Lexington was a great stop! We had two great hosts (Bill and Beverly) who provided an excellent guesthouse all to ourselves, two fantastic dinners with Bill, Beverly, their grown children, and grand-kids, a video shoot of a local Craft Brewery (West Sixth Brewery), and a tour of some of the historical areas of Lexington, which Bob took me on. But now it was time to get sweaty, dirty, and fatigued again (oh joy!)
Before heading out, I made a few more phone calls and sent a few follow-up emails for some potential brewery videotaping sessions. I hope we can finish this “Beer on a Roll” with a bang, by having five or six more sponsored breweries joining as participants in the Documentary movie. We’ll go through Virginia (D.C.), Maryland (Baltimore), Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), New Jersey (various places), and New York (Brooklyn…biatch) and hopefully hit six or seven solid breweries.
We finally took off from the great city of Lexington—which reminded me somewhat of Austin, TX—at about 12pm. We drove south, back down to the TransAmerica bike route to continue the bicycling. Since we had spent two days longer than we anticipated spending in Lexington (but a good thing we did), we decided to move ahead on the course and go to Hindman, KY—a very small town (pop. 700), but a good place to be for biking, as it was nestled next to the Appalachian mountains. I asked Terry to drop me off about twenty-five miles before Hindman, so I could get a decent ride before taking on a monster ride the following day. I biked up a mountain (man, it was steep) about fifteen minutes into my ride, then went up and down hills the remainder of the ride.
I arrived into Hindman and went straight to the First Baptist Church, as Terry had already arrived and found free accommodations there. Steve was the pastor, and he invited Terry and I to attend the youth ministry which began about ten minutes after my arrival. There was singing, preaching (from Steve), and some social time afterward. I skipped the social time with the high school crowd and went straight across the street to the local pizza joint. I was famished. I put away a large pepperoni pizza—it totally hit the spot.
This day was highlighted by our visit to West Sixth Brewing Co. and hanging out with Bill as he showed me around Greater Lexington, KY.
First thing in the morning, I had to go over to Magee’s and have another sinful breakfast of two chocolate donuts, balanced out with eggs, bacon, and toast. I love a hearty breakfast! I spent most of the morning responding to emails and making follow-up calls to craft breweries that we’ll be visiting out east. Time just flies when I’m at my computer — it’s both an enjoyment and a source of frustration (as a lot of times, I don’t complete everything I’ve wanted). Oh well, that’s life when you’re biking, sleeping, writing blogs, constantly making phone calls and sending emails, and oh yeah….enjoying this adventure (sometimes that gets lost in everything else about this project).
This afternoon Terry and I went to West Sixth Street Brewery for the videotaping of their establishment. Their building had a pretty cool layout. It was a former bread factory, so there was plenty of room for production. Another part of the building was dedicated to growing basil for neighborhood restaurants. Finally, there was another part of the building that was large enough to allow Lexington’s local roller derby teams (women on skates…knocking down other women on skates) to practice during their season. It was very unique, but that’s what made it so cool. Terry and I met up with Ben, one of the four co-owners and learned about his passion for beer, the brewery process at West Sixth, and special attention to their two flagship beers, the IPA and Amber. The IPA was full of flavor, having hints of peaches, lemon, pine needles, and tangerines. It’s very hoppy, integrating Cascade, Centennial, Columbus, and Citra hops into the mix. It was very delicious and is also their first beer in a can! The Amber Ale is pretty darn good as well, and it’s their second beer in a can. The addition of rye gives the impression of toasted rye toast and candied pecans. It’s very sessionable too…at only 5.5% ABV. West Sixth Street Brewery is a great craft brewery in Lexington, KY!
In the evening, Terry and I had a potluck with Bill and Beverly for dinner. Terry and I provided some chicken and Beverly cooked some fresh veggies. It turned out to be a really tasty dinner, and I got the “homiest” eating a home-made dinner in their Kentucky home. After dinner, Bill took me on a drive around the great Lexington area, where he introduced me to some incredibly beautiful, green pastures where race horses were being bred. One road, the Pisgah, had an amazing “country” feel to it, as the road was adorned with trees on both sides—reaching over the road. We even stopped at the Keeneland horse racing track. Very impressive. To complete the evening, we stopped for a beer (of course!) at Country Boy Brewing…somewhat of a dive, but the beer was outstanding.
It’s nice to have another day off from biking, and dedicating some time to the business aspect of the project. Thus I was on the phone and writing emails, basically setting up appointments for the last ten days of “Beer on a Roll.”
Before going to bed last night, Bob told me there was a good bakery a couple blocks away, and to head there for breakfast. Why not? So I took my computer—in case they had Wifi—and walked the four blocks to this place called Magee’s. Ladies and gentlemen, this place had the best donuts I’d ever had (and I’ve had a few). I learned that Magee’s has been family-owned for the past fifty-five years, and has been on the same location, in the historic downtown, Main Street. I had to manage the guilt of having had two delicious chocolate donuts, so I ordered a eggs, bacon, and toast, with a massive glass of water. That’s one of the things I’ve enjoyed about my stops in small town America…hanging out at an old family-owned restaurant. It has more love in it than a chain restaurant.
After completing some work on my website, I left Magee’s and went back to Bob and Beverly’s house. I met up with Bob, who asked me if I wanted to check out a Craft beer brewery called West Sixth Street Brewery, one of his favorite stops for a beer. Btw, Bob has been teaching law at UK (University of Kentucky) for about 30 years and just recently retired. Beverly was working as a journalist for the town newspaper, and retired recently as well. They are both adjusting to seeing each other more often…and as Bob said, “It isn’t easy!” They’ve been married 49 years.
Bob took me to West Sixth Street Brewery and we spoke with one of the owners, Ben. I told him what I was doing and he said he would be interested to be part of the movie as well. We agreed to a 3pm shooting tomorrow. Cool! After we got back into the car, Bob gave me a quick tour of the downtown Lexington area. It seems like a pleasant place to live with everything they have for folks who are into art, the outdoors, fitness freaks, foodies, etc.
I told Terry about our spontaneous gig tomorrow with West Sixth Street Brewing Co, and he was excited that we now have a craft brewery to represent Kentucky. We couldn’t do the bourbon distilleries, even though they were abundant throughout the State. Bill and Beverly invited Terry and I for a pizza for dinner with their family. We met Will, their very cool son, and his wife Shelly (and their young daughters: Katie and Madison). It was a nice rest day today. We’ll do some filming tomorrow!
When you ask someone how they were able to reach a certain goal or level of achievement, they will tell you about the people who assisted and supported them in their efforts. This holds true for my “Beer on a Roll” project, raising awareness of bicycling while also promoting the Craft Beer industry throughout the U.S. Although I’m still in the midst of this project — about 12 days from my final destination of New York, I wanted to acknowledge two people who gave their time, input, and even professional/personal contacts to help me get this project off the ground (and onto the bicycle!). They are Belinda Smith and Jared Criscuolo, both of whom are currently doing some significant work for one of the organizations that I’m supporting during the “Beer on a Roll” project.
The name of the organization is Surfrider Foundation. It is a grassroots non-profit environmental organization that works to protect and preserve the world’s oceans, waves, and beaches. The Surfrider Foundation largely focuses its work on such issues as water quality, beach access, beach and surf spot preservation, and sustaining marine and coastal ecosystems. The mission is the protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network. How cool is that? Sounds pretty simple, but the positive effects are incredibly far-reaching.
Both Belinda and Jared are surfers who know firsthand the effects of keeping the oceans, waves, and beaches clean and sustainable. Both of them live in Southern California. Here’s a little info about both of these movers and shakers:
Belinda Smith is an entrepreneur, and in her spare time an environmental activist for the Surfrider Foundation. She is the former Chair of Sufrider’s Know Your H2O program which seeks to educate people on effective water management issues. She is also the Executive Producer of the Cycle of Insanity: The Real Story of water, a 20-minute award-winning film on water issues. She is a two-time recipient of Surfrider’s global Wavemaker award.
Jared Criscuolo is currently a member of the Advisory Committee of the San Diego Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. He was involved in launching the Know Your H20 Campaign in San Diego, and has subsequently partnered up with a friend to start a non profit organization called Below the Surface. Through their efforts with Below the Surface, they have been developing “the Riverview Project” a stand up paddling and mapping project that is recreating Google’s Streetview for Rivers. Additionally, Jared consults with wastewater agencies to help reduce river and ocean pollution.
If you also enjoy the beaches and want to keep them healthy and protected, please visit the Surfrider Foundation website and *engage yourself*: www.surfrider.org
You can also follow them on Twitter:
This is about biking from Bardstown, KY to Berea, KY, making a wrong turn, enjoying some A/C, establishing a new speed record, and finding good sleep in Lexington, KY.
I slept well in my room at the firestation, especially since there were no calls to the fire department during the night (that’s the way to put out your cigarettes before going to bed, Bardstown-ites). I took my wake-my-butt-up shower, had some breakfast, wrote a blog, packed my things and took off. The next destination was 80 miles away, Berea. Just before leaving the firestation, one of the volunteers, Kerry, gave Terry and I our own bottle of Kentucky Bourbon, distilled here in Bardstown. Thanks Kerry! When Kerry isn’t volunteering at the firestation, he’s preaching at his church. I guess in Kentucky, it’s not a sin to enjoy some good Bourbon. 🙂
It was hot and humid this morning, and within minutes of my ride, my shirt was getting soaked (with sweat). There were many twists and turns along the route, and you had to be really alert to making a required turn onto a new road. Well, I was doing fine with that until about two hours into my ride, and I missed a turn. It turns out, it was an unmarked sign, so I’ll give myself alittle slack for having missed it. But crap, I went over seven miles the wrong way, so I had to find my way back and proceed with the correct route. Rats, now the ride will be a total of 95 miles…on this humid day (more fluids needed!).
I encountered a couple dogs who went for the attack while I was biking down a county road. I shot them. They are no longer with us. Then, after about twenty-five straight miles without seeing a convenience store or gas station, viola!…I arrived into Rose City (but I didn’t see one freaking rose!) and came upon their local grocery mart. Stepping into the air-conditioned store was so relieving, as the heat and humidity had taken their toll. I downed water, gatorade, coke, more water, a turkey sandwich, a salad, a bowl of beans, and chocolate cake. It was a nice snack before my real meal, later. I sat at a table in the air-conditioned store for almost an hour — not the best idea given I was already running behind from having missed that turn earlier in the day. But it felt good.
OK, time to get the hell out of here. While riding I spoke with a man in Lexington, who was willing to host Terry and I for a couple nights via Warm Showers. It was thirty-five miles north of the TransAm route, but we thought it would be nice to stay with the man and his wife for a couple nights. I biked and biked like a crazy dude. I was covering alot of road and at one point my average speed was 18mph for an entire hour…a new record for me. I took a short rest and my shirt was so soaked, it was dripping. I gulped a large gatorade at a Dollar Store then proceeded with a fast pace to Berea, about another twenty miles away…and the sun was setting (sheet!). I was feeling fine as I maintained a quick pace up and down the hills of rural/central Kentucky. Finally I arrived into Berea and met up with Terry in a local parking lot. We put the bike on the rack, affixed to the trunk and took off for a thirty-minute drive to Lexington.
Bob and his wife Beverly greeted Terry and I, and welcomed us to their home. Actually they welcomed us into their guest house, near their house, and what a nice place. We had our own beds, shower, closet, living room area, and a fridge (where a welcome bottle of wine was chilling). How nice! There was also A/C (thank you!). Terry and I hit the sack right away, and after 95 miles of some hard biking in the torrid heat/humidity, I feel asleep pretty quickly.
The morning in Cave City began with a very serious downpour. Apparently Mother Nature just won’t give it a rest with this constant rain. At around 11am it finally diminished enough that I was able to take off for our next destination, Bardstown, KY. Yeehaw!
I had biked about 10 miles when I came to Mumfordville, KY and a sign that pointed down a dirt road to a Civil War battlefield. No way! I had to check this out, as I had never been to one, and this particular one was still in plain view. There were no buildings or developments built on it. In fact there was a house and a couple sheds from that period of the 1860’s — still standing. Quite remarkable. The particular battle that took place there was the Battle of Mumfordville in 1862, in which there were about 5,000 causalities from both sides (Union and Confederate soldiers). I wondered if you could still find a musket ball or some other piece of weaponry still out there. Amazing that our country actually went to war *against its own people*. There was a man–forgot his name–who was 102 years old when the Civil War first began in 1861. He actually fought in the Revolutionary War back in 1770’s to help bring Independence to the U.S., and stand as one against the British. Can you imagine what he was thinking during the onset of the Civil War?
I biked for about another 20 miles then came upon Lincoln’s birthplace. Geez, I’m feeling like a tourist! The area where he lived as a boy was untainted, and it was actually part of the Park system, so it is in good shape and cared for. It was cool to walk in the area where Lincoln lived as a boy. I took a few pictures then got back on the bike, and contined on to Bardstown. I got a call from Terry that he was in Bardstown and found us an accommodation for the night — we were going to stay at a Firestation house! He met the Commander at the Station and asked if we could stay there overnight, as some Firestations welcome cyclists to spend a night or two. The Commander told us that he would share their dinner with Terry and I later in the evening. Cool! That gave me a morale boost, knowing that we were all set for the night.
The ride was a total of 75 miles up and down steep hills, and I arrived in Bardstown at 8:30pm, just when it was becoming dark. Bardstown has about 11,800 people, and is very Mayberry RFD in the sense that I saw families walking down the sidewalks eating ice cream from a local spot, and just enjoying themselves. There seemed to be a good mood in the air. Speaking of “in the air”, you could smell brewing from the bourbon distilleries down the road. But it was faint, not overbearing at all. I found out later that Bardstown produces 2% of the *world’s* bourbon. Incredible.
I entered the Fire Station and was immediately greeted by one of the staff, Kerry. He was a good guy, aware of my arrival, and totally set me up with dinner in their kitchen. Pasta salad, cucumber salad, and grilled pork chops awaited me. Since I was among guys, and thus no one cared about my eating etiquette…I basically leaned my head back in my chair and turned the plate of food towards my mouth. There was even ice cream! Know how they got it? They were called to an ice-cream truck that had fallen on its side last week. There were cases of ice cream bars that fell out of the truck and the driver, unhurt, said that they could not be delivered to the stores and would have to be thrown out. The firemen said they would “rescue” them and brought all the cases back to the station. Since they were free, I ate seven of them — and I’m still losing weight! I’m down to my college weight btw…162lbs.
I chatted with the firemen for awhile and then took a much needed shower, then wrote a blog and went to bed — in a bed in my own room. Pretty nice.
Today’s destination is Cave City, KY, which is slightly off the route but scenic enough that it would be worth a visit. It was south of the route, sort of a circular circuit that included some caverns and some Civil War Battlefields. I’ve been inside so many freaking caverns in my life, that it was easy to forego those for the battlefields. I was stoked about visiting one of them.
I took off biking from Falls of Rough at about 10am and booked it (for you out-of-the U.S. readers, “booking” means moving quickly) to Cave City. The thing is, the route entails a lot of winding county roads. The county roads are awesome, as they don’t have a lot of traffic and you really get a great glimpse of the beautiful rural areas of America. You get to see true Americana, at the roots. Driving on the interstate highways does not lend itself to seeing America. Don’t do it, unless you must get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. Take the state highways… and let yourself see the States. So as I said, the county roads (one tier below the State highways, but still a great way to see the states) proceed with a lot of winding turns… like a snake’s body. There is not a straight line to any destination here in Kentucky (as the crow flies?…no way, my friend). Consequently, you can cover a lot of ground and many miles. So if you can hop off the Interstate for a few minutes, do it; it’s worth it!
I had to stop and seek shelter several times due to the heavy rains, and one storm was just too much. It lasted way beyond its welcome. It was time for that storm to go home, but it wouldn’t. I got pissed off. Actually, I was livid. Ever since Missouri, it seems that every day there has been some rain. What the hell? I understand that we might encounter rain sometimes, and yes, it may occur on consecutive days. But every freaking day for the past two weeks has become ridiculous. My patience has been running thin with this f&$%ing weather. Give it a rest, Mother Nature!
I was still about 25 miles from Cave City as I sat on the front porch of an abandoned home, seeking refuge from a monster rain. It was getting late, and soon darkness came to the party. Freaking darkness. It is the bane of a good bike ride. Turn out the lights, the party is over. The rain finally relented at about 8:30pm EST (yes, we’re now in the Eastern time zone), just as darkness was becoming more prominent. I really hated to do this, but I called Terry who was already in Cave City and had scored a good price on a hotel room. I asked Terry to come back and pick me up. I felt like a loser, making that request. I feel like I broke an internal commitment I have with myself to finish each leg of the journey. Terry, being the good guy that he is, got in his car and picked me up for a ride to our hotel in Cave City. It began as a promising day, but again, Mother Nature said, “Yo—today I tell you how far you get to bike”. Bitch.
I grabbed/gulped a couple Core Power drinks (they have saved my life throughout this journey), wrote a blog, and hit the sack. Good night!
This blog is about my bike ride to Falls of Rough, dealing with mentally disturbed dogs, and getting a free meal from a guy who almost hit me with his car.
Thanks so much to Bob and Violet for letting Terry and I stay in their rooms at First Baptist Church in Sebree, KY. Very cool. Now we are off to our next destination, Falls of Rough, KY — about 65 miles away. Terry and I did some more analysis of the videos, so we didn’t get out of Sebree until 12pm. Although I had to pull of the road for shelter from the rain a few times, I was able to arrive into Falls of Rough at 6pm. Not bad.
I gotta say… the rolling lush green hills of middle and southern Kentucky have been spectacular. All has been great as I’ve made my way through the rural areas of Kentucky… well, except for the #%@&ing dogs. They are rampant, and for some reason, a bike just sets them off as if someone lit their freaking tails on fire. Seriously, I’m quiet as I bike up and down the hills, but you’d think I was screaming obscenities at them. The bastards just come at me. One time I just stopped my bike and dismounted when I saw the dog freaking out and running at me. As soon as I stopped and was off my bike, the dog stopped as well…was totally quiet and had an expression of, “Well *you’re* no fun!” and walked back to his yard. Another time, a dog tried to cut me off on the road, and as soon as I saw the angle he was taking to meet me at the road, I took a direct line at him…and came after him! The dog didn’t know what to do, and you could see it in his eyes (now *this* is becoming fun for me!). He jumped out of the way, lost his momentum and stumbled. (haha!) I took advantage and sped up and it was too late for him to regain himself and come after me. I was gone. Can a dog flip you off with his paw? I believe that’s what I saw in my review mirror.
Falls of Rough is a small community (it’s not even a town) that has a scenic lake called… drumroll please… Rough Lake! Terry had found a motel (The Resort) that was cyclist friendly and they gave us a 25% discount. The proprietors were so nice, ensuring I had enough water in my bottles for the following day. I was famished (not a surprise) and went down the road to a local eatery. While there I met a couple on vacation in Kentucky. They had told me that they remembered me from a few days ago and admitted that they had almost run into me with their car, to which I immediately replied, “Oh thanks, appreciate that!” I don’t recall the incident and am very keen of my surroundings while I’m biking, so I’m surprised I didn’t remember them, nor their car outside. But they said it was me, and I joked that they should pay for my dinner. They were a really cool couple, and we got along so well during dinner. And guess what — they DID pay for my dinner! Thanks Stan!
Back to the motel and beddy bye at 12am (constantly writing/updating my website gets me to bed late….that’s just the way it is).
Today was a day off from biking… so Terry and I could focus on editing the footage we had taken from the past five days in which we filmed four breweries (a very busy — but in a good way — week). It also gave me a chance to update my website, my Twitter, Facebook, reply to emails, etc.
My legs have been sore lately, as the last few days I’ve been pushing myself up and down the hills. Some of these hills are actually steeper than the mountains in the Rockies of Colorado (yeah, in freaking Illinois and Kentucky!). Burning the thighs, but fortunately only for a short while, as these hills don’t climb as high as the Rockies (spank you very much). Due to this crazy — everyday — workout, I’m eating like a newborn bird… tilting my head back just as they do, then dropping loads of food into my mouth (seriously, sometimes I do just that). It’s weird to be eating like I’m back in high school again. I’ve indulged a few times in some sweets too, ice cream and chocolate — knowing I’ll burn it off in no time. But for the most part, I eat very healthy food… it’s better fuel for the bod.
Pastor Bob at First Baptist Church was so cool to let us stay an extra day. “Yeah, no problem Mike. You and Terry can stay another day, although Violet and I will not be here tonight, so she won’t be making supper.” I told Terry the news that we could stay another day, but there would be no supper. Terry began to cry. “I know man”, I said “Violet’s food was to die for”. I gave Terry a tissue. We had to resort to Plan B for supper. Sometimes you can have the most awesome burger, pizza, mexican food–or whatever–in a small town. That’s just what happened when we ordered a pizza for supper from the local pizza shop. Deep dish, baby (need the carbs!), and wow—ok, not like Violet’s gold medal meal, but silver isn’t too shabby.
I’m going to call this blog post done, I mean… it’s my day off folks! 🙂
The “Dutchies” (Peter & Jlsa) and I were up at about 7am this morning. They immediately took off while I went to the convenience store to buy another banana to go along with my Core Power protein shake. Today we were definitely biking to Sebree, KY, a 65-mile bike ride. After my breakfast I hopped on my bike and took off for Kentucky! One thing I had heard consistently from bicyclists coming from Kentucky, was that there were a lot of dogs (some wild) that would come after you while you are riding. They would even try to bite at your ankles. Isn’t that special? I had a small, handheld container of mace just in case.
After about seven miles, I caught up to Jlsa and Peter. They were struggling up a hill, as they have four fully-packed panniers (two front; two back) on their bikes. I only have two on the rear, so I easily went past them, and said, “See you at the ferry!” Yeah, for the first time on this trip, we would take our bikes on a ferry, to cross the Ohio River. How cool! After arriving at the ferry landing, I waited for Jlsa and Peter. About ten minutes later, they showed up. The ferry was on the other side of the river, so while we waited for it, we took silly pictures of ourselves. Hey, why not?
We boarded the ferry, which held about six cars and our bikes. There may have been room for only three more cars, so it was a tight fit. So by crossing the Ohio River, we floated from Illinois to Kentucky, in just eight minutes. Pretty cool. Once we disembarked from the ferry, we were met by a nice smooth, black asphalt road which was surrounded on each side by very lush, dark green vegetable crops, which we later learned were soybeans. About a quarter mile down the road, we came upon the Kentucky welcome sign. We went into “silly” mode again and took more shots than a bachelor’s party. Of course, I did my “pose” and Jlsa and Peter joined in. It was great! Then we did a variety of other goofy poses next to the sign.
After about five miles into Kentucky, we came upon an Amish community and we decided to stop at a local store that they owned. I felt like I went back in time, as I rolled my bike on the dirt and leaned it against a hitching post for horses. Then I walked up two hand-made wooden steps, into the wooden general store. There was no electric light in the store as the Amish do not use electricity, so they had openings in the roof to let in the sun. It actually worked quite well as we only walked into each other six or seven times. Peter sustained a contusion above his left eye, but he sucked it up. The young Amish lady working in store was wearing a long dress with a bonnet in her hair. I swear I was living in the 80’s (the 1880’s). I bought some strawberry licorice, which they made… good stuff.
Then the Dutchies and I parted ways as I picked up the pace. I made it into Sebree at 3pm, as I kept a steady and quick pace with minimal stops. I immediately found the First Baptist Church, where the pastor for the past 34 years (Bob) and his wife (Violet) have been hosting cyclists along the TransAm route for fifteen years now! Bob gave me the grand tour of their church and by the end of the tour, I had my own room with bed, use of a shower and washing machine, and dinner at Bob and Violet’s house at 6:30pm. Amazing hospitality! At about 5pm, the Dutchies showed up and they were also invited for dinner in the evening. I completed some website work, and when 6:30pm rolled around, Terry, Jlsa, Peter, and I went to Bob and Violet’s house for dinner.
I have to say, this was one of the best home-cooked meals I’ve ever had, and with such great company. There was white bean soup, fresh cucumbers and tomatoes from their garden, roasted pork, cornbread made from scratch, and sautéed summer squash. All of it, especially the roasted pork was delicious! With just a little room to spare in our stomachs, Violet pulled a chocolate cake out of the oven, and we had some with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. We were so full (thank goodness we are biking cross-country!). Then Bob and Violet asked if it would be ok to say a prayer for our safety for the remainder of the trip. Yes, it was ok. They led a really nice prayer. Thanks so much to Bob and Violet!