Date: November 5, 2009
From: Danville, Kentucky
To: Berea, Kentucky ~ the Folk Arts and Craft Capital of Kentucky
Route: Hwy. 52 and Hwy. 21
Miles Today: 37 miles
TOTAL MILES: 3,090 miles
Top Speed on this trip: 54.1 mph
Weather: 50s and Sunny
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, 4 Kentucky (2 Gifted from Beth and Garry Feltus, one gifted from cousin John, one from Hwy. 127)
Broken Spokes: 3
Cracked Rim: 1
Quote of the Day: Aspire to inspire before you expire. This was posted on a church sign board and just caught my eye. I hope that our trip will inspire someone, somewhere. Whether that inspiration is just to start riding the bike more or to make a major move and follow a dream, I'd like to think we inspired someone during our time here on earth…
As Gregory was waking up this morning he said, "I had a good wake up call." "Why?" I asked. "I woke up about an hour ago and I saw the orange sky out the window and the birds were chittering…" I just love Gregory's appreciation of nature and all things beautiful in this amazing world we live in.
Fortunately we had time to visit with our hosts Mark and Joni before Mark set off to work. Mark took quite a bit of time with Gregory pointing out the various birds flocking to their feeder and bird bath just outside the sliding glass door. "You'll have to make a bird watcher out of this one," Mark commented. "He already is one," I replied. Though our stay was brief it was an especially nice one and we wished we'd have had more time with these nice people. In town we stopped at Danville Bike and Footwear to thank Ernst once again for his help in connecting us with the Morgans and to wish him farewell We knew it would be a short day today so it was nice to just take our time and enjoy our ride. We did have a bit of traffic and at times there was no shoulder so I had to call a steady stream of cars and trucks a good portion of the day.
After only 15 miles we came to Lancaster and stopped at Subway for lunch. Those gift cards were just burning a hole in our pockets. I didn't think I was hungry but we knew this would be the only place to eat before Berea so I force myself to eat something. The food actually did a lot to boost my energy and for the boys too. Gregory got a little toy with his meal and Gregory and Mike were like two little kids shooting off this Phineas and Ferb rocket and trying to see who could catch it first. That is where the goofy antics started and it continued on the bike.
There was a lot of wobbling going on and Mike kept accusing Gregory and I of sending the bike across the judder bars (those crosswise ridges on roadside shoulder that keep you from driving off the embankment when you fall asleep). In actuality we all had something to do with it. We had to finally put an end to the silliness because the traffic increased and there's no messing with traffic. Though on some roads we had a wide shoulder to the right of the judder bars, typically the debris is so bad we have to ride the white line to the left of the judder bars otherwise we'd be flatting all day long. Some drivers don't like this and figure we should be over in the shoulder. As a matter of fact, yesterday we had some jokester driving right up behind us in the shoulder. He was almost clear over to the right of the white line! I'm watching this in my mirror and freaking out and yelling to Mike, "This guys is right on our tails and isn't moving over!!!" It was like he was playing chicken. Finally at the last minute he got back in the slow lane. What an idiot! That had me shaking my head for a while.
Tonight we arrived in Berea, an artisan community that some consider the Folk Arts and Craft Capital of Kentucky. At Berea College students can attend for free as long as they work a certain number of hours each week for the college. As a matter of fact, our host Neil started his weaving career by working in the weaving studio at the college his sophomore year. He couldn't think of anything else he would rather do and has continued to make weaving his life's work. His wife Mary also weaves but in addition, she makes these beautiful corn husk dolls.
Above Neil and Mary's studio they run the Morning Glory Bed & Bath (Bath because they don't do Breakfast). The Adventure Cycling maps list their B & B but they were also highly recommended to us by folks who commented on our blog. We arrived at the studio around 4:30P.M. and Neil took time to show us how his various looms operate. His biggest loom, an AVL Loom on which he is currently weaving a chenille throw, was made in Chico, California where we once lived! In was fascinating to watch him as the shuttle flew back and forth working the magic.
We settled in upstairs and got cleaned up in time to visit another nearby shop full of incredible artisan works in pottery, wood, glass and more. Just across the street was dinner at the Black Feather Cafe where the service was outstanding, the atmosphere was relaxing and the food was superb. Mike had a panini and I had a delectable chicken and mushroom crepe with a fresh salad. Gregory enjoyed a fancy grilled cheese and experienced his first Italian soda. He was trying to get Dad to go for the gelato but with a gallon Zip lock full of Halloween candy back at the room that wasn't going to happen.
Berea holds a special place in our memories because this was our jumping off point for our 1994 Trans Am journey. Mike and I rode East to West in 1994 on single bikes and started in Berea. We had a wedding in Cincinnati, Ohio in late June and got a late start therefore chose Berea versus starting on the coast in Yorktown, Virginia.
Early one morning we said goodbye to Mike's parents who had driven us over from North Carolina in their RV and we made our start out west. The only problem was that we left all of our water bottles back home in the fridge! We bought large liter bottles of water and stuffed them in the mesh pockets of both the front and rear panniers. With temperatures in the high 80s and 80 percent humidity we were worried we might run out of water. We'd done some training rides but only one 50 mile jaunt fully loaded so this was the true test. Unfortunately, with the added weight of the liter water bottles on my front panniers, I had too much weight up front and just 10 miles out I got a high speed wobble traveling downhill. My front wheel went off the asphalt and I tried to correct and get back on the road but it was then that I joined the "over the handlebars club." Mike said he saw the whole thing, I screamed and flew over the bars with the crushing initial impact to my helmet and right shoulder. I lay motionless in the middle of the road staring up at the sky as Mike hovered over me asking if I was alright. I'd cracked my helmet and my ribs and took a couple of layers of skin off my right shoulder and my right knee and leg also took a beating. Later when we met up with an older gentleman, Bo Turner, who was cycling solo with a sag, he said I'd never make it. Well, I proved him wrong. I rode 55 miles that first day and kept plugging along broken ribs and all. That first month was shear determination. Mike put his hand on my back and pushed me up most of those Kentucky hills. As a complete rookie tourist I suffered with a sore bottom and wore two pairs of shorts but with broken ribs I was actually more comfortable on the bike than lying on the ground in my tent. Every night I had to wake Mike to help me up from my horizontal position and out the tent so I could visit the "Ladies." I tell you the man is a saint. Anyhow, the bike tour wasn't enough of a challenge so I figured I'd add broken ribs to the equation…
We thought we might be riding past my crash site but with the bridge out we had our detour and came in on Highways 52 and 21. I've still had a chance to reminisce and Mike and I are looking forward to the riding the upcoming portion of the Trans Am since it is territory we haven't covered before.