A Monologue with the Æther

A Bicycle Odyssey

Day Twenty-nine: Friday 27 July 1990

Slade, KY to Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY

The only thing that really stands out in my mind about this day was getting a flat somewhere out in blue grass country. The road was a two lane blacktop with embankments on either side. When I got the flat, I had to cross the road and climb the embankment to find enough area to work safely. At this time, I was still unloading and removing wheels to fix flats. I had just climbed up and was starting the process of fixing the flat when a pick-up truck left the farm which pasture I was beside. The pick-up passed me and slowed and the couple inside gave me a good look over. I guess they decided that I was harmless enough as they neither stopped nor spoke and soon sped off. But, what makes it stand out in my memory is that as I neared the finish of fixing the flat, I heard these muffled shufflely thuds behind me. When I turned to look, I was shocked to find maybe twenty to thirty cows pushing against the fence staring at me and the ones at the back of the crowd where trying to climb the ones in front to get a better look. I was completely creeped out and vowed from that day forward to never let a cow go uneaten.

The other thing I remember about this day is that sometime around midday, I stopped at a 7-11 to grab a Gatorade (the real stuff not the sugary soft drink it is now), use the toilet, and refill my water bottles. I was the only person in there other than the clerk. As headed to the checkout stand, three boys all around twelve or thirteen in age came into the store and preceded me to the checkout. They wanted chaw (chewing tobacco). Up until recently, they would have gotten their chaw, paid, and left, but Kentucky had decided to start enforcing its age limit on tobacco (at the time 16, like most tobacco states). Now, these youngsters were quite worked up and giving the poor woman working the counter no end of shit because she wouldn’t sell them the chaw. The kids were yelling and cussing. Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore especially since I wanted to drink my Gatorade and get back on the rode. So I told the little shits to “shut the fuck up and get out”. I also told them that it wasn’t fair to take out their frustration on the clerk who did not want to lose her job for selling tobacco to minors. They all glared at me and sulked out of the store. The weary clerk thanked me and rang up my purchase. I left.

Late in the afternoon, I started trying to figure out where I would sleep that night. On one of my convenience store Gatorade breaks (I endured on Gatorade and PowerBars. My only meals were breakfast and dinner), I enquired about camping spots and was directed to Kentucky Horse Park outside of Lexington, KY. It being the weekend and it coinciding with some event the campground was full, but luckily for me, they were permitting primitive camping that is allowing tents in ares without pads and no hookups. I didn’t need any of those things, so no bother, plus they were permitting access to the showers which is all I cared about.