Monday, 30 May 2011

Day 26 - Dixon Springs to Carbondale

Another HOT day.  At one point the tar on the road was bubbling up and sticking to our tires!  But the headwinds were less hideously intense than yesterday, and we also enjoyed spending 10 miles of the ride on a dedicated bike trail that was completely flat and took us through beautiful lush green landscapes (and a very cool and dark and slightly scary tunnel).

From the moment we set off in the morning we were fixated on getting to Delaney's, a cafe in  Gorville,,,,.where we'd heard that we (as bikers) would be given the gift of pie!  BLOG TAKENOVER BY ROB We also decided that after lunch we would ditch Greg and Rob and have a girlie bonding session with Cathy. However there must have been something in the pie that interfered with our sense of direction and after taking several wrong turns we had to run the gauntlet of the boys smugly petched in a cool shady spot on the side of the road gloating at our inability to navigate the route. BLOG NOW RESUMED BY GUEST BLOGGER HADLEY.  Guest blogger Hadley is too sleeeepy to even concoct a smart response to this!!!!!  Gotta go to bed.  Now.  At the  old-ladyish bedtime of 9PM Sweet dreams, Rob.  :)

Miles today  64
Total           1256

Day 25 Marion to Dixon Springs

Today was a scorcher with mid day temperatures approacbing 100F. We left Kentucky and crossed into Illinois by taking the ferry across the Ohio river. A shorter distance today but the relentless headwinds, heat and hills negated any advantage we had hoped for. Harley Davidson motorbikes rule the roads here. Its an awesome sight watcbing packs of anything up to 50 bikes passing by in the other direction. We have a rest day in Yellowstone Park and its very tempting to hire a Harley for the day.

Miles today 48
Total         1191

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Day 24 Utica to Marion

After a fine nights sleep camped outside the local fire station it was our intention today to  take   a detour to watch the Champions league final. I would of course be supporting Manchester United.
However with Sally our leader needing to see a doctor the plan had to be changed. I agreed to ride sweep tailing Dolores, Ellen went to the doctors with Sally taking advantage of the very kind offer of ai lift and back to the nearest town by a nice guy we met early this  morning in the local gas station. Greg and Hubert went off in search of said soccer match.
So an opportunity to take a 69 mile rest day on the bike peddling away at the rear without a care in the world through the easier terrain of West Kentucky.
So my world was looking pretty good until about an hour down the road and I suddenly realised I had missed a turn and added a 10 mile scenic detour to my route. Aaagh! Donut brain.
However every cloud has a silver lining and 52 miles down the proper road I stumbled across Hubert and Greg comfortably esconced eating chocolate pie watching the match in the tiny town of Clay. A good excuse to stop and wait for Sally and Ellen.
So 2 portions of chocalate pie, 1 portion of banana pie and 6 cups of coffee later Ellen and Sally finally appeared and we all rode of into tbe sunset on a beautiful summers evening to mark our final day in Kentucky. Shame about the result but as GREG accurately predicted the result he rode the last 20 miles with his chest puffed out 5 dollars the richer at my expense.

Miles today 74
Total         1143

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Day 23 White Mills to Utica

Today was just a slog with only two events of note. 1000 miles upand wegain one hours well  earned extra sleep as we enter a new time zone.No pies to be found anywhere on route.
Miles today 83
Total         1068

Thursday, 26 May 2011

When you're cycling across america pie and ice cream at 10 am is ok

Day 22 - Bardsville to White Mills

HEADWINDS!!!!!!! Aieeee!!!!!!   Plus dark stormy weather, the threat of tornadoes, and Rob riding maniacally ahead so that he could do a good job of dinner duty.   And now we are staying at the volunteer fire fighter station.

At this point Ellen fell azleep so I have had to reluctantly take over. 

Because of Ellen and Greg's penchant for pie I was press ganged into carrying a very heavy - at least a 5 pounder - Fruit pie for nearly 40 agonising miles.  This was beneficial on the downhills but not so beneficial on the uphills.   The owner of the pie shop kindly packaged up the pie into a crush-proof and water-proof fashion:  a layer of tinfoil, a solid layer of cardboard, a garbage bag and my fluorescent orange bag.

After a long period keeping the stop and stare peleton at bay, a wrong turn meant that my advantage was lost and I was forced back into stop and stare mode (which was good for pie carrying).  On a more serious note, we passed by the birthplace of Abraham lincoln at Hodgesville.

As we approached the Dollar store into Sonora to do our group shopping we noticed 2 Amish girls in a horse drawn buggy and immediatrely wanted to approach them and ask questions like ' Do you sew your own clothes?' but we felt very awkward and ended up asking  if their horse liked apples instead. We were told that the horses weren't usually fed apples, but we could offer them one & see what they thought.  One horse sniffed the apple and rejected it immediately.  The other horse (Linda) took the apple and chomped on it, but then spat it out.  Tbe day ended witb Ellie and I serving up a damn fine chilli con carne improvised recipe to precede the pie .

miles today 47
Total           985

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

As requested by Clare

Proof that I am still alive! Thanks for all your comments. We all look forward to reading them and it really helps to keep us going. Sorry that I haven't replied individually but by the time I've set up camp, showered, and had dinner, as well as any group chores I have to do I barely have time to do the blog before I fall asleep. We are up at 6AM every day and most of us are in bed by 9PM.

Day 21 Harrodsburg to Bardsville.

Well the tornado didn't arrive but we are not out of the woods yet. Heavy storms are predicted overnight and into tomorrow. A siren sounded at 6PM tonight which we thought was a tornado warning but it  turned out to be the evening dinner call at the campsite.
Todays riide was easy in theory but headwinds heat and humidity made sure it wasn't. Interstingly on route we passed the homestead of Abraham Lincoln's parents.

Miles today 47
Total           938

We have a genuine tornado warning today

Watch this space. 8AM and we are fixated on tbe weather channel.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Yes it's a snake

Day 20 Berea to Harrodsburg

Today started off with an early morning trip to Walmart, just down the road from the campsite I purchased a set of waterproof stuffsacs one of which was immediately purloined by Ellen who also made the major purchase of a new mug. This means that she can now drink the Lady grey tea that I constantly ply her with out of a mug instead  of her cereal bowl.
On return to the campsite at the extraordinary late time of 8 47AM we were not surprised that everybody had already departed after the re energising boost of a layover day. However Greg was there waiting for us clearly keen to reestablish himself as an integral member of the 'stop and stare ' posse.
And so the days cycling began with the promise of an easier ride through the rolling pastures of mid Kentucky with the threat of flesh hungry dogs a distant memory. And so it was. We inflicted our usual blend of cifornian canadian and yorkshire humour on the unsuspecting lcitizens of kentucky as we drunk their coffee, ate their ice cream and admired their wall mounted stags heads. The day ended at the local YMCA where we missed the last shower at 4PM but luckily after dinner we managed to make the 8PM shower at the local vymnasium where we were also entertained by some fine college basketball. The day ended with a 2 mile walk to the local Dairy Queen where we witnessed the peculiar site of little old baseball cap wearing ladies eating ice cream whilst doing their knitting. A missed photo opportunity.
Miles Today 51
Total            891

Monday, 23 May 2011

Day 19 Berea This is a rest day.

So I'm having a rest.

Have you seen this man $25000 dollats reward

This man known to be of Dutch origin is responsible for tbe illegal importation of bootleg liquor actoss the state line into the dry state of Kentucky in order to satisfy his inquenchable thirst for alcobol. If you see him approach with caution and be prepared to use pepper spray.

Smellen Badley

Brushing her hair for the first time since Yorktown ( a slight exaggeration)

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Day 18 - Booneville to Berea (guest blogger Hadley)

Imagine this: Rob, lying swaddled in his green mummy bag, bed-headed and bleary-eyed, awake at 5:45 this morning.  Usually he's the last one to turn up at breakfast; however, today Rob was slaving away as sous-chef to Bob, and had to be up extra early to boil water for coffee, lay out brekkie items, and do other arduous sous-chefy tasks.

Kelly was sluggish as a result of yesterday's food poisoning and I was sluggish for no reason (other than the fact that I'd just cycled 750+ miles from Yorktown) and Rob was not sluggish at all but still took a long time getting ready to go because of all his sous-chef-ish-ness.

So it was a slow start to the day, and the riding started off even slower than the slow start (?? Rob's 'hilarious' sentence, not mine). 

The terrain today was less mountainous than it has been the past few days, but we still had numerous hills (some of which were ridiculously steep, if short) to tackle.  After just an hour or so of riding, we were ALL feeling sluggish and were craving an M & M stop!  Alas, the convenience store that was listed on our maps was closed (although it did have a tantalizing M & M advertisement up in the window).  The first open store we happened upon was a DOLLAR GENERAL store, and we made ourselves quite at home there, by setting up our tents to dry on their lawn, using their washroom, and hanging out in front of the store eating things like potato chips and M & Ms for a good long time.  We saw several Kentuckians with impressively bouffant, hedgehog-like hairstyles enter and exit the DOLLAR GENERAL store.

Now!  On to the dramatic stories, as a reward for the readers who made it all the way through that verbose and less-than-dramatic first chunk of this blog post:

1. My front tube blew out in an explosive fashion, with a scarily loud BANG! ( which Rob at first thought was someone attacking us with a shotgun).  I felt shivery and freaked out for some time after, as I'd lost control of the bike and veered out towards traffic.  Rob & Kelly were amazingly helpful and calm about it and helped me fix up the bike so I could ride onwards with them.

2. As we were riding into Berea, the sky grew dark and a heavy wind began to blow... and suddenly an emergency siren began to go off throughout the town!  Kelly thought a tornado was coming, Rob thought it was the 4 minute warning of impending nuclear attack, but in actual fact the siren was just a warning for a heavy thunderstorm (which turned out to be, in Rob's opinion, a bit of a wussy, low-grade storm - not enough thunder, lightening and destruction).  We took shelter in the local Shell station, where we drank coffee, ate licorice, and attempted ( unsuccessfully) to play lateral thinking games.

After those two dramatic events, we rode to camp and spent the rest of the evening in the laundromat, composing this masterpiece of a blog post.

Miles Today 50
Total            839

Day 17 Hindman to Boonville

Two days into Kentucky and its not quite doing it for me yet. Virginia was wonderful but here its not quite as friendly and a bit intimidating. I dont feel quite as comfortable randomly chatting to people. Already we've been bawled out by a mountain woman claiming that we were parking our bikes on a patch of grass and weeds that she reckoned was her flowerbed. Also had a strange conversation with a woman in a cafe about the local mining industry and she quite naturally interspersed quotes from the bible into the conversation. Very strange. Dog chases are a nuisance although only 2 og any consequence today. Today was the toughesr cycling day I can recall with temperatures in the nineties and hill after hill after hill. And also my first puncture so not impressed with the marathon xr's. Poor Kelly was suffering from mild food poisoning so it was not an easy day for her but Ellen kindly looked after her at the back. We are all looking forward to the return of Greg who had to leave the tour for a short while but is rumoured to be returning in the next few days.

Miles today  64
Total            789