Day 26 - 6/25
Bardstown, KY to Hodgenville, KY
Yesterday was a good day; today was bad. I woke up to rain, just as I was getting ready to packup and leave. Yeah, it happens, everything gets wet. No big deal.
Then I went to what I thought was going to be a bourbon distillery tour at Heaven Hill. They produce Evan Williams bourbon. Well it turns out that their distillery burned down 8 years ago and they've since moved the distillery to Louisville. Now they give tours of their bottling facility.
So the tour was a bore and I was the only there. I guess everyone else went to the Jim Beam tour. The only good thing is that I was finally able to snag some mayonaise packets from their cafeteria. There wasn't even any tasting.
So the bad day continues. I'm pedaling out of town up a small country road that was pretty busy. It was hilly, curvy, narrow and wet from the fresh rain. As I went up the hill, a pickup came around the corner behind me, saw me, then slammed on his breaks. He must have been going pretty fast because he was overcompensating quite abit, but he then slid into the lane of oncoming traffic and bounced off a semi-truck then slammed into a minivan.
I heard a whole lot of crashing behind me and pedaled as fast as possible up the hill to get clear of it all. I then pulled off to the side and ran back. The semi was fine; a woman got out of the minivan and appeared to be ok, though shaken. The pickup seemed to be in the most trouble. An elderly man was stuck behind his steering wheel. The trucker came up and we both tried to open the driver's door, but it was stuck. Figuring he'd feel better to get out of the truck, I opened the passenger door and helped him work his way out across the bench seat.
Traffic quickly accumulated in both directions as the accident spanned the width of the road. People had already called 911, both of the people in the accident were out of their cars and largely uninjured. All we could do was wait.
I wasn't sure if people were going to be angry at me, accusing me of hogging the lane or simply using poor judgement in the route. Actually, no one said much to me. I was just sort of a circumstance, which added to the narrow, busy road and fresh rain ended up making an accident. I stuck around as ambulances took the two drivers away. I gave the Sheriff my info, and he was very good about assuring me that this wasn't my fault. "Have a better day," he said, and with that I went up the road with zero traffic.
The rest of the day went by pretty quickly as I pedaled with my thoughts consumed with the accident. Yeah, I thought about quitting. Maybe America just isn't made for bicyclists. If one of those people had died, then would I quit?
It's frustrating how very little a cyclist can do to ensure his safety. Hug the shoulder and be visible-that's about it. From there, it's all trust in the drivers that are approaching: that they'll see me, slow down, then pass safely. I've found that drivers are pretty patient with bicyclists-for about 30 seconds. After that, it becomes an extreme impatience and they have to get around. And when they pass in a questionable spot, it's far more dangerous to them and on-coming traffic then it is to me.
But on with the day. I also visited the log cabin where Abraham Lincoln was born. Then I planned on attending a big country music jamboree, looking forward to hearing some real country (not that Toby Keith garbage). But, my guidebook lied to me and it turns out they only perform on Saturday nights. So off to the park I went to watch some little league baseball then camp out.