Saturday, September 29, 2012

9-29-2012 (Saturday) Collinwood, TN to Baldwyn, MS

75 miles biked today
Average 12.6 MPH
Our alarm went off this morning at 5:30AM and we got up and got dressed and took Dianne and Larry’s vehicle to the Roadhouse restaurant for breakfast.  Afterwards we went back to the B&B and packed the B.O.B. and we were on our way by 6:45AM.  Larry came out to take our picture and to send us off.
Getting ready to leave Miss Monetta's Country Cottage in Collinwood, TN
It was definitely cloudy and overcast the first 20 or 25 miles but the sun did come out this afternoon and we had a very enjoyable ride.  The terrain is starting to flatten out with only a few hills today so we were able to make pretty good time.  We bicycled in three states today.  We started out in Tennessee and then entered Alabama where we bicycled 34 miles and then entered Mississippi.

Leaving Tennessee and entering Alabama!
Leaving Alabama and entering Mississippi

Shortly after arriving in Alabama we saw our first cotton fields.  After asking around we found out that the cotton is usually harvested in October but it is a very poor crop this year due to the drought.


When we got to mile post 303 on the Trace we were instructed to give Tom (the owner of the B&B that we are staying at tonight) a call and then he would meet us at mile post 282 with a car and trailer and take us to his house which is off the route about 10 miles or so.

Tom and his wife, Jean were very welcoming and made us feel right at home.  Not only did he pick us up so we wouldn’t have to bike off the Trace but we were able to do a load of laundry and then we also rode with them to St. James Catholic Church in Tupelo for 4:30 mass today.  Once we arrived back at their home Tom gave John his car keys and we were able to go and get a bite to eat before calling it a night.  Our plans are to eat breakfast here at 6:15AM tomorrow morning and Tom will take us back to the Trace and we will continue on our way. 

We have 382 miles to go to the end (count down is on).


Friday, September 28, 2012

9-28-2012 (Friday) Centerville, TN to Collinwood, TN

Miles biked today – 73
Ride Time – 7 hrs 18 minutes
Averaged 10 MPH


We had a continental breakfast at the hotel in Centerville before we started bicycling around 6:45AM.  We headed out of town on Hwy 48 to Hwy 50.  Hwy 50 took us all the way to Shady Grove where we were able to get on the Natchez Trace trail at mile marker 408.  Along the way on Hwy 50 we came across a flag man for a road crew who we stopped and asked if he was familiar with the Swan Creek road (this would have saved us about 5 miles had we decided to take it) but he didn’t recommend it and we had talked to someone the night before and they discouraged our using it also so we decided to stick with Hwy 50 and put on the extra couple of miles.

Once on the Trace we had a lot easier riding than what we’ve been accustomed to for the last three week or so.  The Trace still has hills but at least they are shaved down and the valley’s filled in so that most of the grades are 3% or less.  All of them very doable.  The Trace is an excellent bike route, groomed to perfection, very little traffic, absolutely no litter, and shoulders and ditches all mowed right to the tree line.  The only down side to the Trace is that there is very little signage so you have to really kind of guess at where you are at and where services might be off route. 


The weather was quite cooperative today – when we started out this morning it looked like we might get rained on but we were able to stay ahead of the rain clouds.  About 11:00AM it had warmed up into the 80’s as predicted but little by little the clouds caught up with us and at least gave us a little bit of relief from the sun.  About 2:00PM it sprinkled a little bit but never enough that we even bothered to put on our rain jackets.  It actually felt kind of good.

There are many interesting places to stop along the way on the Trace. Many historical sites, waterfalls, overviews of homesteads, tobacco drying shed, and the Meriwether Lewis death site and burial ground, etc.



We arrived in Collinwood about 3:30PM and stopped at the Collinwood Visitor Center and got directions to Miss Monetta’s Country Cottage( that we are staying at tonight.  We had time to get cleaned up before the owners, Dianne and Larry, stopped to introduce themselves.  We have very nice accommodations for the evening and Dianne and Larry are very accommodating and even allowed us to use their vehicle to go out for dinner and to breakfast tomorrow morning before we head out.  They have an adorable little three bedroom cottage for us to use this evening that has an open porch with two rockers that we are using right now as we blog.  We would strongly recommend Miss Monetta’s Country Cottage to any one coming through the area.


 Tomorrow we will get back on the Trace and bicycle to Baldwyn, MS - near milepost #282.  We will clip off the north west corner of Alabama on our way to Mississippi tomorrow.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

9-27-2012 (Friday) Waverly, TN to Centerville, TN

35 miles biked
3 hours 39 minutes
9.3 MPH average speed

This was the beautiful sunrise we got to enjoy as we pedaled out of Waverly, TN this morning!
Loretta Lynn's Parkway!

The heat and humidity has taken it’s toll on us the last couple days, so today, even with a short day planned, we decided to get an early start to beat the heat. The last few days have been in the low 80’s which doesn’t sound overly hot but for us northerners it’s hot enough to take the pep out of you.

We were out of the hotel by 6:15 and into the restaurant next door long before any daylight. By 7:00 we were on our way from Waverly to Centerville, Tennessee along state roads 13, 230, and 48. All three routes turned out to be easy biking, with very light traffic, and only a few sizable hills which were conveniently spaced and made for a welcome break when it was necessary to walk a while. Over all we’ve been quite pleased with the biking conditions and the scenery on our way through Tennessee, very good roads with shoulders and little traffic.


We forgot to mention in yesterday’s blog that now finally after biking through six states on our way south and seeing only green forests, we are finally starting to see some hints of fall colors in the trees. I’m sure we’ll see a lot more colors on the way home.

Kathi has enjoyed the fall decorations that we have seen in yards as we pedal south.  The leaves are slowly starting to turn and people are putting their decorations out in anticipation of Halloween!  Yesterday we bicycled by one home that had a beautiful pumpkin and mums decoration with a sign that said “Happy Fall Y’all”.  We knew we are definitely in the south with the Y’all!  Of course, when ever we talk with some one from the area they will ask “Where Y’all from”?  At least we think that is what they're saying – we are sure they have trouble understanding our accent as much as we do theirs!

Love the Fall Decorations in some of the yards!
We got to our hotel in Centerville about 11:30 and checked in. The plan is to spend the afternoon doing laundry and cleaning up the bike. We hope to get rested up this afternoon and tonight as tomorrow we will start the Natchez Trace trail and we are told services and hotels are few and far between which will likely make for some long days coming up.

We have called the Natchez Trace B&B service and worked with Randy to set up the next couple of days reservations while we are bicycling on the Trace.  We are anxious to be on slowly traveled roads with no semi’s as we continue to pedal south to Baton Rouge, LA.  We are about 15 miles from the Trace so we should be on it before 9:00 tomorrow morning and then for the next 400+ miles.

Caption for the following three pictures is “John, where is your stoker” (right Dennis)?  Actually Kathi was out in a field taking pictures!