Awesome day today. It started off early with a 5:45 wake up. I had a frosted flakes breakfast and got under way. I checked out of the hotel and got rolling around 6:30. I was feeling great and ready to go. I had a major decision to make though: take the published route, which was about 80 miles to Berea, or follow the more direct Google Maps suggested route along US 150, which would have more traffic at higher speeds but seemed to have a shoulder for the majority of it’s length. I chose to follow the route to minimize traffic, and avoid any segments of 150 where the shoulder would disappear. Also, the route looked like it would be much prettier. I got rolling in the dawn light and enjoyed the carless, misty morning.
The sounds were serene
I passed by the home of Mordecai Lincoln, Abe Lincoln’s uncle
A little further up the road I came to Lincoln Homestead State Park. It had a cabin in which Lincoln and several of his family members lived when he was a boy. He left Kentucky by the time he was 10, so this wasn’t his presidential/post presidential home.
I had a nice descent down a shouldered highway then turned right into a road that ran along Mayes Creek. For whatever reason most of the riding since The Great Divide has not been along rivers. Maybe most the rivers run North to South? I don’t know. I do know the wildflowers were in full bloom, including these beautiful purple flowers
I kept riding and turned away from the creek and got back to hills. I crossed into Mercer County and got the impression that something had changed. The houses were slightly less well-kept and the roadsore rundown. I got the distinct impression I’d entered Eastern Kentucky (even though I really hadn’t).
I came around a corner and two dogs tried to run down their porch to chase me, but their owner got in the way and held them back. I waved at him and his friend waved back. He said the dogs chase cyclists commonly. Why not do something about it if that’s the case then?!?
I came over a hill and the fog came back, which was odd because it and already burned off elsewhere.
It was right around 9:30 by then and I think people were leaving for church: it was getting busy out of nowhere. I crossed the Salt River into Harrodsburg, the biggest town I’ve been in in Kentucky I think. I stopped at a convenience store for a disappointing breakfast, then saw on Google maps that there was a donut shop up the road. I decided to check it out. As I rode through town I spotted a Pioneers Day celebration setting up. I got to the donut shop and got 3 donuts and a cinnamon roll. I also thought I was ordering a Thai tea, but I actually ordered a Thai tea coffee drink. I don’t drink coffee, or more caffeine than what’s in soda, so I was kind of worried my heart was going to explode, but I just got hyper, and felt REALLY good on the bike. I guess I did consume a metric boatload of caffeine and sugar. The donut shop had no bathroom so I packed my leftovers and swung back by the pioneer days to use the porta potty and see what was going on. There was not one but two church services going on, one in English and one in Spanish.
Apart from that there were cool booths set up, to the backdrop of the historical fort
It was cool but nothing was open yet so I got back to riding. The road was very narrow and busy out of town. It was stressful but I stayed calm and made it without issue. On my map I could see that I was headed towards a river. I got to cross it giving me nice views of the Sunday activities going on.
Traffic was still heavy, but died off as I took a southward turn. The caffeine from this morning was still with me and I felt great. At one point a massive grey diesel pickup, the kind you expect to roll coal on you, got stuck behind me as I climbed a steep hill he waited patiently then waved to me after I pulled over. Surprisingly positive interaction. I made it to a convenience store and got a soda then got onto a narrow mostly carless local road. It wound along the tops of the ridges, with drop offs on both sides. I really like this kind of riding for some reason, it’s windy but not overly hilly, and you can enjoy constantly changing views. This segment had me on a lot of different roads, changing every few miles. They were almost all deserted and I loved them. One on particular went upriver of a creek with heavy tree cover, my favorite.
This riding was perfect. No cars, lower humidity, and beautiful roads. Honestly one of the highlights of Kansas so far. It got better, I came to a free cyclist rest stop with ice cold water and soda and a chair to enjoy the view into the valley below. I don’t know who runs this, but thank you!
After a good long while recovering at the rest stop I got back to riding. I only had 20 miles or so to go to Berea. It was slow going. The hills were starting to pick up. There were big descents and steep climbs. They say Berea is the gateway to the Appalachians on this route and I believe it, some of these hills are getting quite steep, as in lowest gear and still struggling.
I passed a decaying cabin in the flowers
I passed through the town of Paint Lick (wonderful name) then rode to a busy country road that took me into Berea, end point for the day and the end of map #10 / 12! Two left!
I contacted my host for the night, Emily then wandered through a dollar store using the ac and wifi. I got back on a bike path and rode through town to Berea College, where Emily works. She texted me that I could just go into the house. I headed there right as she drove by, and she told me to follow her. I did and pulled up to a beautiful little home. Emily showed me around and truly made me feel at home. She let me cook fresh veggies and rice from her garden, and kept me company and we talked for an hour about a million different things. It was awesome. Soon Dom and Sara, whose blog I’ve been following for a while, rolled up. They got in then went to get food, Emily left to get groceries and I cleaned up my mess in the kitchen. Everyone came back and we all say around the kitchen table talking about biking and everything else under the sun. Sara and Dom.both quite their jobs to do this ride, and are moving to Colorado when it finishes. Emily is the head baker at the college farm store. We discussed adventures and told stories from the road and overall had a wonderful time. These kind of evenings are my favorite parts of the trip. Emily even let us do laundry so we all out a load in. It’s late after talking for a long time, so I need sleep. Night!
- 2x fruit smoothies
- Frosted flakes
- Lemon bar
- Sausage egg and cheese
- Chocolate milk
- Cinnamon roll
- Thai tea
- Eggplant, onions, potato, rice