Sunday, 30 May 2010

KKK - Kentucky cyKling Klan

In my usual ignorance of all things American (although I am learning!), I inquired with Tony as to why we hadn’t seen many black people recently. He gave me a wry smile in that “bloody stupid Englishman” sort of way and commented that there was probably still Klu Klux Klan in this neck of the Kentucky woods. I hadn’t ever heard of this Rap band before so had to enquire further……

After a side by side cycling seminar, I was a bit more eu fait with the KKK and why they had never been on MTV!

There had been a marked change in the scenery since leaving our luxury hotel in Berea; we had left the Appalachians behind and were now into rolling hills and lush farmland. Our route was taking us through quiet country roads past large farm houses and horse stables.

We stopped at a small store with lots of shelves, but barely anything on them; there were of course the essentials of everyday American life, Coke, Pepsi and Mountain Dew and a new brand of Root Beer, which I consumed rapidly followed by a chocolate shake chaser!

Whilst we sat scoffing our lunch a small fleet of people carriers arrived, they contained ladies who were on their annual cemetery tidy up in the area. Our laden bikes caught their eye and we immediately went into our well rehearsed answers to “Where yawl from?”, “Where yawl goin?” etc etc. My accent was again the focus of attention, followed by the standard “We’ve got friends from England, they live in…. now let me see…. near London!!!”. I put on the expression of someone trying there hardest to recall whether they had met these friends from England.

Just as we were about to set off Bruce appeared and we had a five minute catch up.

Now at some point in the next hour things went a bit awry, it could have been that I was looking out for pointy hats and white cloaks on washing lines or just soaking up the lovely scenery, but we managed to miss a right turn.

Our two hour scenic detour took us up an immense climb only to have to come back down it an hour later. I was slightly reluctant to ask for directions from the occasional pick up truck that came by as I didn’t want news to get out that there were two city boys lost in the boonies! Eventually we flagged down another “City Boy” driving a car, he was lost as well, but by the power of his Iphone we managed to find an escape route back out onto the Trans Am!

By this time our 50 mile day was looking like a 70 miler and our Warmshowers hosts house seemed like a far off place. To add insult to injury isolated thunderstorms were starting to ignite around us but some how we managed to miss them and just cycle through the puddled aftermath.

At around 7.15 we still had 18 miles to go and we pulled into a gas station for supplies. I chose a huge can of Monster, Caffeine, Taurine, fruity juice as my weapon of choice and Tony grabbed a lesser sized but equally chemically concocted substance.

With tail lights flashing we went for the final push, I was hoping my yell of “This is Sparta” would give me the extra stamina needed but it was drowned out by the aftermath of my large can of pop!

We powered the final miles to Macksville KY, Tony disappeared into the distance and I kept up a respectable pace, outrunning dogs and weaving past a huge snake to eventually arrive at Pastor Keith and Alicia’s house. They arrived home just as we finished putting our tents up, the usually hospitality was in abundance, showers, washed clothes and great company.

We had a huge breakfast of waffles and coffee the next morning and didn’t get away until 11am, Keith had a ride on my bike to try the Rohloff gear system and we chatted away about bikes, travel and generally putting the world to rights!

A lovely family.

Friday turned into a slow old day as Thursdays 70 miles took it’s toll on us. I started to fall to sleep as I was cycling and the rumble strips we’re actually serving a good purpose for a change by keeping me awake! 33 picturesque and reasonably dog free miles later we pulled into Bardstown KY and the “My Old Kentucky Home State Park Camp Ground”. We set up camp, got a camp fire burning and have just had a lazy evening recovering from exhaustion!


  1. That's a bit scary, I though the KKK was something from the history books!

    Glad all is going well still - keep peddling!


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