Biologist on a Bike

Day 56: Springfield, KY to Bryantsville, KY (to Lexington, KY)


Distance: 50.53 mi
Average Speed: 11.1 mph; Max Speed: 32.4 mph
Elevation Gain: 2,500 ft
Average Temp: 84.4 F; Temp Range: 73.4-104.0 F

I woke up before my alarm today, which was mildly surprising given that I crossed a time zone yesterday. However, I wasn’t in any particular rush and the bed was oh so comfortable, so I went back to sleep. I also turned off my first alarm when it did go off. And snoozed the second a few times. Beds are truly wonderful things, you know.

Where I woke up, Day 56

There wasn’t a lot of packing to do because there wasn’t a lot of unpacking that had been done last night. I like it when things are easy. And when I got downstairs there was already coffee made. Heaven. Breakfast was coffee, an orange, and possibly the prettiest scrambled egg I have ever seen. I don’t usually make omelets because I can’t keep the egg whole, so I am impressed by people who can do so.

KMC drove me back to the park where we met, and I spotted the guy who prompted me not to stay there under the pavilion. Still or again, I don’t know. It was almost certainly overkill as I doubt he’d have done anything worse than attempt to talk our ears off, but we pulled into a parking lot across the street to unload my gear.

Overall it was an easy start to the day. It wasn’t even raining like the forecast said it would. On the way out of Springfield, I passed a few bits of history tied to the Lincoln Homestead: where President Lincoln’s father was born.

This was the home of President Lincoln’s brother, who inherited the homestead.

This is a replica of the home where President Lincoln’s father was born.

The Lincoln Homestead State Park was more or less on the far edge of town, so I was soon back out in more sparsely populated areas. Nothing to Wyoming, of course, but there were crops and barns and houses, as there have been for several hundred miles. Yesterday I finally looked up the mystery that has been tugging at my mind. All over Kentucky, I’ve been seeing large squares painted like quilts hung on barns. It’s a bit of beauty and an attempt to entice people off the major highways to enjoy the countryside a bit more. 

Barn Quilt and Logo in 1

Barn Quilt

I’ve been noticing a lot of variation in the repair of the buildings I’ve seen. Some are new and practically shiny. Others are old and well loved. And a not insubstantial number of them are abandoned and slowly rotting away. It was attention getting to see two houses on opposite ends of the spectrum on the same property.

I bet that old house was gorgeous when it was built.

At this point in the trip, I expect to experience more “last” moments than “firsts.” Yesterday I changed time zones for the last time. Shortly I will cross a state line for the last time. But the road still has a few firsts to throw at me. Today was the first time on this tour that I had to stop and wait for a train to go by. Thankfully, it wasn’t a very long train.

The little train that could, it was not.

All throughout the day, I was texting my Cousin Andy (first cousin once removed to be precise) about how many miles I had to go to Berea. That was where we were planning to meet to take the detour up to Lexington for a rest day with his sister and her family. At one point I texted him that I had 46 miles left. A few miles later I got confirmation that a bridge up ahead was indeed out and I would have to take a detour, so I texted again to say I had 47 miles to go. Later, he reminded me that he could pick me up before Berea if necessary. When a line of strong thunderstorms complete with possibility of hail started threatening around mile 50, I decided that ending the day earlier sounded better than risking a lightning strike.

The rain

If I hadn’t been planning to meet up with him, I might have found a place to wait out the storm and keep going, but today wasn’t a day for riding until 7PM. I backtracked about a mile to the nearest major road he could find on his map and then found a gas station to wait at. The rain was mostly light to moderate but there were bands of rain and wind so intense that visibility was severely limited. Limited enough, in fact, that he drove right past the gas station when he didn’t see the sign and had to backtrack.

We got some food shopping done, although I remembered after we got back that there were two other things I should have looked for. It’s hard to keep track in a gigantic supermarket when I’m used to tiny stores in small towns. Later, there was a great dinner with the extended family, tofu and broccoli in a peanut sauce served over rice. It was spectacular.

Tomorrow we’re going to head to a nearby bike shop to get my brakes checked out. As I’ve mentioned before, the rear one has been sticking (at least it sticks in the braked position rather than failing to engage). And I want them to have a look at the shifting as well, since some of my lower gears have been slipping again. Other than that, plans are fluid, and I’m looking forward to a relaxing day of rest and updating the blog.

Roadkill count: 12 birds, 1 deer, 1 mole, 1 mouse, 1 possum, 3 raccoons, 1 squirrel, 5 unknown mammals, 1 snake


Map Day 56

9 thoughts on “Day 56: Springfield, KY to Bryantsville, KY (to Lexington, KY)

  1. Linda Schmelzer

    I love the photo of the old house! If I were younger, I would travel the countryside and photograph old barns – not the aluminum kind. I love the ones with character, that show how life works. I’ll bet you have seen many!!

    1. Spin Doctor Post author

      Some of them (the barns) are cool, others just make me sad. I find the old houses and mills and similar more visually interesting. Once I get up to day 60 or so, you’ll see some of those pictures.

  2. Connie Joki

    LOL – meeting a Mr. Collins! Glad you got to meet and stay with KMC.

    Kentucky looks very pretty and love the old houses and barns.

    Enjoy your rest day. Not to much further to go.

  3. Rhoda Freeman

    We live in the “country” surrounded by farms with various outbuildings and find it so interesting. We like watching a show called “Barnwood Builders,” which can be corny at times, but the team in W. Virginia searches out log cabins that are in disrepair (or no repair) and should be taken down. They use the wood for repurposing into new builds. A couple of the workers live in Kentucky. I think the entire area is so picturesque and would hope to visit the area someday. Thanks for the pics!

  4. Linda Beutler

    Berea is a town I visited over 20+ years ago with a dear friend living in TN at the time (we made a weekend trip to KY when I visited). The local crafts were wonderful. I have a carved wood hummingbird perched on the branch he was carved from. Great memory! Enjoy the day off in Lexington. It’s pretty country thereabouts.

  5. Leslie Diamond

    Good! You get a day off and hopefully your bike can get fixed so you won’t have any more mechanical issues before you hit the end of the trail! Have a good rest!

  6. Suzan Lauder

    Just coming back from a prairie trip, I too noticed the sad old buildings and collapsing barns in the same treed area as a new house. I guess it’s universal.

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