Last Friday, we rolled into Harrodsburg around dinner time and spoke to a local fellow who suggested camping in the state park at Old Fort Harrod nearby. We pulled in at dark to see that some large tents were already set up– but they were made of canvas and set up in a British military style, and a couple of men in costumes were sitting around and stoking a small fire. We were welcomed and told that they were there in preparation for the coming weekend’s large reenactment of the Native American raid on Fort Harrod settlers that occurred in 1777. The next morning, we got a tour of the tents and teepees by some really cool costumed volunteer actors/actresses and educators. They told us that the previous night that, from the outside, our green tent with our green headlight shining from within made us look like E.T. among the old fashioned settlement.
As usual, we took our time and talked to folks and dragged out a delicious breakfast in the shade, concluded by a big serving of banana soft serve. Breakfast of champions indeed. I don’t think Greg has really gone a day without at least one cup of caowfee.
We pedaled past the historical site of Lincoln’s birthplace and parents’ home and past a golf course, where a few golfers snapped our pics and asked us to make the University of Kentucky gang sign (go Cards!).
Through another gorgeous area of thinly populated farmland, we saw some heavy clouds headed our way. A man passing us in a pickup truck with a big dog in the truck bed slowed enough to call to us “Big storm coming– follow me if you want to avoid that rain.” A few hundred yards ahead, he pointed out the window to a house with a porch and said “I know them- go ahead and take cover and I’ll give them a heads up. Gotta go, much to be done.” Heeding his advice, we pulled under the car port and sure enough, the skies opened up as we remained dry and comfortably sheltered. The elderly homeowner came out with bottled water for us and eventually the truck driver came back briefly to chat about our travels and route.
Reaching Bardstown at dusk, we thought we’d try to camp at another state park/pioneer village, but learning from the director that was a no-go, and feeling unwilling to pay the nearest camp site’s inflated asking price for a simple tent camping spot, we hunkered down behind a church and passed out.
The next day, we decided to have out first official rest day after a full month of pedaling. We really got to see old Bardstown and eat everything in sight, including Jamie’s odd dessert choice of ice cream, beets and bacon.
We found the local fire department and were immediately welcomed with open arms and leftover hot dogs (pretty much the best kind of greeting there is). We were told we could camp out, shower, and even take pictures of the fire chief and his awesome muscle car.
The people at the fire department were so kind and helpful, and they told us all about the huge Heaven Hill whiskey distillery fire in ’96 that ripped through several warehouses. Pretty serious stuff.
It was a great place to spend a rest day. We met a few eastbound TransAm cyclists who took pictures of Petunia and have already corresponded with us by email. Hi, Tor & Victor!
As we left Bardstown Sunday morning, the smell of Kentucky’s famous spirit was suspended in the humid air as we cruised past a distillery, having consumed nary a drop of bourbon. We needed all of our strength- we put in a 60+ mile day on Sunday and found rest at a small grocery store/hostel run by a very sweet family that was listed on the map.
Today we got held up by a few storms that passed, including one so intense we took shelter under someone’s outdoor structure overhang, just as the lightning was getting uncomfortably close.
It came down like mad, then turned to Just-Regular-Rain so we kept moving. We have set up in a town park in Whitesville for the night and aren’t sure what to do about tomorrow’s predicted storms. Petunia was not too thrilled with the rain and the heat all day, but one restaurant we stopped at for lunch took pity on us and let us eat indoors in their event room where it was nice and air conditioned. She got to play some pup-world-cup soccer this morning, too, so hopefully that made up for the tough day.