Bicycling the TransAmerica Trail

Cycling Across the US, Coast to Coast

Bicycling Adventure #3

54 days, 3,783 miles, Jul-Aug 2010

Ray Jardine

2010-08-25Kentucky page 41 of 54

Day 41, Kentucky

From Cadiz to Glasgow

I had a pre-dawn start, pedaling along Hwy 68/80, first under Hwy 24, then proceeding to Hopkinsville. I chose the business route through town, which was a bit of a blunder because it took me through an area of suspect. The strangest thing I saw was a black youth trying to pull a grounding wire off an electrical pole, maybe for its value as copper, or maybe just to be destructive. Near the far edge of town there was one last c-store where I could have bought something to eat, but the thought of stopping in this neighborhood lacked appeal, so I kept on going . . .

Out into another strange world of a whole different type - that of the Shakers. The shoulder was very good for cycling, because it was made for the horse and buggy. So I made some mileage, which was good because there were no places to stop for refreshments, at all. I saw the sign near Elkton "Tourist Attraction: Dairy Queen 1.8 miles." But my how times had changed; another sign: "Elkton, wi-fi hot spot."

In Amish country, the tourist attractions are few and far between. This sign on the highway reads: "Tourists Activities, Diary Queen 1.9"

Anticipating the 28-mile snack gap, I was carrying my own, so at one point I stopped along the highway for a sit-down rest. Two things of note were a brown squirrel that seemed strangely unafraid - I was leery in case it might have had rabies, and a space-age flower that looked like it came from the movie Avatar.

Space-age Passion fruit flower.

I think the flower shown a passion fruit flower. If you wait a week or so, and it is the right variety, lovely juicy passion fruits will appear. -William R., Perth

Reaching Russelville I pulled in to the first c-store, and got to talking to a couple who asked about my bike trip. The guy asked if I had been to this town before, and I said yes. (2004 "Hello America" trip.) Then he said he had seen me riding west. (right again.) They drove away, but came back saying it was hot out, and they wanted to buy me a cold drink. So the lady handed me three dollars.

These nice people bought me a cold drink

Most c-stores that I have visited have some fresh cooked food, hamburgers and the like. I much prefer this to the horrible food served in the fast food joints, which tends to make me ill. This c-store had what the lady called "pastrami rolls" that she had baked herself. They were delicious.

Yesterday my back tire had picked up something that had caused a slow leak, and as a stop-gap measure I had just been pumping up the tire. So today when I came to an abandoned store with a shaded porch, I decided to fix the flat. I found the standard tire wire imbedded in the tire, and I located the hole in the tube by blowing it up and holding it to my face, and feeling for a tiny jet of air, indicating the leak. I patched the hole and got back on the road.

Fixing a flat. It seems almost like I have more pictures of the bike upside down than right side up.

A small wire poking through the tire.

This is what a blown truck tire wire looks like. When a steel belted truck tire blows, it can spread these tiny wires all over the highway. Then the cars run over them and fling them onto the shoulder.

In the wake of Hopkinsville I was not looking forward to going through Bowling Green, but in fact it was quite a nice town with a beautiful campus. I quite enjoyed it.

Next I got onto the 65 freeway for some real rock and rolling. This was three lanes going each way, heavy with traffic - lots of cars and big trucks. It also had a nice, wide shoulder, positively littered in debris. The terrain was flat and the trucks seemed to suck me along at 20 mph. It was hard work, but I made some miles.

Blurry photo, but it does show the traffic. Note: Cycling on the shoulder of such highways and parkways is not legal; I'm just describing what I did, and not recommending anything.

Next came the turnoff onto the Cumberland Parkway. Good-bye nice shoulder, but hello gorgeous scenery. And in another 11 miles I reached Glasgow. Part way through town I came to a motel and a restaurant nearby, so I stopped for the day.

Miles pedaled today: 114

Note: earlier in the day I passed the 3,000 mile point on my journey.

The story has 54 pages. This is page 41.
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