Week #3 – Dry Counties and Dark Caves - Sights & Second Breakfasts on the TransAmerica Trail - CycleBlaze

May 25, 2019 to May 31, 2019

Week #3 – Dry Counties and Dark Caves

Day #15 – May 25, 2019

Miles – 48.6
Booneville, KY -> Berea, KY

We started off at 8:30AM. The beginning of the ride was through rural country roads. There were hills, but the fields and woods made for scenic riding. Eventually, we pulled onto a state highway for the remainder of the day. There was lots of traffic and little to look at. I kept smelling road kill. I was eager to finish for the day.

We decided to check into a motel to escape the heat. To our horror, the motel desk clerk informed us Berea is a dry city, but some restaurants may serve us. Kentucky is an odd state. 

Berea is considered the gateway to Appalachia, and since we are moving the opposite direction, the Appalachian mountains are officially in the past. We celebrated with a drink at a Wings Etc. The restaurant’s music playlist was a mix of heavy screamo and country. Again, Kentucky is an odd state.

Day #16 – May 26, 2019

Miles – 0/Rest day
Berea, KY

Despite its classification as a dry city, we all decided to stay in Berea for a rest day. The heat and final Appalachian ascents have taken a toll. I did my laundry at the local laundromat. In order to maximize my clean clothes load, I sat in the laundromat in just my swimming shorts and rain jacket. I spent the rest of the day reading, exploring Berea on my bike, and laying in my motel room bed eating pizza.

Day #17 – May 27, 2019

Miles – 54.1
Berea, KY -> Harrodsburg, KY

We left Berea at 9AM after a motel breakfast of Eggo waffles. Fuel the ride! The terrain became noticeably tamer. There were still some steep hills, but fewer and not as tall. I was disappointed that I could not look back to see the Appalachians on the horizon. They aren’t tall enough to have a noticeable skyline.

We arrived in Harrodsburg around 4PM. The city park we camped in had a community pool. For $6 a piece, we enjoyed 15 minutes of adult swim and showers. Worth it.

Day #18 – May 28, 2019

Miles – 67.0
Harrodsburg, KY -> Hodgenville, KY

We left Harrodsburg just before 8AM. The gentle hills were spoiled by a strong headwind. We discussed whether a headwind or steep hills are worse. A consensus was reached that both are bad. 

Just before reaching Hodgenville, we stopped at the estate on which Abraham Lincoln grew up. There was a nearby creek where Abe nearly drowned. He must have been a terrible swimmer because it wasn’t much more than a trickle. 

After settling in at the community center Hodgenville offers to cyclists, we headed to a restaurant across the street for dinner. After a long day of riding, a beer sounded pretty excellent, and Hodgenville was a “wet” community after passing a resolution to allow alcohol sales in 2018. My hopes of having a beer with dinner were dashed by a poster on the restaurant door that read “Alcohol Destroys Lives – Vote No.” You can change the law, but you can’t change peoples’ minds.

Prohibitionist propaganda in Goosebumps font.
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Day #19 – May 29, 2019

Miles – 47.6
Hodgenville, KY -> Mammoth Cave National Park

We left Hodgenville at 8:30AM. Sue, a fellow Transammer who we met back up with in Hodgenville, rode with Chris, Jason, and I today. It was fun to have four in the group.

The last few miles to Mammoth Cave were mostly downhill through a scenic forest. A lot of the best riding has been through parkland. The traffic is light, the roads are in good condition, and the setting is peaceful.

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We camped at the park. A cat showed up in the campground and took interest in our camping spot. Despite my attempts for about an hour, he never let me pet him. 

Day #20 – May 30th, 2019

Miles – 0/Rest day
Mammoth Cave National Park

We took the day off to tour the cave. It rained for most of the afternoon, so it was a great day to be underground. The cave was incredible, and anything I write or any pictures I take can do it no justice.

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At one point, the tour guide was speaking about the safety of the cave and how sound of a structure it is. "No tourist has ever died from a falling rock, and no one will die from a falling rock on this tour."A young girl interrupted with a disheartened "Ahhhhh!"

After our tour, Chris left the park to spend a couple nights with a friend. We hope to see him down the road again at some point.

Later in the evening, the cat returned to our camp spot, and he was much friendlier this evening. He let us pet him in exchange for licking the remnants of Jason’s dinner of pork and beans.

Day #21 – May 31st, 2019

Miles – 64.7
Mammoth Cave National Park -> Fordsville, KY

We were on the road again at 8:15AM. The temperatures have finally dropped, and we spent most of the ride around a comfortable 78 degrees. Even with some rain and wind, it was a really pleasant day of riding.

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We stopped at a Dollar General in Fordsville for dinner supplies. Shopping at Dollar General is practically an everyday occurrence for us. Nearly every small town on the TransAmerica Trail (and throughout the country) relies solely on Dollar General for its groceries. They should be an official sponsor of the trail.

Jason approaching the Sebree, KY, Dollar General.
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We camped at the county park just west of Fordsville. There were a couple of Dutch cyclists (redundant) camping there as well. They are riding from New Orleans to Boston.

Week #3 Mileage: 282
Total Trip Mileage: 993.9

Today's ride: 282 miles (454 km)
Total: 994 miles (1,600 km)

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