Starting Date: Friday 03/19/2010
Starting Time: 4:01 am (CDT)
Starting Location: Paducah, KY
Ending Date: Friday 03/19/2010
Ending Location: Paducah, KY
Ending Time: 8:58 pm (CDT)
Total Elapsed Time - 16 Hours 59 Minutes
Total Mileage - 1031 (Garmin/MapSource)
Total Stops - 15 (not counting begining and ending)
The winter in Western Kentucky seemed unusually long and hard this year. I normally ride all winter, but this year was the exception. If it wasn't extremely cold or slick, it was salt covered roads. I have ridden some locally but Friday was the first pretty day I could set aside for an Iron Butt ride.
The goal of this ride was not to simply accumulate Interstate miles, but rather, to circumnavigate the state of Kentucky, while coming through or near as many of the states major cities as possible.
Friday was a beautiful day to ride. I left Paducah early (4:01 am, CDT), knowing it would take at least 16 to 17 hours to complete the ride, barring any unexpected delays. I rode to Mayfield, Murray, crossing The Land Between the Lakes, and on to Cadiz and Hopkinsville before sunrise.
Sunrise seemed to take forever due to the recent switch back to Daylight Savings Time. I would be rewarded later in the day when the sunset took its time arriving. Riding at dawn/dusk or at night is always a concern due to Kentucky’s heavy deer population.
The temperature held steady at 36 degrees well after sunrise. However, reasonably cold temperatures are not really a problem once a rider discovers the wonders of heated clothing.
To properly document a turn on an Iron Butt ride requires a time/date-stamped receipt. Due to the many twists and turns on this ride, many times I would simply stop and quickly buy something instead of fueling.
The southern, eastward leg of my route, basically followed Hwy 80 East to The Louie B Nunn Cumberland Parkway and The Daniel Boone Parkway. Much of this portion of the ride was on two lane roads and/or 55 mph speed limits. Other cities on the southern portion of the ride included Russellville, Bowling Green, Glasgow, Somerset, London, Hazard, and Paintsville. Around noon, I arrived at Catlettsburg (near Ashland), the eastern most point on my route, where I took a very short, ten minute break.
From Catlettsburg I turned west on I-64, riding through Moorhead, Mt Sterling, Winchester, and Lexington. Interstate 75 led me north from Lexington to Florence, where I again turned west on I-71, arriving in Louisville just in time for the 5 pm rush hour traffic.
As I passed the traffic jammed on-ramps leading to Louisville's Gene Snyder Freeway (265) and The Henry Watterson Expressway (264), I made the decision to follow I-71 downtown to I-65 South. (My timing could have been a tad better.) I finally concluded there was no easy way around Louisville's stop and go traffic zoo. Eventually I cleared the gridlock, taking I-65 southwest to Elizabethtown. The Western KY Parkway took me west to Beaver Dam, where I turned north on The William Natcher Parkway to Owensboro.
The only real incident happened soon after leaving Owensboro, westbound, on The Audubon Parkway. A large Red Tailed Hawk flew up from the center median grass, low, directly into my path. At Interstate speeds, all I could do was duck my head, hang on, and ride though an explosion of hawk feathers. A quick glance in my mirror revealed the hawk, tumbling down the parkway behind me. After it was over, I was grateful the hawk hit the front of the bike and not me. Arriving in Henderson at dusk, I found no damage to my Wing. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the unlucky hawk.
From Henderson I turned south on The Pennyrile Parkway, riding through Sebree, Madisonville and Mortons Gap. Turning west again on The Western KY Parkway, I rode through Dawson Springs and Princeton. After a thirty-five mile, westbound ride on I-24, I officially finished the ride at 8:58 pm, CDT in Paducah.
I normally evaluate any ride after it is over with the goal of identifying mistakes or planning errors. After a few days to reflect, I view the hawk incident as something I had no control over, although the outcome was about as good as it could be. However, I do have regrets for the ill-fated hawk.
More planning needs to be devoted to arrival times when passing through major cities at peak traffic periods. Although time was not a critical factor in this ride, an hour adjustment at the start, either way, would have easily eliminated the Louisville rush hour slow down.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable ride. All that remains is completing and submitting the Iron Butt paper work. I am already looking forward to the next ride.
Living and dying is not the big issue. The big issue is what you're going to do with your time while you are here. ~Bill T. Jones~
For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ~Robert Louis Stevenson~