I got a pretty good convenience store breakfast of a bacon egg and cheese and chatted with some locals about the ride. They were talking about various political things and told me, as I left, that when I got back they would have figured it all out.
It was 7 when I finally got on the road. Jo had driven me down the route a ways the night before so I knew what to expect. I made good progress over quiet roads, enjoying the beautiful morning
I got to a convenience store that was actually mostly a diner. It smelled so good, I told the owner I was sad I’d already had my convenience store breakfast. I rode under the interstate and started a long stretch of mildly steep hills and deserted back country. The serene quiet beauty came to an abrupt and as I turned onto a busy uncomfortable road, 54 through Fordsville. After just a few miles I pulled into a convenience store for food and to calm my nerves. I complained to the clerk who listened politely. There was another customer there who was crying to her boyfriend to bring her child to the store, interspersing the crying with threats. It was disturbing. I should have tried to help but I don’t know what I could have done. I got back on the road and did my best not to get hit by the fast moving traffic. It was an 8 mile stretch to turn off the road and it was no fun. At one point a guy drove over the centerline right at me, intentionally (he was looking right at me) to scare me. I guess threatening the lives of cyclists is fun for some people. I eventually made the turn off this road and traffic slowed down enough that I could relax for a while. An older woman in a white SUV pulled up and warned me that the road ahead was hard. I thanked her and she drove off. It wasn’t actually that bad, just a bit hilly. I reached the beautifully named town Falls of Rough (named for being right on the Rough River) and proceeded to Rough River Dam State Resort Park. At first I wasn’t gonna go in but I wanted to see the lake. I stopped by the lodge for a soda then ended up ordering bottomless chicken wings and chatting with the waitress for an hour (I was the only customer) she was in the air force then moved out here. She asked a million questions about biking and gear and everything. She was super nice and kept bringing me refills and food. The food was actually fantastic. Maybe I was starving but it was insanely good, light fluffy fried wings with excellent fries. Eventually I pried myself away. With my belly full I was in a better mood and noticed that the day had become gorgeous. The lake and dam were on full display.
Unfortunately, so too was traffic. It was again very heavy and very unfriendly. I basically had to resort to pulling off constantly because people otherwise would pass too close and too fast. I was very unhappy on this section and very stressed. Luckily it wasn’t too winding, so people had clearing sightlines. I had people buzz me, roll coal on me, and generally be rude for about an hour. It was not a pleasant second day in Kentucky. I stopped at a store and I must have looked shaken because the clerk was very sympathetic and told me that this traffic was awful. I agree. Eventually I turned off the main road and traffic thinned, but didn’t stop, and people were just as unfriendly. I did see a friendly Amish family in a buggy. Eventually I turned onto a single lane road and traffic completely stopped. It was exactly what I needed and I was able to breath for the first time in an hour. I hit a milestone, the final time zone on my trip (at the county line)
There was one insanely steep descent that turned twice, at the bottom of the second turn was a white cross memorializing someone who didn’t make it. I’d later find out that he was the driver of a truck who didn’t make the turn and got ejected from the truck, then it rolled over him.
Traffic stayed thin for a long time, thankfully until I reached a Dollar General in White Mills and texted my host for the night, Chuck. He told me to come on by. Unfortunately that meant another very fast trafficy stretch of road, but only for a mile or two. I pulled up to the volunteer fire department and a man came out of the house next door and introduced himself as Dan. He said he was the second in command and that I could stay at his house or in the fire department. I said his house. As I walked into his property I met his two huge dogs, who were both quite sweet. We went inside and he told me he’s still building the house so it’s not finished, but there’s a couch and a shower. Good enough for me! I got showered then Dan said he was going to get food, and asked if I wanted to join. Of course, so we got in his Tesla (!), in which he demonstrated it’s top speed, and drove to get Mexican food in Leitchfield. It was great, then he offered to let me drive home! I warned him that I haven’t driven a car in months but he was trusting and we made it home. Rather, almost home. He told me to turn onto a side road and we went out to White Mills Days, one of the towns annual celebrations that I just so happened to arrive for. I got to meet Chuck, the fire chief, and lots of other locals. I talked with Chucks wife and several others about the trip. They had a pedal powered tractor pull that seemed like it was tailor made for me, but it was wrapping up as we arrived. I got food and ice cream and just enjoyed the beautiful night. Dan kept me company which I really appreciated. I went to the bathroom and when I came out saw a fire truck racing out. I found Dan and he told me there was a call for a fire. We raced back to his house in the Tesla and he went into the fire station while I returned home. I kept myself entertained and got to work on this post. Dan came back and said that it was nothing, just a whiff of smoke.
I don’t know what to do about the traffic here, it’s really tough. Maybe I have a lower tolerance than others but knowing that the drivers near you don’t value your life makes every car/bike interaction stressful. Maybe I’ll feel better after sleep. I’m doing a shorter day tomorrow but am gonna be up early for it. Night.
- Bacon egg and cheese
- Chocolate milk
- Spicy chicken sandwich
- Chicken tenders
- Ice cream sandwich
- Loaded nachos
- Ice cream