Day 13 – The Church Tour continues…

(50 miles)

Boy was it hard getting out of my cozy sleeping bag this morning. Its still freezing cold here and seems to have been raining solidly for three straight days now!

After having more food pressed on us (and, in true British style, completely exhausting their supply of Earl Grey tea) we said our goodbyes and rode off into the drizzle.

There wasn’t much of interest along the route today and, what with being cold and wet, none of us were feeling like prolonging the day’s ride so we just boshed out the 50 miles to Hindman in one ‘sitting’. It will soon be time to ramp up the mileage, I think!

Road-side coal mine. There are bazillions of coal trucks on the roads in Kentucky.

We’ve settled into a bit of a routine as we ride. Parry tends to take his time but doesn’t stop much. Matt has the fastest ‘natural speed’ of the group. He reckons this is due to his superior fitness and strength. I think its just down to the larger wheel diameter and stream-lined panniers… On the flats, periods of quite contemplation are interspersed with random banter and (from Matt and myself) woeful attempts to imitate the Kentucky accent. On the uphills, huffing and puffing is interspersed with grunts and sighs of anguish and frustration as we see the next bend still winding up and up. And on the big downhills, well, its a mix of giddy, childish excitement and quite frankly in this wet weather, concealed terror.

Patrick's attempts to keep his feet dry (and therefore warm). Not hugely successful.

Patrick perfects the art of the ultra-quick road-side pee-stop

We Love Sugar. Sugar is our Friend.

In Hindman we once again found fantastic hospitality from a local church, this time Hindman Student Ministries, where Steve, the Youth Pastor cheerfully let us stay in their basement youth centre. In addition to our experiences, I keep hearing countless similar tales from other cyclists whose progress I’m following. The openness and generosity of churches to a bunch of smelly, sweaty strangers wearing silly clothes has been such a blessing so far. I can only imagine a world where everyone is like this.

Home for the night: Hindman Student Ministries. Just out of shot: pool table and table football table ūüôā

¬†Ironically, in rural Kentucky when all we were looking for was a dingy diner serving some good ol’ fried chicken, the only place to eat in town was an Artisan craft shop with a posh cafe attached to it. But it was actually great to have some proper healthy food for a change!

In the evening there was a youth service in the¬†main section¬†of the Student Ministries building, just above our basement room.¬†We were invited to join them and gladly accepted as three of the four of us are regular church-goers but¬†haven’t really¬†had the chance to get to church on the trip yet. I was really impressed with the setup. Here, in the middle of what seems like Nowheresville, in amongst all the¬†hard-line or luke-warm churches, is a small group of young people who have kept¬†their belief in God relevant to today’s culture, focusing on a relationship with God, not on judging the ‘world out there’, and have a strong links (through mission trips) with churches around the world.

After the service, we were driven to one of the young people’s houses where we sat around a bonfire with¬†cans of the local¬†pop,¬†ironically called Ale, and hot-dogs. I even got to fire a potato¬†cannon for the first time. Good times!

2 Responses to “Day 13 – The Church Tour continues…”

  1. Silvia says:

    thanks for the great photos and all the updates…

  2. Rodney says:

    What? No potato cannon photos? *sigh* I’d love to have a go with one of those… ever since seeing an episode of House…

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