Day 127 • July 6, 2012 • Danville to Berea, KY • 32 miles
I think I’ve mentioned before how much we appreciate Adventure Cycling and their maps. Love ‘em. But we were increasingly not loving the roads we were being routed on. Narrow, shoulder-less, curvy, hilly roads make for extremely poor sight lines. Add thick vegetation and a regional pastime of driving waaaay too fast for conditions and you’ve got a potential mess. This isn’t a trike thing– the problem is the same for any slow moving vehicle on these roads. (Note to motorists: if you can’t see the pavement you’re hurtling toward, slow down!). So we were increasingly opting to skip the AC routing and choose bigger, straighter roads. With the one big exception back in Missouri this strategy was serving us well, but the further east we got in Kentucky the harder it was becoming to find good alternatives.
Having decided to follow this strategy yesterday to get to Danville, we were obliged to continue it to Berea where we could intercept the TransAmerica again. There were a lot of possibilities but we’d had good success yesterday on the direct route following Highway 150 so we decided to continue that thinking today and headed east out of Danville on Highway 52. This worked well until we reached Paint Lick where we turned onto Route 21. Route 21 is one of the many Kentucky roads that fit my description in the previous paragraph. Even so it was in good shape, traffic was light, and the ride was quite enjoyable. That all changed a few miles from Berea where the light traffic may have actually made matters worse because one of the few cars going in our direction met us on a blind right curve going way over the speed limit.
I first noticed the sound of a racing engine behind us, then saw a blur in my rear view mirror about the same time I heard the sound of brakes locking up on pavement. There was nowhere we could go so I just watched as the car swerved around us, thankfully not meeting another car or cyclist in the oncoming lane. I broke my promise with Lisa for the second time on the trip, yelling something stupid and probably profane about slowing down as he screeched past us. I was a little surprised that the face I briefly saw didn’t look defiant or pissed off or checked out—he looked scared. A few miles later we reached our destination at the Oh Kentucky campground in Berea and the guy was there, sitting in his car. We chatted for a while. He was an intelligent guy. Young. Not drunk, stoned or otherwise incapacitated. He’d just been driving way ahead of his sight and ability to react. And he was still shaking like a leaf.