July-August 1998 Newsletter
Self-Contained Touring in Kentuckyby Don Williams
The storekeeper in Fairfield asked, “Are you the only ones, or are more people just as stupid as you?” Five slightly soggy souls, raining, 60 degrees, and ready for lunch.
A light rain falling at ride start time doesn’t cancel motel reservations some 100 miles to the south, so if you’re self-contained, it’s go, or go home. Wait on the severe weather to pass, but go nonetheless.
The group — Paul Battle on his single with rack added and a set of rear panniers, Brian Shelley and Debbie Browning on their Santana tandem with really fancy rear bags, myself and Duc Do as stoker for today, loaded with our Cannondale rear set. Mary Margaret and Paula Do will meet us en route as work and family obligations are taken care of.
Debbie Browning was loaned a pair of dry socks by a fellow we met in the store and ate lunch with, in Fairfield. She and Paul Battle kept their socks dry by wearing grocery sacks in their shoes for the next 50 miles or so. I added petroleum jelly to my legs to get some warmth, unfortunately, I also picked up road grime 10 times over for the rest of the day. Duc Do sat in the stoker position and clicked digital pictures all day. Brian Shelley pushed on through the rain.
Only 30 miles completely in the dry from Fairfield to Springfield, the rain canceled a scenic loop over to Maker’s Mark, it would have been embarrassing to be seen with people all grungy from a day on the road, especially with sacks sticking out of their shoes!
Lebanon at rush hour and a school parade in the rain to boot. Moving toward Taylor County we encounter a tremendous hill at the same time a tremendous tailwind blows up a thunderstorm. With our right ears full of rainwater and everyone’s glasses thoroughly obscured, we seek shelter under the canopy of one of those wet-county/dry-county line liquor stores. The owner provides dry paper towels for our use, and after a few brilliant lightning strikes nearby the storm passes and we’re on our way.
Friday night in Campbellsville we got to see the sunset.
The Crusade for Children Ride is a must to stay on our schedule for next season. We were escorted out of town by Guardsmen in Humvees with the local police blocking all the intersections. Even though the ride started under threatening skies, 40 to 50 cyclists came together for this event. Closely spaced sag stops with Kroger providing the food and great views of Green River Lake makes for a great route that meanders into two counties south of Taylor and hits some real backroads. Just before the 11-mile sag we passed most of the riders heading back on the opposite side doing the 22- or 45-mile loops. We pushed on for the 65-mile option. Less than 5 miles later we stood in the doorway of a garage and waited on yet another vivid thunderstorm to pass before we moved on.
One thing was different, motorists down there rode behind our group for as much as a mile before there was enough view or room to pass, and even then a friendly wave came out as they passed. It was a welcome change.
Saturday afternoon after being fed by Kroger following their ride we left under hazy hot sunshine to head north to Bardstown, about 45 miles away. Through Raywick and Holy Cross we made it to Bardstown with daylight to spare.
Mary Margaret rode with us for Saturday and Sunday. Paula Do joined us in Bardstown Saturday night. Duc rode for three days as a tandem stoker, single rider and a tandem captain.
The exhilaration enjoyed when one realizes this self-contained touring thing means a sag wagon is not needed feels good. So good in fact, that itch is there to see if late summer and early fall might yield further opportunities to head out again self-contained. Interested? Give us a call.
[Go to the LBC Photo Album for some pictures of this Memorial Day trip.]
Copyright ©1998 Louisville Wheelmen. All rights reserved.
Web posted: 20 June 1998
last updated: 20 June 1998
by Duc M. Do