Overnight to the Red River Gorge

With Peter, Susan, and Lionel

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I persuaded my friends Peter Chamness, Susan Feil, and Lionel Green to go on an overnight bike trip from Maysville down to the Red River Gorge. Our plan was to ride down, stay in a rented house, then ride back the next day.




The weather was perfect, and we had a nice, low-traffic route to Owingsville, then to the nearby community of Preston, where we stopped for a while at Blevins Grocery, a classic Kentucky country store.

Peter is always happy to talk to the locals.

Inside the store, which was the usual jumble-of-all-kinds-of stuff found in these types of places.

After leaving the store we rode through Amish country, where haying was done the old-fashioned way.

We rode a mile or so on a gravel road shortcut. It wasn't a problem for me on my touring bike with its wider tires, but I don't think the others, on their skinny-tired road bikes, were especially thrilled with the routing choice, which, as I recall, was something that Peter had come up with.

Peter, presumably proud of his choice of roads.

When we arrived at the small community of Means, we rode onto the rough and gravelly Cooks Branch Road, and then through a creek, which was fortunately very shallow.

After riding through the water.

As we approached our destination, the town of Slade in the Red River Gorge, there were some significant hills, and of course the cyclist-chasing dogs that Kentucky is known for.

We arrived at the house we had rented next to the "Li'l Abner Motel", cleaned up, ate dinner, and then enjoyed a pleasant evening, which included watching an old Star Trek rerun on the television.

The next morning the weather was once more perfect. For the most part we just retraced our route from yesterday.

Getting ready to leave the next morning

Me. I don't remember why I wasn't wearing a bike jersey on this trip.

Breakfast stop.

Susan preparing to ride through the water on Cooks Branch Road again.

I had a heavy, double-legged kickstand on my bike. A couple of the others used my bike as a bike stand, which I grudgingly allowed ;)

Cooks Branch Road is, in fact, a road that is used by locals. Including this truck driver, who drove through the water while we watched.

Lionel demonstrating that he does, in fact, have a tan line.

Unexpected zebra in rural Kentucky.

We stopped at Blevins Grocery again. Our friend Ryan Smith rode down from Maysville to meet us at the store.

Ryan Smith.

Peter, braver than me, used the store's outhouse. I feared that it was full of wasps, or worse. But he emerged unscathed.

After leaving the store, I split from the group for a while to try to find an alternate route from Preston to Owingsville. As often happens when I try this sort of thing, I learned that the road did not actually exist, something I should have realized when at one point I had to open a gate to continue.

Eventually I gave up, and rejoined the others in Owingsville, but not before losing a favorite pair of sunglasses after I unwisely laid them on a rear pannier.

The ride home from Owingsville was uneventful and pleasant, although I regretted carrying so much stuff on my bike for a short trip like this one, and had trouble keeping up with the other riders as we got close to home.