I actually reached Ashland after seven hours of riding, but there was a lot
of stuff going on in town and the motels were full. The next motel, and the
only motel between Ashland and Ohio, was in Greenup, about 12 miles north of
Ashland. I got there about 30 minutes before it got dark.
US 23 was good riding today. It wasn't as pretty as the last two days and I
was passed by literally hundreds of coal trucks, but the shoulder was good
and the traffic, although quite noisy at times, was not a problem. I stopped
for brunch near Prestonsburg and again for an early supper at the point
where 23 and 3 cross a few miles north of Louisa. There is a big complex of
travel places there, including a Super 8 motel. Between Prestonsburg and
that intersection, the only services are a couple of service stations. I
stopped at one of them for a snack. When I stopped for supper I was
exhausted, but the food revived me and I had no problem with riding on for
another 40 miles.
There is a lot of industry along US 23 between Louisa and Catlettsburg. The most interesting thing is a huge cold fired power plant - a lot of the coal trucks that passed me were heading there - with two large cooling towers of the type you see at nuclear power plants. There was a historical marker sign - the kind of thing you can read on a bicycle but not, without stopping, for a car - that said the first of those cooling towers, built in 1962, was the first cooling tower of that design built in the western hemisphere! I guess we must of have 'borrowed' the design from the Soviet Union...
I did consider stopping at the next motel which was just before
Catlettsburg. Catlettsburg is the place where 23 first reaches the Ohio
River, and the rest of the way to Ashland is semi urban riding on narrow
roads with little or no shoulder. Since traffic wasn't bad and drivers were
polite, I figured that riding might be much worse the next morning. Riding
was OK all the way to, and almost all the way through, Ashland.
Getting out of Ashland going north was complicated by hills, lack of shoulders, shopping centers, and construction, but, once again, the drivers were fine and I had no real problems. Once north of Ashland, the riding was good on 23 although the shoulders were mostly ruined by a rumble strip and there was a good bit of traffic. When I got to Greenup and stopped at the motel, I was surprised at the amount of traffic roaring by my room just on 23. It hadn't felt that heavy when I was riding in it! Fortunately, traffic was much lighter in the morning. It was Saturday morning and I'm sure that helped.