Ten: Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (Lookout to Buckhorn)

Miles: 97

Total: 736

Herbert Dean Hall for Knott Country Judge Executive. Vote Hall for All Knott County.

If I learned one thing thing today, it’s that Eastern Kentucky’s due for an election. That, and vote Hall. It was an early start after a crummy night’s sleep. As nice as Freeda Harris is, there’s lots of mouse activity, and I woke up with a headache and plenty of mucus. Last night, we pored over our maps for lodging options, and came up with just two: ride 50 miles to Hindman, where there’s a hostel, or push to Buckhorn, and an Army Corp of Engineers campground, about 95 miles away. Walter and I decided to make for Buckhorn, and the rest of the group was going to call it in Hindman. Walter’s got a ticket back to the Netherlands August 19, so he’s making miles early to give himself some cushion later on.

We left Lookout in the cool morning, around 7:30 a.m.,. Almost early enough to avoid detection by dogs. A lot of barking and pacing, but only a couple of chases. I found one dog lying in the middle of the road. I figured maybe roadkill, but his ears perked up as I rolled by. Thankfully, that’s all that rose. Gas’s $3.86 in Kentucky, FYI. We climbed up a few bigger hills today, where I’d work up a lather, then put on a jacket for the chilling descent. And I was reunited with old friend, SR 80, for a couple dozen miles. The shoulder’s wide, but there’s a thick rumble strip almost immediately to the right of the stripe, then a few feet of gravel, glass and grit, before either a steep dropoff or guardrail. It’s tough to find a spot where you (a) won’t be in traffic, (b) won’t have your fillings shaken loose or (c) put a piece of wire in your tire. I much prefer the quiet country roads.

Last-Chance Liquors greeted me at the top of the climb dividing Pike and Floyd counties. There are a lot of dry counties in Kentucky, but people must not be willing to trek up to the top of a mountain for a bottle, because the only customer in view was a yappy dog. I made it to Hindman around 2 p.m., which was bustling — folks out Saturday shopping. I stopped for some groceries (fresh produce is scary difficult to find along the way) at a Save-a-Lot and left my fluorescent vest on my rear rack, where it blew away. Luckily, a woman flagged me over down the road and returned it. Thank you, Toyota Tundra guardian angel. Bad habits. Hindman wouldn’t be a bad place to spend the night. It’s got a Dairy Queen.

Today’s my tenth night on the road. It’s also the first time I’ve had to shell out a non-voluntary donation for lodging. I was happy to pay it, because I had my first dinner invitation of the trip — Melissa and Faye are pedaling cross country West to East. They left San Diego March 29 (!) via the Western Express, and expect to be in Yorktown the first week in July. Their husbands, John and Kevin, are driving support in two RVs with four dogs. They’re on racing bikes with very little gear and a guaranteed soft bed each night. That’s the way to travel! We swapped stories about what’s ahead, and then tucked into an apple pie John’d picked up. Just what you want after a long day in the saddle. Great people!