Nick on the bike 2005: Oregon to Virginia
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Day 53: Herrington Lake to Boonville
September 5, 2005, 6:30 PM
Where am I now: Boonville, Kentucky (37.47754N by 83.67896W at 684 ft.)
Today's distance: 102 miles

Greetings all ye who follow this journey from the beerless belly of Middle America. I know that many of you have been indulging in Labor Day frivolity today. As usual, I've been riding around on my bicycle measuring America's pulse. Would somebody please air-drop me a cold beer? After all, I've ridden 100 miles today, pulling BOB up and down all these hills. RC Cola just doesn't cut it. I'm camped right behind the Boonville Presbytrerian Church in Boonville, Kentucky, where the church has built a shelter for cyclists. It's just northwest of town, and there's a big field out back where you could land a helicopter. Bring along some folks who want to party while you're at it. I'm sure the Presbyterians wouldn't mind. Some of my best friends are Presbyterian. One of them's a Presbyterian preacher. If it were some other denomination, I'd think twice about it.

Today in middle Kentucky the principal outdoor activity I've witnessed (discounting riding around in one's pickup truck) is mowing. It's been a beautiful day, and everywhere I've been people've been outside mowing. Mowing anything that can be mowed. Mowing by way of the internal combustion engine. Two stroke, four stroke, diesel. Push mowers, riders, weed wackers, bush hogs, sickle bars, discbines, haybines, they've all been out there beating back the jungle. Many of them waved to me & I to them as I wizzed or struggle past, dending on the grade.

Second to mowing is fishing. There's this phenomenon out in these parts called the "pay lake". A sign saying Penny's Pay Lake means you pay Penny & get take your cooler of RC Cola and fishing gear through the gate and go fishing in her lake. From what I've seen, the term "lake" is an overstatement in a lot of cases that are right by the road. "Pond" or "puddle" might be more on target, but not so good from a business standpoint. Anyway, the pay lakes seemed to be doing well today. There were also people fishing in just about every non-pay crick and pond big enough to throw a hook into. Don't know whether anyone was catching anything.

At first light in Chimney Rock Resort, the golf carts were dormant and the human players were too. Another phenomenon I've run into on this trip, in beer or beerless venues, is a form of musical entertainment where people from the audience, who don't necessarily possess any musical talent whatsoever, stand up and sing anyway into an amplified microphone, with the accompanyment of canned music. With all due respect to these well meaning folks who are just trying to break into the recording industry, the audio issuances from these affairs can be absolutely dreadful. As was the case for much of what came out of the campground pavillion last night. Ear plugs are useful things to carry when you're trying to get a decent night's sleep in a strange place.

There was no traffic at all as I headed east toward Berea.

On more up-and-down & corkscrew roads across more rolling karst terrain. When the road finally dropped down off the hilltops and ran for some miles along a crick bottom & related holler I was mesmerized.

So mesmerized that I missed a turn, and the next thing I knew I was off course down around Lancaster somewhere. Not to worry, I dialed up the GPS map & found a bunch of country roads that led me past more gray rocks and around more sinkholes & eventually dumped me out on Main Street in Berea in time for lunch at the Cafe. The college was abuzz with students and parental units.

I think I've been suffering from carbonate fatigue from the past few days' riding through all tis limestone. Same thing happened to me when I was in graduate school at Blacksburg, surrounded by a sea of all these damned gray rocks.

Tough to put up with when you're into the igneous and metamorphic stuff, and those rocks are all off to the east, tens or hundreds of miles away.

My cabonate fatigue ended east of Berea as the route took me out of the world of slabby limestone, and into a series of black shale valleys. You can't do much on black shale other than grow trees. So all the steep side slopes of the valleys are hardwood forest, and the flat alluvial bottoms are open farmland. Magnificent scenery.

black shale outcrop east of Berea

sandstone ledge high above shale

shales and siltstones, everything's flat

Again the shales seem to be below the carbonates, I'll have to put all this together geologically & edit when I get home and look at some maps.

There are a couple of good climbs between Berea and Boonville, there's about 700 feet of relief in this area between the valley bottoms and the high points on the road (1250 feet elevation at one point). The rocks are still flat-lying, and the drainages wander all over the place. At least the roads are following drainages around here, anything else would make for even more ridiculous grades.

All in all, it's been a great day, good ride.