Pippa Passes Hostel to Buckhorn Dam Campground, Kentucky. (58 mi.) Mile 740
Taking the Hazardous route
We had to detour off the route again today, into Hazard, KY, in a fruitless search for a bike shop. There is no longer a bike shop there, and the closest thing to it was closed. Mike learned that the brakes that the shop back home packaged up to send to us are the wrong kind. He is having to make some long, steep descents off these mountains with only rear brakes and an extra heavy load, and we are not yet sure when or how we can get brake pads. A few days ago, Mike took some more weight off my bike to share in the sore muscles, and I am having a much easier time. His bike now creaks and groans under the weight.
Architectural interest in Hazard -
The detour only added about a mile, but it was not a pretty mile. In fact, unlike days earlier in the trip when we were constantly exclaiming, "This is sure beautiful!", we haven't had to make as many of those comments lately, especially around Hazard. The detour added to mileage we had to ride along a four lane highway, hugging a shoulder scored with rumble bumps and cluttered with rocks and coal. Occasionally we caught glimpses of open coal mines through the trees and veins of coal in the road cuts. There were a few miles of lush green Kentucky rural scenery, but we were flying along on the flat so thrilled to be moving at a brisker pace, that we couldn't bring ourselves to stop for a picture.
This coal truck driver saw me with a camera and stopped his truck, indicating I should take his picture. The coal truck drivers have been better at giving us space than the maniacal rural school bus drivers.
We pitched our tent in the yard at the hostel last night, awakened by early morning bird racket: cardinals, blue jays, wrens, hummingbirds, doves, thrushes. The birds are really noisy out here. Walter joined us for breakfast a few miles down the road, and again, said his good-
Walter rides out of the picture again.
Temperatures reached the high 80s when we hit the end-
At times we have both been so played out that we have had to push our bikes. Mike suggested I write a sequel to Donna Eikenberry's "Bicycling Coast to Coast" and call it "Pushing a Bicycle Coast to Coast", for the slow reader, I presume.
Historic log church near Buckhorn Dam campground
There has been a reward at the end of this day, our best campground yet: nice grass, quiet setting, clean bathrooms, room to spread out our stuff. I can't take a picture of it though, because we are in the middle of another big, dark thunderstorm, and it is pouring rain. It was pretty here until the thunderhead rolled in. I am writing this on the little laptop in the cozy campground laundromat, where we are washing clothes. Lightening is flashing outside, and I am using battery power to avoid connecting the computer to any electrical system. There is a neat, professional sign in here that says, "The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is not responsible for items left in the drier".
The hot showers here were better than any we have had so far at the motels, and the hamburgers and milkshakes just up the street were exceptionally good. We are optimistic the sun will be back tomorrow.
Working on the laptop in the campground laundromat.