Note: This is a combination of Dean's last two days with the crew.
Sebree, Kentucky to Falls of Rough, Kentucky
By Dean Broz
The day started with a bit of comedy as Brian managed the spectacular feat of falling over within the first 10 yards. He started off in too high a gear and fell at zero speed in the parking lot of the church. He got up too quickly for me to snap the picture.
Then before we could leave town a freight train pulled across the road and stopped. We went and sat down on the sidewalk for at least ten minutes. Alex tightened Will's cleat. When the train started moving again it made a most impressive sound with a series of bangs that flowed down the train from the front to the back as it took up the slack between the cars. It's worth finding a stopped freight train to hear it.
A light rain fell, starting the theme for most of the day: whenever we would stop, the rain would stop. And whenever we would ride, the rain would fall. For the most part though, the rain was light enough to make the ride pleasantly cool. Quiet country roads the whole way. Great riding.
Some things I noticed in Kentucky:
We started seeing more horses -- to be expected, perhaps, in the home of the Kentucky Derby.
The smell of crude -- Oil that is. Black gold, Texas tea. As soon as we crossed the Kentucky border we started seeing pumpjack oil wells here and there. You can smell them when you ride by.
The smell of chicken farms -- This is Purdue and Tyson country, and having had chickens Alex and I recognized the smell when we rode by the chicken farms.
The tobacco -- the plants are not as far along as the tobacco crop in North Carolina. I was told that too much rain has made this the worst crop in 50 years . I was also told that it is harvested differently, with the whole stalk being cut and hung to dry as opposed to just the leaves, though I never found out why.
RC Cola -- it seems to have the clear edge over Coke and Pepsi.
The barbecue sandwiches -- served with pickles and onions. At a little old country store I had a discussion about this with the proprietress. When I told her that we put coleslaw on our barbecue sandwiches she responded with an immediate "ew."
"Share the road" signs -- in Kentucky they have pictures of motorcycles instead of bicycles!
We stopped for the night at Rough River Dam State Park, where they let us sleep in the pilots' lounge of the small airport.
Falls of Rough, Kentucky to Bardstown, Kentucky
By Dean Broz
Today gave us perfect biking weather -- overcast and pleasant, but no rain.
At the McDaniels convenience store we saw three Amish boys dressed neatly in boots, blue pants with suspenders, blue button-up shirt, and straw hat. They looked strong. People hire them to do carpentry and agricultural work -- someone drives them to the job and that was apparently the case here. They are known for their work ethic and competitiveness. One of them bought a case of Mountain Dew.
The boys ate a ridiculous amount for lunch at the gas station in Eastview. Alex ate six fried mozarella sticks, a country-fried steak sandwich, and six doughnuts. A couple of the others ate six doughnuts also, though some limited themselves to three.
Alex later fell asleep at the Dairy Queen in Elizabethtown. Perhaps his blood sugar was dropping after those doughnuts. He still managed to eat a Blizzard.
E'Town Schwinn Cyclery next door had some neat bikes:
A Hershey bicycle with wooden rims and skip link chain.
A "swing bike" which pivots both at the handlebars and at the seat tube, so you can ride with the handlebars out to the side. I want one.
None of the boys are shaving on this trip. For the blond boys this does not really mean much. But for the others there are interesting permutations. Sam with his beard somehow manages to look like a groomed Spanish aristocrat. Andrew on the other hand also sports a full beard but it comes off more like a Portuguese explorer who has been marooned on an island for five years. Alex is sporting a set of sideburns that would make Wolverine envious.
Perhaps most interesting is David with his "neckbeard". It is best not seen nor imagined.
We ended the day in Bardstown, Kentucky -- known for the farm that helped inspire the song "My Old Kentucky Home" as well as three distilleries.
Today is Alex's last day on the bike trip. By the time the boys hit Wrightsville Beach he will have gone a few thousand miles farther and be starting his year abroad in Germany as part of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange program.
For his final evening the boys enjoyed Mexican food (of course) and a movie. The boys always like a good show.