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Entering Kentucky and making new friends

Editor’s note: David Freeze is biking coast to coast. His trek started June 10 in Oregon. He’s sending dispatches from the road to be published in the newspaper, at www.salisburypost.com, and on his blog, “Gotta Run” at blog.salisburypost.com/gottarun

I’ve just finished a pint of Blue Bunny Strawberries are Forever Shortcake ice cream. It is my new favorite, especially since nobody east of the Rockies has heard of huckleberry ice cream.

Off to a good start this morning out of Murphysboro, Mo., on the directional advice of the motel owner, I made great time all morning. It was a cool and cloudy morning, which helped.

My goal was to make it to Cave In Rock by late afternoon and spend the night there before crossing the Ohio River into Kentucky. It is not that I didn’t enjoy my one day in Illinois, it was just time to move on to Kentucky.

I often am amazed at the different perceptions of people. I asked the motel owner last night how the last road was coming into Cave In Rock. She said, “Oh, from the direction that you are coming, you only have two little climbs.” It turned out that I had 14 low gear climbs, one lasting almost half a mile.

During this struggle, I met Edward Mjelde. He is walking across the U.S. and hoping to inspire others to get active. He said, “Just decide to do something and go do it!” We enjoyed talking, and it would have been fun to visit longer, but we both had places to go. Learn more about Edward’s walk at www.walkusa.org .

I kept plugging and finally made it to Cave in Rock, which is directly on the beautiful Ohio River. I just love the big rivers, and I have now seen two in two days. At that point, I had about 82 miles and was worn down. I read about a cool place to stay in Marion, Ky., but that meant at least 12 more miles. It also meant that I had to have more ice cream. I got some at local restaurant, just before boarding the free ferry service to Kentucky. The ride took about 15 minutes, and I was quickly off the ferry headed into Kentucky.

As soon as I was off, I was hailed with, “Hey, do you have a dollar?” I replied that I did, and was introduced to “Mountain Man.” He told me that I could look at what he had in the box, and if I thought it was worth a dollar, then I could give it to him. Sounded like a good plan to me, especially since he said I could take a picture.

Turns out that ‘Mountain Man’ had the remains of a creature that only exists in one other place. I paid the dollar and took pictures. But even more intriguing to me, “Mountain Man” is scheduled to be lowered into the river while chained inside a casket. He hopes to get it on national TV. I hope he can, because it will be interesting to see if he can get out.

Past that encounter, I got my photo of the Kentucky sign, made some more photos from another Amish area and headed to Marion, Ky., to spend the night in a great hostel at the Marion United Methodist Church. I am the only one here, which has now happened to me twice in church hostels. I find it very comforting to stay here. It was also great fun to talk with Pastor Wayne Garvey about lots of things, especially his church’s long history of housing cyclists.

Total mileage for today was 96, but I didn’t have plans to go that far. It just worked out well. Tomorrow, I will head farther east into Kentucky. I will be headed toward central Kentucky, famous for lots of large caves and the bluegrass country with all of it’s horse farms.

David Freeze lives in Rowan County.

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