Day 18: Ohio River hydroplanes; no cold beer

7/2/15: 70 miles, Sanders, Ky., to Charlestown, Ind.

Today was our second day in Kentucky. We had a humid night’s sleep at Eagle Valley campground, a black hole of cell service. John and I were particularly sore, as though we’d spent all of yesterday sprinting the final stretch of a crit. Then it dawned on us as soon as we made it out of camp: dogs.

The day before, we’d hammered down at least a dozen times after being chased by dogs. Trying to outrun a dog on a loaded touring bike is like running through a swamp from an angry hornet. Just aren’t going to get anywhere quickly. And it made us sore.

The morning brought persistent sheets of drizzle. But at least it began with a friendly stray, who decided to run about 4 miles alongside us before darting off to a farm.

#Kentucky #dogs #biketour

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In Carrolton, Ky., we stopped at a Subway for some breakfast sandwiches, WiFi, and a respite from the rain. The rain let up after lunchtime, when we hit the road and crossed the Ohio River, again, this time into Indiana at Madison.

There were some streets closed off behind which globs of people — groups that seemed too big for a speck of an Ohio River town — bumbled around in anticipation of some event. Outside of a grocery store, we talked to a motorcycle touring couple from West Palm Beach who told us that the qualifying races for the Indiana Governor’s Cup, an annual H1 hydroplane boat race on the river, were getting underway. Think NASCAR of hydroplane boats. Apparently they delayed the event a day because the Ohio had swelled to high levels due to recent rains.

Guys at the gate let John and I check out the staging area since they weren’t yet racing.
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Working our way out of Madison, we took on a giant climb up to Hanover, past Hanover College. [I failed to mention that we were now on the Adventure Cycling’s Underground Railroad route to get us through the Ohio River Valley.]

The rest of our day, as soon as we left Kentucky, dazzled us with blue skies and corn fields. In Charleston, Ind., we stopped in a park where an evangelical Christian gathering was selling ice cream. You know we hit that up. John and I didn’t mind the guy with a guitar and PA in the gazebo encouraging the crowd to sing along about Jesus. But eventually we moseyed on to get beer.

Weird law we learned: Indiana doesn’t sell cold beer wherever cold milk is sold. So we had to find a liquor store.

We set up camp at Charlestown State Park, a clean and well-signed swath of woods along the Ohio River. Had the cleanest state park bathroom I’ve ever seen. John slept under a picnic table:

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We were in striking distance of Louisville, where we’d end up the next day.

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