September 19, Day 79 of TheHopeLine Tour of 2014
After a great night’s sleep in our lovely cabin in Sturgis, Kentucky, we awoke early, ambitious to pack up and get on the road. We stopped for breakfast at the restaurant that accompanied the cabins. It was Friday morning out for some of the local retirees, eight of whom had already gathered at one long table. We were immediately pulled into the social setting for some conversation and, as one might imagine, our expedition became the focal point of the discussion. A genuine friendliness overcame any outsider status we may have brought to the scene. We had instantly garnered eight advocates for our trip and our mission. These church-going folks enjoyed one another’s company and didn’t miss an opportunity to poke fun at each other, or at us. That’s when we knew we had made it into their circle.
Of great debate was whether US Route 60 to Morganfield was a worthy road for a bicycle. Most presumed it to be the reasonable choice based on the time of day and the length of alternative routes. We shared TheHopeLine, handed out cards, and then proceeded down US Route 60.
Route 60 was indeed less than desirable. It came with a rumble strip and little to no shoulder for much of the way to Morganfield. The rumble strip pushed us right out into the travel lane. No trailing vehicle could pass us without either forcing us off the road (or hitting us) or traveling into the lane of the oncoming traffic. Despite the speed of the traffic, all of the vehicles were courteous and yielded the right of way to us. We made it to Morganfield in good time, and then followed our maps back onto the prescribed and more tranquil route. We were pleased that we had lopped some miles off our day, which would come in handy late in the day.
Morganfield had the same friendly feel as Sturgis. It also had large churches for such a small community. Simply passing through the town felt good. Soon, we were in a rural setting with large corn and soybean fields surrounding us. The sound of the crickets that lived among the corn stalks was a peaceful offering, which we gladly treasured. Life is good.
A stop for a snack at the Geneva store drew some more spirited conversation about bicycle touring and adventure in general. A young man preparing for an Ironman competition in Chattanooga dropped by and was interested in what we were doing. So were the store workers. Sharing what you are doing is more gratifying when your audience has a genuine interest.
Up next was a Subway in Henderson, where we ate lunch. We knew the genuineness was an area trait when the manager of the Subway came out of the store just before we left to ask if we had filled our Camelbaks with ice and water. Her store was on a busy stretch of US 60 and she was obviously concerned for our well-being. As she opened the door to return to work, she told us that she would pray for our safety.
Our ride from Henderson to Owensboro was on back roads. We traveled many of them, each for about 2-4 miles. We traveled through tiny settlements, residential areas, large fields, and eventually into the city of Owensboro, which we are told is the fourth largest in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Just before dark, we made our way to the neon strip on the edge of town, which offered a smorgasbord of motels, stores, and restaurants. However, we dare anyone to cross the busy road after dark on foot. Don’t do it!
We had just cycled our fourth consecutive 70-odd-mile day. The terrain today was quite flat, so even though our legs are tired and we had a pesky wind, the miles were not difficult. Despite the wind, the temperature and the sunny day were ideal. It was a laid back kind of day, much like the friendly Kentucky natives who we encountered along the way.