is a step up from a campground, which I wouldn’t expect to have an indoor area like this. And sleeping next to an air strip is not even registering on my “strangest places I’ve slept on this trip” list.
Roadkill: 6 birds, 3 possums, 6 unknown mammals, 6 snakes