Date: November 7, 2009
From: Berea, Kentucky~ the Folk Arts and Craft Capital of Kentucky
To: Booneville, Kentucky
Route: Trans Am Trail and a 10 mile oops! off route
Miles Today: 65 miles
TOTAL MILES: 3,155 miles
Top Speed on this trip: 54.1 mph
Weather: 70s and Sunny but windy ~ Shorts Weather in November!
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
One wrong turn a happy boy does not make. About 13 miles out of Berea Mike told Gregory to let him know when we got to 23 miles. This would be our next turn at mile marker #9 Murphy's Ford Road. The only problem is Mike didn't announce the mile marker or road name to us and we were past 23 miles (almost 26 miles) and it was too late. The road came to a "Y" and we turned left giving us an awesome downhill. "Wheeee…" rang out across the Kentucky hills as we sailed down this 15 percent grade. At the bottom Mike asks Gregory, "How many miles Greg?" "Twenty-six Dad," says Gregory. Oh I could see the steam coming from Mike's ears. My first thought was well why didn't you ask him before we sailed down this enormous hill! Later, after almost a whole day of silence, Mike admitted that he had set his computer and checked it before going down the hill. The reading seemed logical but in actuality the computer had shut off at some point. This is why we rely on Gregory's Cat Eye computer for mileage and just use Mike's, which has the bubble indicators, for shifting.
Anyhow, after we realized we'd gone about 3 miles past our turnoff we continued on to the next intersection hoping we could somehow get back on our route without back tracking. That turn lead to one more turn and before we knew it we'd gone 5 miles off route. When we reached the second intersection we met a nice couple working a "Flea Market" they had set up in what looked like a defunct grocery store. They weren't much help but another fellow who was passing by talked to Mike for some time (while Gregory poked around the flea market and I held up the bike) and they finally determined that we had to go back the way we came. Ugh. Like the flea market owner said, "You can't get there from here." Talk about frustrating.
As we were getting ready to pull out our "directions man" with his ring of tobacco juice around his mouth, well meaning enough says, "You're on mountain roads now with mountain people so you all be careful now you here." I don't know about you but that got all kinds of crazy things racing through my head. What exactly did he mean by that I thought to myself. On top of everything else that was going on today I didn't need to be worrying about some mountain man from Appalachia coming out in the road to hunt down some bicyclists.
All day I felt bad for Mike knowing he was probably beating himself up for not checking the mileage prior to that huge downhill. In the meantime I was wishing I'd checked in with Gregory a couple of times after his dad had asked him to watch the computer. To be honest I wasn't thinking about that 23 mile mark at all. I was just enjoying the glorious weather and pleasant riding conditions. I told Mike to not be too hard on Gregory and asked why he didn't check before the downhill and I'm sure that had a lot to do with the fact that he didn't talk at all for most of the rest of the day. Believe me that makes for a lot of tension. Gregory was feeling bad for letting his dad down and felt like it was all his fault and Mike was mad at himself and just exasperated at the whole situation. It was almost 1:00 P.M. when we started to back track and we must have ridden another 10 miles or so before I dared ask if we could stop and make some sandwiches. We sat on a bridge and ate lunch in silence. The setting was actually quite pretty and I would have enjoyed lunch if it wouldn't have been for the silence and for the flies (from the cows grazing nearby) that kept trying to land on our sandwiches.
The first part of the day was really terrific before our little mishap. We left the B & B and headed across town to College Square thinking we'd try something different for breakfast. While Mike stayed outside with the bike, I checked in at Berea Coffee and Tea to see if they served breakfast. While at the counter checking with our server I hear, "Hi Dorrie." It made me jump at little because I thought who here could possibly know my name? It turned out to be Glen, our forester friend who also played with his band "The Sundogs" at the Black Feather last night! He was joined by Brett who I recognized as the guy who was tearing up the dance floor last night. Brett is actually the one who made our scrumptious artisan pizza with green beans provided from his garden. We joined them for breakfast and had a great time visiting with them well into the morning.
On the way out of town we stopped at Warren May's dulcimer workshop so Gregory could play the dulcimer again and so we could show him our bike. We also grabbed Kathy from The Promenade Gallery across the street to bring her out to see the bike. We talked with her for a good long time yesterday and she was very interested in our adventure. Once on the road it didn't take long for us to peel off all of our layers. It was an incredibly warm 70+ degrees, which is amazing for November 7th, and we cycled in shorts and short sleeves for the first time in ages. It was windy and at various times throughout the day we had a tailwind, crosswind or headwind. On the plus side the wind sent a cascade of fall leaves fluttering down upon us and this was really lovely and relaxing but then out of nowhere, "Ouch," I'd hear myself say as I was getting pelted in the face by a sharp twig or leaf.
As we rode along I thought to myself that today I can write that… the rolling hills made for nice riding and that none of the hills were daunting. That was before we back tracked adding 10 miles to what was going to be an already long day and also before we started climbing up, up and up for what seemed like hours. The climbing seemed it would never end and I was making some serious noise as I concentrated on putting every ounce of power I had into each pedal stroke while at the same time focusing on my breathing. Each time we'd crest a hill and see the inevitable next hill I kept waiting for Mike to give his usual, "Good job team." But, I got nothing and started to stew about this. Finally I decided if Gregory and Mike weren't going to talk I was going to have to be the cheerleader. I started congratulating us on each climb. Finally, when we stopped for a rest I said to Mike, "Why can't you get past this and have a good day?" "I don't know," he replied. I couldn't say much to that because I've been there. Sometimes it just takes time and you yourself don't even know how long that will be. When Mike finally did say something it was, "Stop bouncing please." Well, at least he said please.
I thought the day would never end and I did get to my breaking point. Mike was pushing us onward all day with only a couple of brief stops because we'd gotten a late start and our detour put us behind. I know he was worried about getting in before dark. Each hill got harder and harder for me and I started to whimper a bit between my grunts and heavy breathing. Mike finally said, "Do you need a break?" and stopped the bike. I almost fell off the bike and my whimper almost became a wail but I managed to stay composed knowing if I started to fall apart so would Gregory. We had over 15 miles still to go. I honestly don't know how I found what it took to finish the day. We had a couple more nasty climbs with one at about 15 percent. I was almost in a trance climbing that one just staring at the stem of my bike and concentrating on my muscles pushing those pedals ever so slowly around. There was nothing else in my world at that point, only my stem and my pedals. To top things off I had no water left and only a dribble of warm Powerade Zero. Knowing you don't have anything to drink makes you thirstier than ever.
As we came to the four way stop for the town of Vincent I distracted myself by making the guys pose for a picture by one of the original Bikecentennial 76 signs for our route. Two dogs from the corner house decided to come out and greet us. They were actually friendly but a little mangy and I asked Gregory not to pet them. Mike shooed them away and when he crossed the road in the wrong direction I quickly said, "But Booneville is the other way!" He was only seeing if the building across the way was a store. It was, but only a closed craft store. It was then that he decided to call Linda at her B & B. Yes, she had room for us and her place was only 5 more miles. She would drive us the additional 3 miles into Boonville to get groceries. Music to my ears. "Please let there be no more dogs or hills," I said. There was no such luck. We had more of both. Today we had LOTS of dogs and lately, Mike has taken up a new technique of steering the bike right at the dog if he gets out in front of us. It works pretty well because the dog feels like he is under attack and backs off. Slowing down and talking to them in a normal tone seems to work well also and if all else fails we got back to yelling, "STAY!"
Linda set us up in her separate guest house complete with a kitchen and I made a huge batch of spaghetti with sausages and a whole basket of fresh mushrooms. I haven't been that hungry in a long time and I devoured a humongous portion of pasta. The boys watched the end of the Ohio State game and I took a hot heavenly shower.
The excitement of the evening was a large wasp that decided he'd sit down right by my shoulder while I was typing away in bed. Gregory spotted it from his bed across the room and even though Mike killed the wasp poor Gregory could not get to sleep after that. He ended up moving to another room. This was a surprise because he usually wants to be as close to us as possible.
Just now (with only the computer screen illuminating this room) I had a ladybug land on my eyeglasses and I've had one crawling across my computer screen for the last 15 minutes. They are everywhere in the house. It seems to be some sort of ladybug infestation! I think I'll shut down the computer now because they are flying all around me. Luck be a ladybug tonight!