Author Topic: Another way to cope with dogs  (Read 15187 times)

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Offline hirundo

Another way to cope with dogs
« on: January 15, 2017, 06:12:15 pm »
The issue of dogs in eastern Kentucky has been around for years and countless solutions have been offered. Shooting, kicking, useing mace, standing your ground, yelling, out racing them, etc. have all been suggested.
My modest propasal is to avoid the state entirely. Reroute the transam to more friendly climes.  I see no adventure in being attacked by dogs or their owners pissed off over a pet with a faceful of mace.
When my family of runners and cyclists found ourselves regularly
chased or threatened by dogs in our rural area and the sheriff did nothing and typical responses were ineffective,  we just avoided that route.  I have no idea of the economic impact of x numbers of touring cyclists passing through any one patch of Kentucky might be, but perhaps a publicly voiced threat of avoiding the area might offer some results. The powers that be in the ACA might want to speak up.

Offline jamawani

Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2017, 08:30:54 pm »
I agree.

Now that June Curry is gone, there is little reason to traverse the hills and hollers of Kentucky and Virginia.
Anyhoo, you don't even end up on the Atlantic, but on the river bank in Yorktown.

Since most people tour in the summer, I think it makes far more sense to ride thru the Midwest.
Monroeville, Indiana is probably the most welcoming town for cyclists in America.

I've got more than 100K miles riding - mostly touring - and have ridden most routes. (More than once)
Midwestern towns are more open and tolerant - and the dog issue is rare on rural roads.
I remember one time in Mississippi, the owners actually laughed as their dogs tore after me.
And, now, Appalachia is facing an epidemic of prescription drug abuse - it's just depressing.
(Sadly, I have seen the "Appalachification" of Midwestern towns over 30 years as they lose jobs and hope.)

And Nebraska beats Kansas hands down for touring across the Great Plains -
Sandhills gently curved roads vs. 200 miles of straight and flat.
Just my 2c.

Pic - On the historic Old Trail Road in northern Indiana


« Last Edit: January 15, 2017, 11:40:38 pm by jamawani »

Offline MrBent

Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2017, 11:32:51 pm »
+++++++ for Monroeville!  Boy, did I have a great couple of nights in that town.  Such wonderful people, great place to hang, super library.  After reading about the dogs and coal trucks and nasty roads, I've no desire to pedal Kentucky.

Offline bikemig

Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2017, 09:57:48 am »
I grew up in the South. There's no doubt that the dog issue was tough in rural Louisiana. I have yet to have an issue on gravel roads in Iowa.

But it's no easy thing to reroute the Trans Am; that is such a famous and iconic ride.

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2017, 10:12:25 am »
+++++++ for Monroeville!

You talkin' Monroeville, IN? If so, out group Northern Tier tour stayed in the community center back in '99. The AC was quite a relief as we had been experiencing temps in the upper 90s to low 100s.

Did you have a beer at Staggers?

Offline MrBent

Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2017, 11:33:52 am »
Yep, Indiana.  It was such a relief to sleep in AC for a couple of nights, me being a "dry" air Westerner and all.  The humidity on the eastern leg of the crossing was one of my biggest challenges.

Nope, don't think I hit Staggers.

Offline zzzz

Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2017, 12:15:44 pm »
I'm all for more possible routes but I find all the concern about the dogs in Kentucky did not match my experience on route. Yes, I had 4 or 5 dogs come out for the chase but only one of them looked like he would like to bite me if he got the chance. I will admit that my sample size of 1 does not make me an expert but I wondered after riding it if the stories of dogs may be worse than then they actually are.

It felt to me like it was kind of a throw back to the "good(?) old days" when I started cycling in the 70's before the advent of "invisible fence". If you rode in rural (and especially poor) area's, you sometimes need to deal w dogs.

I live in Pennsylvania now, which would be a likely alternate to Kentucky, and when I'm out in the country, there's dogs here too.

Offline CMajernik

Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2017, 12:49:04 pm »
We have discussed the dog issue in Kentucky on the TransAm numerous times in the office, and have listened to various solutions. The most suggested one has been to change the route. The difficulty in doing that is that we can't guarantee a cyclist won't run into dogs if we move the route to Maryland or West Virginia or Pennsylvania or North Carolina. Rural areas are more likely to have dogs that are left to run loose. Dogs are used as an "early warning" if someone approaches a house, and are used to protect property. As someone said, this happens in other states, and not just in the Appalachians.
Carla Majernik
Routes and Mapping Program Director

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x218, 406/721-8754 fax
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline John Nelson

Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2017, 01:28:26 pm »
A good chunk of the TransAm lore would be lost if the Kentucky dogs were eliminated. Dogs can certainly be a problem, but it's another one of the exciting challenges of the TransAm. It's not an insurmountable problem. To me, Kentucky was an unfamiliar and mostly welcoming world, and I would not want to miss it.

Offline jamawani

Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2017, 01:57:10 pm »
We have discussed the dog issue in Kentucky on the TransAm numerous times in the office, and have listened to various solutions. The most suggested one has been to change the route. The difficulty in doing that is that we can't guarantee a cyclist won't run into dogs if we move the route to Maryland or West Virginia or Pennsylvania or North Carolina. Rural areas are more likely to have dogs that are left to run loose. Dogs are used as an "early warning" if someone approaches a house, and are used to protect property. As someone said, this happens in other states, and not just in the Appalachians.

Carla - I have 100,000 miles touring and I must say that while there may be dogs in many rural areas, they are worse in the South, and worst in Appalachia. I am a historian of rural communities and have spent plenty of non-cycling time in rural Kentucky and West Virginia, as well. I believe that there are two reasons that help create a more serious dog problem for cyclists in Kentucky.

First, physical. Eastern Kentucky, West Virginia, and western Virginia have limestone topography with deeply incised valleys or "hollers". The houses are often right up against the road - so the dogs are closer to begin with. And because there is so little buildable land, the country roads are a solid string of little houses.

Second, cultural. Poverty. Many of the coal areas were classic "company towns" where the miners' families didn't own anything and were in hock to the company store. If you don't own the house, why put up a chain-link fence? Especially if you don't have the money to begin with. Then you add loss of jobs and the meth/oxycodone epidemic and it makes for a challenging environment.

I biked cross country this past summer thru Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Penna and cannot recall a single instance of being chased by a dog. Yes, that is one person. But when I biked thru south Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi a few years back, I had to deal with dogs every day - many times packs of roaming dogs. When I got to the courthouse in one Alabama town, I mentioned that there had been a pack of about 10 dogs out in  the county and I asked what I should do. She said, "Jus' shoot 'em." Without so much as a raised eyebrow.

That, to me, indicates a mindset where people don't care if their dogs get hit by cars or if they chase cyclists.
And that's why it is far easier to cycle outside of the South.

Best wishes for the new year - John

Kentucky County Overdose Death Rate - National Rate in 2010 - 12 per 100,000
Thus, parts of Eastern Kentucky have an overdose death rate 5 times the national average.
(Southern West Virginia is worse.)
« Last Edit: January 17, 2017, 02:27:28 pm by jamawani »

Offline staehpj1

Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2017, 02:25:38 pm »
A good chunk of the TransAm lore would be lost if the Kentucky dogs were eliminated. Dogs can certainly be a problem, but it's another one of the exciting challenges of the TransAm. It's not an insurmountable problem. To me, Kentucky was an unfamiliar and mostly welcoming world, and I would not want to miss it.

I agree.  Besides they really weren't that bad.  Also I have been chased by dogs lots of other places as well including Oregon, California, Kansas, and quite a few other places not in the SE.

The worst most scary dog encounters for me were in the Central Valley of California.  That is the one and only place in all of my touring where I was actually scared that I might be seriously injured or worse by three dogs that caught up with me on an uphill.  That same day a few other apparently vicious dogs chased us.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2017, 04:41:26 pm »
The houses are often right up against the road - so the dogs are closer to begin with.
Boy that's the truth! Sometimes a dog sitting on its front porch is only 12 feet from where you are riding. I was constantly moving over to the far left side of the road to pass a house on the right and vice versa. Most of the time the dogs just sat there, but if they decided to take action, they were on you in a flash. The silent dogs are the worst--the ones where your first indication that they are there is when their head hits your pannier.

Nevertheless, I loved eastern Kentucky. I'm very glad I went through there. It was a great experience.

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2017, 04:46:14 pm »
Nope, don't think I hit Staggers.

We had a short day that day so a few of our group of twelve went for some late morning/early afternoon beers. It's where the local color was hanging at the time. I would post a photo from my time there but it would violate forum guidelines. And that's all I've got to say about that. ;)

The next day the heat wave broke and we moved on into Ohio. I think I may still have my "I *heart" Monroeville" sticker somewhere at home.

Offline zzzz

Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2017, 06:03:10 pm »
Nevertheless, I loved eastern Kentucky. I'm very glad I went through there. It was a great experience.
[/quote]

I left Berea Saturday morning and was at Breaks State Park Sunday evening so I hit eastern Kentucky pretty hard. I was going up some incredibly steep hill for the 4th or 5th or 6th time that day and the whole ride and the terrain thru there just struck me that I was doing something truly ridiculous and I started laughing.

There was a couple of older Good 'ol Boys sitting on their front porch (right next to the road) as I came by and one of them yelled out to me "We see people walking or crying going up the hill, I never seen anybody laughing?!"

And I yelled back "that if I wasn't laughing I would be walking or crying!" and the 3 of us had a good laugh as I rode up & away.

It's one of my favorite memories from the trip and it couldn't have happened anywhere except in eastern Kentucky

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2017, 08:47:39 pm »
A good chunk of the TransAm lore would be lost if the Kentucky dogs were eliminated. Dogs can certainly be a problem, but it's another one of the exciting challenges of the TransAm. It's not an insurmountable problem. To me, Kentucky was an unfamiliar and mostly welcoming world, and I would not want to miss it.

Agreed. 

This thread reminds me of the Mark Twain quote, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.  Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”  Coming from the southern Appalachians myself, the difference between that little spot of heaven and the utterly different, but somehow still similar, outlook of the people in the broad plains of Kansas, the deserts of Arizona, the driftless region of Wisconsin, or the residents of Montana, is striking.  It'd be a shame for people from those areas to miss Appalachia because they were too afraid of the hillbillys and their pets.