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Cross country bicyclist spends time in Adair Co., KY

As everyone knows, the only way to get to Savannah, GA, from Corvallis, OR, is through Columbia, Adair County, Kentucky...At least that's the way so many cyclists riding across America are going. It's the way Diana Care, a 25 year old veterinarian came in her ride from Corvallis, OR, to Savannah, GA.
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By Gary Rose
Diana Care is cycling from Corvallis, Oregon to Savannah, Georgia, and of course the only way to get from Corvallis to Savannah is through Columbia and Adair County. Okay that may not be 100 percent correct, but for her it is.

Diana, a 25-year-old veterinarian, who graduated in June, wanted an adventure and see America before starting her new profession and continuing her education (an additional Masters Degree in Public Health).

Diana stated, "My main reason for taking this trip is for the adventure, but I'm also keen to see America. I've grown up in a little cocoon of West Coast granola eating bliss and I'm ready to see the rest of the country. I spent last summer in Atlanta and I loved it. I figure that's just the tip of the iceberg. I can't wait to see what other parts of the US have to offer."

She went on to say, "I have to regularly remind myself that I'm not taking this trip because it'll be a great story to tell at dinner parties. I'm also not doing this to prove anything to myself or to anyone else. I'm not doing it to impress people. It's not about being awesome. If I find myself hating the trip and I want to quit, I'll quit. If I only want to ride 30 miles a day then that's what I'll do. What's most important to me is that I have a good time and take advantage of everything this experience has to offer."

Diana's plan was to follow the Adventure Cycle Association (ACA) Trans-America route from Corvallis to the eastern edge of Missouri and then work her way through Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Carolinas before reaching Savannah, GA. The Trans-America route is just one of 3 ACA routes that pass through KY.

But like most of the best-laid plans of touring cyclists, things changed. In Saratoga, WY she decided to make a detour, along with a couple other cyclist she hooked up with, and got off the ACA route to check out Peutre Canyon, Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo where she planned to pick up the Trans-America again.

In Fort Collins while staying with a Warmshowers host, she heard about the Des Moines, Iowa Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI). The RAGBRAI is an annual bike ride across the state of Iowa, that draws over 15,000 people every year.

The ride takes 7 days and is the largest organized bike ride in the world. Her Warmshowers hosts were planning to go to Iowa and take part in the ride and talked Diana into going also. The RAGBRAI ride started in just 6 days and just outside of Omaha in Iowa. From Fort Collins, CO to the Nebraska - Iowa border, so much for getting back on the ACA route.

After reaching the east side of Iowa, Diana moved on to Chicago. In Chicago she made contact with a cousin in Wisconsin, so off to Wausau, WI. After visiting her cousin and her family she headed towards Manitowoc, WI to catch the ferry to get across Lake Michigan to Ludington, MI. From Ludington she head south towards Louisville.

On day 69 (August 25th) and 2316 miles from Corvallis, Diana arrived in Columbia. Having cycled from Louisville to Columbia in one day.

Diana related her day of riding; "I took a main highway out of town, delighting in the fact that I was not in the crush of cars headed into the city. The morning was cool and the shoulder was adequate.

I reached Bardstown by 10 AM, stopping for a quick break and a snack. From Bardstown I took Hwy 150 to Springfield, and then got on KY 55 South towards Columbia. I pedaled all day. It was hot, but not too hot, so I carried on. I listened to music and podcasts for most of the day, which kept most of my unhelpful thoughts at bay.

Kentucky is not as bad or as scary as I'd thought it would be. The roads are fine, sure, there's some crap on the shoulder, but it's not the worst I've seen, Chicago and Colorado were worse. Only one dog chased me, and she stopped once reaching the edge of her property line.

The people are friendly and they aren't afraid to ask me questions like, 'Where are you going?' and 'What are you doing on that bike?' I love it when people are bold enough to ask me questions; it's much better than being ignored.

The road was hilly and for most of the afternoon and there was a headwind, conditions, which made for a challenging and somewhat slow ride. By the time I made it into Columbia my knees were pretty sore and I was awfully tired.

As I inched into town I felt my bike start to vibrate under me, that unmistakable feeling of riding on a rim. I had my first flat tire. I called my friend Greg, taking him up on his offer of a ride to his house which is a few miles south of town."

While in Adair County, Diana is staying with her friend Greg and working on his father's farm on Walnut Grove Rd just off of KY 704. The hurricanes attacking the east coast and current heat wave has delayed her departure from the area and she is planning to stay until at least the heat subsides.

Currently running ahead of her planned schedule, Diana sees this delay as a welcomed rest. Diana contacted Gary & Diane Rose through Warmshowers wanting some routing advice for her next leg of her ride.

After a few emails and phone calls, Diana & Greg met up with the Roses for dinner. During dinner the questions went both ways. While Diana was getting information from the Roses, they were picking her brain for advice and tips about cross country cycling.

So far Diana has cycled in the following states Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky. States to go are Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia with her next planned stop in Knoxville.

The sign on the back of her bike that reads "Oregon to Georgia" has got Diana many questions along her journey; here are the top 10;
  1. Did you really ride here from Oregon? Yes, I did.
  2. How long has it taken you? I left on June 14.
  3. Are you by yourself? Yes, I am.
  4. Aren't you afraid? No. I cycle on roads that aren't busy but aren't deserted. I have a cell phone. I camp only in places that feel safe; I don't just throw up my tent by the side of the road. I listen to my gut and if anything feels sketchy I pick up and leave.
  5. Where do you sleep? I have a tent, which I will pitch, in the city park, behind a church, or in people's back yards. I also use and to find hosts in various cities.
  6. What do you eat? Food. Lots of it. I eat out for a proper meal about once a day, and then I eat tortillas, peanut butter, tuna, cans of beans, crackers, etc for the rest of the day.
  7. How much money have you spent? I budgeted $25 / day for this trip, which is slated to take about 100 days. Most days I spend slightly less than that, but then there are the unexpected purchases which are more. (e.g. a new pair of bike shorts, bike repairs, new camera, etc.)
  8. Why Georgia? I did an internship in Atlanta last summer and I loved it. I've just graduated from veterinary school so I'll probably apply for vet jobs there and throughout the country when I arrive. I'm taking this trip to see the country and get an idea of where I might like to live, but every place I visit is greater than the last, so it's not exactly helping me narrow things down!
  9. Aren't your parents worried? Yes, they are, but they've discovered my blog so maybe now they're a bit less worried. Or maybe it's made them more worried, I don't know.
  10. How many miles do you cycle a day? It depends on the terrain, conditions, and whether or not I have somewhere to be at a certain time. Usually I cycle 60-85 miles a day.
Diana is not sure where she will go to after her cycling trip is over; she is hoping to get a job with a veterinarian that deals mainly with large animals.Anyone interested in reading more about Diana's trip can do so at Diana's trip

The writer, Gary Rose, is co-founder with his wife, Diane Rose, of Adair County, KY's cycling advocacy organization.

Help Shape Your WorldThrough CM - ColumbiaMagazine.comPost often in South Central Kentucky's most important forum

This story was posted on 2011-09-05 07:28:11
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Diana Care, cyclist from Corvallis, OR, at Continental Divide

2011-09-05 - Photo by Innocent Bystander.
Dr. Diana Care, at the Continental Divide. The 25-year-old Corvallis, OR, veterinarian, was on her way across America, by bike, on a trip which would take her through Columbia, KY, on her way to Savannah, GA.

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Cycling: Corvallis-Columbia-Savannah: At gateway to paradise

2011-09-05 - Ohio River, Louisville, KY - Photo by Diana Care.
For Kentuckians, the Louisville skyline from the north is the symbol of the Gateway to Paradise, Kentucky. Diana Care had some trepidation about crossing the state, but found it to her liking.

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