A friend in our local H.O.G. chapter put together a 4 day ride through Kentucky, and invited us and a few others along. We said “Sure!”, and so did a total of 21 people. Instead of going nuts with a ride report this time (like I did for the Blue Ridge Parkway ride), figured I’d just throw in some comments here and there about the ride.
July 1st, we left out of southern Indianapolis down I-65, caught 46 to south 7, and picked up sotuh US 421 all the way to Frankfort. Better than the interstate, but nothing fancy to write about. Saw “a” Daniel Boone’s grave marker (there was discussion within the group as to whether this was “THE” Daniel Boone, or somebody else named that as well). Afterwards, we found the KY Vietnam War Memorial, and spent some time there checking out the very nice memorial, designed after a sun dial and with the names engraved into the marble by month of KIA/MIA.
Lunch at Wallace Station, a little eatery located down a long country road with plenty of tree canopy. The restaurant had been featured on The Food Channel, and most of us agreed that it was really good. Experienced some more electrical problems with the bike, but we got it going and headed towards Man-O-War Harley Davidson in Lexington. After a little cooling off there, we decided to head to the motel at the next southern exit off of I-75, and stayed at the Best Western. Nice hotel, but water was freezing once night fell. Dinner was out in the sticks at a restaurant that the locals love, and it was pretty good (can’t remember the name of it).
July 2 – Twenty minutes after an 8:30 start, the electrical problem returned on my Ultra, and left me stranded out in the country. Not wanting to ruin everybody’s trip, another couple stayed back with us, and we sent the other 17 people on to enjoy the day’s activities. After thirty minutes of working on the bike, we were able to get it going, and limped back to Man-O-War to get a certified tech to permanently address the problem. Two hours later, we were on the road again, playing catch up with the group who had started their SE route through KY. We found ourselves on US52, in what must have been their annual garage sale along the road from Richmond to Jackson. Cars turning every which way, pulling out without looking, even up in the hills around blind curves. Took us a while to get to Jackson, but the couple that had stayed behind with us made it enjoyable to ride with. US52 through here was curvy, little hilly, but we were hoping the best roads were to come, and they were.
Once in Jackson, we took 15 South, trying to catch up with our group. Playing voice mail tag for the entire day didn’t help, and we ended up in Hazard KY. Stopping for directions, we were misdirected to 80 West, when we should have taken 80 East. Needless to say, we didn’t catch up with our group until that evening at the motel…but we ended up taking a awesome riding road on 80 West, and I highly recommend it to other riders (at least 80W to 421).
Once we reached 421 South, it was finally decided between all of us to make a bee-line for the motel after a long day. What stood in front of us was one long hill up, and down. When we went through it, the road had a lot of wash out areas. Parts of the road were missing in both directions, and once you reach the top, it’s nothing but miles of curvy downhill. So curvy it was, my friend pulling a trailer on the back of his own Ultra lost most of his brakes coming down, forcing him to limp down in 2nd gear engine breaking like crazy. At the bottom, his rotors, normally chrome, were blue…and hissing and evaporating water. This led to an hour delay…in which we found out our motel was a couple miles down the road in Harlan KY. Our separated group found us about 15 minutes later, and after a pretty filling Mexican dinner a mile away, we commandeered the dining area of the motel and had a blast playing dice games, looking at the next day’s maps, and talking about old journeys.
July 3rd – The morning found the group headed west on 119, to Pine Mountain State Park. The entrance into the park takes you past a golf course, pullouts, and leads to a very windy road with severe switchbacks in order to get to the top for a great view of the valley. One of our group had dropped their bike the day before, and wasn’t in the mood to try more switchbacks after the first one encountered, and found a place for us all to reunite at the bottom later. Rest of us went up the side of the mountain at 5 MPH.
Everybody that rides starts out with no experience. This mountain road is not for the fearful or inexperienced. The severe switchbacks would cause the newbies to come to a stop and try to take off on the curves. I was sure we’d have a lot of dropped bikes, but luck was on our side, and everybody made it up (and down) safely. Of course, a number of people refused the offers of going back up again, so this is a road that you should feel comfortable on switchbacks before attempting a bunch at one time.
We caught 92 West, and stopped at Stearns off of 27 to get some lunch at the old locomotive museum area. Afterwards, we headed to the Cumberland Falls area on 92…a nice curvy road with plenty of canopy. It’s a pretty waterfall when you get to it, and in the heat of the day, we spent quite a bit of time there trying to find shade with the other thousands of people. Getting out of the lot was an experience since it requires pulling out in a heavy traffic area, turning immediately to the left, and gunning it up a hill to prevent getting hit.
It was decided to then head for London, KY to Wildcat HD, as well as a local leather shop some of the group like to shop at. A few things went into the tour pack, and after a group decision of riding one more curvy road, we proceeded down 192 to eventually find our motel in Somerset. 192 was a very nice road, going through the Daniel Boone National Forest. We went through as the sun was getting lower in the sky, so it made for a little pucker factor on some curves, but it was still enjoyable.
July 4th – The final day of the trip was designed to offer some country road riding, with the intent of heading back home to Indianapolis for the group without any stops previously planned in advance. Not much to say here, we were in and out of rain a couple of times, a missed turn caused a bike to end up on its side (the group was turning around, and the area had two offsetting angles for the intersecting roads…when somebody stops on the gravel at the end of their turn, the bike behind is caught in a weird angle when coming to a stop…and the foot can’t reach the ground to stabilize the bike upright). Rider and passenger a little bruised, but still in good spirits. The decision was made to avoid interstates as much as possible, so the journey ended back home about 8:45PM in the evening.
Enjoyable ride…we had a blast. Sorry for the quick notes…trying to catch up on all my ride reports, and wanted to get at least a few of the roads’ route numbers listed for my aging memory’s sake. Thought I had a lot of photos, but this ride, was more concentrating on riding then picture taking.