Riding through Kentucky

Day 14- June 14th

Our first whole day in Kentucky. We left at 8am as normal. Dad says no matter what we do, we always leave at 8am.

Right away there was a climb. These are always hard as my muscles have not yet had time to warm up. On this hill we met another biker going West. He is planning on finishing in 41 days- go him! We chatted for a bit and he zoomed by us.

We had a lot of hills and mountains this day. Major climbs such as two miles up hill. It kicked our butts. The last climb was hard due to being tired, hot, and the sun was beating on road. However, he overall scenery was beautiful.

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Old coal mill

We eventually made it to Hindman, KY after 51.12 miles. We were going to stay at the Settlement House for camping, but they were hosting school children and had no water accomodations. They referred us to a man who accommodates bikers in his house like a bed and breakfast, but through donations. It is really his house as some of us slept on the floor or on the futon.

The owner, Randy, was very pleasant and tried hard to make us comfortable. He had a young puppy named Jack and he was just the cutest. Dad and I are dog people, but the New Zealand couple and another guest from Australia were not, but tolerated the dog and ignored him.

The Aussie started in San Francisco in March and is just finishing. He is excited. He ran in some snow and cold days, but pushed through.

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Jack would run off with anything small enough to take in his mouth like gloves or a trail mix bag. The New Zealand couple ended up running after him for several items.

A funny story: Dad, the Aussie, and I were walking back to the house with Jack and a barking dog comes down the hillside and scares Jack. Jack runs behind us, but the other dog sees us and run back up the hill. Jack then proceeded to run after him and bark quite angrily. Even after we passed the area of the dog, Jack was very upset how that dog dared to bother us. That dog was twice as big as Jack. It was hilarious!

Randy made breakfast for us in the morning- eggs, bacon, and cinamon toast. He tried making coffee, but the Aussie pulled the pot out before it was ready and spilled it everywhere. No harm done, just an early morning mistake.

All for donations, which Randy kept telling us to leave.

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Randy sitting on the porch

Day 15- June 15th

Hindman to Buckhorn, KY was 50.7 miles. The whole day we were playing tag with the New Zealand couple. We passed them, they passed us, etc.

This day was also bad in terms of water. It was so hot and humid that Dad and I were out of water. Normally we would pass some convenience store or gas station that would refill us, but this route had nothing.

For example, the small town of Carrie…the only reason we knew we went through it was a closed run down shop that said Carrie on it. We did pass through a decent size town, but it wasn’t enough water. We had more hills that kicked our butts, especially after the hard climbs of yesterday.

We passed one house and asked for water and they gave us some cold water. That morning we stopped to get something cold to drink and a snack. We started talking to this guy who was volunteering in the area about our trip. He ended up paying for our items when we were not paying attention! It was incredibly nice of him and we ran after him to thank him.

The people on this trip have been so nice! Some drivers don’t give room for us, but for the most part people call out to us from their lawns be safe.

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Near the end, we got caught in rain. Twice. The first rain was light and quick. We had 10 or so minutes then the second came and it was heavy and luckily short. But it was still enough to soak our shoes. We got to Buckhorn and see the New Zealand couple dry as roses eating ice cream. I don’t know how they do it. The man running one of the stores (there are two across the street from each other in this small town) has a book that he asks bikers to sign. He has been there since 1976, the first year of the transam route. He said he got about 3,500 people to sign in the first year.

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After a long discussion with the Kiwis, we decided to split a nice camp site at the campground at Buckhorn. Electric outlets, water, showers, laundry, and wifi. It was still humid. No wind at all.

We went to bed and then the rain started. It got heavier and heavier. Our tent is not the best and I could feel rain dropping on me and my half of the tent’s floor was wet. My sleeping pad was damp and my blanket/sleeping bag linear was soaked in the bottom. Dad threw it in the dryer in the morning.

Day 16- June 16th

We were tired. I was super tired as I didn’t get much sleep, but we had a long day ahead. 68 miles to Berea, KY. Our longest ever and we definitely pushed ourselves. There were smaller hills the whole way with some big climbs, but we were gradually gaining elevation the whole day. Luckily it wasn’t as stuffy as the day before as there was wind, but near the end of the day, the wind was pushing against us.

We planned on extra water today especially since it ended up being a high of 92 degrees Farenheit.

We stopped at the other shop for a breakfast sandwich and continued on right at 8 am.

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Bird houses on route

We didn’t give ourselves that many breaks. Normally ever 10/11 miles for a quick stop and water. We were doing 20 miles.

The dump construction trucks were super bad today. They didn’t give any room and drove right on top of you. Terrible! Even if the shoulder of the road is decent, the few times it has been and I’ve used it, cars don’t move over and drive right next to you. If I don’t use the shoulder, cars give me a ton of space. I don’t get it. Bikers should not be closer than a foot away from your car!

We stopped and took a picture of a turtle in the road. Before Dad could move it, a truck drove by barely missing it. I call him Lucky the turtle.

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However, Lucky wasn’t the only animal we ran into, but by far the most pleasant. We have heard the Kentucky has a problem with dogs, but we were not sure if it was just talk or not. When we got into Kentucky there seemed to be more dogs, but it also looked like it was just because the houses were closer to the roads. Today changed that opinion.

I understand that the route takes us to country places so having a fence seems silly. But cars drive there and letting your dog run wild in that situation doesn’t make sense…

The first run in was with two small dogs. I out pedaled them and tired them out for Dad. I tried growling at them like last one, but they were not as close so I don’t think it affected them. The second one, by far takes the cake. Luckily I was going down hill, but two black labs chased after me and was doing a good job keeping up. They were barking and tried rounding me off with group fromation, one on either side, but they ended up on the same side. I was yelling at them to no avail. Finally I just out pedaled them. It was scary. The third time was funny. A group of girls was playing with their dog in the lawn when it sees me. It runs past his owners and heads to me barking. It’s by my back wheel when I growl and it crouches in fright and goes home, tail in between its legs. I pedal on as if nothing happened. It was hilarious.

A little bit on, we run into a couple from California riding a reclining tandem bike, pulling a box. They are going East and are almost finished. I have heard that riding tandem is difficult, I wonder how much more so is it reclining…

We eventually made it to Big Hill. Yup, there’s a big hill. For us, it’s down hill. After hearing East bounds talk about it I thought it was going to be super steep and long. It wasn’t! Grade was 6 and it was a mile long. I was not impressed.

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At the welcome center, at the top of the hill, there was also a cemetary. Quite ironic/comical.

The last 8 miles was torture as it was hot, I was tired, and so many small hills to reach Berea. We pushed ourselves for our rest day the next day (Day 17- June 17th).

We stayed at the Knight’s Inn and they are just so helpful! The owner bought us some beer because it is a dry county. Then they gave us a fridge and microwave for the room. The people here are the best!

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