Monday, November 2, 2009

Day 102 ~ Bridge Out

Gregory reads while Mom and Dad finish packing up.

Silly Boy

Parked against an ice machine during our snack break. Kentucky is the Bluegrass State.

Asking for directions at our bridge out. The enormous cranes are pumping concrete up to the workers on the bridge. They guide the end of the nozzle and fill in the forms to create the bridge surface.

We got a hitchhiker at the construction site. It was very muddy!

Turning "the train" around to to head back out and find an alternate route.

We met Jeff shortly after the bridge fiasco and he rode with us for quite some time. Nice guy.

We were sitting at the Circle K convenience store in Crestwood, Kentucky when this guy comes up to us and asks, "Are you related to the Williams Family?" We replied, "We are the Williams Family!" It turned out to be Mark who is Mike's cousin Julie's husband. Julie and Kim (who we are staying with) are sisters! We still had about an hour to ride to Kim's house at this point.

John and the kids met us a couple miles out and picked up our trailer and panniers. John told us that a little earlier one of his UPS drivers radioed in to tell him that he'd spotted us out on the road!

We're here! Hooray! Kim and the kids introduce us to their 6-month old lab Poncho.

Date: October 29, 2009

From: Bardstown, Kentucky

To: Prospect, Kentucky (Near Louisville)

Route: Route skirting around Louisville mapped out by John Begel

Miles Today: 65 miles

TOTAL MILES: 2,953 miles

Top Speed on this trip: 54.1 mph

Weather: Shorts weather. Nice day!

License Plates Collected: 5 Montana, 8 Wyoming (2 motorcycle) and 1 Idaho (found in WY), 2 Colorado, 1 Kansas (Gifted from David of Baldwin City), 1 Missouri (To be sent to Grammy’s by our new buddy, Kansas City firefighter Shawn), 1 Illinois, 2 Kentucky (Gifted from of Beth and Garry Feltus)

Flats: 8

Broken Spokes: 3

Cracked Rim: 1

For whatever reason today I was really low energy… I did O.K the first half of the day and lunch at 5 O'clock Charlies around 1:30P.M. gave me a bit of a pick me up but when we hit a bridge out and had to back track and then made another wrong turn and had to back track my patience started to wane and I started to seriously doubt my mental ability to "stay in the game."

We were following a route that John (Mike's cousin Kim's husband) had mapped out for us so that we could avoid the busy roads in Louisville. Everything was working out great until we came to a bridge out. Gregory had been helping his dad add the mileage so Mike would know when to turn. (Gregory would tell his dad the mileage, Mike would give him the amount of miles we needed to travel before the next turn, Gregory would add it in his head and then announce the new total. Then, Gregory had to remember that new mileage marker and watch the computer to tell his dad when to turn. He did amazingly well and I was really impressed how well he handled this responsibility.)

So anyhow, in looking at the bridge situation we knew there was no way to cross. The concrete was set about half way out but they were pouring the middle section using these enormous cranes and they had steel walkways that crossed the expanse of the bridge. The workers could barely walk down the edges of the bridge on the framing to get to the middle. (Back in 1994 Mike carried our bikes across a bridge that had just been poured but their were no workers around and he could walk the narrow plywood forms that edged the bridge…) We stood there until one of the workers came over and advised us how to go back and find another bridge with a parallel crossing. It would require us to back track quite a few miles and I could tell Mike was frustrated at the thought of it. This fellow went back to work and another was leaving so we asked his opinion. He advised a different route (but wasn't from around here) so not knowing what to do we called John back and he set us back on a new course. (John works for UPS in the I.T. Department and was a great help in getting us to his home! UPS is one of the biggest employers here in Louisville…)

As we back tracked Mike kept grumbling about how it would have been nice if they would have put a sign at the intersection instead of right up here near the bridge…My comment was that he probably wouldn't have paid attention to it anyhow because in the past we've forged ahead in such situations hoping that we'd somehow be able to cross. No, he said, he would have called John if there would've been a sign… Well, lo and behold when we reached the intersection there it was, a sign that read: ROAD CLOSED 2 MILES AHEAD. We felt pretty silly. We'd been so focused on calculating our miles and making sure we didn't miss any turns that we didn't pay any attention to these bright orange signs!! Lesson learned!

Finally on course once again we were tooling along and soon met Jeff, a bike racer from the area. He enthusiastically asked about the details of our trip as he pedaled along beside us. We rode this way for quite a while and when we came to an intersection where we thought we might need to turn Mike asked Jeff about it and got the impression that if we followed Jeff up to the next turn off that it would get us to our destination. Well, once we reached the stop and talked more about it Jeff said it would actually be better if we went a mile back to the previous intersection and took that turn. "It is only about a mile back" he said. He even offered to ride back with us. In my mind I'm screaming, "Only a mile back…We've already back tracked today, there are a couple of good size hills, I'm tired and hungry and I just want to be done riding for the day and get to our cousins!" At this point if we would have made one more wrong turn I may have lost it!

When we got closer to our destination Mike was trying to boost my spirits by telling me that Kim would have a cold drink waiting for me, etc., etc. and I had to ask Mike to just not talk to me for the last couple of miles. I was on the verge of tears and I just needed to focus all my mental and physical energy on psyching myself into making it to the house. Fortunately, we'd touched base with John and on his way back from picking up the kids he found us on the road and collected our trailer and panniers and shuttled them home in the van. The last few miles we road a squirrelly triple that was free of gear. Every time Gregory would stand up on the hills to give us his usually turbo boost but the bike would sway back and forth to such an extreme that it would jolt my back. I had to ask him to sit and try for smooth even pedal strokes. Gear and no gear makes a huge difference on this kind of multiple seat bike. The greeting from John and kids helped my mental attitude but I still had to tell my legs to keep on working just a little longer. It was like the little engine that could, "I think I can, I think I can" she says to herself.

The whole family, Kim and John, the twins Alyssa and Amanda (almost 9) and son Alex (10) were out front to greet us with cameras in hand. It was so nice to receive such a warm greeting. There were hugs all around and then we put the bike in the basement and went in to meet Poncho their 6-month old black lab. She is really sweet and it has been nice getting our pet fix. The kids hit it off right away and they showed Gregory around outside including "the forest," a strip of trees and bushes between their housing development and a neighboring one. Later, he reported to me that they let him join "the club" and that I must come out and see the clubhouse. The house has an enormous bonus room on the top floor which John customized just for the kids. Gregory was of course in awe of this room and was thrilled to have other children his own age to play with. The kids got along fabulously and played really well together. Since it was a school night we tucked everyone into their own beds promising that tomorrow they could have one big camp out in the play room. They liked that idea! We also promised the kids we'd join them at school tomorrow for their lunch time.

I read with Gregory but also had to excuse myself at around 9:00 P.M. because I was so totally wiped out. I would have loved to stay up later but I just couldn't keep my eyes open. Apparently Mike and John were up visiting until 1:00 A.M. and John still had to go to the work in the morning!

No comments:

Post a Comment