Tuesday August 11
All kinds of good intentions today went by the wayside and yet we are just where I had hoped we’d be. It didn’t start out that way. I was awake by 5:30 and began packing up stuff that was out in the recreation part of the youth center. We had stuff spread all over the place. The dishes from last nights dinner were washed too. Donna was awake and moving around just a little after 6:00. Unbeknownst to me however was the fact that she was suffering one of her debilitating headaches that typically result in her spending half the day in bed. Great! There goes my early start. I had grand designs to actually start riding today by 7:00 in order to beat the heat and humidity. It has been only bearly tolerable for the last week and we had a ride of over 70 miles to get to the next place for camping (unless we stopped at 26 miles where there was also camping). Even Donna realizes that if we continue riding days of 40 or 50 or 26 miles, we are not going to have any time to spend in DC.
I finished packing everything I could and then went back to lay on the mattress that I’d slept on last night. I was willing to wait and see how long we would be here. I was guessing that we’d probably spend the day here again. Not much I could do about it however. Donna was weepy for a bit as the discomfort she was suffering made her homesick. Evidently she wanted to be lying in her own bed in her own house in Shelton, and not in some youth center underneath a Baptist Church. I attempted to comfort her , but it made little difference. She went so far as to talk about ending the trip right then and there. I was speechless, but being a good husband, I told her we could quit whenever she wanted to. I think the word quit made her rethink just a bit. But perhaps it was the Ibuprofen. Within an hour she had regrouped and was feeling a little better. She admitted later that it would be a downer to quit after having come so far and being so close to our final destination.
We pedaled away from the Baptist Church in Sebree Kentucky at 8:30. This day would be one of taking it just 10 miles at a time. If we had to stop at 26 miles, then so be it. Any progress is better than none. The weather today started out being clear with plenty of humidity from the thunderstorms that blew through last night. The morning temperatures were already pushing 80 degrees by the time we rode our first mile. Great! This was why I wanted to get a couple extra early hours of riding in before it became unbearable. The best laid intentions of mice and men! The first 10 miles found us in Beech Grove Kentucky and everyone was holding their own. We stopped for ice cream before pedaling on.
The gently rolling hills of Kentucky are almost calming compared to the Ozarks. The next stop would come after 2 hours of riding and was the 26 mile point. An early lunch was had at Utica Kentucky. We had to make a decision at this point to either stop and camp, or move on. Since it was still before noon, and Donna had almost completely recovered from her morning headache, she decided that we could move on. This meant that we had to either ride another 50 miles today to reach the next campground, or failing that, guerilla camp behind a church or fire station.
During lunch we happened to talk to quite a few locals who were predicting that we’d be getting wet before too much longer. The partly cloudy day had turned into overcast while we were eating. We left Utica just a bit after noon and rode non-stop the next 20 miles where we found the small town of Whitesville. We decided to have another lunch here so we did. This one was topped off with soft serve ice cream for Donna and I while Lewis had a chocolate sundae. At just a bit after 3:00, we had another 30 miles of road ahead of us to get to the campground. Unfortunately these were going to be the toughest miles we’d encounter for the day as the gently rolling hills became a bit taller and closer together. No matter. I know how to push the tandem up hills! Fortunately for us, the overcast skies remained which kept the mercury hovering around a comfortable but sticky 80 degrees. This day ended up having the best weather for cycling that we’ve experienced since way back in Kansas.
We pulled into a Kentucky State Park at just about 7:00 which is called the Rough River Dam State Park. Total miles ridden today; 75! And to think that we had almost ended the trip earlier, or taken a short day, or taken a day off. It looks like Donna is back in the cycling groove. Her spirits have come way up with today’s accomplishment. We’ve had our showers, set up the tent and Lewis even found another kid to hang with for a while. This day ended way better than anyones earlier expectations. What will tomorrow be like?