Our last day dawned at the relatively sensible time of 5.30am. We availed ourselves of the hotel breakfast at 6 and got on the road with a plan to hit bonuses on the way to Lexington and, if we felt like it and could make it in time, to head back to Mammoth Cave National Park to get a couple of ferry crossings.
The morning went pretty much to plan – we rode some fun roads through West Virginia which I think was quite demanding for the Kiwi but all kinds of fun for me… And we had one of those ‘WTF Garmin?!?!?’ moments going to our first bonus.
We were looking for the John Henry bonus near Talcott, WV. Once we’d reached the town I stopped looking at Google thinking ‘how wrong could Garmin possibly get this now?’… That was a mistake.
Garmin said turn left here to cross the railway tracks. Where there was a train. So we stopped and waited 10 minutes for the train to pass. Across the tracks we turned right, then right again…. Where we were supposed to cross back across the railway tracks to the road we were just on!!!!! So now I’m getting back on my phone because Garmin is full of shit – it wants us to turn left onto the service road for the railway which is gravel and that is not what the bonus description says. So instead we follow the road up to the entrance to the John Henry park and ride in.
When we got there, the park manager walked over to say hi and told us that over the past couple of days, we were some of the few people who’d made it to the statue itself. Apparently GPS directions had been sending people to the other side of the railway tracks where they’d been having to cross the railway line to put their flag on the fence to take their photo… Stupid Garmin!
Next up was the Pocahontas Mine entrance, then the Hatfield-McCoy Hog Trial Site (I’m not sure if the Hatfield-McCoy dispute is something everyone in the US is familiar with but it was a new thing for me!) and some more historical markers of grizzly fights.
We also found a bonus that genuinely did have some gravel on the road leading in, but we navigated it just fine, got our bonus and high tailed it out again.
Now it was time to make a call about whether we continued west or headed straight back to the checkpoint. I think we were both feeling ok, and we decided we’d make the effort to collect the last couple of bonuses before heading back into the finish.
As I went to read the bonus directions for one of the points in Mammoth Cave it became clear that there was a bit of an issue. While the Green River Ferry was definitely a bonus, the other point was actually a bonus from Leg 1 and not available to collect on Leg 2. It wasn’t a big deal, but definitely something to keep in mind for IBR prep next year.
Finally, we hit the Green River Ferry. I’m sure it’s the shortest ferry ride in the world – we only just had time to get off the bike, take the photo and get back on to get off the ferry!
It was a two bags of ice afternoon, but we headed back to the finish in the gathering dusk. It was incredibly beautiful. There is an Amish community around Mammoth Cave and we watched them return from their Friday afternoon outings as we rode by. I even got a few waves!
Then it was back to the interstate and on into Lexington where we were met by Tina Baker who had very kindly brought me a glass of wine to celebrate our safe return. Thank you Tina!!! It was 10pm, but we’d made it! Once again, we unpacked the bike, then headed for some food – a late dinner of crab cakes and a gin and tonic with the Lahmans and Janet Owen. Then it was bed time before a 3.30am Saturday wake up for scoring.