An early day because the route as planned is 74 miles and if I do the detour to the Distillery it will be 80 miles and I am not a fast biker compared to the rest of the group. So I packed up the hammock, popped on the biking clothes and headed out at 7:30AM.
This Kentucky land - at least central Kentucky most reminds me of Illinois because of the expansive farms and rolling hills. Kentucky though has long horse pastures and still there are dogs.
Three times today - nothing serious - but the first one startled me and came out of nowhere. The other two dogs just ran up and tried to keep up but I was heading down hill and they posed no threat.
I took a short cut staying on Highway 152 into Springfield and that must have shaved anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half for me because after Springfield, when I rejoined the route, I was met with a road closed sign.
I texted the group, but no one had seen it yet, so I figured out that I was ahead. I biked on hopeful that I would be able to "portage" around the closure. Finally ran into Sherry Hamilton (pictured) who told me it was just the bridge but it was really a creek and likely I could cross it. Otherwise she gave me extended alternative directions.
As it was it worked out just fine. The Construction Workers seemed well versed and experienced having cyclists come through and they sent me walking to the right and I crossed the creek - stone over stone while carrying my bike.
When I thought of Kentucky before this trip I thought bluegrass, horses, and bourbon. After this trip it's a little divided. East Kentucky is Appalachia, poor, hills, and dogs and coal trucks. West Kentucky still has hills, but not as massive as those that challenged us in the Appalachians. These hills roll gently before us, blanketed by either farmland or horse pastures. There are a few dogs here, but when they chase you it is almost for desperate fun rather than menacing us.
Took a six mile detour to a Whisky Bourbon Distillery, which before - in a car - was hardly a consideration, but now as part of a 74 mile day, it took a little more commitment. The hills getting there were intense and those I coasted down - i knew I would have to grind back up.
Makers' Mark is the distillery here in Loretto, Kentucky. I couldn't be sure how much mileage remained - about thirty five or so - so I passed on the tour, and instead wandered the grounds and discovered the restaurant and bar. Had a Bourbon cocktail with my cyclist lunch while other around me we eating bacon fried chicken.
At the gift shop I discovered they will not ship alcohol so I purchased two of the smallest bottles that will fit in my bike bag, and then put on the distinctive red wax seal under the watchful eyes of May, who coached me on proper bottle holding and twisting to ensure that the distinctive drip marks would be present.
Learned a few things. Bourbon and Whiskey are the same thing, but only bourbon comes from Kentucky. These hills, populated by the Irish and Scots, bring some of their customs so whisky is spelled without the "e" here. Finally there are more casks of bourbon aging in Kentucky than there are people.
Tonight we end in Hogdenville which unabashedly celebrates Abraham Lincoln who was born just miles down the road. The road to here was not great for biking, and we were hot, parched and the sun was draining. So in the town square we saw the Sweet Shoppe and we stopped even though we were only a mile and half from our nightly resting place.
The town center is dominated by a round about and two statues of Lincoln, including one as a young boy reading a book. "There is no faster frigate than a book," Doris Kearns Goodwin said about Lincoln's love of books. She was quoting Emily Dickenson.
Tonight we "camp" in the utility barn/pavilion of the Hodgenville Park and Recreation Center. It covered, dry, and has bracing cold showers. But it will do. Tomorrow we have about 50 miles, but the weather forecast does not look good. We expect rain for two days.