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December 13, 2012

Kentucky – Saturday, December 9

I had arrived in the west side of Kentucky kind of late, and stayed at the first pet-friendly place I could find, which was in Mayfield. This morning I started reading up about the surrounding area, and discovered there was a 5K Jingle Bell Run/Walk up in Paducah, which was only about a 1/2 hour away. I’d been reading a lot about these Jingle Bell walks, which support The Arthritis Foundation. Different towns have been hosting these events for a couple weeks, but I never seemed to be near one til now. Even though I would miss the actual start of today’s race, I knew I would still be able to get there to make a donation, and could dedicate my own walking to the Arthritis Foundation – I just wouldn’t be part of the race. So I drove up there, and found the park it was being held in. The adult event was over and there was a Candy Cane walk for kids going on. Never having been to one of these before, I didn’t expect to see so many people dressed in holiday-themed outfits! And that included dogs too – one lab was elaborately dressed an an elf with a large coat, big bell around his neck, and a hat. I don’t think I could get Tula to dress up! I found the tent where the organizers were, and told them that even though I hadn’t participated in the 5K race, that I’d still like to make a donation, and that I would walk on my own in support of the Arthritis Foundation. They were happy to get a post-race contribution, and were very supportive of my journey (I explained how I had missed the race) and they took my picture for a newsletter, and gave me a t-shirt anyway. Then Tula and I set off on the trails around the park, and covered 2.5 miles there. The one bad thing that happened was I somehow lost my pedometer, which had taken a while to get calibrated just right, and I was disappointed to find it missing. The only thing I could think of was that it fell off while I was leaning over cleaning up after Tula, but I went back and checked that spot and a couple places, and no luck.

From there I drove into the historic part of Paducah. I have driven through Paducah in the past – in the summer of 2010 when Kentucky was my annual “state-of-the-year” – but we didn’t get into the historic part of town down by the river. Paducah has a lot of river traffic due to its strategic location near where the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers merge, and I saw numerous tugboats pushing their strings of barges upstream and down. We walked in town, and down by the river, and again admired a bunch of murals on the city side of their levees. The murals were well done and depicted the history of their town. We also walked out in a neighborhood along a pretty divided boulevard with a bunch of nice old houses. Then I headed back to the park from this morning, because I had discovered there was a short 1.75 mile Greenways trail that started at one side of the park. Tula and I walked the length of that and back – part of it was on an old railroad bed, and they’re looking to expand the trail. That finished the walking for the day, so I decided to bite the bullet and head to the mall to replace my pedometer. At 3:30 on a Saturday, that was kind of a mistake – huge crowds, and long lines and all I needed was one thing! I couldn’t find the exact same model of pedometer that I lost, so I’ll now have to figure out a different one, and get that set up just right.

Then we were ready to sit in the car and head east for a while toward Louisville. It started raining, so I gave up any thoughts of camping, even though the temperatures were quite mild. I missed the turnoff for Louisville, and ended up in Bardstown, another favorite from 2010, and I knew I’d have some fun walking in the morning…assuming the rain let up.



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