Sebree, KY - Ashcamp, KYJournal: The miles on this tour are slowly adding up and I am inching my way closer and closer toward Yorktown, VA. This week I was very excited to mix it up with having the ability to ride without weight (gear) for part of it. My girlfriend Morgan decided to drive 5 hours from her hometown in Georgia to lend me some support.
I woke up in the First Baptist Church Hostel in Sebree, KY to the smell of coffee and the chatter of two other cyclists names Brandon and Rachel. I woke up and decided to go check out town and hang out until Morgan came to pick me up. Sebree was a small town so, there was not too much to see but, the people were friendly and interested so, I had many good conversations with old timers at the coffee shop. Morgan showed up in the afternoon and we loaded up the car and drove off trail 15-miles to the town of Mitchellville, KY where we got a hotel room.
Woke up the following morning and unpacked my bike and repacked it with the day's essentials. Morgan drove me back to the trail and I began my day to Sanora, KY where Morgan got a campsite. The day was an easier day because of having no weight and also, it was the flatlands before the steep hills. I was chased by two dogs both of which were Jack Russell Terriers. I just kept riding and scared them with a yell that almost knocked me off my bike. I started out not liking being chased by dogs but now, it passes the miles and kickstarts my sleepy afternoons. Made to Sanora and decided to get something to eat. I hoped in the car and began to drive down the road toward a local diner. I was cresting the hill when I heard tire screeching and smoke. We came over the hill nearly a second after to a man lying on the ground and his motorcycle beside him. I immediately parked the car and ran over to him while another citizen called the police. The man moaned a few times while I ran to direct traffic. As the police arrived, I walked past the man who wrecked and he was dead. He was NOT wearing a helmet and unfortunately, it cost him his life. During touring you see the best stuff and the worst on occasion. It should not deter someone from touring but only, used as an example of how precious life really is.
Woke up and headed to my favorite breakfast place, McDonald's. Drank some coffee and then I started my second day with no weight heading to Harrodsburg, KY. We booked another hotel room and I had a long, hot day ahead of me. I began feeling great and as the miles passed, I acquired a side stitch. For those of you who are not familiar it is basically a cramp right underneath the ribcage. I figured it was probably hydration related. I had to take it slow for the majority of the day and knew a hotel was going to feel great.
Had a beautiful day ahead of me and was rehydrated after drinking many fluids. Today was my last day with Morgan and it turned out to be a great one. The road all day dipped in and out of rivers and streams and the climbs were pretty easy. Was chased by only one dog today and it was a puppy pit bull. Beautiful little thing, no bigger than a football, takes the leap of faith off the porch to chase me and eats dirt. So, I'd say it was a good ride. Ended up at another hotel Morgan spoiled me to and repacked my bike for the rest of the journey.
Dang, this bike is so heavy with all my gear! I had a mental block all day because I felt as if I were a slug trying not to get run over by all the eighteen wheelers. I did not have a plan on where to go today but, I ended up making it 50-miles into the town of Boonesville, KY. Dinner for $7.00 with a tip and ice cream included. Went to the church campsite and discovered it was a covered shed. It included a picnic table, porter john and an open-air shower. I was very excited to get the sweat and grime off of me until I noticed the giant wasps nest under the head of the shower! I immediately went to the store, bought wasp spray and a couple of 24oz beers, then went back to the war zone. Threw back a couple brews and it was game on with this wasps nest. My father told me to wait until it was dark so all the wasps would be there and it worked perfectly. After a nice shower, I got in my tent and went to sleep to the crickets so loud, I felt right at home.
Woke up in a fog cloud and left in a rainstorm. Had a pretty rough day elevation wise and all of this water weight was really doing a number. Rode up to the giant reservoir and took a short break at a gas station. Got back on my bike after refilling my water and a downpour ensued. It only rained for an hour but, the road was steaming and it was just more hot. Got to a larger town in Hazard, KY and ate my weight in KFC. I used the wifi there and checked the weather and it was supposed to get worse all night. My goal was to get another 20-miles but, I met a lady who owned a hotel and gave me a $20.00 room. I was so excited for a comfortable place to escape the weather and a hot shower. Unexpected hotels are the best!
Ended this week in Ashcamp, KY and my last night in Kentucky. I began the day out of the hotel refreshed and got a good early start for the long day to Ashcamp. The road most of the day was extremely narrow with very little visibility around each corner and over each hill. The view was existent but, I was too busy watching my back all day. Chased by 2 more dogs today but, they were not aggressive and made it to the community park of Ashcamp just in time for the evening shower. This park was not on the map but, I did not have much of another option. I called the local Sheriff and he was surprised I even asked! Good dry night under a pavilion to end the week. Cross into Virginia tomorrow and can almost taste the saltwater 580 miles away.
People: The people I meet these days are not riders normally. They are locals and trail Angels such as Tony, the new Pastor at First Baptist church in Sebree, KY. This hostel in talked about on the entire trail because I heard about this place in Montana. The entire layout of the giant church was built with cyclists in mind with separate rooms, and entire kitchen, laundry, showers, etc. Tony says it is one thing to talk about helping and it is another to actually help. He lives by this and has made quite a place for a weary cyclist to stay.
I met two westbound cyclists from Colorado. Their names were Brandon and Rachel and although our conversation was short, these two stuck out to me because they proved you can tour and stay in reality by taking the BAR exam during the trip. They told me the first month of their journey they would ride 50-miles then study for a couple hours asking each other questions. When exam time came in New York, they stashed their bikes in a storage unit, flew to take the exam, and came back to finish the ride. They are perfect examples of making it happen.
Other than these few individuals, the people I am coming into contact with are few and far between. It is nice seeing the smiling faces and slowed down reality here in the south. Onto Virginia for my last couple weeks!
Geography: Beginning the week in Sebree, KY was a nice start with more farmland that dips in and out of rivers and streams. The profile of the hills are easy to read; you go up hill until you reach the top of the ridge then, you drop very quickly until you hit a bridge. It is much more interesting than Kansas or Missouri but, it is also more dangerous in my opinion. A lot of these roads are paved secondary roads that have little traffic. This attracts houses close to the road and most have dogs that are not chained up so, being on constant alert is necessary. Also, with these roads having local traffic, most shoulders are ungroomed making the tall grass lay over the road. This makes for a narrow road and low visibility in places. Although the farmland was common in the beginning, more shade followed east of Sonora, KY. I am now reaching the end of Kentucky and it is filled with shade making it a much more enjoyable ride. Along with the shade comes drawbacks and that is having a ungroomed shoulder making it very dangerous. Eastern Kentucky has been the most dangerous part of this journey yet because of the twists and turns along with steep hills. Not only is it dangerous but, I have seen more trash and broken bottles here then I have on the entire trip combined. Although the riding conditions are not perfect, the views and beauty make up for it. Kentucky has changed so much it has really been a fantastic ride!
What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure?The feeling of adventure and seeing new places. On a bike, time seems to move much slower and I would love to feel that again.
Have you traveled by bike in the past?I have completed the Great Divide Mountain Bike route from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico.
What is your goal for the route?My goal is to diverge from the route off the beaten trail and go find adventure! I would like to be able to gather stories about my adventure in order to motivate others to get out there!
What do you hope to get out of this journey?By the end of this journey, I hope to have collected stories, meet as many people as possible, and all around have fun. Along with doing this, I would love to have a very detailed journal and blog for others to follow and get inspired.