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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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