Saturday, March 20, 2010

Catching up - riding to Kentucky

OK, well a few days behind as the trip winds to an end here.  One reason is I got away from the internet for a couple of days.  The other is blogger's block.  Good enough?  OK - so I left Jackson, TN Tuesday morning in the cool air and thick clouds that would hang all day.  This was the coldest day on the ride and it even scared me a bit in northern Tennessee (is there a "northern" part of this state?) when spits of rain went on and off.  The road never got wet, but I knew with temps just below 50, any water would put me out of the safe-riding wind chill range even with my gear.  I was layered up these days, with a t-shirt, a thermal, a long-sleeve shirt, then all three layers of the jacket (outer nylon, wind/water shell, quilty liner) - and similar layering on the pants.  I had a thin-but-helpful balaclava under the helmet mainly to keep the wind off the neck.  The rest of the head was OK under the helmet.  But still I had to tuck in most of the day to stay warm.  This would improve greatly when the sun arrived in Indiana.

A cold day at Tennessee River

I rode up the "trace" through the Land-Between-the-Lakes, which splits the dammed-up Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers from TN into KY.  I had the road all to myself and got some pleasant turns in the southern half of the park before it flattened out in Kentucky.  Grabbed some chili to warm up in Eddyville, KY and hit the back roads around and over to Owensboro.  Decent riding, but I'm sure Kentucky has much better to offer further east in the real hill country.

Owensboro was my last hotel night, and I decided to go with a points stay.  I booked it the night before real quick without checking that all they had left was a smoking room.  Ugh.  I kept it to save a hundred bucks cash, but man what a great use of all those miserable work nights earning points.  Owensboro, KY in a smoking room.  At least it was recently-remodeled and so there was only a couple months of cancer embedded in the mattress.  Also, dumpy hotel had no laundry which was my goal for the morning while I waited for the outside temps to warm up.  So I got to experience a coin-op laundry in Kentucky, with numerous pass-by visits from two large women walking a young boy... on a leash.

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