Day 29: Berea to Harrodsburg

Yesterday, after hanging out in the library in Berea, Crispin and I took a walk downtown. We came across a sculpture about the Berea schools. They were very progressive in that they accepted black students before the Civil War. On the walk back, we decided to have dinner at El Rio Grande, a Mexican restaurant recommended by Dan, who was in Berea the day before.

Berea schools statue

The weather was beautiful so Crispin and I took our time with our food. I had a Corona and a taco-enchilada-burrito plate and tried to decide if I want to order the Ortlieb panniers that every single long distance cyclist has.

Dinner from El Rio Grande

After we finished eating, we rode our bikes to the Berea fire station #2 that’s about a mile outside of downtown Berea. The chief allowed us to camp on the lawn in the back and offered us a shower to use. That was the first time I used a shower in a fire station. The chief also told us the roads westward are much flatter and no major hills like the ones we passed in eastern Kentucky and Virginia. We were so happy to hear that!

Our tents in front of the sunset in Berea

After setting up the tents and both of us took a shower, Crispin and I took a walk around the fire station. We came across an ATM so I took out some cash since I was running low. Crispin and I chatted while the sun was setting. I realized that this bicycle trip is an adventure, not just traveling. The difference is that in an adventure you don’t know what’s going to happen, where you’re going to stay, and what you’re going to eat. There’s more uncertainty. But I love it.

When the sky turned dark, we went to our tents and called it a night.

This morning, we were woken up by the sound of thunder at 5 AM. Crispin decided to fold up everything and place his things under the firehouse training building. I did the same thing. Luckily the storm was short lived and none of our things got wet.

We headed back into downtown Berea to grab some breakfast. A fireman in the downtown fire station told us to have breakfast at the Dinner Bell restaurant, so we went there. We had western omelettes and coffee. At 8 AM, we started riding toward Danville rather than following the TransAmerica route. Dan had warned us the bridge was flooded near Burgin, so Crispin and I decided to use Google Maps on my Pixel 2  phone for an alternate route. We planned on stopping at a bicycle shop in Danville and get lunch some where in town.

The ride was indeed flatter than previous days, but there were still some inclines to go up. We came to a town called Lancaster and decided to have a break in Grate Day’s Grille and Cafe. I had some caramel ice cream and Crispin got a fruit cup with ice cream on top. Crispin is a very friendly person and talked to the waiter about our trip. By the time we were finished, the waiter, whose name is Andrew, decided to buy us the ice cream. I wasn’t going to let him do that, but then I realized the lesson I had learned: if people want to help you, accept their kindness. So I accepted Andrew’s kindness.

Me with ice cream, Andrew is in the background

When we arrived in Danville, we decided to visit the bike shop first. We told the young man, who is about my age, about our concerns for our bikes. Mine are the brake pads, the tire tread, and the chain. After dropping off our bikes, Crispin and I ate lunch next door at Tut’s, an Egyptian restaurant. I had a chicken shawarma plate and an ale soda that’s locally made. After lunch, I decided to call and order the Ortlieb panniers from a bike shop in Carbondale, Illinois, so that when I get there in about a week I’ll pick it up. Crispin and I then stopped at local CVS so I can buy more ibuprofen and a Mother’s Day card. Even though I only have one allergy pill left, I decided not to buy any since my allergies are getting better. Crispin bought a charger plug and a waterproof bag. We also stopped by a coffee shop to get some smoothies to cool off since the temperature was reaching the low 80s in the afternoon.

We came back to the bike shop and the owner of the shop was there. I couldn’t believe how many things he did to improve my bike. He changed the brake pads, lubed the chain, adjusted my kickstand, cleaned my bike, and did a few other things. The total was a little less than $50 and I felt my bike got a new life. The owner’s name is Ernst and the young man is his oldest son, Andrew. Both of them have bicycled across the United States. I was so surprised at the care that Ernst gave to my bike and Crispin’s. No wonder Ernst received an award from Adventure Cycling.

Ernst and Andrew of the Danville Bike and Footwear

After we bid farewell to the best bike mechanic we came across, Crispin and I rode off on a four lane highway all the way to Harrodsburg. On the way, my bike odometer reached 1000 miles. My actual mileage is about 12 miles more because the bike computer had malfunctioned a few times. We reached in Harrodsburg before 5 PM at our Warmshowers host’s house. Our host is a very nice guy named Robby. He allowed us to camp in the backyard and use the shower. He even allowed us to use the washer and dryer to do laundry.

Reached 1000 miles!

Robby and his dog, Katie

After I took a shower I weighed myself. I’m currently at 151 pounds. I lost almost another 10 pounds since the last time I weighed myself. Since I started the trip I lost a total of 19 pounds.

Our campsite for tonight

Crispin had the idea of ordering pizza from Papa John’s for everyone. So we had pizza and soda for dinner. Tonight, I might sleep on the hammock in the backyard if it doesn’t rain. However, I already got bitten by a few mosquitoes, so I'll sleep in my tent instead.