June 10, 2001 - Mike and Marilyn's 2001 TranAmerican Bike Tour

Mike and Marilyn's
2001 TransAm Bike Trip
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June 10, 2001

TRANSAM 2001 > Kentucky

Chimney Rock Resort Campground to Bardstown, Kentucky. (65 mi.) Mile 945

Roller coaster riding through Kentucky's pioneer history

Another clear, sunny day for riding. A few miles down the road, we had breakfast and arrived in Harrodsburg, the first established town in Kentucky. There we hit the tourist attraction, Historic Fort Harrodsburg, which is a reconstruction of the original pioneer fort, a look at how the early Kentucky settlers lived, and an excuse to get off the bikes for a while.

Early morning humidity

         Kentucky's unique stacked rock fences         Kentucky frontier life is reconstructed at Fort Harrodsburg

Pioneer cemetery in Harrodsburg dates back to the late 1600s

Mike and Marilyn

His and Hers Sock Driers decorate the back of our bikes

Despite the pleasant riding, we made frequent stops to drink fluids and seek some shade, using the numerous sites of historical interest as an excuse. Abraham Lincoln's parents lived in this area, and so did Abe as a young child. The route goes past the old homestead site where Abe's father and mother courted and were married. The original log cabin, home to Abe's mother Nancy Hanks, was moved to this Lincoln Homestead Park. It is now surrounded by a golf course and housing developments, though still with open spaces of rolling Blue Grass countryside.

Abraham Lincoln's mother's home at Lincoln Homestead park

The historic courthouse in Springfield where Abe Lincoln's parents' marriage certificate is on record.

We have had to worry about sunburn now, especially on our South facing surfaces, since we are usually facing West. At the start of our trip, Mike wanted our bikes to look neatly packed, but we are now looking more and more like vagabonds as we put our Automatic Drier into effect, socks and other drying clothes bungeed to our panniers in this drier weather. Humidity is still high in the evening and our things remain damp if packed into panniers.

This day would have been just as pleasant as the previous two if it had been about 10-20 miles shorter, but the roller coaster hills wore me out. The hills are not so steep that we have had to push the bikes, as we did in the Appalachians, but the second half of the day was one steep hill after another. Sometimes the momentum from the previous downhill would carry us up the next, but if it didn't, we were back in our low gears grinding away again. We tried to cool off with banana splits at the Springfield Dairy Queen, but they seemed way too small for our needs. A few miles before our destination of Bardstown, traffic picked up, and I had to stop and pull over for some M&Ms, a sure sign I was reaching my limit for the day.

As I was pushing my bike along the shoulder of the road toward our campground destination, a tall man crossed the street in my direction, trying to tell me something. At first, being tired and preoccupied, I did not understand what he was trying to communicate, but then I recognized a German accent, and noticed the tell tale brown blotches on the back of each of his hands, the suntan patterns made from bicycling gloves. He was Peter Helm, of the "elusive German couple" who have always been just ahead of us. He and his wife Maren had taken a rest day in Bardstown and noticed us riding into town. We ended up joining them for dinner. Again, it was fun to share stories with other bicycle tourists, but unfortunately, we could not do it over a beer, as alcohol sale is prohibited here on Sundays. This ordinance seems to do more to prevent thirsty bicycle tourists from enjoying a beer with dinner than to keep local drunk drivers off the road on Saturday nights, from what we noticed.

It was dark when we got back to our tent at My Old Kentucky Home campground. The fireflies in the trees surrounding our tent lit up the night like magical blinking Christmas lights.


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