The Appalachians chewed me up and spit me out onto the roller-coaster rolling hills that make up the Kentucky farmland. Today I made it to the nice small town of Utica, KY. Utica seems to be the type of place where you can leave your 2012 Ford Mustang in the center of town with the motor running and the driver’s side door open for an hour and when you came back it would be sitting as you left it. And somebody would have topped off the gas. And washed your windshield.
The fire station is putting me up for the night. They have allowed me to do laundry for free. I got free fried chicken for dinner at the Utica Food Mart (I was told dinner was free after 5. It didn’t make sense to me either). They even let me sit in back and use their Wi-Fi. This is how things have gone in Kentucky. It may go down as the toughest state of the trip, but I’m pretty sure that’s on me.
Kentucky is the only state that I will cycle on this trip in which I haven’t already been. Should you ever want to join the Fellowship of the Wheel and Kentucky lies in your path, I have some advice for you.
Make sure to embrace and respect two things: the history and coal mining. I’m not read-up enough to comment on the future of coal as a viable energy source, but I have seen and heard enough to know that coal mining means a lot to the folks of Kentucky. Walk into an Eastern-Kentucky bar and yell “coal mining sucks” and you will see the same results as if you walked into the Cask’n Flagon and ripped the Red Sox.
I have also enjoyed the history. Abraham Lincoln. Jefferson Davis. I went off-route for a bit and traveled along the Bourbon Trail. You see the history in the landmarks, but you can really feel it in the small towns of Central and Western Kentucky. Bardstown. E Town. Springfield. Great historic towns.
Other than that, bring a big stick to fight off dogs (I have about a dozen incidents every day) and drink lots of water (you can see the humidity in the air) and you will be good to go. Bike Kentucky. Seriously do it now, I could use some company.