A Travellerspoint blog

October 2016

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Over already??

Hello Y'all, ( must be picking up that southern talk)
We spent a quiet evening in the hotel after eating Colleen's delicious skillet lasagna. We finished off the sourdough bread from the French Camp as well. Watching the Cubs play and then hearing the entrance of the wedding party guests after 11 pm made for a quick night. But we were all up early and ready to ride. We packed the bags for the last time and drove the 45 minutes to the Trace entrance. We knew we could not ride the rest of the Trace and then still make an 8 hour drive home in a timely manner. So the group decided that we would drive the first miles on the Trace and then ride the last third. We picked up the Trace at mile marker 391. And we drove until marker 427.

Wynn drove, I was copilot and the kids were in the back.


Now ou must know that when I am SAG-ing by myself I pull off at almost every pullout and take pictures. But the first overlook I got about five seconds to jump out, take one pic and get back in before the van drove off without me. It's a pretty pic!


The next stop was Jackson Falls and everyone did get out and make the steep climb down to the bottom of the falls. There wasn't much water coming down as it has been so dry here, but I still found it beautiful and loved the cave.


We did see a deer bound across the road and we also saw several flocks of turkeys and a group of grouse. But the foliage is what caught my eye and I never tire of seeing the fields, the bridges and the trees.


The guys started their ride at mile marker 427. There was a group of gals riding the southern direction and they told us that the road was very hilly and steep so we girls kinda got scared off from riding all of today. We decided to meet the guys on the other side of the Birdsong Bridge.


The view from the bridge was beautiful. Somehow we all pictured the bridge being a bigger deal. But really the spectacular view of the bridge is from down below. The girls rode the last two miles to mile 440. It was nice to ride altogether one last time. When we reached the 440 mile marker, the guys surged ahead to the actual terminance of the Trace. The girls turned around and rode back to get the van. So we had four miles of very hilly road to ride. We looked good, if I do say so myself.


Once we got to Hwy 100 the guys were gracious enough to direct us into the Loveless Cafe.


The wait to eat was 1 hour and 40 minutes so the group decided to move on up the highway. We ate at a Wendy's instead...poor substitute for the breakfast we were all looking forward to! . But the trip has come to a successful end. 444 miles, 1flat tire and NO crashes!
Hope you enjoyed the ride from afar. Now we have the eight hour drive home from Nashville. I wonder what the next adventure will be for Wynn and Brenda. Time to start planning a new trip. My trip to Disney with Scott and Jenna and the girls next month will be a FB album, not in the blog because Wynn is staying home to work and take care of Sharia.

(Thanks, Janis, for finding us these shirts way back in Natchez on the first day of this journey!)
Farewell, From Brenda and the ponies

Posted by brendagerber07 11:37 Comments (4)

Turkeys, Eagles and Fawns, O My

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

Posted by brendagerber07 16:21 Comments (4)


Frank Lloyd Who??

Dear readers,
I have decided that my riding time is done until we all ride into Nashville together. It was very rewarding to ride the past five days, but I do not really want to slow everyone down on the long inclines promised tomorrow. Today we rode from mile marker 266 to mile 320. The ponies were restless to get out of the gate...but where is Greg? Bathroom again!


Having had a good breakfast, we needed to drive about 20 miles to get back to the Tupelo Visitor Center. We started riding at 7:45 am and finished up at 12:30 pm. The team averaged 14.6 mph with several long inclines ( 1600 feet of climbing) . We rode across a long bridge and also though fields of cotton. Wynn actually met a car with one of our Ohio friends driving south on the Trace. (Randy and Susie Lane - hello!)
Today I am going to include a lot of pictures that I am going to label, "Scenes along the Trace."


Was that too many pics? There are just so many beautiful scenes and these are just a taste of what you see. Quiet roads, wildlife, water, trees, grasses, caves, mounds and just peace! What a wonderful time of year. In another week, it is going to be bursting with color. But I am loving it anyways!

We ate lunch on the steps of the cave and then took pictures at the state line.


Finishing up our trip for the day, we had to drive about 30 minutes to get to our hotel, A Hampton Inn and Suites in Florence, AL. We got into our rooms early and got cleaned up before heading out to tour a Frank Lloyd Wright House, the Rosenbaum House. It was all straight lines, so much wood and small, narrow doorways. It had fallen into disrepair as the Widow Rosenbaum grew older and fell behind on repairs. She gave it to the city of Florence as long as they would remodel it.


After the tour of the home, everyone agreed that they were hungry. Wynn found a little place called The Pie Factory. We had three 16" inch pizzas, a meat lovers, a traditional pepperoni and sausage and an Italian favorite.


We turned on the Indians and enjoyed seeing a four run lead before heading home to the hotel to watch the game together in the lobby. The evening will end shortly. We even saw a little schnauzer on our walk through the town.

Wynn and I will head to Walmart to finish up the grocery runs! Of course we are all cheering on the Tribe and are excited to be up 2-0.


So goodnight from Florence. Tomorrow we will enter Tennessee and the last miles of the Trace. I can't believe it is Friday night already. See ya tomorrow!!
Brenda and the ponies

Posted by brendagerber07 16:43 Comments (2)

More Rolling Hills

Is Elvis really in the building?

Hello faithful followers,
We have finished our 5th day of riding the Natchez Trace Parkway and have passed the halfway mark today. It was a cool morning 57 degrees) when we started off this morning. Notice the jackets on the group, except for me, cause I am always a hotbox. Hopefully next trip will find me a few pounds lighter and a little more normal when it comes to body temps! Ha! We rode from mile marker 213 and ended at mile 266. Of course we needed to stop at the 222 mile marker for a pic of the halfway point.


I did get through my 20 mile part of the ride and averaged 14 mph this time...my highest yet! But I sure did have tired legs and bum when I got done. Ev decided to SAG with me and Colleen stayed in the van too, so the guys got to finish the last 33 miles on their own. They averaged 15 mph for the whole day, so rode considerably faster after we womenfolk got in the van. We stopped at a place called Witchdance to change drivers.


The guys were all riding in Military jerseys today. Wynn in Navy, Dan in Air Force and Greg in Marine jerseys.


We ate lunch at Chickasaw Council. We had purchased a loaf of cinnamon apple oat bread yesterday at the French School and it made for terrific hearty PB and J sandwiches today!


We tried to get some bridge crossings today. Colleen volunteered to be the lookout while Ev and I drove below the bridge to get an angle.


We arrived at the Tupelo visitor center, the main Natchez Trace center. It was the endpoint for our ride today. The guys pulled in around 12:30 pm. Great ride! Even the news showed up, but didn't interview us.?


Once in Tupelo, we of course had to go see the birthplace of Elvis. It was touted to be such a cool place, but we all agree that the hype didn't match the actual presentation. It cost $14 each to take the tour, which we did. We saw the little church and the actual house his dad built and they lived in. Lots of fun stuff in the museum and a cool gift shop to boot. But not worth $14!


It was around 90 degrees again today so we had to make another stop at Sonic for milkshakes!

Tonight we are staying at a Comfort Inn. Sad news...the pool is broken. Dan and Ev are making the Southwest Skillet for supper tonight and we will watch the Indians play afterwards. Beer and cookies were served in the lobby and we are watching part of Shawshank Redemption while we await supper time. Tomorrow night we are crossing out of Mississippi and will stay the night in Alabama.

Goodnight from Brenda and the ponies ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ??

Posted by brendagerber07 16:46 Comments (1)

French School and Big Ed's BLTs

Mississippi Mud Cake too

To start today's blog, I thought I would throw in a few shots of Koskiousko from last night. We walked the old town and ate at a sports bar named Outfield's there. We didn't get pizza...so we will look forward to that another night.

Day four of riding took us from mile 160 and rode til Mile 214. We are just short of the halfway mark on the Trace. It was an absolutely beautiful morning to ride . The first 20 miles included Wynn, Ev, Greg and me. We decided to ride easy and enjoy the path before the sun got hot. We saw a brown fox, one that looked almost black and also some wild turkeys along the road. There are a few trees starting to turn as well, making this part of the drive, so peaceful. We could hear leaves crunching under our tires. No one was on the road which made riding so easy. We averaged 13.8 for the first twenty miles.


Then we stopped and had a delightful visit at a place called French Camp and Academy. We met some folks there that really talked and we're so excited about their ministry there with kids of school age. Some of the kids live at the school with house parents, and some attend school from the surrounding areas. We made friends easily with the folks in the welcome center there. We got free samples of homemade bread...fresh from the oven and met the cook. We also me a gal who said her granddaughter was working at Skyview Ranch in Millersburg, OH. This is a camp that my husband worked for when he was in high school and I attended as a kid too. Small world!
One of the men there offered to give us a tour of the grounds. 900 acres with the school , restaurant, conference center, summer camp and retreat centers...and on and on it goes. This is a ministry based school and I actually could see Wynn and I here some time in the future.


We bought some sourdough bread and an apple cinnamon oat read for breakfast. We also ate at their cafe and had monstrous BLT sandwiches , soup, salad and had to try Mississippi Mud cake for dessert. Now remember, we still have more cycling to accomplish.


Our next stop was at Jeff Busby Park. It is known as the second highest point in Mississippi. Colleen and Evelyn arrived at this point and said their ponies needed a rest. There was much more climbing this stretch of the Trace and the sun was high. Upper 80's. So the guys carried on another 20 miles and the girls drove up to the high point and hiked a small trail.


There we other small stops along the way. As we travelled the last few days, there was a nine member group of riders from Texas that we have come across. They stayed in the same hotel last night with us and also were at the Cafe today. They left about 40 minutes before we did...but at the end of our ride today, our guys were working so hard to catch them...they just missed overtaking them, averaging around 19 mph. (But no, they're not competitive! ?)

So we are again at a hotel, enjoying the pool and getting ready to eat Middie Mashbowls! Yum. This is laundry day so I better scoot and get my clothes out of the dryer for the next couple!


Love to all,
Brenda and the ponies

Posted by brendagerber07 14:12 Comments (1)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 10) Page [1] 2 » Next