Day 26: 1,000 Miles!
Which Beau celebrated by promptly breaking his bike.
We know what you're thinking: that's not a broken bike. That's just a bike with a nail in its tire. Well, wait for it.
But first! Day 26 began with breaking camp at the fairground in Leitchfield, KY, then grabbing some donuts at Best Donuts.
Then we set off! And we know what else you're thinking: a thousand miles? But you're not even 900 miles from the coast!
Well, and so what? It's not like we flew here. And Sara's got this app that records our movement, and — we know, those things aren't, like, perfect. But who or what is? Beau was using a different app, but then his phone started shutting off constantly for no reason (he can keep it on by playing music in the background with the phone's speakers on silent, but if he pauses the song and forgets — automatic restart…).
But we have been recording, logging, adding our miles up. And according to our data we hit 1,000 about nine miles into today. We stopped a little after that to celebrate. Then we cycled on.
At first we thought we might camp in Utica, KY, but then Sara figured out that Owensboro was on the Indiana border — we might be able to jump across for a minute, add another state to the tally for our trip!
So we toggled our bearings north a bit, and were about 13 miles outside of Ownesboro when it happened: Beau's bike gets a flat. And not just a flat, but a big ole rusty nail sticking out the sidewall.
Still, no biggy — we've both changed plenty of bike tubes in our lives (though this is the first for this trip). We get the wheel off and set about patching the tube.
It isn't super-smooth, but it's going well until… Beau tries to get something out of one of the panniers that the bike is lying on. Usually, we'd flip the bike over, rest it on the seat and handlebars to take the tire off. But since there's so much stuff and it takes a while to get it all off, we just laid the bike on its side on the bags. (As seen in the background of the picture of the nail.)
Not using his thinking brain, Beau leans the bike upright, placing all the weight on the part of the bike that changes the gears (derailleur), which is not meant to bear any weight at all… The little metal piece that holds the derailleur in place (derailleur hanger) gets bent. We eventually get the tire back on, Beau tries to bend the hanger back into place, and it snaps.
This is the point where you just start calling bike shops. And thumbing for a ride.
Two vehicles stopped while we were fixing the flat, asked if we needed help — at the time, we didn't. Now that we need help, Beau calls around to bike shops while Sara starts trying to wave down trucks. After half an hour, we have the part ordered (it'll take two days to get here), but we're still 13 miles outside Owensboro.
Another 20 or so minutes of failed hitchhiking, we give up on the kindness of strangers: we phone the sheriff's office. They say they're sending a vehicle to get us to Owensboro, since we're stranded and all. Beau takes his front wheel off, so the bike will fit in a squad car if that's what they send. And then he stands on the side of the street and waves the tire at Sara and says, "If we want someone to pull over and help us, this is what we do: don't try to thumb a ride — just take off the tire and look helpless."
He hasn't finished this sentence when a truck pulls into the near drive. Meet Brad Boorman, all-out hero of the day. He's heading into Owensboro, and he gives Beau a ride. (Sara, as close-followers of the blog might have guessed, prefers to bike the last stretch. Though she hands off her bags.)
What happened when we got there? Well, let's be honest: we got drunk. It was a long day, and we wandered Owensboro a bit, we looked at Indiana across the Ohio River, we ate some tasty pasta. But mostly we got drunk. Thanks again, Brad. Seriously.
Day 26 stats: Leitchfield to Owensboro, KY, 59.3 miles for Sara, 46 miles for Beau, 2850' of elevation, one KY hero, much beer- and wine-drinking
All for now.