I’m so sorry to not be able to post photos this time! My awesome little Canon stopped working yesterday!!!
Devon and I are in Louisville! We arrived in the town of Brandenburg on Friday evening, having turned off the official “trans-am” route earlier in the day. The trans am is the classic bike route across America for which a group called Adventure Cycling Association publishes a series of maps. We had been following their route religiously for a number of reasons including detailed turn-by-turn directions, tips on where to stay, and most importantly now that we diverged off the route, the carefully selected roads they use (I’m talking about quiet, very low traffic, and safe).
So we had to get off the trans am because we had arranged to have our bikes shipped home from a bike shop in Louisville (Bardstown Cyclery), and also to ship ourselves homeward from there as well. It was sad to be off the trans am – traffic,noise, poor shoulder and no chance of seeing other cyclists, which is always really fun. It also turned out that the folks of Brandenburg are not accustomed to cyclists coming through, because by some chance we bumped into the mayor, the sheriff, and a firefighter, none of whom were able to offer us any decent idea of where to camp for the night. We considered stealth camping (secretly sleeping in a park or school or something), but ended up in a motel, which was actually a really nice treat after 22 straight days of camping.
Took off Saturday morning for Louisville, a ride of about 40 miles. It was a major highway for most of the way, but there was a decent shoulder for at least part of it (this is a good time to note that of the thousands of cars that have passed us as we journeyed through Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky, only twice- that is only TWO cars came uncomfortably close to us as they passed. Every other driver swung WAY over into the other lane when the coast was clear, and then eased by. I wish California drivers were half as courteous!).
Arrived in Louisville around 2:00, then began a 12 mile odyssey across town to the Best Western we had chosen. My impression of Louisville from this ride through is that it is large, crowded, industrial, and hurting economically. We passed through a few nice neighborhoods, but mostly our route took us through some pretty dilapidated areas. We passed by apartment buildings with signs saying “1 bedroom $389. 2 bedrooms $429. Free Cable”. This may be simply an outcome of the particular route we chose, or may be what much of the city looks like, but it is the impression I got.
We found our hotel – very nice, very inexpensive – cleaned up, and pedaled the last four miles to Bardstown Cyclery to have our bikes and trailers boxed and then shipped back to SLO. Now, I must tell you that these four miles were remarkable, as google maps took us through the most beautiful, network of homes I’ve seen the entire trip! The streets were curved, draped with huge old oaks and elm trees, and lined with the most extraordinary homes this side of Hollywood. Huge, old, impeccably maintained, meticulously landscaped, brick and stone houses – some more mansion than house. Some had garages, but many did not, which made me think they must be older than automobiles. Steep rooflines, multiple chimneys, bay windows with leaded glass, beautiful lawns with pockets of flowers to add color and fragrance – the scene gave me a different impression of Louisville than the one I earlier described. But lest I forget, our little ride through this neighborhood was in the relentless, squashing heat and humidity that has followed us this entire trip. No pedestrians among these homes, it’s simply too hot to do anything outdoors.
So, our journey comes to an end today. We’ve ridden 1,535 miles in 22 days. We’ve spoken to literally hundreds of people about the urgency of the situation facing the world’s sharks. We’ve been written up in at least seven newspapers, and have given our info cards to everyone we met. We come away with hope – hope born from the ubiquitous alarm and disgust and agreement that shark finning is WRONG on every level and must end. These feeling we all share about sharks, and the oceans, and for the entire earth itself must be translated into action however. We must all actually do, not simply just agree, but do whatever we can to live in such a way that honors and respects and preserves the natural world that makes our existence worthwhile and possible. Thanks to all for your support and encouragement throughout our ride this summer. Next year we will finish this cross country trek, and will be hoping you will join us again!
We love you all,
Mark and Devon