Day 43, Kentucky
From Somerset to Middleboro
I set off at dawn and pedaled through Somerset, navigating by GPS as usual in these sizable towns. Once out of town I took the 192, which led past one house after another through the countryside. It was a narrow road with no shoulder, but the traffic was minimal and the drivers showed respect for a bicyclist.
15 miles out I stopped beside the road for a rest and a snack. For once I was carrying food, even though I had passed a few small stores.
Further on, I stopped at a store, and enjoyed talking with the people running the place. And, no, they didn't know the easiest route ahead; they hadn't even been to the next town of Corbin but once or twice.
The terrain was beautifully forested and the vegetation was starting to look like that on the A.T. including plenty of poison ivy. The jewelweed was blooming with orange flowers, the first such flowers I had seen this year. The vegetation looked much more advanced in the season, and because the morning had started out chilly - for the first time in a long while - all this took me back in time, to when I started hiking the A.T. earlier this year. What a summer of adventure it has been. 5.5 months worth and counting.
A trailhead for the Sheltowee Trace - "a 282-mile back country trail through Daniel Boone National Forest, Big South Fork NRRA, and Natural Bridge, Cumberland Falls, & Pickett State Parks in Kentucky and Tennessee."
The trail looked very nice, but watch out for the poison ivy.
I followed the 312 to Corbin, stopped for lunch, then took the 25E. All day I had been grinding up one hill after another, and whisking down the opposite sides. This road had plenty of hills also, but a lot more traffic, some of which was down right rude. Not their fault, they just need better roads. And I needed a better shoulder. But at various times that is what I got.
Here is another unknown plant to me: (Kudzu, see the replies below)
"The picture of the plant in question appears to be Kudzu. It is fairly common and invasive here in Tennessee." -Ben B.
"The pictures of KY vegetation is KUDZU. It's found throughout the South... an 1876 importation from Japan to control erosion and provide cattle feed. Lacking the controls of freezing temperatures and a population familiar with its uses, it has become a major weed. Very sci-fi looking stuff!" -Rick M.
"Re: vines, Kudzu...very nasty invasive vine...was brought in to help with erosion control...sadly will kill a forest in no time...we have it in Missouri now." -Curtis W.
I stopped for the day in Middleboro, just a mile from the Virginia state line. That means I've pedaled across Kentucky in three days.
Miles pedaled today: 87