Boys only ride today
It is easy to tell that we have been riding 6 days in a row. How, you might ask? Because all the girls were in the van and all the boys were outside on their ponies - doing a 60 mile ride into a north wind on a hilly adventure. They still averaged 14.8 mph and all three of them completed the journey.
(with 1800 feet of climbing. Dan said it felt like 18,000) The wind was at least 15 mph and was gusting, especially when crossing the long bridge over the Tennessee River. The guys were feeling a bit goofy this morning for our daily start up pictures.
Colleen did the driving on the SAG today and Evelyn and I did running commentary and took the pictures. I love seeing the low bridges along the way and also really like when we can get a close up of our guys on the bikes.
The farther north we ride the more we see the foliage changing. The colors are starting to be more dominate and I constantly was telling Colleen to stop so I could get a shot of another pretty scene along the way.
I do have to say that the restrooms along the way on the Trace are some of the nicest and cleanest that we have seen anywhere in our travels. Well maintained and always a welcomed sight!
Typically we try to pull into a rest stop before the ponies get there and have the van set up so they can refill water bottles, get a banana or cliff bar if needed and then quickly get back on the road while we re-pack the van.
Today we got to cross the Tennessee River. The bridge was under repair, thus the orange barrels, and was down to one lane. Our poor cyclists couldn't get across the .8 mile structure before the light changed to allow the southbound traffic to begin. There were two cars behind our cyclists and it made quite the mess on the bridge. We were glad when everyone was safely across!
We are always looking for wildlife as we drive through. Today we were fortunate to see a small fawn at the side of the road...no picture was taken in time. We also couldn't get the bald eagle that took off from a side field and soared into the sky over us. But we were able to stop in time to get a few shots of the wild turkeys.
Whoops, how did those last two pictures get in this paragraph?? Anyway, today we finished the ride through Alabama and headed into our last state, Tennessee.
Today we saw a lot of creeks and riverbanks. There were some really serene spots. I love the combo of running water and falling leaves.
And as much as I love Sonic, this cup has no business here. I will say that for the most part, we have seen a very small amount of litter along the way.
We met some interesting folks along the way today. There was a group of seven riders from Idaho that was taking a tour together in honor of their SAG driver who couldn't ride this time because of his ALS. They were an animated group. (Probably thought the same thing about us.) We also saw some folks from NC and another couple of local riders out for a day ride.
Once again here are a couple of pretty scenery shots at the end of the day. We ended at mile marker 386 today. The stopping point was at Meriwether Lewis memorial and the monument marking the Natchez Trace. A nice end to the ride today. Tomorrow is the anniversary of Meriwether's death.
We had a 40 mile ride to our hotel today. We are staying at a Fairfield Inn on the west side of Columbia, TN. Today was a city wide and maybe even county wide garage sale and it took a very long time to get through the traffic. Thankfully there is a five mile closing on the Parkway so we will be taking a different way back to our starting point for tomorrow - our last day before driving back to home. Today was the last full day of riding. Tomorrow we need to finish the 8 hour drive home since we have those in our group that need to work on Monday morning. So, the decision has been made that we will drive part of the Trace and then ride the last 20-25 miles to the end of the 444 mile Parkway. More on that tomorrow...
Thanks for following along. I hope you got to see a little of the beauty and catch a small amount of the excitement we felt doing this journey together. Wynn and I are so thankful for this group of friends and fellow cyclists. God is good!
Brenda and the ponies