White House, TN
Cave City, KY
Hotel (Sleep Inn)
Hi:70, Sunny, Headwind
Today we are headed for Cave City, KY - home of Mammoth Cave. Nathan's mom, dad, sister, and brother-in-law will meet us there, and we'll all spend the weekend together. That's right, a whole WEEKEND - two (count them: 1, 2) rest days, not just one. Woo-hoo! Another cool thing about meeting Nathan's family tonight is that it means our entire week of off-route riding WORKED! We left the TransAmerica trail last Sunday to find our way down to Nashville then back up to Cave City. We didn't know if we could do it or not, but I'm sure we'll make it the last 70-ish miles today. Yippee!
Full of happiness and energy this morning, Nathan made our whole wheat pancakes for breakfast. He even put oatmeal in them which I loved, because I like adding oatmeal to everything! They were delicious, and we happily and hungrily ate them all up. While we were eating, Nathan told me we had to make a decision about today's route. Option 1: Ride 70 miles, and go through Bowling Green, KY (a big city - ug). Option 2: Ride 77 miles and avoid Bowling Green, KY.
Riding through Nashville yesterday had been pretty tough, and I really don't like riding through big cities, so the route that avoided Bowling Green sounded good to me. But going around Bowling Green meant riding 7 more miles, which is a significant number of miles to add, and that didn't sound so good either. I was undecided and so was Nathan, so we munched on our breakfast some more and thought about it.
We cleaned up our things in the church's gym and took off towards Cave City. It was chilly, but altogether a beautiful day. The sun was out, there were some clouds in the sky, and the wind wasn't too strong. A little ways North, we passed into Kentucky! Interestingly, we learned that the place we crossed the Tennessee/Kentucky border had been disputed for a really long time, and I think was only recently settled (in the last 50 or so years).
As we got closer to Bowling Green, we still weren't sure which route we wanted to take. We decided that when we came to the intersection that split our two routes, we would look at each road and take the one with the bigger shoulder. That sounded like a good idea.
Well, when we got there, the road to Bowling Green had no shoulder. So we check the road that avoided Bowling Green, but it didn't have a shoulder either! We ended up deciding to ride through Bowling Green because, in the end, we just didn't want to ride 7 extra miles. Also, Bowling Green is home to the Corvette Museum, and I used to be a Corvette fanatic (I'm not obsessed anymore though. Now I just really, really like them. :)). So off to Bowling Green we went.
Bowling Green ended up being relatively quick to ride through. We slowed down as we went through the downtown area, but it wasn't that big, so we got out pretty fast. It was really crowded though. I think it was lunch time. It was so crowded, we had to wait through multiple red lights just to get through many of the stoplights. We tried to pedal as hard as we could when the lights would turn green, but we're still slower than the cars, so we held up the traffic behind us. At one point, someone passed us and yelled out the window, "Get off the road!". That's the first time we've been told that. It was kind-of a bummer. I know that it must be frustrating for other cars to have us riding in their lane, especially when the streets are already so jammed up, but we didn't have anywhere else to go because there wasn't a shoulder, and the sidewalk was on-again, off-again.
We finally made it out of downtown and stopped to have lunch at Arby's. We ate at a table next to these two old farmers who asked question after question about our bike trip. I was so surprised that they were so interested in our trip, but it was fun talking with them. After lunch was over, we went out to get our bikes and this guy named Larry Slack pulled his bike up by ours. He lives close to the Arby's and just rode his bike to eat. He likes to ride, and he thought what we were doing was really cool. We gave him our web site address, and then, before we left, he pulled out his wallet and gave us some "lunch money"!! How nice! Thanks, Larry!
As we rode out of Bowling Green, our next task was to get a picture in front of the Corvette Museum. We ended up only seeing one small sign for museum, but never saw the museum itself. Too bad. Oh well. Good thing I'm not obsessed anymore.
After a few more hours of riding through the beautiful, green Kentucky hills, we made it to Cave City! It was amazing to have made it all the way. It feels sort-of unreal to be here. We've been planning this stop ever since the beginning of the trip, and it was always "aaaallllllll the way over to Kentucky", and it always seemed so far away. But now, here we are! Amazing. "Good job, us!", is all I keep thinking.
Nathan's parents were waiting for us out by the road of the hotel we're going to spend the weekend at. Nathan and I rode up to the hotel, but when we got there, we didn't see anyone. We were kind-of surprised, but then we heard some screams from the other side of the parking lot. When we looked, Nathan's mom and sister were laughing and racing each other down a hill towards us. They were waiting for us at a different entrance - nice try, guys! We all hugged and laughed that we were at different entrances, and then we went inside to park our bikes, warm up, and head out to dinner.
Nathan's parents' gift to us was two nights in the hotel in our own room. Now THAT is a good gift!! And our room even had a jaccuzzi in it!!! When I saw that, I was so happy! My poor, achey knees need a good, warm soak, but we never really have anywhere to soak them, so this was awesome! For dinner, we went to a Chinese/Japanese/Italian/American buffet. In addition to all the other food, the buffet also had all-you-can-eat ice cream - like 7 or 8 flavors!! So after dinner, Nathan and I had a bunch. :-)
Then it was back to the hotel for showers, games, and a niiiiiiiiice, loooooooooooong soak in the super-hot jacuzzi. Ahhhhhhhhhh :-) My knees were soooooo happy.
Nathan and I snuggled into our warm and cozy king-sized bed and talked for a while. We started with our typical rest-day conversation by reviewing which muscles and bones are sore, then talking about happy we are to have a rest day tomorrow. But then we talked about something we haven't hardly ever talked about....the end of the trip.
Snuggling all cozy under the poofy comforter and thinking over the events of the evening - seeing Nathan's family, soaking in a jacuzzi, playing games - we started thinking about living in a house again, seeing family and friends more often, and being done with the bike trip....
We're less than a month from the end. We've come so far, and we're getting pretty close to the East coast. It's weird to think that we're almost done. Man, yeah, that's so weird.
It was kind-of a strange conversation, but probably impossible NOT to have when we're surrounded by so many things that remind us of home.
Tomorrow, we're going to Mammoth Cave and who knows what kind of shenanigans will happen when we're all together..especially from Zach, Nathan's brother-in-law. (Love you, Zach!)
Whatever happens, we're so happy to be here. This is a well deserved weekend off!
Goodnight everyone. Sweet dreams.