We're pushing hard towards our first time zone change, which will hit us in a couple of days. Central Time, we're comin' for ya!
We rolled out of Hazard this morning around 7:30 AM. These late summer days in Kentucky have had a pretty consistent weather pattern: mornings full of dense, cool mist that burns off around midday to make way for hot, hot afternoons. The more riding you can do before the sun takes over, the better.
We had more hills to tackle, and the hills here are different. They don't roll like central Virginia. They just kind of jut up out of the landscape — sudden, and with steep grades. (It's like that part in the "Rite of Spring" section of Fantasia where the tectonic plates are breaking and shooting up all around the terrified dinosaurs.) You can feel that you're in the last stretch of ripples from the Appalachias. You (or, we) just can't do insane amounts of miles per day in these parts — the mini-mountains are too much. (And the bumpier, rockier road surfaces also take it out of you.) But we've heard that Berea, if you're coming the other way, is "The Gateway to Appalachia" and that, if you're going our way, the ripples finally start to ease out after it. We hit Berea tomorrow, so, fingers crossed.
Kentucky is full of "dairy bars" — roadside stands (some, full buildings and some, glorified shacks) that serve milkshakes and fried things. We sampled both today. As much as Sara loves curly fries, she learned that she can't quite rock those in the middle of the day when there's more hot, hilly riding to go. When we got into Booneville, though, there were excellent milkshakes to be had. Sara had Oreo. Beau had peanut-butter. And also butterscotch. MORE MILKSHAKES PLZ.
We passed through the town of Krypton today. Are people from Krypton called Kryptonites?
Sara is clocking how much time she spends dodging caterpillars on the road. The answer is: a lot. I mean, if they gotta go, they gotta go, but she's partial to woolly bears and would rather not smush them if possible.
We're hoping to put in a longer stretch tomorrow and make it all the way to Danville — a cool 80ish miles. Tonight, we're camping at the Presbyterian Church in Booneville, which makes its covered picnic shelter available to cyclists and even has a little shower building. At the grocery store in town, a man with his cart saw Sara and said, "Going east or west?" West. "So, you're two or three weeks in and about two months to go?" Yessir, that's about the size of it! It's fascinating how the trail winds its way through these communities. When people know, they're excited about it; they're—we're—all a part of something.
Headed for an early night now, friends. Be well — more tomorrow!
Day 21: Hazard to Booneville, KY. 45.8 miles, 3950 feet of climbing, 3 milkshakes.