In Kentucky we inadvertently experienced both lavish comfort and miserable days of continuous hard rainfall that left us soaked and huddled under any shelter we could find during our breaks from cycling. We entered Kentucky from Clarksville, Indiana, crossing a four lane steel cantilevered truss bridge with no shoulder. It was rush hour and although it was clearly indicated that bikes were supposed to use the right hand lane we ended up pulling them up onto the sidewalk due to the major blockages we were causing.
Chad Cooley was the man we were going to see here in Louisville. Chad is the cousin of neighbor and aunt, Marta who encouraged us to see him on our way through Louisville. Chad has the good fortune of being a wealthy man and he spared no expense in making sure Rasham and I had the fullest Louisville experience possible with endless generosity.
After stripping down and floating in Chad’s Jacuzzi for a few minutes we sped off in his convertible Lexus to the nicest restaurant in town called Seviche. The nice thing about Louisville, Chad told us, is that it functions as UPS’ US hub and therefore all fish that is flown into the country passes through Louisville first. It therefore has the freshest seafood in the nation, despite its somewhat central geographic location. He followed it up by taking us to a local bar with some live bluegrass.
The next day we were taken to the Muhammad Ali museum and later to a restaurant Chad owned called Momma’s Mustard Pickles and Barbecue where he ordered a feast, and naturally, we all overate.
We were only going to stay two nights, but Chad convinced us to stay one more day. Chad’s passion is horse racing. Last year Chad owned a share in a horse called Mucho Macho Man which he later sold and he is currently investing in several other horses. The plus side for us was that he had access to the backside of Churchill Downs where he took us at 6:00am that morning to watch the horses train.
It was a special moment in time for us to witness this whole other life.
Only three types of people are allowed in the backside; owners, jockeys and trainers. It was a picture of symbiosis, each playing a distinctly different but necessary role in the life of the horses.
After Churchill Downs we drove to the art festival. The art show was displayed in a neighborhood housing the largest collection of victorian homes found in one neighborhood in the US.
Later that night Chad took us to see Jim Gaffigan at the Louisville Palace theatre where Chad had his own row of seats in the first row of the second floor balcony. The next morning Chad and “Dawg” saw us off by escorting us to the local farmers market where we could buy some fresh veggies for the coming days.
We had to escape before the life of decadence made it impossible to leave!! Thanks for the awesome time in Louisville Chad!
It wasn’t an hour before karmic retribution for our over indulgences set in with thunderclouds and horrific rain showers. Finally we were forced to take shelter at a local park.
A troop of young kids also taking shelter from the rain gawked at us as we fired up our stove and made some hot coffee and soup while the surrounding territory began to flood.
When the rain had let up a bit we made it another 7 miles to a town called Shelbyville and found shelter near a church where we set up camp.
Thunder and lightning continued throughout the night. In the morning it was raining just as hard. A strip of deep and milky orange glistening under the gray clouds was all that could be seen of the sunrise. We continued to ride, having no other options. As the water sloshed around in my boots, occasionally splashing up to redrench my lower legs we just had to keep moving to stay warm. In the asphalt depressions formed by millions of tires traveling the roads, we fought small streams on the uphills, carrying debree down the pavement. We passed swollen streams and overflowing ditches. My rain jacket hung from my arms shaped like the finest silk, but as heavy as chain mail. Chad sent us a picture he took from the local creek. Apparently they had to cancel the art festival this weekend for the first time in 27 years.
Luckily an emergency Warmshowers request came through in the form of Brian who offered to host us that evening at his home near Georgetown. Brian is in his late thirties and has his doctorate in Molecular Biology. His girlfriend, Carla regaled us with tales of her military service in Afghanistan, delivering chickens, bees and solar food driers to locals in the war torn country. More from Kentucky in the next post!!