June 4, 2001 - Mike and Marilyn's 2001 TranAmerican Bike Tour

Mike and Marilyn's
2001 TransAm Bike Trip
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June 4, 2001

TRANSAM 2001 > Kentucky

Layover in Elkhorn City, Kentucky. (4 mi.) Mile 626

At the mercy of the weather in Elkhorn City

This has been a discouraging day. We just made it over the Kentucky border this morning when we were caught in a thunderstorm, the pounding rain creating muddy rivulets down the street. We ducked out of the rain and into a haze of cigarette smoke at the Rusty Fork cafe in Elkhorn City to study our options. Yesterday this storm front dropped a very damaging tornado not too far away in eastern Kentucky and a severe storm warning for this area was put into effect. Ahead on the route we were expecting more winding mountain roads and coal trucks, with about 58 miles to the next accommodations.

It didn't seem we had any safe options but to wait out this storm front. Mike is also running without functional front brakes at this time, as if brakes work well when wet anyway. He wore through his brake pads earlier on some of the steep descents. Our son Colin is sending brake pads ahead to General Delivery, Berea, where we hope to pick them up in a few days. We are far from any good bicycle shops.

We even tried hanging out in the library to see if it would stop raining, but it was closed for recarpetting, so we got a room in the only motel in town. It is our cheapest yet, and for good reason. A hand lettered sign on the door reads, "In case of fire, exit door." Got it.

We checked in and took very long naps. When we woke up, the rain had stopped and it was hot and humid. Monster coal trucks have been rumbling through town, and the trains running past the motel are loaded with coal. Some of the coal trucks have names, like "Cindy Lou", and "Laura Dean", but I do not feel the same affection for them that their owners do.

An Elkhorn City ordinance prohibits the sale of alcohol in the city. Smoking is another matter. We are used to the ordinances in Washington that prohibit smoking in public places. Here tobacco is an important part of the economy as well as a wide spread habit.

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