Day 29: Berea to Harrodsburg

Yesterday, after hanging out in the library in Berea, Crispin and I took a walk downtown. We came across a sculpture about the Berea schools. They were very progressive because they accepted black students before the civil war. I feel Berea is a very progressive city with their view on education. On the walk back, we decided to have dinner at El Rio Grande, a Mexican restaurant recommended by Dan, the 24 year old cyclist I had met earlier, who was in Berea the day before.

Berea schools statue

I had a Corona and a taco-enchilada-burrito plate and tried to decide if I want to order the Ortlieb panniers that almost every single long distant cyclist has. The weather was beautiful so Crispin and I took our time with our food.

Dinner at El Rio Grande

After we finished eating, we rode our bikes to the Berea fire station #2 that’s about a mile outside of downtown Berea. The chief allowed us to camp on the lawn in the back and offered us a shower to use. That was the first time I used a shower in a fire station. The chief also told us the roads westward are much flatter and no major hills like the ones we passed in eastern Kentucky and Virginia. We were so happy to hear that!

After setting up the tents and both of us took our showers, Crispin and I took a walk around the fire station. We came across an ATM so I took out some cash since I was running low. Crispin and I chatted while the sun was setting. I realized that this bicycle trip is an adventure, not just traveling. The difference is that in an adventure you don’t know what’s going to happen, where you’re going to stay, and what you’re going to eat. Even though there’s more uncertainty, I love every minute of it!

When the sky turned dark, we went back to our tents and called it a night.

This morning, we were woken up by the sound of thunder at 5 AM. Crispin decided to fold up everything and place his things under the firehouse training building. I did the same thing. Luckily, the storm was short lived and none of our things got wet.

We headed back into downtown Berea to grab some breakfast. A fireman in the downtown fire station told us to have breakfast at the Dinner Bell restaurant, so we went there. We had western omelettes and coffee. At 8 AM, we started riding toward Danville rather than following the usual TransAmerica route. Dan had warned us the bridge was flooded near Burgin. Crispin and I decided to use Google Maps on my Pixel 2 for an alternate route. We planned on stopping at a bicycle shop in Danville and get lunch somewhere in town.

The ride was indeed flatter than on previous days, but there were still some inclines to go up. We came to a town called Lancaster and decided to have a break in Grate Day’s Grille and CafĂ©. I had some caramel ice cream and Crispin bought a fruit cup with ice cream on top. Crispin is a very friendly person and talked to the waiter about our trip. By the time we were finished, the waiter, whose name is Andrew, decided to buy us the ice cream. I wasn’t going to let him do that, but then I realized the lesson I had learned before: if people want to help you, accept their kindness. So I accepted Andrew’s kindness.

Me with ice cream, Andrew is in the background

When we arrived in Danville, we decided to visit the bike shop first. We told the young man, who is about my age, about our concerns for our bikes. Mine are the break pads, the tire tread, and the chain. After dropping off our bikes, Crispin and I ate lunch next door at Tut’s, an Egyptian restaurant. I had a chicken shawarma plate and an ale soda that’s made locally.

After lunch, I decided to order the Ortlieb panniers from a bike shop in Carbondale, Illinois. I’ll pick it up once I get there in about a week. Crispin and I then stopped at local CVS so I can buy more ibuprofen and a Mother’s Day card. Even though I only have one allergy pill left, I decided not to buy anymore because my allergies are getting better. Crispin bought a charger plug and a waterproof bag. We also stopped by a coffee shop to get some smoothies to cool off since the temperature was reaching the low 80s in the afternoon.

When we came back to the bike shop the owner was there. I couldn’t believe how many things he did to improve my bike. He changed the break pads, lubed the chain, adjusted my kickstand, cleaned my bike, and did a few other things. The total was a little less than $50 and I felt my bike got a new life. The owner’s name is Ernst and the young man is his oldest son, Andrew. Both of them have bicycled across the United States. I was so surprised at the care that Ernst gave to my bike and Crispin’s. No wonder Ernst received an award from Adventure Cycling.

Ernst and Andrew of the Danville Bike and Footwear

After we bid farewell to the best bike mechanic I came across, Crispin and I rode off on a four lane highway all the way to Harrodsburg. On the way, my bike odometer reached 1000 miles. My actually mileage is about 12 miles more because the bike computer had malfunctioned a few times.

Reached 1000 miles!

We reached in Harrodsburg before 5 PM at our Warmshowers host’s house. Our host is a very nice guy named Robby. He allowed us to camp in the backyard and use the shower. He even allowed us to use the washer and dryer to do laundry.

Robby and his dog, Katie

After I took a shower I weighed myself. I’m currently at 151 pounds. I lost almost another 10 pounds since last . I lost a total of 19 pounds since I started the trip.

Crispin had the idea of ordering some pizza pies from Papa John’s for everyone. So we had pizza and soda for dinner. I was going to sleep on the hammock, but I got bitten by some mosquitoes already so I'm going to sleep inside my tent tonight.