Saturday, June 9, 2007

Mid-day in Falmouth, Kentucky

It is mid-day on Saturday, June 9, and we are spending a few hours in Falmouth, Kentucky, before biking a few more miles to Kincaid State Park, where we plan to camp tonight. Falmouth is at the 1118 mile point of the UGRR trail, and as of this afternoon, we've logged about 1250 miles total on our bikes.

Yesterday, we resumed our travels from Madison, Indiana. After taking a day off, we crossed the Ohio River back into Kentucky, crossing a very narrow bridge that we had been anticipating with increasing fears over the last couple of days. It is worth a little more detail about this bridge transit, just as a way of communicating the small things that become big things when you travel by bike.

This bridge was built in 1929, has no shoulders, just 2 narrow lanes, and carries all the cross-river traffic for the entire area. This means lots of traffic, including heavy trucks. Our map contains a warning that the bridge is very narrow, but does not give any advice as to what to do about it! We could see the bridge from our hotel window in Madison, and watched it during the day before, trying to figure out the traffic patterns. Also talked to the hotel people to get their advice. We finally chose a time shortly after 7 am to make our move across it.... after most of the factory shift traffic had passed, but before the peak truck traffic began. With a tension you could cut, we positioned ourselves in the parking lot of a service station near the start of the bridge, and waited until there was a quiet spot in the traffic, and then bolted onto the bridge. Realize that the term "bolt" doesn't really apply, because the bridge is sloped upward, and creates a hill for cyclists that really limits the speed with which you can ride over the first half. "Trudge" is a better word. We trudged up the bridge incline, and thankfully, relatively few vehicles appeared behind us. And fortunately, even fewer cars came in the opposite direction, which meant that cars behind us generally had the ability to pass us. One very large truck passed as well. A few times we knew we were holding up cars behind us, but they all seemed patient enough to wait for the opportunity to pass us, and we realized we just had to be ok with this. Soon, our half-mile ride across the river was over, and we pulled up safely in a parking lot near the Kentucky end of the bridge. There we sat for a few minutes, letting our pulse rates get back to normal before continuing on.

The other interesting thing about yesterday's travel was the weather report: A major front was expected to move through the area by mid-day. Our objective was to try to get as far as we could toward Dry Ridge, KY, our destination for the day, before the storms hit. So, we really cranked! Fewer, shorter stops. Biking with a purpose as the winds shifted and the skies darkened behind us. Fortunately, those shifting winds meant tail winds, and we really made good time, taking care of 2 large hills in good order, completing 52 miles and making to the first hotel we could find in Dry Ridge at 1:20 pm. At 1:22 pm, the skies opened up with a torrential downpour!! We were quite lucky.

Now, safe and dry in Dry Ridge, we had the very pleasant event of a visit from our good friend, Tamara Smith, who drove the 42 miles from Cincinnati down to Dry Ridge to see us. It was great to see her. And we got to ride in her car!! We had dinner together at the Cracker Barrel, she took us to the Walmart where we did a little shopping, and all in all we had a really nice time visiting. Thanks, Tamara!

Ok, so today is a relatively short day, only because there is no other place to stay between here and Maysville, and we can't make it all the way to Maysville today. So Kincaid State Park, camping, it will be tonight, and then a solid travel day tomorrow should bring us to Maysville, just across the river from Ohio. We are indeed getting there!

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