44 miles (71 km) – Total so far: 994 miles (1,600 km)

Today’s ride, starting in Eddyville, was flat and peaceful in the early morning. After a three day rest with friends and family, I found myself averaging about 3 MPH higher than I had been at the end of a 17 day stretch. Even on the steeper uphills, I was in fourth gear rather than granny gear. Amazing what fresh legs can do for you.

Church signs fall into two categories: damningly judgmental with attendant hellfire and brimstone or terribly punny. My faith in church marquees was restored when just as I passed the 1,000 mile mark I finally saw my first church sign worth documenting.

A refreshingly honest church sign: "1 peller preachin. A couple fellers sangin." -- Eddyville, Ky

A refreshingly honest church sign: “1 peller preachin. A couple fellers sangin.” — Eddyville, Ky

Good breakfasts are becoming a regular thing. I was fortunate to have held out past a couple of gas stations to find myself at Phat Mama’s place. The folks here were gracious and hospitable and very interested in my trip. I crossed a magical line today where I can say things like “Yeah, I started about 1,000 miles back thataway.” or “Hey, is the Pacific this direction?” In addition to these two gems, I’m looking forward to inventing yet more ways to say, “I”m kind of a big deal.”

"Mama" herself, along with some friends -- Ledbetter, Ky

“Mama” herself, along with some friends — Ledbetter, Ky

US Highway 60 & 62 are pretty calm East of Paducah. I had attributed this to their running parallel to a nearby interstate. I revisited this assumption when I saw the “Bridge Out” and “Detour” signs that strike fear into the heart of the touring cyclist. I spent a few moments eyeing up the bridge in the distance, which looked perfectly fine to me. A few minutes on Google maps revealed that the detour was maybe 10 minutes max, so I decided not to push my luck.

Bridge Out Ahead. --East of Paducah, Ky

Bridge Out Ahead. –East of Paducah, Ky 

The new bridge. --East of Paducah, Ky

The new bridge. –East of Paducah, Ky

The old bridge and the Tennessee River. --East of Paducah, Ky

The old bridge and the Tennessee River. –East of Paducah, Ky

"Bike Chompers"

“Bike Chompers”

Paducah is home to the National Quilt Museum. The museum boasts several of the most recent national quilting competitions best in show awards. They are jaw droopingly beautiful. The intricacy of design, quality of construction and fineness of stitching detail on these quilts beggars the imagination. The museum itself only holds about 100 or so of them, and they strictly prohibit photography. So, I had to go to the internets to get an example of the quilts inside.

The National Quilt Museum. --Paducah, Ky

The National Quilt Museum. –Paducah, Ky 

This quilt is a tribute to Tolkein by Sue Mcarty. This was one of the quilts inside the National Quilt Museum.

This quilt is a tribute to Tolkein by Sue Mcarty. This was one of the quilts inside the National Quilt Museum.

I read Undaunted Courage recently, so I’m excited every time I come across a sign commemorating the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Just outside the museum is one such tribute. It features, of course, both Lewis and Clark. It also features a helpful Native American guide, who’s assistance will no doubt be rewarded with peace, prosperity and commerce with the growing nation of the United States. Also, for some reason is a 1950’s idealized little girl complete with American flag. She seems a little anachronistic in this setting. I found myself very confused by what this monument was trying to convey. To remedy this confusion, I decided to read the plaque, which helpfully shares what Lewis paid for his dog. I don’t get it.

Lewis & Clark along with their guide.... and maybe that's Pollyanna -- in Paducah, Ky

Lewis & Clark along with their guide…. and maybe that’s Pollyanna — in Paducah, Ky