71 miles (114 km) – Total so far: 785 miles (1,263 km)
Last night, I performed a minor bike tune up in the hotel room. The most important item on the list was to check the rear disc brake pads. All the steep descents, rain, gravel roads, and debris can really wear out a set of pads. I was surprised to find the old pads looked almost as fresh as the replacement pads. I put the new ones in anyway and kept the old set as a backup. In total I I performed the following:
–Deep clean the rear cassette (using a toothbrush from the hotel’s front desk).
–Replace rear disc brake pads.
–Thoroughly rag wipe the chain.
–Thoroughly clean the deraileurs.
–Adjust the steering bias (it’s been a few degrees to the left for the whole trip).
–Top off both tires.
–Wipe down the frame. (found 3 dead bugs stuck to various spots).
–Tighten the rear deraileur cable to account for stretching cables.

New brake pads vs old. Turns out the Appalachians didn't wear down the old pads as much as I suspected

New brake pads vs old. Turns out the Appalachians didn’t wear down the old pads as much as I suspected

Is this a hotel room or bike shop?

Is this a hotel room or bike shop?

That's one clean wheel you got there, sir!

That’s one clean wheel you got there, sir!

Early this morning, I was up and ready to go for a long 70+ mile day starting with hills. The first 10 miles had me wondering if I would make the distance today. Lots of steep climbs, traffic, and of course about half a dozen dogs chased me.

Right at mile 10, everything calmed down as I entered the Daniel Boone National Forest. Still pretty hilly, but fortunately it was mile upon mile of tree lined streets, a mere handful of respectful drivers, and comforting national forest signage complete with nostalgia inducing fonts.

Sweet riding in Daniel Boone National Forest

Sweet riding in Daniel Boone National Forest 

As I left the national forest at mile 30, I was concerned it would be more traffic and dogs. I needn’t have been. There was a noticeable change in the demeanor of Kentucky once I got West of the National Forest. The hills are less steep, the traffic is a little less, and the houses are much nicer… which comes along with fences for the dogs. Huzzah! I entered the town of Somerset, which had a delightful town square and main street. A delightful little shop called Downtown Diva was a veritable knickknackery complete with some local flair.

Somerset,KY

Somerset,KY 

Downtown Diva in Somerset, KY

Downtown Diva in Somerset, KY

Melissa of Downtown Diva in Somerset, KY

Melissa of Downtown Diva in Somerset, KY

On the outskirts of Somerset I found a farmer selling strawberries. Now we’re talking! Almost 1,000 miles and this is the first farmer stand I’ve seen. I ate about a pint and a half of strawberries for lunch. They were outrageously good. Fresh, sweet, succulent little bits of joy. The last couple days have been much better from a food perspective. Lots of fresh food. And nary a single cliff bar. Huzzah!

Paul sold me some Strawberries on the outskirts of Somerset, KY

Paul sold me some Strawberries on the outskirts of Somerset, KY

Paul had told me there was a battlefield and national cemetery about 10 miles down the road. Another spell of cycling brought me to Mill Springs National Cemetery. The cemetery was the final resting place of hundreds of WWII servicemen. A particularly poignant poem sat in front of rows of gravestones, many of which were unmarked aside from a number. The poem is from The Biouvac of the Dead by Theodore O’Hara

The muffled drums sad roll has beat    The soldiers last tattoo;  No more on life’s parade shall meet    The brave and fallen few  On Fame’s eternal camping-ground    Their silent tents are spread  And Glory guards, with solemn round     The biouvac of the dead   --at Mill Springs National Cemetery near Nancy, KY

The muffled drums sad roll has beat
The soldiers last tattoo;
No more on life’s parade shall meet
The brave and fallen few
On Fame’s eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread
And Glory guards, with solemn round
The biouvac of the dead
–at Mill Springs National Cemetery near Nancy, KY