Contrasts of Land and Life

 This is Kerry, whom we met in Hindman at the cyclist hostel (a local church). She is cycling as part of Warrior Expeditions, which is for veterans re-entering society after being deployed in war. She had heard about us (“the family cycling across the country”) and was determined to catch up and finally meet us. From now on, she’ll be way ahead of us!

This is Kerry, whom we met in Hindman at the cyclist hostel (a local church). She is cycling as part of Warrior Expeditions, which is for veterans re-entering society after being deployed in war. She had heard about us (“the family cycling across the country”) and was determined to catch up and finally meet us. From now on, she’ll be way ahead of us!

 This ballpark in Combs/Hazzard, KY,  not only had a great playground, but free miniature golf the boys played while we cooked our dinner under a nearby pavilion and contemplated where we would stay that night (no official places around). Jerry and I prayed we would find someone to ask. And while Jerry walked to the bathroom, he came across the patrolling sheriff and asked if we could camp there that night. Affirmative! The sheriff was very helpful, welcoming, and supportive of our family having what we needed that night. So thankful!

This ballpark in Combs/Hazzard, KY,  not only had a great playground, but free miniature golf the boys played while we cooked our dinner under a nearby pavilion and contemplated where we would stay that night (no official places around). Jerry and I prayed we would find someone to ask. And while Jerry walked to the bathroom, he came across the patrolling sheriff and asked if we could camp there that night. Affirmative! The sheriff was very helpful, welcoming, and supportive of our family having what we needed that night. So thankful!

 Here is the free mini-golf next to the playground. 

Here is the free mini-golf next to the playground. 

 Here we are under our tarp (Jerry’s make-shift shelter) when a sudden storm blew in while we were on our way from Combs to Buckhorn. What better a time to have our lunch- during a forced stop. 

Here we are under our tarp (Jerry’s make-shift shelter) when a sudden storm blew in while we were on our way from Combs to Buckhorn. What better a time to have our lunch- during a forced stop. 

 Here are two recent college grads (Kyle and Mark) who are biking cross-country while raising money for Compassion International. We met them in Buckhorn. They were so excited to meet us because according to them, we are of legend status. They had heard and read about “the family going cross country.” It was refreshing to experience their enthusiasm and go-with-the-flow personalities. While talking with them, the pastor at the church across the street asked if they needed a place to stay (which they did- we already had plans of staying at the nearby campground). So great seeing another example of kind hospitality!

Here are two recent college grads (Kyle and Mark) who are biking cross-country while raising money for Compassion International. We met them in Buckhorn. They were so excited to meet us because according to them, we are of legend status. They had heard and read about “the family going cross country.” It was refreshing to experience their enthusiasm and go-with-the-flow personalities. While talking with them, the pastor at the church across the street asked if they needed a place to stay (which they did- we already had plans of staying at the nearby campground). So great seeing another example of kind hospitality!

 Here is another mid-day forced stop on account of thunderstorms (on our way to Booneville). So we took shelter under a stairwell at an apartment complex. Another great opportunity to have our lunch: tuna wraps and peanut butter. Bunny ears on Mom. 

Here is another mid-day forced stop on account of thunderstorms (on our way to Booneville). So we took shelter under a stairwell at an apartment complex. Another great opportunity to have our lunch: tuna wraps and peanut butter. Bunny ears on Mom. 

 So what do boys do on a rainy day when we’ve arrived at our host shelter (pavilion behind Booneville Presbyterian Church) waiting for dinner time? Well, Avery and Douglas decided to make a restaurant that serves grass, clover, and wood shavings from the sticks that Douglas spent about 2 hours whittling. The currency at this restaurant was wheat stalks and leaves they had collected from the area. The decorations were whittled sticks. 😊

So what do boys do on a rainy day when we’ve arrived at our host shelter (pavilion behind Booneville Presbyterian Church) waiting for dinner time? Well, Avery and Douglas decided to make a restaurant that serves grass, clover, and wood shavings from the sticks that Douglas spent about 2 hours whittling. The currency at this restaurant was wheat stalks and leaves they had collected from the area. The decorations were whittled sticks. 😊

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
 This is Jay from New Zealand (and recently London), whom we met at the cyclist camping spot (pavilion behind a local church). We enjoyed hearing about his stint playing bass guitar in a rock band in London, the challenges of finding food- as a vegan- on his cross country bike tour, and his engagement to his fiancé. 

This is Jay from New Zealand (and recently London), whom we met at the cyclist camping spot (pavilion behind a local church). We enjoyed hearing about his stint playing bass guitar in a rock band in London, the challenges of finding food- as a vegan- on his cross country bike tour, and his engagement to his fiancé. 

 A friendly dog at an ice cream shop (quite a contrast to the barking dogs who rush at us in the streets of Kentucky). 

A friendly dog at an ice cream shop (quite a contrast to the barking dogs who rush at us in the streets of Kentucky). 

 Pushing our heavy bikes up a steep hill. Not sure which is harder: trying to pedal up the steep climbs, or pushing our bikes up them??

Pushing our heavy bikes up a steep hill. Not sure which is harder: trying to pedal up the steep climbs, or pushing our bikes up them??

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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.  

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On our rest day in Berea, KY, we visited this fun pool- open to the public.