Friday, May 23, 2008

Covered in Cicadas


After an uneventful rest day in Berea on Wednesday (except for the fact that I bowled a 160 against Chad, Mike, and Caitlyn from the Adventure Cycling group), I biked my first century ride (100 miles) of the trip yesterday. It wasn't my intention to bike so far, as I didn't get a very early start, but the weather was so pleasant and the terrain, while not exactly flat, was much more gentle than what I have faced the past few weeks.

Those hundred miles included a few extra miles that I added when I missed a turn. I would have pedaled several more unnecessary miles if it wasn't for a kind woman in a red pickup, who sped past me and then pulled over. As I rode by, she asked if I was supposed to be on a certain road. I checked my map and told her I was. She said that many bikers miss the turn and it was about two miles back. She told me that she tries to catch cyclists before they get much further because there is a big downhill ahead that would be painful to climb back up. I thanked her profusely. I wasn't in the mood for another big climb, especially one that wasn't even on my route.

After stating in my last post that I haven't really had many noteworthy dining experiences, at lunchtime yesterday I biked past the sign below, which naturally caught my eye.


As I rolled into the parking lot to take a picture of the sign a woman wearing an Obama T-shirt came out of the house next door. I told her my last name was Dunn and she said "Mine too. Maybe we're kin." So I had to stop and eat. I had a pulled pork sandwich that overflowed with meat, spicy baked beans, and potato salad. All delicious. It fueled me through the second half of my ride.

I pulled into the My Old Kentucky Home State Park in Bardstown, KY at about 7:30pm. There were two other cyclists there that I talked with for a bit around a campfire. Then, I retired to my tent to find a nightmare scenario. After getting inside my tent, I heard the distinct sound of clawing and scratching -- not the noise of a large animal but the noise of many small "animals." I turned on my flashlight to find that cicadas were all over the mesh and rain cover of my tent. There was over a hundred of them. I looked outside the tent and saw that they were covering the ground and heard them falling from the trees. It was a little freaky. I confirmed that there were none inside the tent. But as I stared up at the mesh ceiling I could see them crawling around and the sound of their tentacles made my skin crawl. Images of the electronic bug coming out of Spock's ear in Star Trek 2 kept running through my mind. Fortunately, I was exhausted from my ride. As I wondered whether I would be able to sleep during this horror show, I fell asleep. I woke up this morning to find the shells of all of those cicadas covering my tent, my bike wheels and inside my sandals.

7 comments:

Edward said...

Yeck. Just reading that made my skin crawl. I guess it could've been worse, at least it wasn't fire ants.

Greg T. said...

It wasn't Spock--it was Chekhov. "This is Ceti Alpha V!"

Sarah P said...

What a perfect lunch - Dunn kin, Obama fan in Kentucky, and great pulled pork/baked beans/potato salad!

Though that cicada night sounds like a nightmare. Yuck. That's why I'm glad I don't have a mesh top to my tent (we're old school).

I rode my bike to work and rode home against 15mph winds. I thought it was going to kill me. I don't know how you're doing it.

Anonymous said...

Brian,

The cicada night...yuck! Having lunch at the Dunns must have been a REAL treat for you! Biking a 100miles in one day is amazing! Those snickers and pop tarts MUST be super energetic foods!

Love, Aunt Maureen

The Rider said...

Greg, thanks for keeping me honest. My eight-year-old mind was too scarred by the sight of the earworm to properly retain the details.

As for the cicadas, they looked a little too much like cockroaches from their underside for my comfort.

Dustan and Betsy said...

Hey Brian! Just wanted to check in and say hey. We made it to Pearisburg, VA (a record 23-mile day yesterday) and finally got to reconnect with the internet.

Hope the biking is going well - it's great to see your posts. Funny how food seems elevated in the mind and spirit, huh? Love all the cuisine pics.

JRoot said...

Cicadas are the most fearsome-looking harmless creatures this side of the praying mantis.