My ride from Morganfield to Owensboro was beautiful. The Kentucky I know and remember from the central part of KY I've visited in the past are typical here too. Plenty of Bar-BQ options, many small towns (although Kentucky is an urban metropolis compared to Kansas and Missouri!), corn fields, fences, horses and farms. Its rolling hills are fun and not too strenuous (yet!). I've slimmed my mileage down from 70-80 to 40-50 a day this week to stop and enjoy. I've met tons of amazing people already in my two days here. Although, I was pretty impressed I haven't had one whistle, one sexual harassment remark the entire trip and guess what? Three whistles from 3 different cars passing me. Still not ok... but I do stick out in my spandex and bicycle. Ohhhh, Kentucky.
I stayed in Owensboro, on the Ohio River with warmshowers.org host Danielle and her 5 year old adorable daughter Ava. Danielle's mom, Pat, lives across the street and when I pulled onto their street, three people were frantically waving me over! It was great to be greeted outside their home and within seconds I heard an accent that was not from Kentucky from both Pat and Danielle. What was it I heard? Could it be? A New York accent in Owensboro Kentucky? Yup! Originality from Merrick NY, and moved here around 2005 (work related). And, both Pat and Danielle are pretty serious cyclists! I showered up, did laundry, and we all sat for dinner an hour later. Their friend Schley came over to eat with us as well, another avid cyclist. He told us we talk so fast. I mean, get two original New Yorkers, a Nutmegger (CT) with a mom from Long Island (me) and we talk loud and fast. It's just the dynamic of who we are! There's a culture to it...but funny being in Kentucky experiencing it. I enjoyed kid-time with Ava and as always, crashed and slept very well. Pat brought me to Smothers Park, the new beautiful waterfront park. The city invested a lot to redesign the waterfront and it looks fabulous.
I looked at the weather forecast for the day and it said rain, most of the day and heavy at night near my destination, Falls of Rough State Park. So, before leaving Danielle and Ava's home, I checked www.warmshowers.org and found hosts close to there that got back to me within the hour. Beth and Garry would be hosting me that evening!
I'm not even sure how to fully explain the beautiful setting of Beth and Garry's home. They live on 60 acres and have custom built a fabulous home. They moved to KY from NJ, but have their property on the market to move to Omaha NE to be closer to their son and grandchildren. You can check out their property if you do a search on Facebook for Kentucky Home and Farm For Sale.
In January, I came to Kentucky to do work with the KY Department of Education's Coordinated School Health team (Todd, Steph and Jamie) and stayed through the weekend with Jamie to hang out in Lexington, see some more colleagues (Melissa from Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the organization I'm trying to raise $25,000 for), and just hang out. On Sunday, Jamie brought me to his hometown, Morehead, in Eastern KY to see the town and surrounding area (beautiful!) and meet his grandparents. While there, I noticed the barn quilts and asked about them. Jamie said it was something to do with tourism and quilts, but I didn't get much more out if him. Fast forward to Beth and Garry's because Beth actually paints these barn quilts for her county with a group of people! And, she paints them on her own for friends and for sale. I got the full story from Beth on these beautiful art pieces and was surprised to hear they hang in a majority of states, but have only seen them here in Kentucky! For more information on these click here.
Beth and Garry's friend Jay was visiting from the Bay Area and the four of us enjoyed an evening filled with laughter, conversations, dog-snuggling (Nikki, Norm and Robin/Lorraine... I already miss you), and Garry's amazing culinary expertise... a five-star dinner! I stayed in their adorable cabin next to their gorgeous home and woke up to sounds of birds all around the property. Unfortunately it was cloudy, however, still a majestic setting. I got up early to take some photos of the property which includes not only the land, but fields for hay, 2 horses, 3 dogs, 10 laying chickens and a cat named Oscar, named for resembling The Grouch.
I left for Elizabethtown with a full stomach of 2 poached eggs on top of a heap of veggies, potatoes and leftover chicken from dinner the night prior, cooked of course, by Garry!