Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Monday, April 28, 2014

Paducah, Kentucky to Morton's Gap (Nortonville), Ky. April 24

April 24.....76.58 miles 6:35....Original plans to ride US60 were scuttled in favor of riding US 62, a slightly straighter route that runs a little more south, past some Kentucky tourist spots, instead of following the Ohio River on 60  as it twists and turns on the border between Kentucky and Illinois. I was slow getting out of Paducah, as I played around checking out an old, closed bridge that used to be US 60 over the Tennessee River. There are four huge rivers in this area. The Cumberland River and the Tennessee River are dammed up to form Kentucky Lake and Barkley Lake, by the Tennessee Valley Authority, to make electricity and act as a huge recreation area, with the Land Between The Lakes, between the two dammed up rivers. I had never heard of this area, but it seems to be a huge fishing and vacation area in the summer. After the dual dams, the Cumberland drains into the Ohio, the Tennessee drains into the Ohio in a different place, before the Ohio drains into the Mississippi. A serious amount of water flows around this area.
 US  62 was narrow with no shoulder, or a shoulder with rumble strips right in the middle for about fifteen miles, or until I got to the two dams, where US62 was new and widened out. That first fifteen was white knuckle riding, with hundreds of tri axles flying by in both directions and no shoulder. Thank God that when I got to the area around the dams, there also was the gravel quarry that was servicing the tri axles. It was like an ants nest, with truck coming and going, lined up three deep at the scales. The amazing thing, is that all the trucks went back towards Paducah, and after I passed the quarry, I was tri axle free. The road, now that I didn't need it so much, now had a shoulder, even though there was plenty of gravel and debris on it. The ride was now pretty straight, and flatter than I expected, considering that this is Kentucky. I thought it was all hills, like West Virginia, but it's not. It's pretty flat, with just little rollers. The nicely shouldered road took me about another fifteen miles, to Princeton, KY. Princeton was a spread out little town of about 7000 people, and US 62 zigged and zagged through it, doing a total 180 degree turn around the courthouse, going through 'downtown' , and then running on seemingly residential streets, until the biggest climb of my day, took me out of town. The shoulder once again disappeared, the road became very turny and rolley for a while, and I thought I was finally into the type of hills I was expecting. Five fire vehicles whizzed past me as I climbed and turned on the east end of town, and I could see the black smoke of a fire off in the distance. I never did see them again, or the actual fire. 
I passed through many small towns on US 62, mostly under 1000 residents, and very poor and old looking. The mist appropriately named was Possum Trot, Kentucky. Not much there but 14 x 70 mobile homes and some old houses that may or may not have been inhabited. Things smoothed out again before coming to my final destination, so there really hasn't been a ton of Appalachian hills.  I did climb almost 2500 ft today, but  I only went over 600 ft above sea level once. Pam found a little RV park behind a Pilot Truck stop and a motel, at US 62's intersection with the Edward T. Breathitt Penneyrile Parkway, which will some day be Interstate 69.

The Kentucky State flag

The Tennessee River

This must have landed there during a flood!

A better view of the Tennessee River.  It too is a big river

US 60 used to go across this condemned bridge

The new bridge in the distance

Condemned!  No traffic allowed

Kentucky has two rows of rumble strips on the shoulder.  Nice - not!

Yep!  We are in Kentucky!

The Kentucky Dam

Dead Asian Carp

Coal barges in locks on the Tennessee

The Tennessee Valley Authority power plant - one of dozens

Going across the 4th huge river in 15 miles!

The Barkley Dam on the Cumberland River

Each white spot on the water is a dead Asian Carp

On the news they estimated 500,000 dead Asian Carp - possibly by a mystery fungus

.....but people were still fishing there!

Hometown boy

Another county courthouse.  The courthouse is the center piece in each town.  This is Princeton, KY

Mike's route took him through lots of little towns like this.

Mike didn't stop to soak his legs!!!

Kentucky street wisdom

Most homes had 6 cars in the front yard.  Stereotypical....

Another small town that made the ride interesting

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