Rainy Night in Georgia, Kentucky Rain, There's something Sexy about the Rain, It's Raining Men, Fire and Rain, Singin' in the Rain, Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
The Citizen of the Day Award goes to Rusty Layne of Pikeville, Kentucky. Rusty is a tabbaco representative that I came across in, you guessed it, a tabbaco store. I rolled down US 23 in another torrential downpour. The store was my first encounter with shelter after enduring a 2 hour personal lesson on H2O from Zeus himself. I honestly can't put into words the ridiculousness that I was riding in. You know that kind of rain on the interstate where you can't see in front of you because the semi is kicking up too much water. Well, I was the guy you didn't know existed riding on a bike on the other side of the white line.
When I entered the store, initially I was looking to satisfy my primal hunger with chips, donuts, and maybe a Snickers, then move on. Rusty doesn't work at the store; they're just a client of his company. The locals could not believe where I was heading today. They referred to where I was going as the Boondocks. Keep in mind that I had just rode up a mountain, came down, and all I saw was a BP and several dogs that gave chase in the period of two hours. Rusty offered to take me south down 23 (I had just came up north) just outside the town of Whitesburg which he said would have fast-food and easier grades along the highways.
I was hesitant at first to take the ride. I took a moment to contemplate whether it was one of those Adam and Eve don't take the apple moments. What Rusty did was take me south on 23, then south on 119, to the Arby's outside of Whitesburg. He bought me lunch (much appreciated) and went off to do business. As a result, I cut 60 miles off the total route (by avoiding the country crawl through the "Boondocks") but added 37 in order to link up in Hazard to get back in the maps domain. After all was said and done I'd say I did 60 miles today.
Hitchhiking might seem like the cardinal sin to some cyclists, but I'm not a cyclist. I'm an American. This is my ride; there is a finish line but there are no boundaries. I use the map to put the wheels in motion then I go with what feels right. I'm still looking at over 4000 miles on bicycle in one summer. The guilt was ephemeral. The warmth of Rusty's Ford was another moment for the autobiography.
Tonight I'm staying in the Comb's Motel, primarily because I'm no man's land, 40 miles from a place to camp. I must tip my cap to the management here. This has to be one of the best $40 dollar motel rooms in the country. The place is tastefully decorated, spacious, and the bathroom is clean. The pop is $.50 and the ice is complimentary. This is the only time I've gone out of my way to thank the owner of a motel. If my experience has taught me anything, this place is the exception, not the rule.
Allegedly there's a Presbyterian Church that takes in cyclists in Booneville. I'll find out one way or another tomorrow. It'll be a relatively short day if I can stay there. If not I'll have to rely on my stealth camping abilities as my options are limited as I continue to trek through the Bluegrass State. More rain is on the way. According to the local news, Hazard accumulated 3.5" of rain today.