Day 23 – Union KY to Madison IN

[I couldn’t post last night, no wifi or even phone signal, so you might want to look at Day 22 also…]

Another day, another state… Today I crossed back over the Ohio into Indiana. I hadn’t noticed that in my route planning – the Adventure cycling route follows the Ohio (thankfully considering this morning’s experiences with Ky hills). So bonus state: Indiana.

I was slow waking up and slow on the bike – not away from Ralph and Joanne’s until 9:00. I slept late – all the way to 7:00 – and then just everything seemed to take more steps. Since I was “camping” on their porch it was a little awkward – electricity on the upstairs porch, water on the downstairs – but mostly some mornings I just feel discombobulated. Partly because I think I woke up a lot. I’m pretty sure there was a buck snorting around the house. Something was snorting around anyway but I couldn’t see it. So at 3:00 AM I did the rounds to makes sure my food was put away and bags were all sealed up well. Didn’t seem to matter because the snorting continued. So I went back to sleep and it’s likely that I snorted right back.

My digs for the night. Thanks, Ralph and Joanne! Great spot!
Always a bit sad to see what was once a grand home sitting derelict. I can imagine a mom and dad, gram and gramps, and lots of kids with memories of this place.
Near the “Scenic View” Church. I’m not really a Christian, though I do hold Christian values. Like many, I guess I choose my own interpretation of Christianity, as I believe Christ might have intended. Not really a discussion for a caption I suppose but I felt a need to explain. Still the symbolism on this hill was too powerful not to notice.
I have fond memories of scrambling around in Mimosa trees as a kid, especially the one in Kevin’s front yard. To me these blossoms are a symbol of what I liked about growing up kind of wild in MO.
In Kentucky the barns are black. Very badass. Near Sparta where the farms have seen better days. Odd to see so many farms here struggling, when 100 miles north of here they looked prosperous.
I saw a lot of trailers today in Kentucky. Most looked a lot better than this. And no, I will not refer to them as “mobile homes”. Does this look “mobile” to you? Not the first one that I’ve seen where they added a pole barn roof over a trailer. Maybe keeps it from getting so hot?

Seeing trailers is always a humbling reminder to me. When my folks first split up, my mom and I lived in a trailer for about 3 months while she looked for a permanent spot. At the same time, my did lived in a trailer by the lake for awhile, and then in another one on an 80 acre farm for several years. They suck to live in. They’re hot when it’s hot out, cold when it’s cold and I haven’t seen one yet where the walls and furnishings felt anything but cheap and poorly made. They creak, the floors never feel really solid, and usually they smell funny (especially when new – offgassing from glue, paneling, carpets). And where I grew up, anyone living in a trailer ran the risk of being called “trailer trash” – the local label for poor white folks. But the reality is that they’re cheap, and their often a sensible option for people in transition or who just can’t afford better. Still I’d have to be pretty damn broke to chose one. I’d rather work on an old broken down house than live in a trailer ever again.

I had a good long climb up this hill. Not so bad when it’s shaded like this.
Crossing the Kentucky River into, well, more Kentucky. See the old bridge along side?
I just love the simplicity of these old farmhouses.
We’re not in Ohio anymore. More southern influences.
There’s hope for us, yet. Crossing the Ohio River into IN. Madison in the distance.
In Madison IN. Lots of cool old buildings here. Narrow, brick and oddly vertical given how much space is available.


Kentucky is a lot harder riding than Ohio. I did “only” 60 miles today but did 3,000 feet of climbing, whereas the hole 94 miles I did one day in Ohio was only 1300 feet of climbing. Frankly, that day was easier than today. Kentucky has a lot of steep little hills, along of rolling hills and I was off the Adventure Cycling route – which I think I paid for. It was worth it though to get to spend some time down by the Ohio and there’s nothing like getting “off course” to remind you what a great job of route planning the AC folks have done.

I’m staying tonight in Madison IN. It’s a cute little town and the old historic downtown is thriving. It’s curious as you go from town to town and some are thriving and some are struggling. The hotel I’m staying has a big deck looking over the river and they have live music tonight which sounds fun. Although I fear Eagles covers. We’ll see…

6 thoughts on “Day 23 – Union KY to Madison IN”

  1. I’m happy to read two days worth of posts today. I worried a little about you when you went radio silent for a day. Glad you got to kayak again and that you didn’t get eaten by a snorting creature in the night.

    There are so many parts of the country that I’ve never seen. I forget how big the US is. I don’t know how your temps have been, but try not to melt if you ride through our heat wave. My twins are Boy Scout camping in 103 heat for this whole week. Makes me really appreciate A/C. Ride on!

    1. Temps have been warm but not too bad. Highs up in the mid 80’s but it ain’t the heat its the humidity eh? Humidity is running real high and I just sweat buckets. Lots of water and electrolytes…

  2. Nice posts & pics! You’re having some wonderful experiences, you’ll have to write a book when you get home — or maybe you already have. Enjoy, be safe.

  3. Hi Jim, I went to college just outside Lexington, KY so this post and pics are bringing back memories. I am not sure but I think the black barns might be for drying tobacco, which is still a thriving crop. I am surprised you found any shoulders to bike on the road…I don’t remember there being much shoulder at all. Just road, then ditch. Enjoying all your perspectives!

    1. Thanks, Lorrie. I haven’t seen much tobacco but not sure I’d recognize it unless it was full size which it wouldn’t be yet.

  4. Interesting how you see things change across a state line. I guess the remnants of union vs. confederate or free vs. slave are still here despite the internet. Keep your eye on the path of tropical depression Cindy; looks like it will must pass south of the Ohio River but it has a wide swath.

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