Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Booneville, KY

Don and Dottie
It rained a little overnight. Tuesday started cool and cloudy and remained that way. After an early breakfast, we set off at 7:10am, sad to say goodbye to David, our generous host at Hindman. The Bike Route 76 signs, which had continued into Kentucky, ended at the exit from town. Today's ride was 103 km. The worst section was supposed to be the 11 km stretch on the busy SR 80. (See, for example, Mike Weingarten's graphic description from 2011 in the middle of the post linked here.) Perhaps because it was early in the day – I reached the shopping plaza near the end of this section at a few minutes past nine o'clock – perhaps because the cleaning crew I saw later on the verges of SR 15 had passed that way, I found the conditions quite tolerable. The shoulder was wide and mostly free of debris, the traffic no worse than on the Federal Highway outside Canberra. Even the rumble strips, which I never came across in Virginia, were not too bad. They varied in design, most often being wide and shallow, sometimes occupying the whole of the shoulder or the central third where the shoulder was wide.

Log cathedral in Buckhorn, built of white oak in 1928
I felt quite safe on SR 80 and SR 15, less so when the route was on shoulderless rural roads. I glanced frequently in my rear view mirror, watching for coal trucks. As it turned out, none came my way on those roads, although a handful passed in the opposite direction. The real hazard, again, was dogs. I had five or six traumatic chases, where the dog was loose on the road, running at me. My tactic today was to keep pedalling and to shout, 'Go home' repeatedly in my loudest voice. Twice, when a large dog bounded out from my right, catching me by surprise, I reacted instinctively by yanking the handlebars to the left, moving from the edge of the road to the centre of the lane. Fortunately, no cars were coming past. If they had been, they would probably have been in the other lane, Kentucky drivers being as respectful towards cyclists as those in Virginia. For the first time on this trip, however, a front-seat passenger yelled abuse as she passed. Against that, several drivers gave friendly toots and waves.

Linda's Victorian Rose, west of Booneville
I reached the Shopwise supermarket, the agreed rendezvous in Booneville, at 2:15pm after two meal stops along the way. Don and Dottie arrived a couple of hours later. We bought some food to cook this evening then Linda drove us to her Victorian Rose lodging house on the other side of town. It used to be a B&B but no meals are provided nowadays. There is no wifi. We enjoyed a pleasant evening there.

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