Day 18 - Grand Rivers, KY (Motel 6) to Marion, KY (Methodist Church Cyclist Hostel)) - Seeking A Bicycle Warrior's Death, Part II: The Great Rivers South - CycleBlaze

October 9, 2022

Day 18 - Grand Rivers, KY (Motel 6) to Marion, KY (Methodist Church Cyclist Hostel))

Another Perfect Fall Day And Ride

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[NOTE; much thanks to fellow Cycle Blazer and Kentuckian Jeff Lee who suggested the above route to keep me off busy Highway 60]

Statistics, Useful & Otherwise;

Elevation Gained Today;   2,466 ft           Cumulative;  34,119 ft

Max Grade Today;  11.0%

Roadkill Seen Today;   raccoon (1), deer (2)                                 

Cumulative; Hawk (3), Raccoon(3), Possum (13),  Mouse (1), Squirrel (8),                      Armadillo (5), Bird (1), Coyote (1), Deer (3), Snake (1), unknown (2)

Found Money Today;   $ 0.00                      Cumulative; $0.34

Lodging Cost Today;    $10 (donation)    Cumulative; $1,322.28

Bad Drivers Today;  0                                       Cumulative; 10

Dog Chases Today;   3                                     Cumulative; 14

Confederate Flags Today; 1                       Cumulative;  4 (plus 30 decorative                                             flags on Confederate Graves along the Natchez Trace)

Average Speed Today;   9.2 mph                Cumulative; 10.05 mph

Summary of Today's Ride; Pretty much perfect fall ride - sorry you missed it!

According to the ACA, with regards to the Great Rivers South route: "In western Kentucky, the route follows very lightly traveled county roads over short steep hills..."  But I didn't follow the ACA route today.  Due to problems with getting lodging (Cave-in-Rock state park was full, other options were going to be too far and/or upset the balance of the concept lodging schedule I had worked out) I decided to go off-route and find lodging in Marion, KY, and then rejoin the ACA route tomorrow.  Since I was following the ACA Great Rivers South route, I had planned on sticking with it as long as possible (it goes close to the Ohio River on River Road) and then taking highway 60 to Marion - but Highway 60 would have been a busy and unpleasant ride.  Jeff Lee came to the rescue and provided the above map (mostly - I had to detour off of his route near the end due to construction), and it put me on lightly traveled rural roads for a very pleasant ride.   It was plenty hilly too, just in case you were worried that I might miss some hills.

I was slow getting out this morning.  It was going to be a short day and I needed the rest, so I didn't even set an alarm.  I woke up at 05:30 anyway, but I managed to sort-of sleep another hour before finally getting with the day.  I walked to the adjacent Marathon station and bought a breakfast sandwich, chocolate milk, and coffee and carried them back to my room.  It was just a little nippy outside, but fortunately not hardly any wind.  I ate the breakfast sandwich, then microwaved the single piece of pizza remaining from last night and ate it.  I had to move the microwave from it's stand to the stand below the TV so as to have an outlet to plug it in.  Hey, it's a Motel 6, not a Marriott.  

I was on the road about 07:30, and there was hardly no traffic as I left Grand Rivers. 

Bluff Erosion Near Grand Rivers
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Too Foggy For Any Dam Pictures This Morning
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I had planned on getting some photos of the Cumberland River and perhaps the lock and dam, but a low-hanging cloud of fog completely covered the river.

Cumberland River Bridge is Fogged In
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So far on this Great Rivers South journey I have traveled along or across the Mississippi, Tombigbee, Tennessee, and Cumberland Rivers.  Each of them is a major water system and played a role in the settlement and development of this country.  Today I can easily cross these rivers on bridges, it's simply unfathomable to try and imagine the difficulty the early pioneers had getting across them.  I'll be crossing and rolling alongside the Ohio River tomorrow, and later I'll cross the Missouri, so this trip is going to live up to it's billing.

Old Truck On Today's Route
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Today's ride was amazing.  I glided along silently and saw a great many deer.  Some wild turkeys scattered as soon as I rolled into site - they were a hundred yards away, that's why I have a telephoto lens with me.

Wild Turkey Scattered When I Got Close
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Interesting Old Barn
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So how many deer did I see?  I decided to make a note of each sighting and how many deer were in each group.  So this is the number of deer in each sighting; 3, 4, 2, 2, 2, 4, 1, 3 - and then I got tired of stopping to write in my little notebook each time I saw more deer.  This country is teeming with deer!

This Deer Thinks She Is Invisible As Long As She remains Frozen
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Do you ever wonder what horses think?  Yeah, me neither.

Morning Reflections - What Do Horses Reflect On?
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Bob DistelbergI used to run by a horse farm on a regular basis, and the horses would always watch me intently as I went by. I always imagined them thinking “Man, you look pathetic doing that. We are so much better at running than you are.” I wonder if they would have any more respect for a human on a bike?
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Outstanding In Their Field
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Deer Like The Grass That Grows Alongside The Road
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I couldn't photograph the Cumberland earlier due to fog, but here it is near Dycusburg.

The Cumberland River
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There were numerous small cemeteries along today's route, and a couple of family cemeteries situated in the middle of someone's farm acreage.  There's a lot of history here.

Near The Town of Dycusburg
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Today's Church Photo
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No Longer The Rocket It Once Was
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Bigfoot Isn't Just In Oklahoma
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Every day the leaves are turning more and falling on the roadside to be crunched beneath my bicycle tires.  Everything was going perfectly; there were a few dog chases, but nothing really serious.  One did concern me, however, when I rounded a corner and there were no less than 6 big dogs who gave chase - fortunately they just wanted to let me know they were defending their property.

The day had been perfect, and then this little obstacle appeared.

Road Closed Signs Don't Always Stop Me - But Missing Bridges Do!
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Now, if you know me, or if you have read this journal, you know that I often ignore such signs and assume I can sneak through on a bicycle.  Fortunately, before I could do so, a car pulled up and I motioned at the driver to talk. He was a very friendly guy, and told me that the road was impassable due to a bridge under construction - yeah, where I have heard that before?  But this time it was an easy detour, I just had to ride a busier highway for a bit - it wasn't bad at all.  Along the way I spotted another Confederate flag.

Today's Confederate Flag, Outside Marion, KY
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I also spotted a barn with a quilt symbol.  I'm in Kentucky, and that's where I first heard about the Quilt Trail and these symbols.

A Quilt Symbol
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As you may recall, I had little time to try and plan this trip and mostly threw together what I call a "concept plan" to check and see that indoor lodging was available in the towns where I planned to stop.  I was going to stay at nearby Cave-in-Rock, IL but the state park cabins were all booked. So my backup plan was to go off-route to Marion, KY and stay in the hotel. But once I checked the reviews on the hotel - well, they are pretty awful to say the least.  Then I remembered from my Transam trip in 2015 that there was a cyclist hostel in Marion - I didn't stay in it on my 2015 trip, but I knew of others who did and spoke of it favorably.  But I was already on tour and didn't have access to the Transam maps and the information about the hostel, but an appeal to the Cycleblaze community did the trick and Jeff Lee provided me with enough info that I could make contact and arrange to stay here.

The Marion United Methodist Church Is As Big As A Harry Potter Castle
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The Marion United Methodist Church has been operating a cyclist hostel for many years.  I'm looking at a series of guest books right now, and those go back to 2010, so at least that long.  In the photo above,  those aren't 2 separate buildings; they are connected and it's all one big 3-story place.  The cyclist hostel consists of the 4 windows on the top story at the far left.  I'm the only one in the church complex tonight, and it's a bit eerie.   Not spooky, I'm very happy to be here, but it's a really big place.  Here's an inside shot;

Inside the Room Set Up As A Hostel For Cyclists
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I had been instructed to call Vicky when I got into town.  I went to the church and found the door used by cyclists was unlocked, and when I called Vicky she told me it had been left unlocked for me and to just go on in.  And so I did.  You have to walk up a half-flight of stairs to enter, and I parked Harvey in the hallway on that level.  My room is one story above him.  

Harvey Is Parked In The Second-Floor Hallway, A Good Spot To Rotate The Tires
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Vicky had told me that there was a shower in the men's room upstairs - or that's what I thought she said.  There wasn't a shower in the men's room upstairs, so I commenced looking in every men's room.  There's quite a few of them, considering the 3 levels and a bunch of nooks and crannies here and there.  The kitchen is in the basement and there were several off-shoot rooms down there in the dungeon, but I couldn't find a shower.  I wasn't going to look in the women's rooms, because - well, just because.  So I looked again on the 3rd floor, thinking I had to have missed it.  I looked in janitor's closets and everywhere.  Finally, I found it - it was built into the back of a closet that houses a heating/cooling system - I had looked there earlier but once I saw that it was a mechanical closet I didn't think of looking back behind that stuff.  It was adjacent to the men's room, and that's probably what Vicky had told me and I just misunderstood.    But gee whiz - let me tell you - this is a big place and you need a map to know where all the rooms and stuff is.  It really would make for a good movie shoot scene for a Harry Potter movie or other such flick that needed a castle.  So I'm all alone in a huge castle tonight.

So yesterday I told you that there were 2 items that were concerning me.  Actually I think I said that they were causing me some panic.  That's perhaps a bit too strong of a sentiment, but regardless; let's talk.  Again, if you read the introductory stuff, you know that supply chain problems had kept me from getting new tires to use on this trip. So I'm riding on the tires I used to go coast-to-coast last year.  They had 4,800 miles on them already, mostly last year's trip and a short tour in Oklahoma earlier this year. So that's 4,800 miles of fully loaded touring.  I usually get 6,000 to 7,000 miles on a set of tires, but only part of that is heavily loaded touring and the rest is lightly loaded commuting or unloaded recreational riding.  So I was concerned with these tires lasting for the approximate 1,500 miles of this trip. 

Four days ago, on my rest day, I carefully examined the tires and found that the rear had 2 spots where the flat protection layer was beginning to show - in other words, 2 spots where the tread had completely worn through.  No big deal, these were little spots, only a couple of millimeters diameter each.  But due to riding through a bit of debris-strewn shoulder on yesterday's journey, I decided to examine the tires again even though I had only ridden 2 days since last doing so.  And thus, I noticed that the tread-less areas had grown just a bit in size.   The front tire had better tread, so I decided to rotate them ASAP, and I did so today.  It's always a bit concerning to do that on tour, you worry that you may have harmed one of the inner tubes, but it's done and now I have good tread on the rear.  Because the rear carries more load than the front, I inflate it to a higher pressure, and that was really my concern with the flat protection layer showing through - the risk of blowout is obviously higher on a tire that's missing some tread.  So that tire is now on the front and inflated to a lower pressure than it was.  I should be good to go now, only about 600 miles left. 

Panic reason number 2 will have to wait because it's gotten late again and I need to get things prepped for tomorrow.  Hey, I've traveled adjacent to the Blues Highway for a long ways north now, and I'm in Kentucky and loving it.  How about a little Elvis appropriate for the geography?  G'night folks, sleep tight in your own castles tonight.

Today's ride: 39 miles (63 km)
Total: 906 miles (1,458 km)

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