Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Monday, April 28, 2014

Bicycling from Bardstown KY to Kentucky Horse Farm Campground inLexington KY April 27-28

April 27.....75 miles in 7:00 hrs.....Bright sun and light headwinds greeted me as I walked out the door, but they have been talking about rain and nasty weather for a few days now. One more day, of riding, and I may get a weather break. I have ridden 30 out of the last 34 days, since leaving Tombstone, Arizona, 1,910 miles ago. My total mileage for the trip is now at 15,229.09 miles, and I'm starting to lose a few pounds, also.
US62 took me three miles  from the campground down into town, past the Barton Distillery, where Pam toured yesterday, past the Old Talbot Tavern, where we ate, and around the traffic circle that surrounded the county courthouse, and out of town to the east. Once out of town, it reverted to its old form, with no shoulders, but on a Sunday morning, there was no traffic either, so it was a pleasant ride that rolled up and down, gradually getting to 800 and above 900 ft in elevation. So now, I am really in the hills of Kentucky. I did a lot of ridge riding, which helped flatten it out a little, but I had a total elevation gain today of over 3500 ft, usually in quick bumps, not the long, drawn out, barely perceptible  climbs of the plain states. My gears and gear cables are really getting a workout in these hills. I have not had a bike problem, not even a flat, for a long time, but the conditions in the Appalachians from here to home will test anything that is wearing out.
My first town of any consequence was Bloomfield, and as I rode through this quiet country town, all the churches were either in session, or were just letting out. US62 continued to ride through farm country, and the majority of the road was residential or small ranches. As I came into Lawrenceburg, a little over half way, 62 went right through the heart of town. On the east end, on the top of a hill, I came to the Wild Turkey Distillery, in a very scenic setting. The distillery was closed because it was Sunday, so I couldn't smell the smooth, flowery aroma of the bourbon making process that was present in Bardstown. The road was still part of the Bourbon Trail, and this was the second distillery we've seen of the six in the area. One of the crazy things is that I haven't seen so much as a tavern of any sort in the towns I've been in, from the furthest western edge of Kentucky to Bardstown. Not a single beer neon in a window. I heard that you can't even buy the bourbon at some of the distilleries, but you have to go to a different county where its legal. The University of Kentucky is even a dry campus. 
Anyhow, I flew down my biggest hill, right after passing the distillery, crossed a neat river, which I think was the Kentucky River, and had a major climb back up to 900 ft.
From there, the homes started becoming VERY nice, the ranches bigger, the finely manicured lawns were 3-4 acres, and I could tell  I was getting into horse country, and the money that resides there. US 62 wound through this beautiful country to the town of Versailles, where US 62 met back up with US 60, which I will follow out of the state. At that point however, I didn't take that road, my GPS girl took me from Versailles to the Kentucky Horse Farm, which is north of Lexington. It was some of the most beautiful country I've ridden in, with fences that were miles long, stone walls, multimillion dollar stables, not to mention the homes themselves, and the whole place oozed with horse tradition and horse money. Surprisingly, when I would stop to take a picture, the horses would come over towards me, almost friendly like. But I know what they wanted, and if I had any sugar cubes, I would have eaten them, by this point in the ride. Pam was set up at the Kentucky Horse Park Campground, and it was fortunate that we got there on a Sunday night, because the place was packed with thousands of people for a Rolex sponsored 3 day horse event. By the time I got there, the place was pretty emptied out, but all the tents were still set up, and I could tell the place had been hopping. 

April 28....the weather that had been forecast for a week now, finally caught up with us. It started raining around dark last night, and continued, on and off all day. A good day to be a vegetable and get some legs back. We are fortunate to be where we are because tornadoes and some serious weather has been blowing through Tornado Alley, including some of the places we have come through in the last two weeks.

Approximately 19,000 barrels of bourbon are in each of these buildings and there are maybe 20 buildings!

Mike attended mass (which also had a first communion mass) at this church in Bardstown.

The old county courthouse and visitors center inside a traffic circle in Bardstown

The old Talbott Inn where Abe Lincoln, Danial Boone, Pam and Mike Rose dined (not all at the same time)

More bourbon storage

Getting closer to serious horse country

Self proclaimed redneck - that's not Mike's bike, but a redneck bike!

Winding Kentucky roads

Sunday afternoon traffic in Kentucky horse country!

Another original name!

Veterans Memorial in Lawrenceburg, KY

County courthouse

No tours on a Sunday!!! In Lawrenceburg, KY

The distillery

Wild Turkey water tower

Wild Turkey grain elevator

Train bridge over a huge hollow

US 62 went under the bridge.  Distillery warehouses are visible on top of hill

County courthouse in Versailles, KY

Horse farms everywhere!

Bike thinks he's a war horse too!!!

Entrance to Kentucky Horse Park

This fancy little outdoor area was for the big money people so they could watch the cross country portion of the Rolex 3 day event

Statue of horse and rider going over a jump

Monument in honor of Secretariat

And the famous Man o' War - his embalmed remains are buried under here 

And of course in between rain storms on Monday, Mike and I went to have a little fun at the kids barn!

And always a winner!!!!

Morton's Gap KY to Leitchfield, KY April 25

April 25.....94 miles in's been getting harder and harder to get out of bed and go, as my mileage goes up and up with no days off. I figured my off days through this stretch would be determined by bad weather days, but we've had none. We had rain two days in a row, but it occurred at night each day, and the sun shines during the day. The Weather Channel has been threatening severe weather and tornado possibilities for days, but we are staying ahead of it all. Tornado Alley has been getting lit up, but we are out of that section of the country. Now they are saying we are going to get slowed down in a few days. But in the meantime, I'm pounding it out every day. Today, I didn't get rolling until 10:30. Once I get out there, however, things loosen up, and I am fine. If I stop, I tighten up pretty quick, and it takes a few strokes to loosen up again. Today's ride wasn't supposed to be 94 miles, but US 62 had a bridge being rebuilt, which cost me a 15-20 mile detour, which made my arrival at the Walmart in Leitchfield, just before sundown. We are getting near the Eastern Time Zone, so it's getting darker, earlier. Tomorrow night at this time, it will be an hour later....know what I mean?
I had to take KY 813 for about five miles, to get back to US62, which I was on for the rest of the day. It was a back road, and the rolling hills began, that started my total elevation gain for the day at over 3600 ft. Still, there were plenty of flat areas and valleys of flatness along the way, that I didn't expect in Central Kentucky. There were plenty of swampy looking, bayou type areas along the way, especially early in the ride. There were also many lakes and creeks, even though I crossed no big rivers today.  I had a series of small, and then smaller communities to look at as I rode, and there were even a couple medium sized towns. Most of the trip was in what they call the Western Coal Fields, and I did see some coal mine entrances, and some acid mine drainage, but there were no coal trucks or coal trains to be seen. I think maybe, the coal fields are pretty tapped out, but I'm not sure. There were some areas that were quite nice, and there were some areas where I thought I was in the deepest of Appalachia. Lots of people sitting on their porch, just staring as I rode by, made me think of the movie 'Deliverance.' It seems like just about everyone smokes here, which is something I had heard about Kentucky. I saw tons of cemeteries today, maybe one or two churches in each small town had their own cemetery. I also saw the Ten Commandments posted at the entry to just about each town. I think I'm in pretty heavy Bible Belt country, judging by the messages on buildings and mailboxes. Fortunately they drove in a way that was keeping with their beliefs.
My day started off on KY 813, then to the shoulderless US 62, but I'm getting used to that. Most drivers here a very cautious, slowing and patiently waiting until they can safely go way over in the other lane to get around me. Many people were too cautious in my opinion, refusing to go around me, even when it was totally clear and sight distances were good. I think some of them just didn't know how to handle me. I don't think I've seen another bicycle since Arizona, as biking is NOT fashionable in the areas of Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kentucky that I've been though. I just had to keep my eye out for the occasional hoopie who had to gun his engine as he goes by, blow black diesel smoke at me as they go by, or yell out the window. Kentucky is just like West Virginia in that most people are really great, but the a#%#£¥s per capita is a little higher than the rest of the country, and you never know when one is coming.
I went through one area, Greenville, Powderly, and Central City, seem to be like one town, and the road opened up with four lanes and a nice shoulder for a while. The towns I went through, like Greenville, and Leitchfield, seem to be centered around their county courthouse, and for the second day in a row, I saw a town ( Leitchfield ) where there  was almost a traffic circle in the middle of town, with the courthouse in the middle, and all traffic passing through the town go around the building. The first thing that occurred to me was the potential problem with pedestrian traffic, and parking. Everybody who goes in or out of the building has to cross the street. The small towns came one after another, as US 62 bounced north, then south, then north, then south again to connect them all. Rosine was the home of Bill Monroe, father of bluegrass music, and other small towns like Rockport, McHenry, Horse Branch, and Caneyville, looked like they were pretty dried up. There was some corn farming going on, some cattle and sheep, but not really many. Most of the scenery was old school residential, to put it nicely, and a lot of trees and rolling hills. 
My biggest problem for the day occurred in the town of Beaver Dam, which was about halfway on my trip. The town was nice, and big enough to have its own Walmart. It also had a detour on US62, because a bridge was being rebuilt. That is the first time I've had a detour of any significance on this trip that I can remember, and it was a doozy. It added about 15-20 miles to my trip, like I mentioned above, but it wouldn't have been so long, if I didn't go 1.5 miles out to the bridge in question, because I wanted to see if it was a situation where I could walk across, wade across, or get around it somehow. Well, the bridge was totally gone, the water was too deep and way down there, so I had to turn around and follow the detour, which was into a dead north headwind. The detour route was pretty hilly, and the local hoopies were driving real fast on that shoulderless stretch of KY 69. It took me over an hour to get to the other side of the bridge, where I popped out less than a half mile from the construction. Over an hour to go one half mile, in actuality. That's what made me late getting into Walmart camp. Legs feel like 'Kentucky Fried' quads. Get it?

Lots of Roses used to live around here.  Counted 7 tombstones

Beautiful courthouse in Greenville, KY

Downtown Greenville

This Rose is still alive

Nuclear power plant in the distance

It seems that all the bridges are old

Ohio County, KY

Acid mine drainage in the western Kentucky coal fields

Beaver Dam, KY

Cemeteries were everywhere

The Beaver Dam detour

Bill Monroe is quite famous for Bluegrass music

Monroe's hometown - about 20 farms and trailers

Another weird Kentucky town name

Flatter than expected

Goat Head Ridge

Mike's escort through town
Damn Rednecks!!!

What can we say?  It's Kentucky

Sunset selfie