So, at a bright and warming up 8:30AM, 2 of us (Landon from ADVRider was the other rider) set out for the small former town of Lawton, KY. It is about 30 minutes east of Morehead, KY. As we decided to run the scenic path, it took us about 3.5 hours to ride the 160+ miles from the park to the mines. At 8:30 AM, it was already pushing to nearly 80 degrees. Most of the roads out I had been on, as it seems there is a lot to do in the eastern part of the state. So nothing new came up until we got to Winchester, where we went into unknown roads to me. We zig-zagged around I-64 through small towns and back roads and found ourselves in Morehead. At one of the larger parking lots, we saw a couple coaches getting set up for a MSF course. As it was near 11am, and over 85, it was gonna be a hot one for them. We continued on, and turned off US60 onto some other 4-numbered road. Within 30 minutes and a u-turn we had found the mines. You cannot miss them from the road, but you can miss the road.
Did I mention it was HOT now? And in full gear, I was sweating up a storm, and already once refilled my camelback. We got off the bikes and took a short walk over some stacked stone to get into the mines. They were HUGE! That photo above doesn’t give very good scale, as we were about 100 feet from the entry. We got off the bikes, got a couple photos and then headed into the mines. Went from 85+ to 60s within a few meters into the mines. Was very pleasant, albeit damp and drippy and muddy. They went on for what seemed like forever. We probably walked through 10% of them, keeping the exits in sight.
There were also some buildings on the side. Well, there were the foundations and walls of some buildings on the sides. From what I read, a data processing company had purchased the land, or leased it, and started building, but for some reason, never finished. The tell-tale signs of recent use for nefarious deeds was also evident; fire pits, bottles and other stuff along with graffiti. We didn’t run into anyone while we were there, but we also were not there more than about an hour or so. I refilled my camelback and we got suited up for the return trip. It was pushing 90 when we got going again, making for a very warm ride.
We got into Morehead again and stopped for a bite to eat. Plans for the ride home were discussed, and both of us decided on a more direct, faster route. We stuck to US60 for a ways before he headed north to get across the river at Milton/Madison as he lived in southern Indiana and going through Louisville was gonna be a long way round. Especially with the large music festival Forecastle was going on downtown and on the waterfront. I stayed on US60 basically the whole way home from there. I hit I-64 in a couple spots to get around a couple towns, rather than get bogged down in traffic lights every 300 feet. It took slightly less time to get home, and slightly less miles, but there was also slightly less to look at and not as many twisties. This was OK, however. I was hot, tired and out of water by the time I got home. I filled up twice on the trip (probably could have stretched it to just once, but hey, at just over $5 to fill up, no biggie.)
So, a total of 315 miles were ridden, 6 gallons of gas and 7 liters of water were consumed. Saw some new country I had not been to before. Got some interesting photos and some good riding. But damn, it was hot. I am considering some kind of cooling vest if I do more long distance summer riding. The venting was good, but I still got hot at lights. Venting only works when moving. I am also considering a tank bag for my camelback, so I dont have to wear the backpack, cutting off the rear vent in the jacket. It is amazing, every ride I take, I come back with ideas to make the next ride easier and more comfortable.