While checking out of the motel this morning, the employee asked if I was heading north. When I replied "west," he nodded towards the weather forecast on the tv and wished me good luck. We already knew that some wet weather was rolling in, so we were leaving early to try to get to our next location before it got too bad.
We were about six miles in and had just gotten to the top of our first climb when some ominous clouds began to engulf the area. The closest shelter was the gas station at the bottom of the hill that we had just come from, but we decided it was the smartest move. We bought a few things and asked one of the attendants if we could hangout inside until the storm passed. "Inside, outside, wherever" was his mumbled response. After about two hours of gin rummy, we were able to get out and moving again.
The scenery wasn't too different than yesterday's; the extreme poverty is not something I was expecting nor is it something I will get used to. I have noticed that the most sad looking homes are also the ones with the American flag waving the highest.
I was riding down a street today where a man and woman were picking through what looked like a burned down (or possibly collapsed) house. While I was looking at that on my left, a small boy of maybe 7 tried catching up to me on his bike on my right hollering, "Hey mister! Where ya from?" I slowed down to talk to him, but his mother called him back to his yard after a few seconds. As I continued on, I heard him shout: "Bye, bike brother! Bike brothers for life!" You better believe I'm telling people I'm in a Kentucy biker gang for now on.
I've noticed that there have been less pickup trucks than we've seen since we left Yorktown; they are still the most common type of vehicle we share the road with, but there are just less. We have seen a different type of vehicle emerging on the streets of Kentucky, though: ATVs. We were pretty surprised to see people just rolling through town in ATVs; I saw one get into a fender bender yesterday and I couldn't help but laugh. It was just an absurd scene to witness.
We're currently posted up in a pavilion behind a Protestant church in Booneville, Kentucky (not sure it can get more Kentucky than that). The fog has set in all around and there are scattered fireworks going off around the fields. The combination of those things mixed with being in the south kind of makes it feel like I'm in a civil war reenactment, except the whole part where I'm sitting on a picnic table writing this on my phone.
We met 3 men today that are doing the reverse of our trip. One guy said, "You're gonna love it. You're gonna hate it, too, but you're gonna love it." They all were grinning very widely; you could tell that they knew they were in the home stretch. I am very excited to feel that myself. Sidenote: Just about every person we've met on this trail is retired. I mean I'm unemployed, so I guess that's kind of the same thing, right?