Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day 16: Bardstown, KY to Big Clifty, KY (71.5 Miles)

I sure reckon' we were gonna have a better day, but it so has it when we took off from Bardstown, I find my front wheel a-wobblin'. Turns out I had done broke a spoke! Ooooh boy! Jonathan sure fixed it something real good. I brought me some spare spokes and fixed her up, in less than thirty buddy. Oooh lawdy.

Sorry, I'll try to stop writing like that. I'm writing this from “Double L's Country Store,” which is located somewhere near the border of Breckinridge County... which also marks the change over to Central Time Zone. I'm surrounded by the locals: Arnold, Floyd, and Carl... good people. Their thick accents have definitely rubbed off on me. Instead of asking: “Hey Arnold, how much are those biscuits?” I'm more inclined to ask: “Hey man, how much them biscuits?” We're fixing up some dinner and camping outside the store tonight. It's a nice end to a hot/humid day. I now understand why they call it bluegrass: the oppressive humidity makes everything have a blueish hue.

This morning began with a broken spoke (something I had hope I never run into on the road), yet it was a perfect time to fall upon this misfortune. Jonathan, being the bicycle mechanic enthusiast he is, was able to fix and true the tire on the field in just under thirty minutes. It would have taken me twice as long and caused much stress/anger. It was heaven-sent to be able to hand the problem over to a confident friend and simply let go. After some work, we were back on the road and left Bardstown by 9:00 AM (which is a very late start).

We kept good pace for the morning, with the overcast sky shielding us from the scorching sun. After a while, we began to hit a strong headwind that slowed us down considerably. In spite of a few serious climbs, the rest of the day was filled with rolling hills (or “roller-coaster hills,” if you prefer), which are quite fun to ride and physically taxing. We met up with the Chrisses along the way and rode with them to our final resting point. All-in-all, it was quite an uneventful day of riding.. especially in comparison to yesterday. Nevertheless, the evening was quite remarkable and memorable.

Pulling into Double L's, you'd wonder why the map I'm following lists this as a campsite/hostel. It looks like a small county store. However, upon closer inspection you'll find that the owner, Arnold, is the funniest/kindest man you'll meet in Kentucky. He loves meeting cyclists and allows them to use his shower in the back, lounge around, and even cooks food for them. Tonight was no exception. Jonathan, Chris, Chris, and I were treated with a wonderful dinner and a game of “Corn Hole.” I've never played the game before, but took an instant liking to the sport. We played late into the evening, truly not caring about our 5:00am wake up time.

It was great getting to know these complex people and their stories in the midst of “simple” settings. How often do you stop and get to really know a stranger? If you answered: “Often!”... then you are blessed, my friend. I'm beginning to wonder why people are so closed within the privacy of their daily lives, yet it takes silly things like riding your bike across a continent or walking over mountains to allow for people to become so open and loving. The hospitality and genuine kindness I've seen on the road has been incredible. My only hope is to return the favor in kind by opening myself and home to those outside my comfortable circle of friends. Jonathan had a great idea: “Dude, when we retire from whatever it is we're doing, we should move out on the Trans-Am and set up a really nice hostel/bike shop/community home where's it needed the most.” “Great idea,” I said.


Momma said...

Hi Blakey boy!
It is after 9:00 p.m. on Saturday night, the 18th and Dad and I were just wondering where you were. I always love reading your blog and I got a kick out of your impersonating them country folk!!
Love you and miss your sweet face!! Call when you can my honey!

Dad said...

Hey Boy!
Why come you not call? Have you no cooth!?
I knows yo parents done done a beddar job of raisin you!
Let us know where you be!
See ya,

Anonymous said...

hello Blake.
its me Alexander Limage,

riding my bicycle to work this morning it hit me:
You are a Lance Armstrong / Bono hybrid, with a touch of Glen Hansord..

the blog is being read and enjoyed.

Remember to Hydrate.


Aaron said...

Will you be giving lessons on how to play Corn Hole when you return?!

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