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We awoke Tuesday morning, dressed and rode out into downtown Louisville. The Beast got suggestions from Beth (our warmshowers.org host) as to where to find Victorian fashions. She recommended a few places, wrote the addresses and directions to each and we set out on our bikes. We first stopped at the Joe Ley Antiques store and Frankenbutt was fascinated with the collection of antique bikes they had. The Beast wandered for a long time and was captivated by all the statues, vintage clothes and shoes. Coco and I found a shady spot on the sidewalk and lounged while they shopped.
Later, we checked out Crazy Daisy’s antiques and the Beast was in heaven! They had several dresses, petticoats, handbags, shoes and more from the Victorian era. We found a sidewalk café to linger over lunch as the cars rushed by to and from their many places. It was quite nice to have “down time” without a plan or a schedule to follow.
We rode around the city and found ourselves drawn to the park that borders the river, where cyclists, joggers and young lovers all gathered as the sun was setting. We lounged in the shade while the Beast read her new book, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. I returned some emails, contacted a few more media; Frankenbutt provided his thigh as a pillow for my head. When our bellies growled, we rode to a Papa John’s and ordered some takeout pizza and ate it on the sidewalk. When it started to get dark, we turned on our flashing tail lights and headed back to Forrest and Beth’s home for the evening. Beth insisted that we do wash before we leave, even though I thought we might be imposing. She was so nice and said she understood the rigors of long distance biking and assured me that we weren’t imposing.
On Wednesday morning, we awoke and started packing down all of our stuff, loading our bikes and preparing to leave for the track. The Beast had been crocheting a hat for Beth and finished it just before we planned to leave. She gave it to Beth who looked genuinely thrilled with it; Forrest said it reminded him of one of his favorite South Park characters’ hats. The Beast smiled and thanked them for all of their kindness. Frankenbutt and I also thanked them and wished them luck in their future adventures.
We rode our bikes into the sunshine and towards the track. We had a few groceries to pick up so we stopped at a Kroger store along the way. As I stood in front of the pasta shelves, I thought to myself that I’m definitely not buying Knorr’s Pasta sides, Ramen Noodles, or Shells and Cheese dinners when I return to regular food shopping in Florida … at least not for a while. I bought some broccoli to go with the pasta, some bananas for Peanut Butter and Banana breakfast sandwiches, a few packs of Ramen Noodles and a can of chili, and a loaf of multigrain bread. I loaded it into different panniers on my bike and we again rode towards the track.
We got back on our bikes and pedaled the remaining mile or so to the track. We started seeing riders on bikes with race plates on their handle bars and I started getting butterflies. We also could see, from the road that wraps around the park, that camping was open, although it was only 3 in the afternoon. Yeah! We pulled in and found out that Derby City was also not going to charge us for camping and we thanked them; at this point in the ride, we are definitely over budget.
We found a grove of trees with a gap in the middle that looked like the perfect shady spot for our tent. We set up the tent, threw our gear in, locked up our bikes and started walking around the track. We ran into DJ from Smoothie King who congratulated us on our ride and told us to help ourselves to free smoothies at his vending trailer. Niiiiice! We LOVE Smoothie King smoothies!
We also ran into so many families who we met along our way. Several of them asked to take us to dinner but we told them all that we have the dog and we don’t feel comfortable leaving her alone in the tent. They all said they understood … except one. When we stopped to see my good friend, Ellie and her husband, Mike, they asked to take us to Outback Steakhouse, a favorite restaurant of ours that holds lots of great memories from a night out so long ago with Mike, Ellie and their sons, Ryan and Jesse. When we told her we’d love to go but that we couldn’t because of the dog … Ellie showed us her camper and told us that Coco could stay with her dog, Sticky, in the a/c while we were gone. Sticky and Coco got along great right from the get go and the Beast looked at us with pleading eyes. Knowing Coco would be OK, we accepted.
Frankenbutt and I rolled on a little more deodorant, changed shirts and met Mike and Ellie at their camper. The Beast stowed her bike and was all smiles to be going to one of her favorite restaurants. We all jumped into Mike’s truck and headed out, recounting funny stories from that night out so long ago. It’s so hard to believe that the Beast was only 5 and that her boys were teenagers and now they’re men with amazing careers. Where does the time go? It made me think how glad I am that we took this bike journey with the Beast before she, too, grows up and starts her own life.
Once we were seated, Ellie asked if I was ordering my old favorite, Appletinis. Although that was appealing, I ordered a Foster’s instead, since they had it on tap. She and Mike ordered Coronas, Frankenbutt ordered a dirty Martini and the Beast had a Pink Lemonade. We toasted being together at the end of the ride and it was a perfect ending to our long adventure. Ellie said she wanted to do something for us; that she felt she hadn’t done anything for us, during our ride. I had to tell her how wrong she was. From the time we started training, Ellie has written us blog comments that ranged from supportive, to funny, to a “whack” when we needed it.
I told her how often her comments helped all of us get through the ride; how reading them made me get up and ride when I’d rather have just stayed in bed and relaxed. Ellie was our first BMX connection, when the Beast was only 4. Back then, the Beast saw something she wanted to do and figured out that Ellie was the path to get to where she wanted to go. It was perfectly fitting to mark our arrival in Louisville over dinner and drinks with a remarkable woman who has helped all three of us get to where we wanted to go.