Peter and I decided to ride to Booneville, and then on to Berea.
We took my usual route through Hillsboro, and then made a stop at Grange City to look at the covered bridge.
The weather was perfect today. I stopped to take a photo of men working in a tobacco field. I hated working in tobacco when I was young, but riding past the field on my bicycle, I felt a pleasant twinge of nostalgia for the old days. Ha!
As we approached Owingsville, we stopped at a quirky little store which was run by an even quirkier man, "The Mad Hatter."
The store had an odd supply of very random merchandise. I bought a few pairs of socks for Joy for a couple of dollars.
The Mad Hatter talked a blue streak. I thought we'd never get away, but finally we escaped and rode through Owingsville and then on to Preston, for the obligatory stop at Blevins Grocery.
After leaving the store we encountered a Mennonite boy on a scooter. (I think the kid was Mennonite; Amish kids are usually more reserved.)
We did the mile or so of gravel, which always seemed like a minor adventure on the route, then took typically great smooth Kentucky paved roads to Means.
We took the traditional shortcut on Cooks Branch Road, which requires riding through a creek. The water was low enough that even I felt comfortable riding through it, although I think I was too afraid to stay clipped in.
It was getting hot as we reached Slade, which is, I suppose, the gateway to the Red River Gorge. It definitely feels like Eastern Kentucky. It's easy to imagine that some of the churches participate in snake-handling there.
I was hot now, and feeling a little tired. Even after I stopped at the gas station and chugged some chocolate milk, I dragged for a while. Peter rode stronger than me on the long, long climb past Natural Bridge State Park into Lee County.
We rode through Beattyville, and then took a back roads route to Booneville, which is on the TransAmerica Trail bicycle route.
I'd camped behind a church in 2006 when I stayed in Booneville, but we weren't carrying camping gear this time. There was some sort of "bed and breakfast" in the area, and we eventually reached the eccentric woman who owned the place on the phone. The price was $50 cash (and only cash) to rent the house for the night. We hadn't brought much more than that, unfortunately, and the little dairy bar in town also only accepted cash. I was amused to observe Peter present the girl at the dairy bar with a couple of dollars and instruct her to "give me this many french fries."
The lady who owned the "bed and breakfast" insisted on driving us to the place in her pickup truck, which was a slightly hair-raising ride.
The "bed and breakfast" was actually just an old house she rented out - there was no breakfast.
Still, it was a pretty good deal for $50. Not super clean, but then my standards are pretty low when I'm traveling on a bicycle. We cooked a frozen pizza for dinner and went to bed pretty early. I was tired after the long day.
The next day we were up early and riding on the TransAmerica Trail.
For some reason, Peter and I got into a mild argument about Lance Armstrong. Peter was a true believer in Armstrong, while I was convinced that the guy was a cheating liar. In a relatively rare instance of me being right about something, I was proven correct about a year and half later, when Armstrong confessed to Oprah.
At some point on the ride, traffic became much heavier than I like, and I became cranky. We encountered a few touring cyclists doing the entire TransAmerica Trail. One of them was a woman who was doing it unloaded, with a support vehicle following her. I became perhaps unreasonably annoyed with her when she implied that it was dumb to carry your own stuff on a bike, an idea that I vehemently disagree with.
As we neared Berea, storms and heavy rain moved in. I called my mother, and she drove from Flemingsburg to Berea to rescue us, a rather inglorious end to our otherwise pleasant little tour.