The best way to describe today would be random. Incredibly random. Unfortunately, I have already used this word to describe a different day, so I will have to think of a better descriptor for today.
The day started out like any normal morning – get up, back up our bags, eat breakfast, sit around for a little while, listen to the route, and then start out on the ride. We left Nashville pretty quickly and crossed the river over a really neat pedestrian bridge.
About 45 miles in, we came upon a group of riders standing around on the side of the road. Turns out there had been a small run-in with a traffic cone, leaving Pete with a hurt hand/wrist and Roshan with a broken bike. I’m not sure which one is worse. Pete’s wrist can heal with Roshan’s brand new carbon frame was cracked (and it is not possible to fix carbon once it is cracked). Sad.
Once our support van came to help out, we got on our way again. Unfortunately, I only got about 5 miles farther down the road before I had a flat. When I turned my bike over to figure out what the problem was, I found an object in my tire that should not have been there. When I removed it, it turned out that I had managed to get a 1-inch nail imbedded in to my tire. Awesome. Strike one.
While riding through Tennessee, Bryce began thinking about “the hills of Tennessee.” This, naturally, led to him thinking about the song, “Proud to be an American.” Randomly, Bryce, Jody, Travis, and I burst in to song. It was fun. I’m sure we were a sight to see – four cyclist wearing orange spandex riding down the side of the road singing “Proud to be an American” at the top of our lungs. Fun times…
Before arriving at our lunch stop, we passed in to Kentucky. We were also able to get the Tennessee state sign as we left. Very exciting. However, because we had to wait on the side of the road for so long after the accident, we didn’t arrive at our lunch stop as early as we normally would have. Our support team had us rack our bikes at lunch so that we could make it to Mammoth Caves in time for a tour.
We go to Mammoth Caves just in time to go on the Historical Tour. It was pretty interesting. The caves are definitely much larger at Mammoth Caves than Carlsbad Caverns. I guess that’s probably how it got its name… At one point during the tour, we had to go through this area known as “Fat Man’s Misery.” It was an incredibly tight walkway which is approximately 200 yards long. I was not very happy about it. But Tim talked to me about ice cream the entire way, so I made it through. Like I’ve mentioned before, ice cream makes me happy…
After the Caves, we drove to Leitchfield, the city where we were staying for the evening. We were invited to speak at the Lion’s Club which, luckily for us, happened to meet at the local Pizza Hut. The group treated us to a yummy dinner. There just happened to be two other guys passing through Leitchfield who were also cycling across the country, but to raise money for Autism research. One of the guys in the Club made some pretty off-color jokes about Autism. Only in rural Kentucky… Strike two.
We left the meeting to go to our lodging for the evening. Now, I would like to point out that we have stayed at many different types of places. But today topped them all. We are staying at the local fairgrounds. Yes, in the arts barn at the fairgrounds. It’s just plain creepy. There are random campers and vehicles inside the barn. Lenore and I decided to sleep in the van. Luckily, they unlocked a building with running water, or we would have been using a Port-a-Pottie for the evening. Strike three.
There were no showers at the fairgrounds. However, fortunately for us, Leitchfield just recently built a new firehouse. And the firehouse just happens to be located just a short walk away from the fairgrounds. So, we all grabbed our showering stuff, walked over to the firehouse, and took showers there. Strike four.
Final strike of the day (you didn’t think it was possible to have this many strikes, did you?): there was no internet at the fairgrounds. This, in and of itself, does not constitute a strike. I would not expect a fairgrounds to have WiFi. But we all wanted to check our email (it seems like we have been living outside of civilization for the past few days…). So where did we go? McDonald’s. But not just any McDonald’s. We went to the local McDonald’s inside the local WalMart. However, McDonald’s didn’t have any plugs, and my computer is piece of crap and has absolutely no battery power at all. So I sat in the entrance of WalMart, plugged in to one of their outlets, using McDonald’s WiFi. Strike five.
I am now going to go to sleep inside the van. I pray that no crazy person decides to stalk us at the fairgrounds at night. I’m just a little (ok, a lot) creeped out. We will definitely be locking the doors of the van tonight…
End of the fortieth day. And it was haphazard.