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Bob Barnes, the man who is bicycling to all 50 U.S. state capitals in one year, recently found himself in “the most danger” he’s been in since embarking on his trip across America.
Barnes, 52, of Syracuse, New York, reached the Bluegrass State on April 15. The next day, he made a quick visit to capital no. 36 for him: Frankfort.
Amid his travels, Barnes encountered friendly Kentuckians, acts of kindness — and a bull on the loose.
‘Staring right at me’
On Easter afternoon, Barnes had an unusual encounter.
As he was pedaling along, he heard a car honk. That’s when Barnes noticed a “huge rogue bull … one of the biggest creatures I’ve ever seen,” as Barnes described it on Facebook.
“We were out in the middle of nowhere and there it was,” Barnes told Fox News Digital.
Barnes explained that if the car hadn’t honked, he might not have noticed the animal — but good thing he did.
“That bull wanted something,” Barnes said. “And he was staring right at me … In my head, I’m thinking, ‘What do I do?’ Like — this is the real deal.”
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“I’m thinking, ‘Pepper spray’ — I’m thinking, ‘Do I hold my bike up against this monster?’” he added.
“The bike’s going to get crushed, I’m thinking. And I pictured myself jumping over a fence.”
“We were out in the middle of nowhere and there it was.”
In the end, Barnes said he continued cycling and “finessed” his way past the animal when its head was turned away.
“I didn’t want to startle the bull,” Barnes said. “I just snuck by him.”
Barnes said he felt in “imminent danger” when he faced off with the bull.
“I felt I was in the most danger of any part of the trip, in that moment,” Barnes said. “It was the real deal.”
‘People took care of me’
When Barnes cycled through Kentucky just recently, it was his second time through the state on this trip. The first time he went through Kentucky was in September on his first “switchback,” on his way to capital no. 16 for him — Jefferson City, Missouri.
As he rode through the state for a second time in April, Barnes said he looked back on Facebook to see what he had written about the state in September.
“It kind of validated what we just saw on this [recent] part of the trip,” Barnes said.
“It’s like, Kentucky is Kentucky, is Kentucky. So that was awesome.”
Barnes said he was the recipient of several acts of kindness during both visits.
During his first trip, the owner of a gas station let Barnes set up camp on the property. On his second trip, Barnes received a campsite discount and was allowed to stay for free at another campsite.
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“There were three times in Kentucky where people took care of me, as far as letting me stay,” Barnes said. “It was cool.”
Barnes was also treated to lunch as he arrived in Kentucky in April, when he met up with the cousin of one of his friends from New York.
The woman and her son took Barnes to lunch; he enjoyed a bowl of specialty mac n’ cheese.
She also gave Barnes some propane, peanut butter and T-shirts for his trip, which Barnes said was “perfect” and just what he needed.
“You can talk to anybody. You’re going to get a wave back from everybody.”
The next morning, the woman and her husband brought Barnes some coffee, and they chatted a bit before Barnes continued on his way.
“That made my day,” Barnes said.
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Barnes said that as he went through Kentucky, everyone was consistently kind and people often waved at him.
“Everybody’s very mellow,” Barnes said. “They’re kind and they’re friendly … They don’t judge.”
“You can talk to anybody. You’re going to get a wave back from everybody,” he added. “If you’ve been thinking about visiting Kentucky, you should definitely visit Kentucky.”
Barnes only spent three-and-a-half days in Kentucky, including a quick visit to the capital city, Frankfort, on April 16, the day before Easter.
He took a short trip to the city, since he had to reverse 20 miles to get out of Frankfort that same day.
“I don’t like [backtracking],” Barnes said. “It gets in my head, but … you get over it.”
“As long as you know going in and you do your mental homework and realize what you’re in for and look at the whole big picture, it’s fine,” Barnes added. “It just takes mental toughness.”
“I felt I was in the most danger of any part of the trip in that moment. It was the real deal.”
The next day, on Easter, Barnes felt “a little lonely.”
On other holidays, including Thanksgiving and Christmas, Barnes was able to do some volunteering — he’s made it a point to give back to others however he can. But for Easter, Barnes didn’t find any opportunities that fit into his journey.
In moments of feeling isolated, Barnes toughs it out.
“You just feel lonely for a while until it wears off, which is usually the whole day,” Barnes said. “You just get comfortable being lonely and realize it’s going to be over the next day.”
Next stop: Indiana
After he left Kentucky on April 18, Barnes arrived in Indiana on his way to capital no. 37, Indianapolis.
As far as Alaska and Hawaii go: Barnes explained earlier that he plans to bike to Juneau, Alaska, after taking a ferry from Canada. And he’ll bike to Honolulu, Hawaii, after flying with his bike to the island, he previously told Fox Television Stations.
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Fox News Digital has been following Bob Barnes’ journey across America and detailing it for readers in this unique Lifestyle series. To catch up on — or enjoy once more! — his previous three trips before the one described here, read more below:
NY man cycling across America falls in love with Cincinnati
NY man cycling to all 50 states reveals ‘rocky start’ in West Virginia
NY man cycling across America hits SC, reveals the one religious symbol he’s seen nationwide