Late into Day 59 I spied the crossing over the Ohio River and I didn’t like what I saw…a steep bridge with no shoulder. Last night, then, I stayed at a super dumpy campground that, while run down, was at least close to the bridge so I could get over it while the traffic was light. Dumpy as in love songs blaring when I arrived, nobody to check in with, no place to take a shower (I blasted a cold faucet across me for 10 minutes), and five cases of full beer cans right on the only good spot to pitch a tent. But I slept well!
And get an early start is exactly what I did. As soon as the birds were chirping I was crossing the muddy Ohio into Kentucky. A lollipop orange sun was just poking up as I got the top of the bridge, but a large dump truck scared me from stopping for a quick photo. And by the afternoon of Day 60 it felt like a lifetime ago that I had made the crossing, for it was another hot day and the hills on my R4R returned in earnest. Kentucky is a very very hilly place, no mountains in the western part of the state, but there sure are some steep rolls and on roads almost uniformly without shoulders. I was vigilant to pick up the Adventure Cycling Association’s TransAm route ASAP into Kentucky, it this put me on some safe backroads that were lightly traveled.
This western part of Kentucky sure feels like a place that would partake in the moonshine production. I rolled through countless hillsides with run down houses and trailers, many with ‘no trespassing’ signs, most with no signs of life on this hot and humid late summer’s day except for the occasional dog that made after me if it wasn’t tethered to a tree or behind a fence. Finally late in the day I found somebody to talk to…it was actually the other person that initiated conversation, a very heavy set man that yelled out of an opening of a trailer (where a window once existed)…he asked where I was headed. He was actually a really pleasant guy but I’ve never had somebody start a conversation with me from a gaping opening in their dwelling. It made me wonder what he does when winter comes, as he looked very much at home without a shirt on, in 90 degree heat, talking to me from his home like a car driver might from the side of the road.
It was dark and dark can be when I finally found a really nice campground in Rough River Falls State Park. The barred owls were calling all over the park when I arrived. At this point in the trip not their calling, street lights, or people laughing over campfires nearby could keep me from deep sleep as soon as I crawled into my tiny tent.