Day 68: (55 miles) We woke up at the campsite and were able to really take in the beauty of the park now that we had some daylight. The pond was still as were most of the campers. We headed on our way, sad to not have more time to explore the park, but the muggy weather is relentless and we wanted to beat the heat as best we could. We stopped by the grocery store IGA on our way out of town for coffee, granola bars, and an apple. As we were checking out the cashier asked where we were headed, when we said Brandenburg, she said “OH! well that’s a haul in a car!” when we proceeded to tell her that we had come from California her eyes got as big as our apple and she wished us safe travels. As we walked out we heard her shout to the whole store that “They biked from San Diego!!!!” The first part of our day was climbing, but we followed the river so we had some great scenic overlooks to take in. We also passed the Riverfront Restaurant which was overflowing with people celebrating Mothers day. As it neared the lunch hour, we passed through a few small towns, most with little to nothing to offer in the way of a cold drink or snack. There was one gas station that we contemplated stopping at but decided it was a little too early and our map showed a convenience store a few miles down the road. Thinking that would be a better option, we pushed on only to find out it was closed. So, we borrowed the shade at the end of someone’s driveway to enjoy our lunch. A couple steep hills and a few factories later, we made it to Brandenburg where we check into our hotel. It was bittersweet to find out we lost an hour because of the time change since it meant an hour less in the airconditioning, but also we were officially on East Coast Time! After showering, we grabbed a bite at Little Dave’s Roadhouse, watched a few episodes of Big Bang Theory, and forced ourselves to bed early to try to get in sync with our new time zone.
Day 69: (58 miles) We overslept this morning- after the alarm went off we both drifted back to sleep. Apparently we weren’t ready for east coast time. Once we finally emerged, we snagged some breakfast and hit the road for another hot day. Before we made it a mile we realized our odometer wasn’t working and the typical troubleshooting remedies didn’t work. Being Shayna’s lifeline, we tried to stop and find a replacement battery to no avail. This was going to be a rough day. Within two miles we had crossed the Ohio River into Indiana. The terrain consisted of regular climbs and descents. Not long after being in the new state, a local cyclist caught up to us to ask about our trip. He climbed a bit with us and then continued on to his usual route. In Corydon, at Butts Drugs, we were finally able to find a replacement battery for the odometer sensor. Elated that we would again be able to track our progression we immediately switched them out. Unfortunately, not even 1.25 miles later it quit again. After failed attempts at readjusting we chalked it up as a loss. Soon we found ourselves in New Albany and surrounded by Mansions. New Albany must have been ‘the spot’ at some point because major estates and big houses lined the street for a good 1-2 miles. We contemplated whether or not to stay here or push on to Charlestown. If we stayed here, Louisville would be right across the river, offering a nice city skyline and ample things to do. However, the KOA was going to be $37 plus whatever sightseeing we decided to do was going to be costly. So instead we pushed on knowing the weather report was projecting thunderstorms Thursday through Saturday and we wanted to make it to Cincinnati by Friday. The ride was flat as we followed the river through small towns, until a slight climb into Charlestown. We found a great place for dinner- 62 Twist. They offered sandwiches, sides and ice cream. All really tasty and all reasonably priced. I think we made three or four different trips to the counter to order more food. After our bellies were full, we headed to the state park nearby where we met a staff member, Tyler. He was ever so helpful and inquisitive of our journey, sharing that he’d like to do one someday with his dad. We encouraged him to and shared some stores. He got our site settled and we were on our way to set up camp. It was 9:00 pm and we still had some daylight. A beautiful Indiana sunset capped our night and to bed we went.
Day 70: (55 miles) Our sleep was interrupted on more than one occasion by a sneaky little bandit trying to steal our food. Chris heard him and shined a light on the ring tailed creature trying to figure out how to get into our panniers. He shuffled away and we decided to bring in the breakfast bag. This didn’t deter him though and before long he was back at it. This time trying to get into our much tighter dinner bag. So we brought that one inside too, and we didn’t hear from him again. Tyler had recommended the Copper Kettle in town for breakfast so that was our first stop of the day. After a wholesome breakfast and some coffee, we were on the road again. As we biked, the outskirts of town bled into farm fields and countryside until we reached New Washington where we thought we might be able to find a battery for the bike computer monitor (not the sensor). It was our last ditch effort, and it worked! We were back in tracking action and back to the road we went. We enjoyed the rolling hills and scenic route followed by a large decent into Madison. We were immediately drawn to the town with its historic downtown of continuous brick store fronts. We passed coffee shops, boutiques, a confectioner’s shop, and we stopped at Hinkie’s Hamburgers for a bite. They have a small diner counter where you can order slider sized burgers. We each ordered some and saved some room for the two dollar tacos at the Tap House down the street where we each had a taco and a beer. Both were delicious. The bartender told us about the upcoming music festival this weekend and we shared how much we loved this little town. She mentioned she had met two other cyclists (on separate occasions) touring through town and both ultimately came back to live. We chuckled with each other knowing the thought had crossed our minds as well. We chatted with her and her friend from Portland for a bit. Later, a gentleman sat near us and ordered an ice tea. He saw our bikes and asked the usual questions. We learned he had just retired three weeks ago and he and his wife were traveling locally in their fifth wheel camper. We talked about Route 66 and how he would love to ride the route on his motorcycle, which we enthusiastically encouraged. We also learned that he had a son that had spent ten years in the Navy. When he noticed we were heading out, he generously picked up our tab. As if that wasn’t enough, as we were shaking his hand thanking him for sharing his stories and treating us to our beer, he insisted we take $20 for our trip. We were floored by his graciousness and continued to reiterate our thanks. We crossed the bridge back into Kentucky after lunch. The underground railroad route has taken us along the ‘drinking gourd’ path and follows the curved paths many had taken to freedom numerous years ago. The last 12 miles of our day was spent on a crappy state road until we made it to General Butler State Park to set up camp for the night.