Thursday, June 23, 2011 was an unrelenting mental exercise; it was the classic how bad do you want it moment? The hills of eastern/central Kentucky are the plains of Indiana fashioned into a haunted house. What I mean by that is, no overall elevation change but, they sure make it as difficult to pass through as possible. I wheeled along a never ending barrage of easy to moderate hills. For every drop there was an equivalent climb waiting just seconds down the road. It was discouraging to scan the horizon line, continually confirming that I was the highest point in the area, only to dip and rise back, dip and rise back.
The seventy miles today were unrewarding. I certainly feel them, I just don't feel good about how they happened. The hills provided a mental beat down that left me reeling in the same way the SAT did. "This too shall pass", played in my head like a mantra all day.
Like just about every other day on the road, I can't predict the outcome until I put the rain shield on my tent. I made it to Lincoln Homestead State Park, which I thought was a State Park. I've actually had a similar situation unfold in my life where a beach in Florida turned out to be a city named after a beach, without a beach (talk about bait an switch). Anyways, it turns out Lincoln Homestead State Park is a golf course and some kind of log cabin reenactment of the home of Nancy Hanks, Abraham Lincoln's mother.
Fortunately there was a vending machine in sight. I drank the Sprite within 2 minutes and then bought a bottle of water (life's about balance right?). I called the number on the cabin's welcome center. The woman, Katie, said I was more than welcome to camp down the path behind the cabins, near the creek. So here I am, in Washington County, sleeping next to a creek by the former home of Nancy Hanks, Abraham Lincoln's mother. You'd think they would have changed to the name of the county to Lincoln by now, but some people are just never satisfied (Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!).
It was a tough day with a welcomed ending. It certainly doesn't always play out like that so I have to take the time to really appreciate it, just like everything else on this trip, and in life. You're not out until you're out.
I've decided I'm going to take the detour to Mammoth Cave. It's going to kind of be a logistical mess because I didn't plan on doing this at all and it'll probably take some portion of three days to get back on track, but hey, take life as it comes.
This cave tour will give me an opportunity to have my first off day (Sunday) and have two easier days (Friday and Saturday) to divide the 90 or so miles it's going to take me to get there.
It's easy to get caught up in the race of this whole thing. Sure I want to cross the U.S. on a bicycle (which is still going to happen) but I do not want to sacrifice the foundation of this trip, which is to experience America, not wear it around my neck like a trophy. Save that nonsense for the Lance Armstrongs of the world.