April 24 - May 1: Kentucky

5/1 - Dixon (88.5 miles 976 total)
it was still dark at rough river dam state park when we made our way thru the the darkness to the goody table to make snacks & sandwiches (2-3 apiece for today's long ride) & have our breakfast. we enjoyed a beautiful sunrise over the lake as we biked off between 6:00 & 6:15.
the first 20 mi or so were hilly...some of the hills were pretty steep & long. our climb for today was 3230, over twice yesterday's. we believe it. it seemed like we were always climbing or coasting today.
around 10 sari & i came upon a cluster of bikers at a little old store at an intersection out in the country. out behind the store was an extra-special outhouse.
note that it's of brick & even has wallpaper on the lower half of the walls inside. it was definitely a step or 2 above the roadside brambles to which we've become accustomed.
the weather early today was beautiful, but by mid-to-late morning, the winds started picking up....& by afternoon they were almost picking up the bikers.
you'll see by the picture of sari biking by that the flag in the background is pretty well parallel to the ground.
the wind direction was hard to assess; the only thing we know for sure is that it was always blowing into our faces or trying to blow us off the road sideways. seldom today did we enjoy those yearned-for tail winds.
by mid afternoon we hit a stretch of traffic, including a few coal trucks, but once we got past seebree, things slowed down again. i noticed a tyson chicken plant along the way today, then started seeing farms with those huge long buildings that house chicken upon chicken. i also spotted a carhartt outdoor clothing plant.
i had trouble with my large chain ring gears about 20 mi out this afternoon. it was very hard to push the chain back up onto the higher numbers (you can see how knowledgeable i am about all this!). clearly remembering how disabling it was to snap a gear cablea couple of weeks ago, i decided to ride the rest of the way without moving the left gear out of the middle setting. that meant that i walked up a couple of the steepest hills in hopes of saving my knees from excess stress. i can't afford to throw the knees out at this early stage of the trek. gloria replaced the old gear cable with a teflon-coated one this evening. the new cable isn't the same thickness as the old one; i hope that doesn't cause a problem.
we're staying at a baptist camp outside the teensy town of dixon, ky. there are no phones anywhere, so this report will be late. (phone jacks are kind of hard to come by lately & will continue to be elusive for a while, i'm afraid.) patty is ecstatic because she is able to use the commercial stove & other kitchen equipment in the camp's mess hall. we're staying in the girl's dorm, which is pretty much solid bunk beds lined up along both walls. i notice none of us has braved an upper bunk. the showers & toilets are downstairs....down a steep stairway at that. after a 90-mi biking day, there will be lots of wobbling & hobbling to get down to the restroom thru the night.
the picture shows one of the bunk rooms before it was filled up with bikers & all their gear. peeking out near the exit door are marcia (right) & phyllis. closer on the left is joan laxson, who celebrated her birthday today.
patty baked a german chocolate cake for tonight's dessert in honor of the occasion. the birthday celebration was replete with balloons, candles on the cake, & a rousing rendition of the birthday song.
i'm typing this report by the light of my iBook monitor as i crouch on my bed, since the overnead light is already out in our bunk room at 8:15. that ride today took a lot out of all of us. the best news we've heard in a while is that tomorrow is a 36-mi day. we have lots of body parts that need a rest after today.
Higher quality versions of the pictures from my trip are available here. If you would like copies of the original, full-size photos, feel free to e-mail my son Mark with your request. Stay tuned....

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