Q. If a person goes on a bike tour, and doesn’t blog about it every day, did they really go on a bike tour?
A. Yes! I just haven’t had a solid couple of hours of downtime concurrent with good cell phone service for a while. This is a catch-up post covering Cincinnati to Nashville-ish.
The doctors visit for the dog bite went OK – I was told: “we haven’t had a case of rabies from a dog bite in Ohio in over 25 years.” The doc gave me a tetanus shot and a prescription for antibiotics, but not rabies PEP shots (a 14 day process). Looking back on the ordeal, I really should have hung around a bit longer after the dog bite, and asked a few more questions (e.g. owner’s name, phone number, and whether the dogs were vaccinated). Still, I did make a note of the owner’s address, which later proved useful. Since this encounter, I’ve probably been chased by 10 more dogs, and my evasive routine is now more refined (it involves having pepper spray at arms reach, yelling “down! no!” at the attack dog(s), and pedaling as fast as I can).
That same Friday, I rolled out of the doc’s office around 10 am with 94 miles planned to get to a warmshowers host in Madison, IN. I stupidly followed google bike directions to get there. These took me through downtown Cincinnati, which was fine. I met Grant P on the trail, who is planning to do the TransAm in about a month.
Things went “downhill” when I crossed the bridge into Kentucky. I planned to take route 42 most of the way to Madison (generally following the ACA Underground Railroad route). Entering Kentucky, I was met with about 10 miles of strip malls and deadlocked traffic (consisting of approx 80% pickup trucks). I plugged away at it, riding the sidewalk when I had to. The traffic eased when I got out into the country, but then the riding got downright scary. Two-lane, twisting asphalt with no shoulder through the hills of rural Kentucky during rush-hour on a Friday = really awful. I got buzzed by way too many trucks and chased by way too many dogs. If there would have been an option to bail out on that road, I would have taken it. Instead, I went into survival mode and just pedaled as fast as I could to just get it over with. I finally made it back down to the Ohio river, where I called my warmshowers host Bob. He suggested that I cross over the bridge to Indiana and ride the last 2 hours on that side of the river.
I followed Bob’s advice, the clouds opened up, the sun started shining, and drivers suddenly started moving all the way over to the other lane to pass me. It was magical. I rolled up to Bob’s house that night, feeling incredibly relieved, and vowing to never ride a bicycle in rural Kentucky again.
Bob is a semi-retired dentist who has ridden a bicycle across the USA three times. His hospitality was wonderful, and we bonded over bikes, music, and the massive bridge across the Ohio river which is visible from his house. After my vow to never ride a bicycle in rural Kentucky again, I decided to take a rest day in Madison, ride one more day through Indiana to Lousiville, and cheat the next bit with a rental car from Lousiville to Nashville. The whole point of the trip is to have fun, and I don’t want to take any more unnecessary risks.
This proved to be a great decision, as the rest day in Madison was the first truly fun day I’d had since Pittsburgh. Unlike many of the towns I passed through in PA, OH, and KY, Madison was bustling. Tons of perfectly-preserved buildings, a glorious riverfront, great restaurants, and a sweet guitar store (crawdaddy music). Here are a few photos from that day:
Sunday, I rode a pleasant 60 miles through Indiana to the Louisville airport, where I rented a minivan and drove it to Nashville, meeting up with Meredith and her Dad Brad. We spent a few days resting in Nashville, eating and drinking well, and seeing some country music at the honky tonks and the grand ole opry.