Day 11

I am in Berea, KY home of Berea, College.

Berea is kind of a neat school: students have to work for their (free) tuition and they do so either in maintenance or by making arts and crafts. It all looks a bit like Pottery Barn. People come from all around the country to buy their handiwork, but I have faith that some enterprising university in Bangladesh could make a run on this market with low-cost alternatives and a couple of years.

I think I only did 50 miles today. My body is in a minor revolt and I suspect my Bolshy mind is behind this. That and the warm Kentucky sun. My mood will go through manic swings depending on the type of terrain; and, while this was officially the end of the Appalachians, I expect other mountain ranges to take their miserable place. I do not feel particularly great today.

Today was a favorite day for natural beauty, however. The area just east of the city is stunning, a hollow valley surrounded by densely veggified cliffs. The sky was so wide that I could see sunlight and rain -- rain like a cow pissing on a flat rock. In time, that cow was standing squarely above me. (Get your hands on a Frederick Church painting for a near approximation.)

At 5 in the morning it began to pour. The next hour of my sleep was ruined by doubts that my limping tent had sprung a leak. My whole day has been plagued with doubts. Did I take a wrong turn? Why is this hill so steep? How am I getting worse at this?

I have decided to take the afternoon off -- it's 91 degrees F out (F!) -- and to seek shelter in the crafts store, Blondie's icecream parlor, and at the Dinner Bell. It is amazing that, after a promising start, I have to baby myself along. My body just won't go sometimes.

I hope to be asleep by 530 and up earlier tomorrow because tomorrow I cheat.

Tomorrow I will ride in a straight flat line from where I am leaving to where I am going. I am not going to ride up a hill just so I can ride down it; I am not going to see the Shaker museum in Harrodsburg (which I'm a little saddened by); I am going to go the logical route for a change. My trip isn't about a trail, distance or speed, it's about seeing as much as I can and getting to that far coast.

Oh. I would have gotten you all gifts here but nothing weighed less than 10 pounds. You'll have to improvise on paperweights and rattan brooms for a little longer.

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