Day 17: Hindman, KY to Booneville, KY
June 2, 2011

We had a flattish, foggy morning and made good progress, despite really gross roads (4-lane divided highway, shoulder of rumble strips and coal, etc.). In other news, Hillary’s parents arrived in Kentucky today! We met them near Buckhorn State Park for a picnic lunch and to give them our panniers to carry. Without the bags, we felt like Lance Armstrong (maybe it was just the morning blood doping). Or maybe, it was the shoebox of chocolate chip cookies that the Lazari brought! We may have missed the bicyclist cookie lady, but fortunately, we have our own cookie lady! We had a slow post-lunch climb, mostly because of Hillary’s sore knee/quad. After some creative coasting, a really friendly father/son duo offered to give us a ride the rest of the way into town. We almost wished they had to drive us further because they were so interesting to talk to…the son is a freshman at Berea College and works in community development in Appalachia. The father was born and raised in the area and still farms tobacco. They also pointed out that we were in the poorest county in the country. We spent the night at Linda’s Victorian Bed and (byo) Breakfast. It is a funky second house on her property that we shared with the Lazari and Collin. Forgot to mention yesterday’s local interaction of note. Hillary stopped to ask for directions to the campsite on Carew Drive (she pronounced it “kuh-roo”). The response was “Girl, if you want people to understand you, you better stop talking like a Yankee. You’re looking for Kay-rooo!”

  • Starting point: Hindman, KY
  • Ending point: Booneville, KY
  • Slept: B&B
  • Miles: 55.6
  • Average speed: 9.4
  • Notes: sore knee, slow motion coasting

Day 18: Booneville, KY to Berea, KY
June 3, 2011

Quien es mas macho? ANDREW es mas macho! Hillary hung out with her parents in the morning while Andrew rode into Berea. Berea is a cute college town with more than one restaurant, multiple hotels, and 3G–all things we haven’t seen in days. We’re staying at the Boone Tavern Inn, a hotel run by Berea college students and by far the nicest place we’ve stayed in days. We tooled around in the afternoon and looked for the bike shop (it’s closed). For dinner we ate at the Boone Tavern and had our first taste of spoonbread (like a cross between cornbread and mush). Two nights in a row of sleeping in a bed and air conditioning has been a dream. Apparently we needed sleep.

  • Starting point: Booneville, KY
  • Ending point: Berea, KY
  • Slept: Hotel
  • Miles: ~ 49.5
  • Average speed: 14!!!
  • Notes: damn Gina! No bags. Andrew got lost on his first day navigating.

Day 19: Day off!
June 4, 2011

Today was our first planned, full day off. Huzzah! We spent the day with the Lazari visiting Mammoth Cave National Park. I’m told it was a bit of a drive from Berea (apparently, we both needed sleep and dozed the whole way there). The caves were really cool! We did a 2 hour tour, which was the perfect amount of time to walk around the long network of caves and hear about the history. If you ever find yourself in this area, the caves are a worthwhile diversion. At this point, we should point out what good sports the Lazari were for coming all the way out to Eastern Kentucky to hang out with us. They are adventurous travelers, and I can guarantee Appalachia was not on their list of top destinations. It was great to see some familiar faces and have their support – from meeting us on the side of the road for lunch, to carrying our bags, to providing chocolatey treats, it was a great three days. In addition to the aforementioned box ‘o cookies, the Lazari came bearing other important provisions including Clif Bars and Neutrogena Dry Touch sunscreen. We also unloaded some unnecessary items with them such as our long sleeved shirts and Andrew’s telephoto lens.

Photos: Biking, Linda’s B&B, cookie monster, barn, speleologists.