Journey of Discovery bicycle tour



August 6: When the traveler leaves Berea toward the east, everything changes. You leave the rolling hills and southern "gentile-ness" of Western and Central Kentucky and enter the Appalachian Mountain region. The natural beauty of this place is sharply contrasted by the poverty of the area. Mobile homes abound and abandoned trailers sit like memorials on over-grown patches of land. Unrestrained canines threaten the unexpecting cyclist with intimidation tactics and seem to thrive on a good chase. Needless to say, hills have gotten steeper and much longer.

The storm clouds had been collecting throughout the afternoon as I approached Booneville, in the Eastern Kentucky mountains. Just after I had pulled in front of the small "downtown" strip of businesses, and underneath an awning, the heavens opened with a deluge. It poured straight down for about an hour—just long enough to grab a salad at the "country-cookin'" place. I sat in a booth next to a couple in their late 50s. After exchanging stories for a little bit, they were so excited about my journey that they offered to pay for my fare. Thanks so much! I've been humbled by the kindness and generosity of so many along the way. I can't begin to name or include them all. BTW, the local Presbyterian Church has been welcoming cross-country cyclists for more than two-decades, having built a shelter and shower facility behind the church building. What a blessing! (Sorry for this poor quality picture.)

© Ted Phelps * * * Photos captured using an Olympus C-5500Z
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