Fixing things: got past Buffalo, KY

Tuesday June 2, 2009, 47 miles (76 km) – Total so far: 961 miles (1,547 km)

I don’t know if I should list the 14 miles from yesterday; we played tourist around Bardstown, and ended up right where we started.  Went looking for the Old Kentucky Home state park, and found Heaven Hill bourbon welcome center.  Wouldn’t you know it; free tours and samples, and they’re closed on Monday!  The state park is a paean to Stephen Foster; the house actually belonged to a business man and important politician in early 19th century Kentucky.  Family lore, though, has it that (1) Stephen Foster was a distant cousin; (2) who visited once; and (3) wrote My Old Kentucky Home while he was there.  It has a nice looking golf course attached, though!

Old Kentucky Home

From there we took in an early movie and ate our lunch in popcorn, then went to the library and enjoyed their air conditioning for the rest of the afternoon.

Today was fix-it day.  First, I went to a dentist to have a fix made to a broken tooth (Thanks, Dr. Walton!).  We got some food and started rolling at noon, normally too late to make any distance.  Went past the bourbon tour place – it was open, but we needed to make some miles.  Darn!  The weather was hot, but we had a consistent gentle headwind, and we took it easy, so we were able to keep rolling.  Until just out of town, anyhow, where I had a flat tire after six miles.

Fixed the flat, and made it to the next gas and grocery.  The lady saw us walk in and asked us if we’d like out water bottles refilled even before we could ask!  We got some more to nibble on and drink.  On the way out, Virginia noticed one of her mounting bolts on her rear rack was missing.  Fixed that, then found two more places there should have been bolts.  It should have been attached by four bolts, instead of just one.  Maybe that’s why it was knocking?  Well secured at last, we headed out.  There were some nice rollers, the kind you can build up some speed heading down, push a little bit on the way up, and pedal right over the top without dropping down into your lowest gear.  That is fun!

Up and over a roller

From the top of a roller

Or at least it was fun for a while.  Until I noticed my tire was flat again 10 miles past the first flat.  We checked everything, and couldn’t find anything poking through the tire to cause the flat.  Well, I had one more tube, so I put that on.  I noticed the sidewall was cracking, so I wrapped it in duct tape, hoping to make it to the end of the day.

We were drinking pretty regularly, and didn’t notice the heat all that much.  Of course, it probably helped that we were riding near woods, and we could hit the tree shadows every hundred yards or so.  There were some hills, not too tall, and one flat, straight stretch 3/4 mile long.  Wow! (at least after eastern Kentucky, wow!)  Virginia was riding easy, while I had enough nervous energy after the dentist to propel me 20 miles before I felt any fatigue.

The road winds on

Finally made it to a town, Howardstown, and another gas and grocery.  Refilled the bottles, bought some V8 for the salt, and thus fortified, continued up the Big Hill everybody at the gas station was talking about.  OK, I did drop down into my low gear, but it was fairly easy.  The tough part was the hill blocked the wind.  At the top, the breeze picked up, and – wait for it – my tire flatted again!  This time, I pulled out the spare tire, and had to fix one of the spare tubes.  I finally found the problem; the Vittoria Randonneur tire had a broken wire (maybe 1/16 inch) in the sidewall, and it had been chewing up the tube until it leaked.  Great!  (If you think this is a product endorsement, you haven’t been reading carefully…)  I was so mad I walked 25 yards down the road and threw the old tire in somebody’s trash can, and tried to calm down on my way back.  Well, the good part of the story is, my load is now lighter by one spare tire.  I just hope all our tires will survive until we can resupply.

Had one of our worse experiences with a cur, and his dog, late in the day.  There was a guy out riding his lawn mower as we came around a curve, and a collie playing around with him.  The collie saw us, and came out in the road after us.  We were forced to stop, since the dog was in the middle of the road with us, and there was a pickup truck coming around the curve who had to slam on his brakes.  Mower man kept riding, and didn’t do anything except yell, “That’s not my dog!  That’s not my dog!”  After we shoo’d the dog off, he ran back to the guy on the mower.

Made it in to Buffalo, late, and there was a thunderstorm looming.  We raced up the hill to the Lincoln birthplace national historic site, and found a motel nearby just as the rain started.  Probably wouldn’t have been our first choice if we’d gotten here earlier (like if I hadn’t had all those flats), but we’re safe and sound.  Virginia was a good sport about it.  Her comment was, “Well, it’s like a hostel rate, and you get a complete bed, air conditioning, and a bath for the hostel, so it’s not too bad.”
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