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Grandpa Lost His Mind
A Journal - Crossing America by Bicycle

June 25, 2007      Miles 44      Total miles 3206      Ended at: Sebree, Kentucky


It was raining outside when I got up this morning but not too hard. I went to a cafe and ate breakfast and after eating I waited under an awning until the rain let up and left Shawneetown. It is only a few miles from the Kentucky border. It started sprinkling by the time I got to the border and I ended up riding for over three hours in the rain before it let up.

There are a lot of barges on the river and all of them I saw were loaded with coal.

This is one of the first houses I saw as I crossed the border and for some reason I thought of the song, "My Old Kentucky Home." There are so many beautiful old and new homes in western Kentucky. It seems everybody keeps their yards manicured and nearly everybody in the country has a vegetable garden which is tended very nicely.
When I met Bill, it was around noon time and he had been picking up cans since 6:00 AM. He told me he had collected over ten pounds. I asked him how much he gets for aluminum cans and he said 68 cents per pound. He said it rained on him all morning.
I saw several horse ranches and several of these large chicken farms today. They are spread among large fields of corn, soy beans, and tobacco. All the chicken farms I saw had different farm names but they also had Tyson on their signs as well.

There are a lot of old tobacco drying barns which seem to be neglected. I expect at one time tobacco was a much larger crop than it is today.

I liked this old house in Sebree because the playhouse on the left is similar to the main house.
As I have ridden across the nation, I have found that most cyclists network and pass on pertinent information to each other. I have heard from nearly every person I passed, going to the west, that I had to stop in Sebree, Kentucky at the First Baptist Church because they had set up a hostel for bicyclists. When I pulled into Sebree, I was greeted by these fine young men who made sure I knew about the church. I thought I was hearing a different language when one of the boys said, "My Mamma taches Anglish hare at Saybree." They were all very polite and very heavy with the, "Yes Sir."

This is the First Baptist Church in the small town of 1,500 people. There is another Baptist church very near this one. On the right is an annex to the church and the lower level is used as the bike hostel. As I approached the church the pastor's wife, Violet, had gotten word that I was pulling into town and she was coming to look for me. The pastor, Bob Hardison, was sitting outside getting his lesson plan ready for the week. I rode up on Ol' Blue and he rode around the parking lot on my bike. He said it was the first recumbent he has ridden and found it to be difficult to ride.

Bob and Violet are two people with incredible energy. They have been inviting cyclists into their home on a daily basis for five years. When I arrived, there were three other cyclists at the church. Violet told us to come to the house at 6:00 for supper. What a feast they prepared! After we sat down to eat another biker showed up and then another. They just kept putting out more plates and we had just the best time you can imagine. Violet and Bob have been married for 38 years and she said it is great to be married to her best friend ever.

Can you imagine they cook like this all during the cycling season for complete strangers? I guess I should also mention they made homemade strawberry and chocolate ice cream and cookies too. Violet also washed, dried, and folded everybodys clothes. The guy in the long sleeves is Rob, from Pennsylvania. He says he is a ski bum in the winter and a bike bum in the summer. He is thinking about joining the Peace Corps. He rode over 100 miles today. To the right are a couple of cousins, named Cory and Guy, who are both 18 years old. They rode 175 miles yesterday and last night with just napping along the way. They were exhausted. On the left is Larry. Larry's father started the O'Reilly Auto Parts business and they own over 1,800 stores. Larry has done a lot of cycling over the years both here and abroad. He has also been married for 38 years.

I told you about Rob and the guy on the right is Tzuo who came in later and joined us to eat. When Tzuo came into the dining room he was asking if anyone had seen Grandpa. I assumed maybe he was talking about me and he was. He was all excited and said he hoped he would catch up to me as he was going across country. He and Rob said I have a growing reputation all the way to the west coast. I don't know if it is a good or bad reputation and honestly have no clue why anybody would mention me to anyone else but it was funny anyway. Tzuo is riding long miles everyday because he is going to leave America and ride across Russia and then across China. He wants his dad to join him and since his dad and I are the same age, he asked me to write his father and try to convince him it can be done. I really don't know where these young people get their enormous strength. The best part is they are all so very, very pleasant.

I also got this very nice card from Jolene Wahl. How great is this?!