As we reflect on our many experiences thus far, it is clear that it has been a mixture of so many contrasts. Here are some examples...
- Patient drivers who wait to pass us until a safe opportunity comes vs. beefed up pick-up trucks (with loud, ground-shaking mufflers) that wait to pass, but do so in a way that shows frustration and power
- smells of sweet honeysuckle vs. roadkill (lots of dead black snakes, box turtles, snapping turtles, and various small mammals)
- incredibly difficult hills to climb (many requiring us to walk the bikes up) vs. some nice, welcome, flat terrain after the Appalachians
- the sweet dogs that let the boys pet them at the ice cream place yesterday vs. the countless dogs that run out to the street barking at us (this is a phenomenon apparently unique to Kentucky and well-known to the TransAmerica cyclists- some even carry mace for this very reason)
- the varied reasons people choose to cycle across America: Warrior Expeditions (one of the ways our veterans choose to re-enter society after being away at war- we’ve met two women doing this), personal goal, a way to see and experience America and its culture, to raise money for a charity (we’ve met two guys cycling for Compassion International, others I don’t recall now, ECHO- the charity we’re riding for, etc.), quality time, adventure, and challenge as a family...
- beautiful farmland- horses grazing, roosters cockadoodling, healthy, lush gardens growing vs. neglected homes- in what used to be coal mining towns of Kentucky, rural areas with only convenience stores for food choices and seemingly quite homogeneous populations vs. suburbs with parks, full-service restaurants and hotels
Saying bye-bye to the Appalachian Mountains with this 6% grade, 2-mile downhill. These downhills have been roller-coaster-fun, but we’ve certainly had to work up some steep climbs for the thrill of the downhill.
On our rest day in Berea, KY, we visited this fun pool- open to the public.