Kentucky Bluegrass Joyrides

Text: Christian Neuhauser • Photography: Christian Neuhauser

'Kentucky rain keeps pouring down…
With the rain in my shoes, searching for you…
In the cold Kentucky rain…'

Take One: Cold Kentucky Rain
Crossing the border between Virginia and Kentucky creases the worry lines across my forehead. Dark clouds are gathering in the northwest. My mind on replay, I can hear those Elvis refrains about the cold Kentucky rain and all that Weather Channel chatter about the soggy Ohio River Valley. Opening the throttles a tad more, we push for Pikeville before the rain catches us, and this time our luck holds when the bank of clouds lumber away in another direction.

After the requisite coffee stop Daniel and I decide to take only back roads toward Grayson. We spur our bikes through the narrow, winding roads. Coal dust and irregular surfaces challenge our riding style; but it's so much fun, and we succumb wholeheartedly to the sense of freedom released in the run that we get lost somewhere deep in the Kentucky hills. Our extrication is pretty difficult because we can't see the sky. Huge trees with thick branches and countless, dark leaves form an impenetrable tent. We seem to be in a jungle without machetes.

'The expert has lost his way. Oh my, what shall we do?' Daniel moans when he pulls alongside. 'We have no food, no water. We're all going to die!' Quite amused by my brother's melodramatics, Christa and Andrea were cracking up.
'Daniel, you're right,' I reply, straight-faced. 'We probably will die. But let's follow our noses and see where we end.'

A few miles further in the verdant gloom we find a traffic sign to Prestonsburg. The way has been found, but our next surprise doesn't wait very long. A thunderstorm had rumbled through with a downpour that flooded the streets and deterred us from our route. Pulled over, with the map flapping on my tank, I open the floor to debate our options. Fortunately, a friendly truck driver stops by and decides our path to Prestonsburg.

A 'sweet' road with a lot of hairpins thoroughly thrills us on the way. 'What a great recommendation!' I later summarize during our bike and belly fill-ups. It's a fast ride from Prestonsburg toward Paintsville and then we take the last challenge of the day, Hwy 201 to Grayson.

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For the complete touring article, including facts & information, map(s), and GPS files, please purchase the Summer 2002 back issue.