Days 35 & 36 - The Gateway to the Appalachians

Berea, KY was my destination after leaving Charlie and Sonora, KY.  Day 35 was my last day of fun in the rolling hills of Kentucky, and I ventured into the more aggressive slopes of eastern, and rural KY.  

I must say, however, that these were two days of my trip that were spent much more focused on reflection, as opposed to any interesting people/places. 

For cyclists, here's a tip - from Sonora, if you take US31E to US150 all the way to Berea, you pass through Springfield and Danville.  Both towns, and a couple others like it (Lancaster springs to mind) are very picturesque.  It really is a shame that they aren't on the main route, as they are also home to many of Kentucky's whiskey/bourbon powerhouses, like Makers Mark. 

Day 36 brought me to Hazard, KY.  Hazard was definitely a coal built town.  Going anywhere required use of the highway.  This included the convenience store/gas station/grocery.  The Hazard Double Kwik wasn't exactly my idea of gourmet dining, so I prepared myself for another night of PopTarts and bananas.  But wait - what is that?  Is that a kitchen back there?  That smell...it smells like a restaurant...um, gas station cashier?  I'll take the chicken tenders and the spaghetti please!  Oh, and I'll be back for breakfast.  Thanks for being edible, and actually quite good. 

Other than the Double Kwik, the main thing to note is that my 100 mile days are becoming increasingly hard to sustain.  The Appalachians sure are steep.  Doable, but steep.  Eastern Kentucky is also becoming a little eerie.  I'm getting a very "The Hills Have Eyes" feeling.  Every switchback corner I take reveals another mobile home or run down log cabin with sets of eyes peering at me over an open can of Budweiser.  Weird.  I can't wait to leave Kentucky.