Woke up to a nice sunny day. To add to the sun it was my birthday. made a couple of calls home and answered a few text messages. Packed up all my gear and locked up the church on the way out. Had to be doubly sure if i took everything since i did not have a key to open the door after it locked up behind me. Headed to the general store. Small shop that sells everything that is needed i town. They sell hammers, chicken cages, bacon, sandwich and coffee. After a large breakfast of couple of sandwiches and couple of cups of coffee headed out towards the town of Harrodsburg. As i as entering the town, I decided to skip it entirely and stop at the next town about 10 miles away. Andrew had told me about the town of Burgin and that they had a hostel. Since i wasn’t able to make it here the previous night at least i could get some coffee in town.

IMG_20180719_074854.jpgThe church from last night

The ride to Burgin was long and hard. The hills don’t make it easy. To get out of the town of Harrodsburg I had to cross a couple of traffic stops and a large highway . Finally out of the town and slowly climbed to Burgin. The town was simply super plain with a couple of stores, a train track and a gas station. Went into the gas station and met a Gujarati guy running the place. Got talking to him and discovered that he was working here trying to put both his daughters through college and cant stop counting the days to go back home.  He offered to buy me a cup of coffee.When i asked him what he had from India, he pulled out a large box of mixture and parle G. Sat outside eating that and was almost ready to go when i asked him if he had someone at home who could cook lunch. He called home and then gave me his lunch box. His box will come in a few hours. Sat in the shop eating a wonderful homemade Indian meal. I was dragging all the way to Burgin and now the day just got better. Just a little Gujarati food and I was back ready to kill it.

IMG_20180719_123702.jpgA very indian lunch

IMG_20180719_125746.jpgMy Gujarati life saver

As I rode further towards Kirksville met a tourer called Senior Chief who was riding from Boston to Astoria. He had about 6 months to do the ride. Asked him about his experience and he loved it. He was wearing a jersey that had the American flag. Maybe LE should buy one of those. Quickly exchanged information about the road ahead and got back on. Chief had told me about a rest stop on the way on top of a hill near Kirksville. Slowly climbed the hill and reached the rest stop. To get on the hill the road was windy and narrow and the rest stop was an oasis on top of the hill. They even had a cooler filled with water, soda and some food. Chilled there for a little bit killing time. Was trying to hide from the heat as much as possible. As i looked at the map figured i should get to the town of Mckee.

IMG_20180719_111702.jpgWith Senior Chief, Notice his jersey

Slowly made my way to the town of Berea. Started to look for a nice place to get a meal, wanted a nice birthday meal. Unfortunately i had rushed out of the CBD region and to climb back if i wanted a restaurant. Decided to go to the town of Big sky and get something to eat rather than riding back. Berea is a college town but is setup a little different from other towns. There are no small restaurants in the campus area. After a nice ride to Big sky and a chat with Aaron who gave me an update on the road condition ahead I finally reached. Got a nice large pizza at the gas station. A couple of people were sitting on the same table so shared the pizza with them. Chatted with them for a little bit and again was warned about Hazard. Was told to shut up and ride through. Apparently eastern part of Kentucky now was starting. The coal belt is known for rough folks.

IMG_20180719_162322.jpgThe wonderful  trail angels

The climb after the gas station was long and hard. By the time I got to the top it had gotten dark. It seemed like it was time to stop and find a place to stay. Reached the town of sand gap and found a church just on the road. There were a couple of people standing outside the church. Asked them about the pastor but he had locked up and left. The lady who was standing there offered to let me stay on the porch of the church. She gave me a blanket from her car. It was slightly cold and would get colder as it got later into the night. Just as I was about to setup my selling roll on the porch, I noticed that the post office was next door. Quickly ran over to the post office and it was open and even had a plug point to charge my phones. Decided to sleep in the post office rather than the church. Since i had unpacked my bags it took a little while to move everything over. Finally was setup for the night. The next task was to get some water to wash my t-shirt and myself. No tap in sight i used the water i had. Now I only had 1 bottle left for the night and would need to fill up first thing in the morning.

Somewhere on the road

Finally in bed. What seems to have started as a dull day turned out to super nice. The Gujarati gas station attendant and the lady at the church were super generous expecting nothing in return.  The last few years I have been on the road on my birthday. Somehow i manage to either be riding my bike or motorcycle during this time of the year. It would be nice to see if the next year would be better.

Lesson for the day: Parle G is the largest selling biscuit across the world. Finding something that resembles home in a place middle of nowhere brings joy.

Up Next:  Day 49, Sand gap to Dwarf