No one else joined me at the church last night which meant I could get up and start banging around early. Still somehow it’s hard to get out the door quickly. Entirely my own doing but I need my coffee, I need to shave (every once in awhile), I’ve got to get water bottles ready, some food in me, sunscreen, bags packed etc. I’m getting better at it but still seems like it takes too long because I love that morning light, and I want to spend more time in it.
Still I was on the road by about 7:15 and what great weather I had. I don’t think it got over 80 all day so I got a lot of miles in, mostly before lunch. The morning was an overall descent where I crossed the Ohio for the last time – this time by Ferry. I think if I had gone by kayak from Cincinnati to here it would have been a lot faster. It’s surprising how hard it is to follow the river for any distance on land.
I only met one other cyclist on the road today. Brian is from Minnesota and is crossing the country with his brother. His brother drives the RV while Brian pedals all day, and then they camp at night. Now that’s brotherly devotion. This way Brian doesn’t have to carry any real weight and he even has a backup bike if he runs into trouble. I think it must be hard for Brian’s brother not to put on 15 lbs this way, sitting across the dinner table every night with someone who’s just ridden 80 miles has got to be tough not to follow suit.
Which brings me to my endorphin-fueled epiphany of the day; everything is contagious. I’ve heard it said before about eating habits – that some areas of the county are heavier because everybody eats like everyone else (ok gross generalizations yes but just for discussions sake). I think the same is true about working habits, and exercise habits. If you live where everyone plays golf, you play golf. If everyone comes to school talking about the internet meme of the day, you go on lookout for internet memes. So choose your neighbors and friends wisely – you’re going to end up like them. I’m sure that you’ve probably had a version of this thought before but somehow this morning in the wilds of Kentucky it seemed profound enough to put down in my notebook. Ok, please discuss. Where does this break down? Free will? Pish posh.
Brian confirmed one thing that I’ve heard before – that the Ozarks have the toughest hills on the TransAm. They have a million little steep climbs where you go up, sometimes at grades over 15%, and then right back down and you start on another one. He said that he had a 70 mile climb in Colorado that wasn’t that hard – just a very mellow grade for a long way. So I have the Ozarks to look forward to.
I am getting antsy to get to Missouri, see family and have a little down time. I had a vague goal of getting to Bolivar by July 4th that I’m going to have to buckle down to make. I need to spend some real planning time with maps tonight and see if I can do it.
Speaking of tonight – I’m currently pilfering electricity to run my MiFi to post this. I didn’t get to this campground until about mile 90 and I’m pretty much out of gas. But no one is here, the showers and bathrooms are locked. So I’m kind of “squatting” here to see if anyone shows up. If they don’t I’m sleeping on their porch tonight. It’s a weird conundrum- they have a sign signifying this is a campground, I called the number and left a message, and there are all these empty RVs around. This is where the adventure happens eh?
I have thought quite a bit about the whole “adventure” side of this trip. It was probably the most common reaction that people have had when I tell them what I’m doing. “Oh you’re going to have such an adventure.” Well yeah I hope so but when things mostly go right, it’s not such a big adventure. I mean its been fun and interesting, fascinating really. But there’s a part of me that keeps waiting for old farmer McGillicuddy to strike up a conversation with me and mention the funny goings-on down at the old mill. That’s the way it works on Scooby Doo. More than likely though I wonder if the adventure really starts when stuff goes wrong. And this evening, I’m 50 miles from any real hotel, 20 miles from another campground, I’m tired and I’m staying here. Adventure!
My favorite sign of the day that I failed to get a picture of; on a small house by the roadside: “Indoor Yard Sale.” Doesn’t that mean “Store”? Actually it’s brilliant. Got right around those tough Western Kentucky zoning laws.
I had a late lunch in Elizabethtown. The first place I went in smelled so off I turned around and walked out, and I’m glad I did. I wandered down by the river and found the E-town River Restaurant. Most of the menu was catfish so I went with the catfish. You know they’re serious about their catfish when you can choose your catfish “river” or “pond”. Who chooses pond? Heavens.
One table of bikers (i.e. Harley variety) started up a conversation with me about the trip and pretty soon I ended up talking with everyone in the restaurant, one after another. For some reason, one guy wanted my advice on what electric bike to get his brother with a bad ankle injury but I felt sorely unqualified to answer that. One woman said that she overheard that I was “self-supported” (in cycling means on your own, no SAG wagon or someone to get you out of trouble) and she met me in the parking lot to buy me lunch. She wanted to help me on the journey in some way. I told her she didn’t need to do that but she insisted. So I told her I was raising money to help the environment and that I would put it to that cause. I wish I had thought to do a selfie with her – I think she would have liked that – but I was kind of thrown off balance by her. Next time I’ll try to stay a little more Mile 1.
Which reminds me of a good question Megan had in the comments last night about conversations on the environment. I’ve kind of been a chicken in that department I’ll admit but we’re in sync because I was thinking about it as I rode today. I just have to jump in and be a little more gutsy about that. I think it’s hard for me to resist my natural tendency when I’m out in an area where I don’t know people – I want people to like me. But that’s probably way overrated. One thing that I “knew” before this trip but really know now, is that electronic media is a crappy venue for any real understanding to occur. Facebook et al offer venues for people to just spout their beliefs and essentially walk away. If you’re standing face to face with someone, you can’t do that. When the barriers are gone, people are overwhelmingly fair (or at least fairer) with each other.
Ok one final picture. I swear that I did not set this up. Know how I’ve been ranting about all that lawn mowing? OK this guy has figured out a solution.
Ok we’re not going to discuss that little 4 mile wrong turn at the end of the day. Chalk it up to low blood sugar.