I’ve been on the road again for the past six days and it’s been so fun, but so hot at the same time.
After I left Campbellsville, KY I rode 48 miles to a privately owned campground in Glendale, KY. I was on the Trans-America route for a few miles, but then veered off again in the direction of Glendale. The campground was quaint with a lot of folks in campers. I think the temperatures rose into the 100’s by mid-day and I was proud of myself for getting an early start. I spend a few hours sitting in or by the pool, waiting for the sun to set. Even after pool time and showers I was still so hot and could only think about “sitting still” – that’s what my mom used to tell me to do in the summer time when I was a kid. Sitting still is kind of boring though. I was really wishing that I had a book to read or something to do. You can only watch the robins scoot around the lawn for so long.
Eventually, my camper neighbor Sam and his wife Sissy paid me a visit. They were curious about my bike and all of my bags and had to come “meddling”. They were so friendly and so nice, it really brightened my mood. I’ll be honest, I was starting to feel pretty lonely. Up until the I either had a friend riding with me or family to visit. They offered me relief from the heat by allowing me to sit in the comfort of their air conditioned camper. Ms Sissy and I visited for a while and every now and then I would poke my head out and check on the bike and observe the weather. There were storms moving in from the west that were supposed to be pretty intense, but they pushed further north near Louisville. We got some wind, thunder, and a little bit of rain – just enough of a storm to make the evening heat a little more bearable.
The next morning I left the campsite by 7am. That’s about as late as you can leave in the morning if you want to push through some miles before you start dealing with the oven like temperatures. That morning I finally hooked up to the Trans-America route and it took me in and out of steep hollers that were reminiscent of the hills surrounding Knoxville. Even though I was glad to be on the Trans-Am, I was still feeling pretty discouraged about the day’s ride. There were a lot of vicious dogs and some pretty steep hills – up until this point in the tour I haven’t had to actually get off my bike and push it up a hill, sure I took rests on the longer climbs, but this one was exceptional. Fortunately this wasn’t a very long day, by lunch time I was less than ten miles away from Rough River State Park. I stopped at the local restaurant and while I was securing my bicycle a lady approached me and started asking me about my trip. She said that several cyclists pass through during the summer, which, I am learning, is usually what most of the towns people along the Trans-Am say. She was kind enough after exchanging a few words with me to treat me to lunch. I agreed and we sat for about an hour getting to know one another and and the end of our meal she even offered to drive me down the road (out of the way of my route) to a grocery store. At this point my starts getting better.
I roll into the campground and the little old grandpa watching the gate was the flirtiest thing you’d ever meet! He was a hoot! He drove me around the campsite in the golf cart and let me pick out any site that I’d like, regardless of access to water or electric, and gave me the same rate for a primitive site. After I set up camp and showered I started walking to the lodge at Rough River and grandpa was just getting off work, so he drove me in the golf cart again about a mile down the road to the air conditioned lodge. I sat through a wind storm, wrote post cards, and ate ice cream for about three hours before I made the short journey back to the campground. As I was eating dinner I noticed another cyclist riding around looking for a spot! I hollered at him and he came over and we ended up sharing the tent site. His name is Tyler from Oregon and started his tour in D.C. I was pretty excited to have met up with another rider on my first day on the Trans-Am.
Tyler and I rode together for three days after meeting at Falls of Rough. We rode to Sebree and Tyler crossed his first 1000 mile mark. It was pretty exciting! We stayed in the basement of the First Baptist Church in town. They were really nice people and the pastor’s wife made us dinner. So far, all of the towns along the Tran-Am are excited to see the cyclists and are very willing to take people in. The next day was the Fourth of July (and my birthday!). The town hosted a Firecracker 10k. Tyler got up and actually ran it, right before we rode 70 miles! Later that day I crossed my 1000 mile mark, too. We crossed the Kentucky-Illinois boarder via ferry across the Ohio River, and finished the day in Elizabethtown IL. For my birthday, Durley bought me a room in the Bed & Breakfast. There was a pool, a jacoozi tub, and a little balcony overlooking the B&B gardens and the Ohio River. I ended up having a great birthday! And of course there were fireworks! Some people down the road were shooting them off over the river, despite the burn ban that’s currently in effect across a lot of the Midwestern states.
Yesterday Tyler and I only rode 50 miles. It was blazing hot, much like every other day, but yesterday was so much worse. The thermometer on my bike computer was reading 116F on the asphalt. I couldn’t decide if the wind made things better or worse, on one hand the air was moving. On the other hand, it was like someone was pointing a blow dryer in your face. It was pretty awful. It took us nearly 3 hours to travel 15 miles because we had to stop every 2-5 miles and rest and water our selves in any shade we could find. We eventually got to the interstate exchange right out side of Goreville. We rolled up to a service station and the attendant was smoking a cigaret outside. She was a bitch. And made me really upset. She kept trying to give us this bullshit how we couldn’t park our bikes against the building and how we couldn’t go inside until she was done smoking. I don’t understand why people are like that. Maybe because she was fat, old, and ugly she has a grudge against fit cyclists. Who knows. I didn’t stick around because I left after giving her a snarky reply.
Once we got to Goreville we stopped in at a church who offer a place for us to stay. When we initially arrived there was nobody there, so we left them a note and our phone numbers and we to eat dinner. Neither of us really expected them to call us back, but they did! It was a pleasant surprise and we got to sleep on couches in an air conditioned basement. Dinner held a surprise as well. The owner enjoys the cyclists that come through every year. He took our photo with a polaroid type camera to hang up and gave us free dessert! Even after the free dessert, he ended up giving us half of a chocolate pie was they were getting ready to throw away! It was a good ending to a hot and frustrating day.
This morning Tyler and I went our own directions. It’s pretty likely that we will come across each other again further down the road. I’m staying with my first WarmShowers host, which is pretty exciting. I’m looking forward to going out on the town this evening. He also just had two other cyclists contact him, so I need to go meet them and show them the way to his house! I have a feeling that we are going to have fun this evening! 🙂
Until next time, pedal strong and pedal safe!
PS – I’ll try to get the recent photos on Flickr, but no guarantee that it will work on the library computers!