Day Nine by Dave Schultheis
Tuesday, August 5, 2003 - Paducah, Kentucky
It was Eddie Kieger's birthday, and I was only a few days away from the party.
I was awake a few times in the night but did get _some_ sleep. I got up shortly after 6 a.m., checked the map and made a few notes, got dressed, combed, packed and loaded, and was out of the room before 7:30 a.m. I had a little Continental Breakfast in the office while checking out, and hit the road at 7:35 a.m.; 70 degrees with sun and overcast.
Leaving Paducah, I saw and photographed two billboards that had been erected by the Kentucky highway people. One showed two helmeted riders and the words "Share the road. We're all in this together." The other showed a solo rider, almost lost in the sunset, with the words "Share the raod. It's a beautiful thing." Thanks, Kentucky.
I rode east on U.S. 62 for a while, then east on Interstate 24 for a while, then east on U.S. 62 for a while, then east on the Western Kentucky Parkway for a while. In various places I passed Kentucky Lake (Tennessee River), the Cumberland River, and Lake Barkley, then stopped at McDonald's in Princeton KY about 8:45 a.m., then again for hydration about 10:00 a.m. at a service area on the Western Kentucky Parkway about mile 75, where it was sunny and 80 degrees.
Beyond Central City I passed the Green River, then at the Hardin County line, 80 degrees, switched from 10:45 a.m. Central Time to 11:45 a.m. Eastern Time, then rode into Elizabethtown on the Parkway.
I stopped for fuel at a Shell Station, where it was 82 degrees, and there was no "pay at the pump." I checked the map and decided to follow U.S. 62 again, past signs for My Old Kentucky Home State Park, over hill and dale, past small towns and farms, and for the first time saw (what I later learned were) tobacco plants along the highway, and the ever-popular (but not always followed) "Keep Right Except To Pass" signs.
At 2:00 p.m., 81 degrees, I stopped in Lawrenceburg KY to rest and consider how to avoid riding through Lexington, then continued east on Hy 62 through Midway and into Woodford County, where I saw (and photographed) some camels (!) on a farm, then crossed under I-64 and shortly thereafter crossed under I-75, through Cynthiana and Claysville.
I stopped for rest and Mountain Dew at Thomas Grocery in Mt. Olivet KY at 4:05 p.m., where I talked to a couple of good ol' boys, who told me it was 25 miles to Ohio, and yes, those were tobacco plants that I was seeing at the side of the road.
I stopped a few minutes later for some tobacco plant pics, then continued into Washington KY, and stopped in Maysville for fuel at a Marathon Station, 85 degrees, just before 5 p.m. Eastern Time.
At 5:15 p.m. I crossed the Ohio River into Ohio, then turned north in Aberdeen, along the river, and enjoyed sprinkles, then rain, then put on my rain pants at the side of the road.
In Russellville, I took a picture of a church sign ("When Someone Gets You Hot And Bothered, Just Turn On Your Prayer Conditioner"), waved at some kids playing (one waved back), and it was suddenly sunny again, and a little while later I took off my rain pants at a rest area.
I came into Hillsboro OH, which is right on U.S. Highway 50. I would like to say it looked familiar from my trip west on U.S. 50 back in 2001, but frankly, it looked like a lot of other small towns in the midwest. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
North of Hillsboro, a saw a fawn at the edge of the road. Again riding (carefully) past, and over hill and dale, I passed some State Police lights (sorry, don't remember what this means), and passed U.S. Highway 35, where I saw signs saying "Washington C.H.," which I later found out means Court House, and realized I wasn't too far from Columbus.
There were a few more sprinkles, I saw and photographed a "Mail Pouch Tobacco" sign on a barn for a former co-worker, passed through Harrisburg, Grove City and Urbancrest, looking for motels along the way. I found none, so I turned east on Interstate 270, hoping to find something along the highway.
I took exit 52 and rode south on U.S. Highway 23 about three miles, where I found a Budget Inn about 8:25 p.m. It turned out that I was in Lockbourne OH, and the room clerk, Hilda, was also the mayor of another small town nearby. There was nighttime highway construction right in front of the place, but Hilda put me in a room that faced away from the noise, had two beds for the single rate, and included a covered and lighted parking area right outside the door! I put a few things down, rode over to the nearby Citgo convenience store for cold drinks and returned, unloaded the bike and cabled it to a post. This was an old motel building, but the exterior was well lit, and the room had a closet, a big bathroom, a television set and a refrigerator!
It was also close enough to Columbus that there was good Sprint PCS coverage, so I called home, called my uncle in Phoenix, called my uncle and aunt in TX, and checked my voice mail/pager, downed some chocolate milk and put the Mountain Dew in the refrigerator, then turned on CNN, then later Nick at Night ("Cheers"), took a shower and went to bed sometime after 11:00 p.m.
At this point, I didn't know exactly what I was in for overnight. Let's just say I had an "upset stomach," and leave it at that for now.
Miles for the day = 457. Miles for the trip = 3013.
Tomorrow: warm temps and rain enroute to the Lair in the Woods, and bike night in Sharon PA.