May 6, 2001

5/6/01 Bardstown, KY

64.2 miles

Since everyone was sleeping off the big party from last night, Mike and I were able to make an early exit -- 7:30 A.M., our earliest. We were able to get in 10 miles before stopping for breakfast in Harrodsburg at the Stone Hearth Restaurant. I know I'm in a civilized southern eating establishment when they serve sweet tea!

Jim & Mike

We got to talking with an older couple, Ed and Hanne Gwilynn, from Seattle. They are traveling by train and rental car across the country, stopping at places of historical interest. They told both of us to stop by when we're in their area.

I was anxious to get on the road because I knew it was going to be a hot and humid day...again! Today we rode through the rolling pastures of cattle and horse farms. But that also meant a lot of short hills for us, so many, in fact, I couldn't count them all; at least one every mile (or more).

By the time we reached Springfield, all I wanted was a cold drink in an air conditioned place. We stopped off at Dairy Queen (an obvious "cool" place). It didn't take long before a few curious people were looking over our bikes and then approached us to find out more.

Even though Charlie Stayton (of Louisville, KY) asked the questions, it seemed everyone in the place was catching bits and pieces. We answer a lot of the same questions, so here's a typical set:

1) Where are you going?
2) Where did you start?
3) When did you start?
4) How long will it take you?
5) How many miles a day?
6) How long does that take you?
7) Where do you stay at night?
8) Do the drivers on the road treat you OK?

The manager of the DQ even came over to chat a bit. Soon Charles and his cousin, Mary Wiser, wished us safe travels. As I was filling up my water bottles, one couple asked a few questions. When I told them I was surprised at the hot weather we were riding through, he said it had only rained 1/10 of an inch in the last six weeks. He didn't sound happy at all; more concerned, I'd think.

But we still had miles to go, so back out into the Kentucky sun we went. Our main stop of the day was Lincoln Homestead State Park. The buildings were magnificent in their simplicity. We walked through the Lincoln Cabin, where President Lincoln's father was raised. And we got to see even more of the Francis Berry house where Abraham proposed to Nancy Hawks in front of the fireplace.

Berry house where Abraham Lincoln proposed to Nancy

Golf carts zip past

The only thing disturbing about the park was that they built a golf course, also. They even had to put up golf ball netting to protect some of the buildings. Guess history doesn't pay as well as golf.

After that, we just needed to go another 20 miles to Bardstown, where Stephen Foster wrote "My Old Kentucky Home" when he was a guest here. The roads got considerably busier the nearer we got to the city. At one pont we came across a police barricade. Turns out the city hosts the "Kentucky Colonels Barbecue" the day after the Kentucky Derby at the Wickland Mansion.

Another observation of today was the people we were seeing. We've finally ridden through an area more racially diverse. White or black, we saw a lot of folks headed to church or just spending Sunday afternoon on the porch. Besides a Mexican grocery store in Harrodsburg, I overheard two elderly gentlemen speaking Spanish on the steps of one of the churches. This has been very different than we've experienced so far.

We got a campsite at the My Old Kentucky Home State Park only to find another cyclist there. Chris, who hails from Amherst, NH, started in Lexington, KY and is headed for New Orleans using the TransAm and Great Rivers Route (I'm taking the same Great Rivers Route north to St. Louis).

Soon after dinner, the sky finally opened up with a huge downpour and thunderstorm. So we're sitting on the veranda surrounding the golf pro shop (yes, they have a golf course here, too!), catching up on our journals and staying dry.