Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Day 26 The Longest Month New Albany, IN – Sanders, KY 73 miles

Today ends a long month of my life. Of course the time went fast. However, when you are very engrossed in moment-to-moment living, and everything is new, it feels like a lifetime. My flight to Portland on August 1st seems like a long long time ago. This has been a challenging journey. There are still hundreds of miles to go, but I feel as though I am getting closer. My current longitude is just west of the majestic Smokies.

Today was an abbreviated biking day. I left Paula at the airport at got a taxi back to where I left off on Friday. I was going to have the taxi drop me right off in downtown Louisville, but he suggested the Indiana route – much more out of the way – but I figured a taxi driver knows traffic. The first ten miles were like learning to crawl. Everything felt awkward. Then I got more comfortable. I had a headwind but the miles came easily; two days off and cool weather – 70s and low humidity. Indeed, the last 24 hours have felt like autumn. Summer is not gone yet, but the change of seasons can’t be far behind. I am now deep in the heart of northern Kentucky – lots of roller coaster hills and no straight roads. I will have to look at the map a lot until the Appalachians are done. Today I snaked my way through a bunch of back roads and got lost a couple times. A couple strangers helped me out as I peered at the map. I crossed then pedaled along the pretty Ohio River for about 15 miles. Route 36 in Kansas – straight and wide – is long gone. A lot more folks live east. Today I crossed I 71 by bike, tomorrow hopefully I 64. Maybe in a few days I will be lucky enough to pass over or under the granddaddy of all interstates – 95. This will signal that the waves of the Atlantic are not far off. That first whiff of salt air in a month will send happy shivers down my spine. What’s the statistic - 90 percent of Americans live within an hour of the ocean? I can’t blame them. It’s quite a force.

I had a wonderful weekend with my girlfriend Paula. We stationed out of Bardstown Kentucky. Bardstown claims to be the bourbon capital of the state. We celebrated this distinction by eating tofu and spinach and drinking no bourbon! I was craving salad and look forward to many more when my trip is done. Paula and I saw a number of sites in central Kentucky. These included going to a bike shop for a tune-up in Elizabethtown, visiting the Makers Mark distillery, going to Green River State Park, and visiting the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. While at the bike shop Paula and I tried out a couple of collapsible bikes made by a company called Bike Friday in Eugene Oregon.

The first day of September 2009 will be a tough one. There will be hills upon hills until I can get east of Eastern Continental Divide. Then the loblolly pines won’t be far ahead.

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