Posted by: rustymccain | July 20, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

Today was an interesting day! We woke up in Hazard and decided to get off to an early start due to the heat advisory that was going into effect today and the long hilly route we had, which we guessed to be about 93 miles. The first few miles started out like yesterday finished. There was a lot of traffic, cars and coal trucks. But in about 5 miles, we turned off onto a country road that was perfect for riding.

The morning was foggy early on and the route was gently rolling, so we were having a great time and enjoying the countryside. The route was a few miles longer than a direct route, but the scenery and lack of traffic made it worth it.

Riding in Eastern Kentucky

We had 6 or 7 pretty big climbs on the route, so we kept a pretty good clip going on the flats. The climbs here are definitely mountain climbs. Some are several miles long. The heat and humidity add to the burden, so the going got pretty tough when the sun finally did come out.

At about 45, we were still on schedule to get to our destination in pretty good time. About that time, we turned into one of our climbs. It was there that I got a souvenir of Eastern Kentucky. We had talked earlier about dogs and I made the comment that I had never been bitten. The bad gods of cycling were listening! As we started the climb, two dogs came out into the road. We have seen probably hundreds of dogs. They bark, run, chase, say “hello”, but rarely create a big problem. These were vicious dogs. They got on both sides of my bike. One bit my pannier and wouldn’t let go, almost pulling me off the bike. The other apparently liked white meat and went for my leg. That can put a damper on a good ride.

We stopped and tried to contact someone but didn’t get an answer. So, we decided to call the authorities so we could determine if rabies shots would be needed. While waiting, we pedaled down to a store we had just passed and got some alcohol. I tried to clean the wound as much as possible but the more I sat, the more it bled. So, I was glad the EMTs came and wrapped me up pretty well. We did find the dogs and we let the law officer take care of getting the dogs tested, then took off again.

The rest of the ride became a bit of a challenge. The last 3 climbs had grades very similar to the Ozarks . Because of the delay, we were riding in the heat of the day. And, we kept thinking we would see a store in the last 25 miles or so, but never did, so we ran out of fluid. Then, the last 2 miles to our destination was straight up again.

Did I mention we are having fun!! We are now just a week away from our goal and are starting to feel good about the last week. Better weather is supposed to be coming in. We may adjust our schedule a bit. If the bleeding stops and I feel OK, we will ride. But, we have one “extra” day we could use for rest if we need it.

We’ll figure something out. I would post more pictures, but the web is really slow where we are, so I am going to close for now. We are now at 3,170 miles, so we only have a little over 600 until we see the Atlantic. Keep sending us good thoughts. We appreciate them all!


  1. So sorry to hear of the hazards that befell you in Hazard. Dog bites=0 fun, but I’m glad you got to carry on toward your goal! Even we non-bikers here in Nashville are following your great adventure and pulling for you, Rusty and Ray.

  2. You guys are awesome, just like the Energizer keep going and going. Only 8 more days!

  3. Dogs aren’t the problem. It’s their owners. Sorry you got bitten. Ice it and keep peddling. You are almost there. 🙂

  4. Ugh. Sounds like a rough one. Hang in there and yell “no” at the dogs. That seems to work…

  5. Keep peddling Ray and IronFather. Don’t let the dogs getcha down. Hate that you got bit.

  6. Rusty! That’s no good. Maybe next time spikes on the shoes or a force field?

  7. Hang in their brother. You are almost home………..and we are ready for you to be!

  8. Sorry about the less-than-fortunate incident. Hope the leg is a little better. Hang in there – you guys are awesome and I’m so excited you’re getting close to your goal. (However, I will be awfully bummed not have this blog to read each day!) Take care and stay safe!

  9. I’m looking forward to the book…I want an autographed copy!

    • Still hanging with you guys. Instead of “Angry Birds”, you two would have to run into angry dogs. “Fighting Heat and Scary Dogs” will make a great chapter title for the new book. Your blogs are an exciting read. A big thank you for sharing this marvelous adventure with all your friends.

  10. Sorry to hear about the dog bit. We’ll have to share dog bite stories. Heard everyone had a great time visiting the both of you, sorry I couldn’t make it. Keep going strong and look forward to reading more of your post.

  11. I know you are peddleing as fast as you can but i sure am gonna miss these little chats. It is like I am hearing you talk and I love it!! Sorry about the dog. Where was Ray? Had he gone for help? He wasn’t sitting on the curb laughing WAS HE? I love you both and wish you Happy Trails! H.& Q.’s, msm

  12. Hi guys, enjoy your last week of this great trip! We still think about it every day. We are still enjoying a few weeks of freedom and we get back to work at August 1. It was great meeting you.
    Love Geert and Evelyn

  13. Thanks for the consistent updates. I was having “Rusty/Ray withdraws” since the ride last weekend. Dog bites? Just bite back, unless your bark is worse…..oh well you can fill in the rest. Looking forward to a little ride in Water “canine” Valley when you return. Take care!!!

  14. Is it possible that you were bitten instead of Ray because you were ‘lagging’ behind? You know dogs tend to go after the ‘weak’ one in the pack (HA HA!). Keep an eye on the wound and be sure it stays clean. A dog that mean has to be as bad inside as he is out. You might think about getting a small water pistol to squirt at the dogs when they come out towards you. It’s lightweight and effective and it’s your choice as to what you put in it…Good luck and take care!

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