Day One: Henderson, Kentucky to Kuttawa, Kentucky - Destination Unknown - CycleBlaze

October 10, 2021

Day One: Henderson, Kentucky to Kuttawa, Kentucky

In which, once again, I overdo it

I rode out of our driveway just after first light, and onto the country roads that are of course very familiar to me. It was nice out, although it was already windy so early - from the south of course, the direction I was heading. I hadn't looked at the weather forecast, other than a brief glance to determine that it wasn't going to rain - I didn't really want to know how much the wind would be in my face today, since I'd experience it soon enough.

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At about mile 12 I experienced an ultra-painful, throbbing headache, the worst I'd had in years. I endured the intense headache, and accompanying hypochondria (was I having an aneurysm?!) the five miles to Robards, where I sat on a bench in front of the old country store, chugged a bottle of water, ate a snack, then stood up to find the headache was gone.

I pass through Robards, which is a tiny village containing a post office and the old store, on about 80% of the day rides I do, so it was a challenge to find something new to photograph. I settled for the fading warning on one of the three soda machines outside the store. The picture of the man being crushed by the toppling pop machine that he unwisely tried to rob amused me for some reason. Rough justice for the would-be soda pop thief.

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There's also a volunteer fire department in Robards, with a fancy new electronic sign. While I waited to make sure my headache had really disappeared, I watched the sign cycle through its various messages.

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The old store in Robards. A local guy bought the place a couple of years ago, and has been slowly getting it ready to open again.
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Kathleen JonesCovering all the cola options, I see. Set up a blind taste test, please.
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1 year ago
Jeff LeeTo Kathleen JonesHah! I've tried Colas from all three machines, and I can certainly tell the difference.

I keep expecting to find that he's added a Diet Rite machine to his collection any day now :)
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1 year ago

I finally tore myself away from Robards and got back on the road, where I was soon distracted by some milkweed pods by the side of the road. When I was a kid, these things seemed to be everywhere. Now they are much rarer in my experience. Yet another indication that I'm an old man living in a changed world, I suppose. 

Yes, milkweed by the side of the road caused me to ponder my mortality on an early morning bike ride. Ha!

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Back on the road, the scenery continued to be pleasant (and familiar.) I was riding on back roads to connect with the TransAmerica Trail route in Dixon.

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Mike AylingMust be a frequent occurrence!
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1 year ago
Andrea BrownGood to know.
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1 year ago
Halûk OkurWhy would one want to open a grave?

And shouldn't official authorities be contacted instead a funeral home?

Go figure...
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1 year ago
Mark BinghamUh-oh.... NOW you tell me.
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1 year ago

I stopped at the convenience store in Dixon to get a few snacks. Outside the store a couple of farmers were talking, and I eavesdropped for a few minutes. One of them was describing his recent ex-wife's many perfidies in embarrassing detail. He seemed surprisingly calm as he listed the many shocking ways in which she had wronged him, and then, leaving, told the other guy, "Well, I'll guess I'll go work on that field in Tilden."

I got back on the road, now on the TransAmerica Trail for a while, and rode toward Clay. The section between Dixon and Clay has been super-rough pavement for the 3.5 years we have lived here, so I was very pleasantly surprised to find the the state had finally resurfaced it, and it was silky smooth now.

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I didn't linger in Clay. I was watching the clock, since I wanted to do 100+ miles today, and the October days were getting shorter.

It was a long, hot, windy slog from Clay to Marion. That 22 mile section is among my least favorite rides in any case, and today it was especially challenging due to the heat, wind, and my relative lack of fitness - I'd barely ridden in a month, and hadn't ridden a heavy loaded touring bike in several months.

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I'd done almost 70 miles when I arrived in Marion. It was very windy now. I had a 37 mile route of zig-zagging, sometimes hilly country roads to get to my planned destination, Grand Rivers. After spending 20 minutes at the busy gas station and store in Marion, I got back on the bike.

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At about mile 85, I was still feeling pretty good. I stopped at a church and ate a few snacks from my handlebar bag.

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Morri NashThese are my favorite kinds of roads…tree lined, smooth and empty of cars.
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1 year ago

A few miles later, I felt the first twinges of leg cramps. I stopped immediately and mixed some powdered Pedialyte with water in my bottle. That seemed to help, but once I reached 90 miles, I bonked. 

I lay down a few times and forced myself to eat a few snacks. At mile 97, with 10 miles to go to Grand Rivers, I decided I'd had enough. I wobbled into the parking lot of a country church, the adjacent cemetery of which looked like a reasonable place to stealth camp, but I could not locate a water spigot. The prospect of camping there with no water in my dehydrated state - I'd already drank the last of the water in my bottles - was not appealing, but I didn't think I could ride anymore. I called the motel in Grand Rivers and told the lady that I couldn't make it. She offered to send an employee to pick me up, but after a few frustrating attempts, I was unable to explain to him where I was. (Like so many non-cyclist local people, this guy had a very shaky knowledge of places and distances in his surrounding area.)

I called to let Joy what was going on, and after quickly looking at the map herself - I barely had an internet connection, and couldn't get Google Maps to load - she informed me that I was only three miles from Kuttawa, a "town" which I somehow had not noticed when I planned today's route, and which had a couple of "interstate motels." It was dark now, but I put on my lights and somehow found the energy to ride there, checked in to the cheaper of the two places, and lay down on the bed immediately.

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Today's ride: 101 miles (163 km)
Total: 101 miles (163 km)

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Comment on this entry Comment 5
Gregory GarceauDude, take it easy out there. I admire setting goals, and you achieved the century. Just remember that you (we) are getting older. I've found my goals have to be readjusted every couple of years.
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1 year ago
Gregory GarceauTo Gregory GarceauBy the way, I've always wanted to open a grave without calling first. LOL. And one of my worst fears has always been having a pop machine falling on me while reaching my arm up into it to sneak a can of Mountain Dew.
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1 year ago
Jeff LeeTo Gregory GarceauThanks. Yeah, I know about getting older. But it's hard for me to accept, especially recently, because I can feel the difference from even five years ago. It's frustrating.
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1 year ago
Mark BinghamTo Jeff Lee"I'd barely ridden in a month, and hadn't ridden a heavy loaded touring bike in several months." 100 miles?!? "Yeah, I know about getting older" Pffft. :-)
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1 year ago
Jeff LeeTo Mark BinghamWell, that 100 miles nearly did me in, and 50-year-old-me could probably have made it the last ten miles to my planned destination easily enough so...
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1 year ago