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It's a dog eat cyclist world out there...

A Kentucky rite of passage I could live without.
On my ride from Hazard to Boonesville today, I had encounters with a number of dogs - and at one point, a half a dozen tried to tag team me - thank goodness for pepper spray and a cool head. It made the ride a little tense anytime I pedaled past structures of any kind. The route I'm following, the Transamerica Trail 76, will turn forty next year. And every year, people write about being accosted by dogs. One of my fellow travelers I had dinner with last night, had a Mastiff come out of nowhere day before yesterday and almost knock him down. The dog pulled off one of his rear panniers and started tearing it up until Bill, the rider, jumped off and sprayed him in the face. I'm beginning to think that after 40 years, these people are training their dogs and betting on them.
Although I always find something redeeming and enjoyable about every ride, every day I travel, but I have to think that Horace Greeley was inspired to Go West, after spending time here. I have no intention of wanting life to move any faster, but I do feel compelled to put the Eastern part of this state in my rear view mirror. Tomorrow, I ride a steep but short 50 mi. to Berea, KY. Berea is supposed to be the most liberal ( I look over my shoulder when I type the L word) town in the state. Home to Berea College, a private liberal arts school, this town of 13,500 is one of the fastest growing in the state, and a mecca for artists and craftspeople. They even have... wait for it... a health food store. Woohoo! If I see another piece of iceberg lettuce... After Berea, I will slowly move from the mountains into open farm and horse ranch lands of the western part of the state as I head toward the Ohio River (8-10 days) where I will cross a little walking/bike ferry - think the rafts out to Tom Sawyer's Island at Disneyland but a little bigger - into a small stretch of Illinois.
I had a pretty cool cultural experience today with some very welcoming townsfolk in Buckhorn (Pics below). I walked into the general store and was happily engaged by the four gents in folding chairs and the one behind the register. If Sheriff Andy would have walked in I wouldn't have been surprised. Across the street sat the town log church, built in 1907. It seats 600, but they only average about 45 every Sunday. They insisted on taking me on a tour, and I spent about 30 minutes with the very sweet and knowledgable pastor who gave me a complete history of the church and town, dating back to the Civil War. It was quite lovely.
That's it for now - before settling in for the night, I need to pull off all my panniers and tighten up all the nuts and bolts - regular safety maintenance to counteract the bumpy roads of Kentucky.
Thanks for riding along!
1. Kentucky Jungle
2. Buckhorn Church Exterior
3. Buckhorn Church Interior
4. Country Store
5. Country Store Setting
6. After every coal mine entrance, a mile or so down the road, you see one of these separate entrances.
Note: Background photo on top of post with my favorite kind of sign. 
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