Day 119 • June 28, 2012 • Utica to Falls of Rough, KY • 48 miles
For weeks the weather has been hot with highs typically in the mid-90’s. Today we needed a new word to describe the mid-100’s we experienced. I’ll leave to the readers’ imagination what that word might be. In this heat the game is about crawling to the next air conditioned space and finding excuses to stay there as long as possible. Another trick is carrying ice. Back in Kansas, our friend Joni gave us an insulated bag that we’d strap to one of the panniers. Then in Missouri we upgraded to the Stone Cold Outdoor Bicycle Cooler Bag. We were cooling off in a convenience store in Warrensburg when Gary, a rep for Stone Cold, walked in and handed us a brand new bag. He said he’d seen our rig outside and thought it was cool. This bag was designed to fit on a bike pannier. We didn’t have any more pannier space but it fit quite nicely below the guitar case. It was insulated well enough to maintain ice and a couple of cold drinks for half a day, long enough to get us through the worst of the heat. A typical scenario in this heat was a ten minute climb at about half power, followed by a break where I used the ice to cool off my head and neck. Zoe mostly flung the ice at me.
Zoe and I have become quite the museum hounds on this trip, in part because it’s a great way to avoid riding in the heat. In Fordsville today we spent a couple of hours checking out the Fordsville Depot Museum, in a decommissioned Louisville and Nashville Railroad depot. They used mannequins and original furniture and such to depict life at the station in its heyday in the early 1900’s. It’s a good museum supported by an active historical society, and we got a personal tour from the staff. I noticed a picture of President Obama above a picture of President GW Bush and learned that adding the Obama picture was quite controversial. We’ve learned not to talk politics in the south, except maybe with other cyclists.
Cooling off at yet another convenience store near Rough River Lake, we met Mark, a cyclists who had just completed a 100 miler in this heat. It would have been a saner 50-miler but at one point he left his helmet behind and doubled back to get it. I think I would have left the helmet. We camped with Mark and a couple of cyclists from Ireland in the Corps of Engineers campground at the lake.
After hot rides a cold beer tastes really good—if I can find a store near our destination I’ll purchase one and stick it in the cooler so it’s ice cold by the time we hit camp. There is nothing sadder at the end of a long hot day than the words “dry county.”