Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Week 8 Statisics

Golconda, Illinois to Booneville, Kentucky

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363.38 miles
35 hours on the bike
Appalachian Mountains

Day 50 - Sunday August 3 - Golconda, IL to Marion, KY

We knew we had less than 40 miles today - it's our day off after all - so we stopped at the local diner for breakfast. It took us about 15 minutes to order and eat, but another 45 worth of conversation with the locals. We think they wanted to adopted us.
The morning was cool as we followed the Ohio River out of town

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to the next stop, Elizabethtown. Jerry sat and chatted with a local in the riverside cabana
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as we watched the coal barges go down river.
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They were five long and three wide. That's pushing a lot of steam!
We sat for a while, watching fisherman of all kinds
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enjoy the morning.
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Even Ducky III had an opportunity for a chat with a local
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while Quackers hitched a ride. Guess this butterfly liked the idea
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and rode the back of Jerry's bike for a while.
Our next tourist stop before we crossed the Ohio River, was Cave in Rock. A cave along the river, pirates of yesteryear would use to lure their prey to shore.
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Across the Ohio River
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on a barge
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and into Kentucky.
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Exactly 40 miles later we reached the town of Marion and found a wonderful place for lunch.
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Tough to miss with a sign that large, but glad we didn't pass it by. Lunch was wonderful, but the owner's parents were the best. They spoke with us about the area, family and the business and gave us a private tour of the old soda fountain/pharmacy
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that their son had restored and converted to an ice cream parlor. They even found us a Bed & Breakfast, Grace House, to stay for the night. We were ready.

Day 51 - Monday August 4 - Marion to Owensboro, KY

We started the morning off right with a home cooked breakfast and a pot full of coffee, courtesy of Steve, our host at Grace House.
Although we beat the sunrise, we didn't beat any of the townspeople.; Marion was bustling at 6:00 am. The morning was not as cool as yesterday, but it was still enjoyable.

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The countryside was beautiful and the tree lined roads, once again offered welcome shade.
Made a stop in Dixon to sit on a bench in the shade and drink some water. We must have looked lonely as Bill, the owner of the hardware store across the street,
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came over and chatted with us; actually had us in stitches with his wonderful stories. Then as quickly as he appeared, he turned and left with a smile.

We've been on the road so long, the corn's grown at least a foot
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plus we knew Marck had missed seeing the cornfield shots.
Came across this graveyard
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and debated whether to throw ours in the mix. We had less than ten miles to go on our 75 mile day, so we kept going.
Had a fabulous steak tonight at Texas Roadhouse, along with beer & wine. We've been in 'dry' counties for two days.........can you believe dry counties still exist?

Day 52 - Tuesday August 5 - Owensboro to Leitchfield, KY

Today began "relatively" cool (70), but the humidity and the weatherman promised a hot one. We weaved our way out of Owensboro, third largest city in Kentucky, through neighborhoods of beautiful large homes on expansive properties;

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business must be good in this town.
We had more rolling hills
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past corn, soybeans and tobacco fields;
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the first tobacco we've seen.
When we stopped to take the shot of the tobacco fields, the owners working the crop stopped for a chat. It is truly amazing how everyone we've run into or even pass on the road, seems to have time for a conversation. The lack of stress and freedom they must enjoy!
But they had to get back to work and we had more porch dogs to out run; besides the fact that we were all standing in the mid-day sun with the sweat pouring out. Rain would be redundant on a day as humid as today.
We biked past some very creative landscaping
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and a floating gas station.
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Since the weatherman was calling for a heat index of 105, we had planned a shorter day (58 miles). As we biked through town to our hotel, the bank showed a temperature of 99......it was indeed a hot one.

Day 53 - Wednesday August 6 - Leitchfield to Lebanon, KY

Last night we stayed at the Hatfield Inn. The founder is a descendent of the 'Hatfield and McCoy' 100 year feud. Maybe if one of them had offered the other a beer they could have mellowed out and not carried such a grudge. In otherwords, we spent the night in yet another dry county.
We had a beautiful sunrise, but could not get away from the town roof tops before the sky changed to just cloud cover; which stayed for our first three hours.
Again we biked pass beautiful fields, homes and appletrees over flowing with fruit.

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We, unceremoniously, crossed into Eastern Standard time. No sign, no nothing; if we didn't have the map telling us the county line broke the time zone we would never know.
Small country towns
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and pretty quaint churches
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dotted our course, with a little history thrown in for good measure.
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For those of you that have not visited Lincoln's birthplace, this is it.
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The bike today was again humid, but our morning cloud cover and afternoon canopy of trees through the hills
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gave us some relief from the direct sun. It was still pouring off of us, though.
After over seven hours of biking and 81 miles, we found a hotel..........and needless to say, in a wet county! the following is rated 'not G', not intended to offend.
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Day 54 - Thursday August 7 - Lebanon to Berea, KY

Two great things about Eastern Standard Time. 1. it means we are closer to home and 2. we get to sleep in until 6:00 am!!
Since we are so far west in this time zone, at 7:00 there is not a lot of light, but enough to get started. Though the morning was humid, the foggy, misted, cloud cover

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kept us cool for a couple of hours as we biked through gentle rolling hills. The dampness also made the colors more intense.
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The sun slowly burned through the morning
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to reveal crystal blue skies dotted by pretty white clouds. With the sun came a wonderful breeze and less humidity, a Chamber of Commerce kind of day.
Our course today took us to the pretty little town of Perryville,
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renowned for a Civil War battle fought on it's streets and as the home of George Clooney.

Between Perryville and Danville we biked past beautiful estate homes; five to ten acres with neatly fenced in grass. East of Danville the gentle rolling hills changed to HILLS and the estates changed to hundred acre plantations, bordered by miles and miles of ancient stone walls
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and horse pastures.
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One of the locals at our lunch stop offered us, not a shortcut but, a different less congested route. It was less than 20 miles, but peaceful and shaded
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We slowly worked our way to our final destination of the day, Berea, a small college town with a very nice historical hotel.......more on that tomorrow. We will rest at the foothills of the Appalachian in another dry county. It seems odd to us that half the state does not allow alcohol sales, but you can smoke (and they DO) in every single cafe and country store!

Day 55 - Friday August 8 - DAY OFF

We stayed at the 100 year old hotel, Boone Tavern, built by Berea College for visitors to the school.

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Don't be fooled by the 'Tavern' name;
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it's taken from the original definition as a place to rest (not drink) for travelers.
Berea College was founded in 1855 as a school for the less fortunate, at that time that meant mostly blacks. Due to this, the school was shut down on more than one occasion. Now a thriving college it caters mostly to the kids of the Appalachian. They pay no tuition, but work on campus or in town to pay their way. If the ones we met are any indication, the program is a tremendous success. The college campus is beautiful as well as the town.
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Beautiful plants
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and flower boxes
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were in practically every window of the unique gift and art shops. It's a pretty town with a quirky flair
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that only artists of every age can offer.

Day 56 - Saturday August 9 - Berea to Booneville, KY

We got out with the sunrise at 7:00 am and it was cold; in the 50's cold. Haven't felt these kind of temperatures since Colorado. But what was even better was the morning itself.

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The clouds hung on the hills
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for hours and the sun was in and out, offering a gorgeous sky and scenery
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that seemed to change by the minute.
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It helped to keep our minds off the climb of the Appalachians. We were going to wait in the town of Big Hill for Chris and Sonya for the tournament, but had to move one.
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Even though the three rest/refreshment stops on the map were all closed, by noon we'd done 50 miles, still felt good and were only five miles from our destination. We wanted to go further, but the next hotel was 60 miles away. We biked as slowly as we could, even stopping to take pictures of a mare and her young foal.
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Most of the sky had cleared by the afternoon, yet clouds still left some cool formations.
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We stayed at a bed and breakfast whose hostess had a very green thumb
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and whimsical nature.
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One advantage to getting to our stop early is we got to see some of the Olympics....beach volleyball!