Day 19, to Hodgenville: Rolling hills, good weather, ice cream, some history, free camping, a shower — just add Dani and I've found nirvana - Chris Cross America - CycleBlaze

May 11, 2022

Day 19, to Hodgenville: Rolling hills, good weather, ice cream, some history, free camping, a shower — just add Dani and I've found nirvana

PHOTO OF THE DAY: I live 3 miles from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. I've biked 800 miles and found myself ... at the Lincoln Memorial! This photo shows me smiling in the foreground with the memorial marking Abraham Lincoln's birthplace in the background. There are 56 steps leading up to it, signifying the 56 years of his life.
Heart 1 Comment 0

Day 19 stats

Start: Springfield, Ky. (The Springfield Inn)

End: Hodgenville, Ky. (Larue County Park)

The Daily Progress: 50.36 miles. Technically only about 46 were forward progress. I rode a few extra and back for a chance to see Lincoln's birthplace.

Elevation gain: 2,470 feet

Lodging expenses: $0! The baseball park here is a welcome place for cyclists to camp, free of charge. A member of the parks board, Daniel, was here for his son's baseball practice and got me into the building here so I could shower. He also insisted on treating me to a Gatorade. I'm so grateful. I'm gonna stick some cash under the door of the concession stand with a note to contribute to the sports here. Like the youth program at the Presbyterian church in Hindman, people are just overwhelmingly welcoming and I know no one is asking for anything in return, but I can't help but try to pay it forward.

Food expenses: $22. $10 for a burger and fries at Laha's (pronounced "Lay-hay's"), $6 for ice cream (Buckeye Classic and Kentucky Praline Pecan) and a cookie at the Sweet Shoppe, and $6 for a salad and milk at DG Market (a grocery-forward version of Dollar General, because Dollar General is everywhere out here).

Day 19 highlights

I can't remember an easier 50-mile day. Nice rolling hills. Such excellent conditions. I appreciated the heavy cloud cover for most of the day and skipped the sunscreen bath this morning. 

I passed this striking church early in my ride today. It's the St Rose Priory Church in Springfield, Ky. It sits atop a small hill and appears to be made of stone. It's got lots of white trim and a prominent tower topped with eight spires, which all have little crosses at the tip.
Heart 0 Comment 0
I came down a hill out from a wooded area to this wide open, flat expanse of farmland flanking each side of the road ahead, which is cracked and weathered. The fields on either side are mainly yellow and brown. Green hills line the horizon.
Heart 1 Comment 0

I made it to Hodgenville with time to stop for lunch before heading to the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park. I walked into Laha's and took a seat at the counter and was glad I did. I enjoyed chatting a bit with a few locals and the folks running the tiny establishment. They all told me I had to stop at the place across the street because they have the best ice cream. Don't need to tell me twice! But they must've told me five times. Believe me, people, I will be getting ice cream.

But first, better go see Abe's birthplace, to make sure I have enough time. 

Inside the memorial is a log cabin that was once believed to be the actual birthplace of Lincoln but has since been proven to be a neighbor's cabin from the same era. (Lincoln was born in 1809.) It's a one-room structure with one door and one window, and on one side is a small chimney.
Heart 0 Comment 0

I took a short walk along a trail and looked at the Sinking Spring adjacent to the memorial. Very peaceful. And hard to fathom frontier life. The National Parks Service brochure said the Lincolns were not poverty-stricken, but they lived in a single room with a dirt floor. I guess that means we've seen some progress in the 200 years since. 

Okay, back to town for ice cream! Yum!

Then on to the park where I'm camping tonight. I picked up a salad from the Dollar General Market on the way and ate it at the park as an 11- and 12-year-old boys team practiced baseball. One of the coaches welcomed me and asked where I was from. Then Daniel arrived and chatted with me a bit and he grabbed a key from a coach and grabbed me a Gatorade and invited me into a building where I could shower and even sleep if I wanted to. I'm listening to a softball game as I write this, but it's in another park nearby and I can't really see it but it prolongs the atmosphere a bit now that the boys' practice is over. Looks like it's gonna be a nice night to sleep in a hammock.

My green hammock hangs between a telephone pole and a blue baseball dugout. To the side is a small set of bleacher benches. Blue leans against the bleachers.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 50 miles (80 km)
Total: 831 miles (1,337 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 6
Comment on this entry Comment 0