Day 21: Kentucky Canines and Caverns

 

tumblr_nxxoctW2uM1uj13z1o1_1280Maybe because yesterday was Sunday, maybe because people like to stay inside here, or maybe because mountain spirits regularly transform people into dogs here- I’ve seen more dogs than humans for most of the last two days. Western Virginia/Eastern Kentucky has every kind of dog imaginable- big dogs, small dogs, huge dogs, tiny dogs, loud dogs, quiet dogs, dogs in cages, dogs on chains, dogs that follow you half a mile down the road, dogs that ignore you, dogs that come over and sit with you while you’re having lunch. I will now do my best Roger Williams impression to describe my encounters with some dogs, including liberally replacing “s” with “f”:
The beasts, which possess four legf, doth run, bark, and yap without fail when a rider paff them by. One could believe that they have nothing to do all day, being penned up in cage and held by chain, and made to protect their mafter’s home. On occasion, one of thefe creatures will break free and thuf does follow, tapping at the wheels of mine trailer or attempting (with no great succeff) to halt my westward progreff.

Thanks for letting me get that out of my system.

tumblr_nxxoctW2uM1uj13z1o2_1280I can also see why there is so much coal mining here- coal literally falls out of the hillside onto the road. I took a break next to an intriguing looking cave, and upon venturing inside, found that it was an abandoned coal mine. “Sweet,” I thought, “this is both a fascinating geologic formation and a great way to die!” I grabbed a handful of semi-anthracite and headed out, before I could get lost, caved in, asphyxiate, get black lung, cause and explosion, or any of the other typical hazards of coal mining. I’d actually hoped to find fossils in the cave, and I suspect that there were a few if I’d taken the time to explore, but I’m happy to say that I avoided the temptation and returned to scanning for fossils as I biked- not very fruitful, but possibly safer nonetheless.

tumblr_nxxoctW2uM1uj13z1o3_1280Continuing on, I stopped at H.C. Sparks’ grocery, where I found they’ve been keeping a logbook of every cyclist to pass by (and stop in) for the last 40 years. I didn’t take a picture of the store- it was great, half of it was grocery, half of it was a hardware store, and the last half was an “indoor yard sale”- but you will notice the Log Cabin Cathedral right across the street, a fascinating sight to behold as you eat peanut butter sandwiches.

tumblr_nxxoctW2uM1uj13z1o4_1280Post sandwich break, high points included reaching 1,234 miles and breaking into song (1, 2, 3, 4, climbing hills, my legs are sore…) à la Feist, and seeing another very lovely sunset as I came into Booneville.

Booneville is a city that, despite its appearance on the map, is actually just an intersection of 4 highways, with the county courthouse at the center. It’s actually a very interesting proto-traffic circle- the highways all meet, and you can just do laps around the courthouse without ever actually going anywhere. It is also a great place to camp out. @adventurecycling

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