David Freeze: Good roads, lawn mowers and a big surprise end of the day

Published 12:05 am Sunday, July 12, 2015

I might as well give up on trying to figure out how the day will go. Over the last few years, I often heard that many of you wouldn’t like the uncertainty of the how often plans change while I am riding. Today was a great example of that.
I was out early, hoping to see where I got lost last night in Henderson and making sure not to do it again today. My first goal was to make Owensboro, Kentucky, and to do it on Highway 60, rumble strips and all. The 30 miles from Henderson went well, mostly because there was light traffic. The scenery was beautiful, mostly thriving farm land and well-kept yards.
Early, even at 7 a.m., people were out mowing their yards. This continued all day because the recent rains and moderate temperatures have the lawns really growing here in Kentucky. It seemed quite cool all day for me to get so many waves from people out mowing.
Once I got to Owensboro, I wanted to continue to follow Highway 60 as long as I could. It was a magical surprise when I found that the road was an expressway around Owensboro, with big wide bike lanes. I was in high cotton, but fully expecting the good ride to end at any time. Thankfully, it never did.
Past Owensboro and headed northeast, I rolled through Hawesville and Cloverport. Most of the town was off the highway in both cases, so I just kept rolling. The road did get quite hilly, and now that we are up to almost 1,000 feet in elevation, the mountain rocks have been blasted to make the road building easier. It had much the appearance of the western states late in the ride.
Last night, I couldn’t figure out where to spend tonight. I was going to be happy with 50 to 60 miles if there were no good motel options but wanted more if the weather was nice. The morning stayed cool and cloudy, but I never had rain on me. Later this afternoon, it did get sunny and bright but with a high temperature of only 89 degrees.
I had called last night to check some motel rates in different areas that I might get to. The choices were slim. At some point this morning, I decided to shoot for a longer day and with the help of Paul Brandle and Barbara Spindale in Hawesville, I decided to make Hardinsburg, Kentucky, my goal. After 84 long miles, I pulled into the Breckinridge Motel with some newly purchased groceries ready to take my shoes and socks off. This is where the story of the day really begins.
I went in the office and found no one. The two numbers that were posted to call didn’t help me because I had no cell service. After checking around again, I walked over to the convenience store across the road and got the clerk to help me call. She couldn’t get anyone on either number and we decided that she should call the police department. The dispatcher sent Officer Thomas Young out. I told him that my options had run out. It was at least 20 miles to the nearest motel otherwise, and short of getting in the Breckinridge Inn, I would have to pitch a tent there on the grass.
Officer Young called and got the owner of the hotel to come. The owner explained that his manager was off and no one was there, just as I had found. He got me a room, gave me the WiFi password and a key, and closed the office again.
The rooms are very nice, and everything is first class, except that I couldn’t get the TV to work and neither does the WiFi. The owner came back and let me change rooms and I used a nearby McDonald’s WiFi to submit today’s update.
A couple of interesting things were noted today. When in Kentucky in 2013, lots of the small oil derricks were pumping in the fields. Most appear shut down now, at least for the time being, probably due to low oil prices. I was surprised to spot a historical marker today that showed the location of the Riley Homeplace that Harriet Beecher Stowe used for her “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”
Tomorrow, I plan to make my way toward Louisville. Indiana will soon follow. I wonder how many unusual things will happen on tomorrow’s ride. I will be glad to let you know.
Happy Birthday to my daughter Amber, on Sunday.