Day 11 is an off day. I wake up. Make some coffee, and dig in on planning the next week. I really didn’t plan anything for the section of my ride from Nashville to Cincinnati, and now I’m eyes deep in paper map and google map work, figuring how to best get out of Tennessee and through Kentucky without getting lost or coming upon an unclimbable hill. Three hours later I’ve got a plan to take 31E to 62 to 25 over 6 days and I’ve got 3 offers of hospitality along the way and I’m out the door to grab some dried goods for the next week and then meet some Nashville friends. Actual life now feels so luxurious compared to just a couple days ago.
Several hours and several beers later, I now find myself in the living room of a talented artist named Chelsea who has started wading into the tattooing waters. A fun fact about indie tattooing: you can fart in someone’s house while they traumatize you and still be friends. The night goes til 1am and I couldn’t be happier. Super thanks to Lareisa, JayVe, Ben, Rachel, Rob, Marisa, Caitlin and of course Chelsea.
Day 12 is not an off day. Having day 11 off wZ nice but it’s means all of my gear is split up and moved around and now I have to repack. Luckily my super cool Nashville hosts Rachel and Rob have this awesome back sun porch and a friendly cat for me to enjoy the morning and get packed.
It takes me a few hours but by 10am, I’m finally on the road – destination: Westmoreland, where a man named Charlie and his English bulldog named CeCe are putting me up for the night. It’s a mostly uphill climb out of Nashville with a serious headwind – the kind that will make you have to seriously pedal just to go downhill. It’s a cool, sunny day otherwise so I take my time and stop quite a few times. There’s so many gas stations and ways to spend my money! I stick to electrolyte drinks (it’s what plants crave!) and munch on the snack I have. I take a nap nice little park.
After an uphill climb that seemed to go on forever, I get into Westmoreland and meet Charlie and CeCe. They are great. Charlie is already the most generous person I’ve met on a trip that has been pouring generosity and hospitality over me nonstop. His pup CeCe is a gorgeous 4 year old rescue originally from New Jersey – her and I got it off once I start scratching her.
Charlie and I go for a ride in his truck and he shows me the town. He tells me about the work he does with the food pantry and the almost-finished homeless shelter that he helped to build. Charlie’s a minister, so he tells me about some of the issues facing the town and it’s residents. He treats me to dinner at the local home cooked food spot and it’s clear everyone knows and loves Charlie. It’s also clear what a positive impact he is having on the community, a fact he downplays, but that I can see clearly in just an hour. I’m inspired to be a better person just listening to him talk over dinner. I’m glad to have met him. The best part is that by the end of the night we’re watching Slow Roll clips on YouTube and I’m sipping strawberries and cream Tennessee moonshine distilled by the retired local police chief.