Find Your Way
May 18, 2002
Pippa Passes to Hazard

Today's Miles = 30.8
Average Speed = 9.9 mph
Maximum Speed = 37.7 mph
Total Miles = 704.5

Imagine a breakfast of food you find in a 7-11. Now imagine a breakfast in a 7-11 that is sold out of breakfast food. That was where I found myself after riding past several fast-food restaurants in search of "something better", when I finally realized that "something better" wasn't going to materialize and I had to eat something. Since a minimarket was the only "something" around at this time I stopped and had a morning meal of coffee, nachos, and two slices of pizza. Energized for the day that lay ahead, I headed onwards.

I had thought Kentucky had seemed a bit unkempt yesterday, but I'll admit that she seemed to getting her act together today. The welcoming committee of dogs and roosters that had met me at the border were nowhere to be seen. The ribbon of trash faded away to a trickle, and the lushness of the state began to show. It seemed like every road I passed along followed a stream or creek, and waterfalls abounded as the recent rain came trickling off the surrounding hills. Kentucky has mores miles of running water than any state except Alaska, and this part of the state's nature is beginning to show.

The day was mostly cold and drizzly and, despite the high-performance fuel I had fed them, my muscles were slow to warm up. In my mind I weighed riding to my original destination of Buckhorn versus making it a short day and stopping in Hazard. Since I knew of no stop between these two locations it meant I had either a 30-mile day or a 60-mile day, and I decided to ride to Hazard and make my final decision there.

Just as I was arriving in Hazard I noticed I had another broken spoke. I decided that this was a sign that I was meant to stay here, so I checked into a motel early in the afternoon called it a day. Motel days are turning out to more useful than I had originally expected. Not only is it nice to have the comfort of a room, it is good to have a day where I can count on a phone line, running water, power outlets, space to sort my belongings, and space to work on my bike. I think that checking into a room early is the best way to maximize my "room time", and will probably be doing this once a week or so.

The map of my progress so far shows that I am about one-sixth done with this journey. I'm about a week away from having to contend with the flooding on the Ohio River ahead, so I'm going to keep on riding west and I'll see what fate deals me when I get there. Physically I'm doing well - I feel my legs getting stronger every day and my lungs are doing better than I would have expected them to. I'm mostly happy with my bike and gear, with the exception of my rear wheel. Loaded touring puts a lot of strain on a rear wheel, since it has to bear not only the weight of the bike and rider but also the gear that I've brought along. Nonetheless, a properly built wheel should be holding up better than this and I've already used half of the spare spokes that I brought along. I was hoping to make it as far as Colorado before having to have the wheel rebuilt, but now I'm leaning more towards a service stop in Illinois. I still have five spare spokes and I'll just have to see how far they can take me.


Hi Nick,

It seems you are having more touble with your bike than others who keep in touch with me. It has to get better, don't you think?

The motels sound like a great break from camping outside. By the way, has any of my 35+ bikers caught up with you yet? We haven't had any bikers for a couple of days now, so we are waiting for more. May the Lord go with you.

Next Sunday will be my last one here at Willis Church, however, when we move, I'll keep my same e-mail address. I have enjoyed your website to date. Keep the news coming in.

Posted by: Manning Harrell on May 19, 2002 06:21 PM

Enjoying reading about your trip but I have to tell you that you have one bad rear wheel, not that you don't already know... I've done 10,000 miles of bicycle touring with panniers and have never had a broken spoke, front or rear. Hope you can get that rear wheel fixed before Colorado...

Posted by: Denis on May 19, 2002 07:05 PM

All I can really do is keep an eye on the wheel until I make it to a town large enough to have a bike shop. If the worst occurred, I could always hole up in a motel and have a new wheel shipped to me.

I'm told that once a wheel starts to go bad, there isn't much recourse except rebuilding or replacing it.

Posted by: Nick on May 21, 2002 08:41 AM
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