Folks who’ve cycled across the country often say that Kentucky is challenging. They’re referring to things like loose dogs who love nothing more than to scare the bejesus out of a passing cyclist. Seems the dogs get more points the closer they get to the cyclist’s heels. I’ve confounded several of them by yelling “Treat” when they’re in full charge (bonus point to Leslie). But today, that failed miserably. Intercepted by two huge mutts, I slowed to a crawl to mitigate the chase instinct, but instead the ringleader sank his teeth into my rear pannier – my nice, new hi-vis panniers that had earned me the moniker “The Green Hornet” from the military guys. (I had been hoping for “The Flying Scotsman” or some such, but never mind.) Surveying the damage to my pannier, my blood boiled. No idea what I yelled at the dog, but I was in no mood to be messed with, and that mutt knew it. It slinked off, leaving me with an adrenaline rush that put a tiger in my tank. The other cyclists I’ve met swear by a pepper spray called “Halt”, which they aim at the dog’s face. I didn’t want to go that route, but the next mutt who messes with me is in for a big surprise.
Got to watch out for the coal trucks too. This is coal country, but it looks like it’s struggling – and has been for a while. A lot of folks live in mobile homes, often quite dilapidated, and they tell me that the coal industry is all they have. With mist hanging over the mountains and the omnipresent mining, it feels like I’ve passed from the Shire to Moria. Indeed, I even passed through a town called “Dwarf”!