As we went to settle up for last night’s home-cooked gourmet nosh, the motel owner met us in her jim-jams and refused to take any money for the best meal I’ve eaten in weeks! I think she liked to cook for people who appreciated her food. After cycling round the tree in the parking lot that had come down during the recent bad weather and gone through the roof of the building next door, we headed for the Bus Station … not to put the bikes on a Greyhound, but for more food.
It’s been there since the 1920’s and was the diner for the town bus depot before it shut down 20 odd years ago. One man in there, the local auto dealer, told us that the town had changed a lot over his lifetime there and the county was dry until 6 years ago. He also reiterated a fact that we keep hearing … Walmart is killing America’s towns. It opens up on the freeway/interstate junction and local shops start shutting. America’s version of Tesco I guess. After biscuits and coffee and stocking up with pappy rolls and jars of peanut butter and strawberry jam, we couldn’t come up with a good enough reason for not blowing this particular popstand … so we left lovely Harrodsburg and headed off into the sunset … metaphorically speaking.
Today’s topics of conversation included the probably high incidence of colon cancer in the American population due to the lack of fibre in their diet, the implication and practicalities of Kentucky’s neutrality in the Revolutionary War and how much more did we want a Harley today than yesterday. Luckily, the geology had changed and we were now going through limestone country with wide, grassy, dry valleys on small roads, so the local two wheeled tractors weren’t quite so necessary or desirable. Mackville, with a population of 230, was a neat collection of houses, one bank and just the three churches and was getting ready for Monday’s Memorial Day … its Sunday best regalia was on show and flags were hung out all along the street.
Bowling along open countryside reminiscent of the Yorkshire Dales, Paul announced his conversion … he was now to be known as Duntman the Dog Dazer! … no more Mister Namby-pamby Nice Guy, those dogs just got zapped, no questions asked. Even when the dogs are only keen and not mean he zapps them … typical over zealous convert. Mind you, quite a few did seem to be attracted to his choice of fluorescent tops.
Kentucky is famous for its horse racing and we seemed to be cycling through the heart of studland. There were riding schools, studs and horses galore lazily chewing the grass in the open fields. Cattle ranches were also signed, but again with scant evidence of livestock. The area is also fertile enough to grow a variety of foodstuffs including corn, wheat, tobacco (as in chewing tobacco) and even vines on the open, sunny slopes. These fields were interspersed with immaculately kept houses with small lakes and enormous, impossibly neat, bright green lawns … a bit like Teletubbyland with adults in it.
Ten miles later the next landmark also looked like a film set; Lincoln Homestead State Park … it has Abraham Lincoln’s parent’s log cabin on it … well, a reconstructed one. There are a few other buildings there as well relating to the Lincoln family who did actually live in the area, but the park did seem to be bigging up the connections somewhat in my opinion. But to be fair, Abe was very important in Kentucky’s and modern world history, and if your country is only 200 years old (in their eyes), a 150 year old cabin is historical. Incongruously though, the whole ‘Lincoln farmstead’ is built on a golf course!
Our route skirted Bardstown, well known for its Bourbon heritage, and we had a late foootlong lunch at an omnipresent Subway on the outskirts of somewhere, before avoiding the wacky but reportedly dodgy B&B, whilst on our way to Howardstown … a white dot and a gas station on our map.
A pair of small kingfisher-blue finches looped alongside us and heralded our arrival … our cunning plan was to be hapless English cyclists who had run out of steam, food and daylight. More reality than plan to be honest.
It worked anyway. The school grounds were ours. An hour later, camped, fed, watered and washed, we were in the liquor store drinking our first beer of the trip. Thirty minutes after that we were cleaning our teeth and watching the lightning flies (glow worms) before zipping ourselves in at the end of another Kentucky day and setting the alarms for 6am. I’m sure I heard Paul mutter something though about ‘so many dogs, so little time!’
Miles today: 73.14
Miles since First Landing: 953.10
Today’s Garmin Report: