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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)

Talk About a Level Ride

Only 407 feet of climbing for the entire ride

Good afternoon,
A wonderful day of riding is over and we have already cooled off in the pool in Kosciosko. This is the same stop and hotel that we stayed in when the ponies went across America 3 years ago. I think the same girl was behind the counter. Most of the time we get two rooms and one couple gets to have the "Honeymoon room" . Sometimes we cook on the counters in our hotel room and sometimes we go out to eat. Last night we had skillet spaghetti in the electric skillet but tonight we are going out for pizza.

We started out this morning at mile 101. There was an alternate trail off the parkway to avoid traffic at morning rush. It was a bit chewed up and we had to be careful not to get in a rut. This trail was about five miles long before we got back onto the normal Trace.


The riders were ready for the day to begin.


Today was definitely my favorite day so far and that of course had to do with the ride past the Resevoir. It was a most beautiful scene. Colleen said "Blissful" I said " serene". We saw the water for about 15 miles of the morning ride. Combine that with the flat terrain and I was a happy camper. Of course seeing the Eagle fly overhead and the cranes and blue herons didn't hurt either. Here are a few shots that give you a hint of what we enjoyed. 90_ABC97642EDC1ECF3FD941AA17FE1F0A2.jpeg90_ABCD3EF5DBE44BF0DA10BAFB8980D8BD.jpeg90_ABDF1D5BEBE32112500D5BE8855D4227.jpeg90_ABE357A5BF53EA91DC0B08C3A7BE1BD8.jpegABEA0823A78C936380932BA02A55E103.jpegAC05629D99093B632229915F49A59D5A.jpeg

And this was the section of the Trace that included the Swamp which I refer to as the "Slough of Despond" from Pilgrim's Progress. Karen and Insaw this three years ago when we were SAG-I got for the riders. I got a couple of extra pictures again this time through.


I ended my part of the ride this morning at 21 miles and averaged 13.5 mph. I started my SAG responsibilities and we went another 20 miles down the road before stopping for lunch at Myreck Creek. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches, combined with chips, cookies and apples completed the lunch.


The last fifteen miles took us to Mile 160, Kosciusko. Evelyn pulled for a few miles and the entire group ended the day at 61 miles at the average of 15.1 for the day. Very low winds and did I mention, that we didn't do much climbing? ?

Here is a shot of the hay bales for Karen and a few shots of the visitor center at Kosciusko. I could see the riders as they rode through on the way to our hotel, The Day's Inn.


Cooling off in the pool was the best at the end of another 90 degree day.


We are heading off to town to find a pizza joint and see a bit of the historic district. So I will close off for tonight!!
Riding tomorrow will take us another 40+ miles north. Thanks for following along.
Brenda and the gang.

Posted by brendagerber07 14:30 Comments (3)

Tour at Vicksburg Took Precedence over Cycling?

Really... yes, really !

Hello to all that are following our journey up the Natchez Trace. It is always fun to see the comments that you leave each morning after we write. We woke early and had a great breakfast at the Comfort Inn and Suites. Everything was fresh and hot. We wanted to do some touring in Vicksburg before cycling today, thinking that we would be on the road around 11:00 am. The National Cemetery was not open until 9:00 so we decided to drive down to the Levy ( but the Levy was dry...kidding) We were looking for the murals on display down by the river's edge. We were pleasantly surprised by what we found. While they weren't the quality of the murals we saw last year in Bucyrus, OH, they were still a beautiful collection of paintings about the history of the city of Vicksburg. Here is a sampling of what we saw.


But my favorite interactive mural included our own, Evelyn Roob!


There was a huge riverboat on the Mississippi behind the murals...gorgeous!



While at the murals, Evelyn was busy on her phone getting us a personal tour guide at the Vicksburg National Park. We arrived at 9:00 and watched a couple of presentations on the Battle for Vicksburg and by 9:30 our tour guide met up with us and we were off. He drove our van and talked for the next 3 hours. We were expecting a 2 hour tour, but wow! Was he interesting!


The park was filled with monuments provided by each state for the different units and were placed on the site near to where they were positioned. Our guide pointed out the many Ohio divisions that served. Each monument held a state name and depicted something different.


Along with the division monuments there were also state monuments for both the North and South. Each is a unique work of art. Our guide, Louis, had a story for each one and knew the symbolism represented on each sculpture. He made us feel as though we were experiencing the battles, the failed attempts and the final siege. None of us could imagine the ingenuity of on the spot inventions and the work involved in the tunneling and the moving of supplies and cannons from day to day in this battle. Here are a few samples:


So after this three hour history lesson, we were all getting hungry so ate lunch on our half hour ride back to the Trace to begin our riding for the day. It was around 87 degrees as we rode and the headwinds were present but under 10 mph. You could feel them a lot more when we were riding out in the open fields. The terrain today consisted of a lot of little rollers. They were in the 1-3 % grade with not a lot of flat ground in between the next incline. Evelyn and Greg started the SAG but Greg hopped about 10 miles in and joined the ponies. Wynn and I rode a bit further behind the speedsters up front. We still managed to average around 13.5 mph for my 20 miles. The rest of the group rode 15-16 mph on average for them. One flat tire on Dan's bike and we managed to finish our 47 miles by 5:00 pm, even after the late start. The traffic really picked up on this part of the Trace around 4:00pm when we assume work was out for the day. So our ride from mile 54.8 to mile 101 was complete.


Our hotel is the Cabot Lodge in Ridgeland, MS and is located only 5 miles off the Trace. It is a snazzy little place and we are glad to be here. Happy hour kept a few of our group busy. I made skillet spaghetti and we had salad too. The pool was cool but a nice change of pace for Wynn, Greg and Ev.
Now we are all cleaned up and ready to get some rest. I want to thank my son, Ryan and his bride, Makara for giving us the CAV's cycling jerseys to wear on our trip. I also want to thank my son Scott and his bride Jenna for the phone call tonight and the good news that we will be flying instead of driving to Disney World next month!! ?

I leave you all tonight with this pic that reminds me how thankful I am that there are no trucks allowed on the Natchez Trace Parkway! We sure saw a lot of these three years ago on the Pony Ride across the USA


Tomorrow night we will actually stay at the same little hotel in Kosciusko that we stayed in three years ago. Brings back a lot of sweet memories. So thankful that the six of us are enjoying this trip together and that I get to ride a bit too, thanks to my sweet husband who rides with me and encourages me to keep going on the up hills!

Until tomorrow,
Brenda and the ponies

Posted by brendagerber07 18:35 Comments (8)

The Ponies Are Out of the Gate!

Miles 1 - 54.8

It was around 61 degrees out when we started to ride the Trace. There were even a few raindrops to keep us humble. (But they cleared up before we even hit the first mile marker.) Wynn's had the first shift of SAG driving but he rode with us to mile three before heading back to get the Van.
It took a little time to release the ponies out of the van, get the tires pumped and get everyone on the bikes, but we were riding by 8:15am


Dan and Evelyn
Greg and Colleen
Wynn and Brenda

Of course we had to take our pictures by the starting sign.

The ride on the Trace was quiet and serene. We met two other groups of riders; one set of four riders were all dressed in blue riding shirts and were from St Louis. The other set of three riders, dressed in red shirts were from Chicago. And we met some motorcyclists too. I tried to talk one into trading his bike for mine (laughter)

Our group of six riders were dressed in all bright colors and we made a sharp looking group.
I tried to get some pictures of the riders and ponies from a stop or two along the way.

The speed limit on the Trace is 50 miles an hour. We really didn't see much traffic and what we did see, were polite to the ponies. It will be interesting to see if the traffic and patience of the drivers change when we ride tomorrow on a work day.
Some of the sights along the way today, included the first school for women in Mississippi, the original Sunken Trace, a small graveyard from the 1800's and a house that was used to accommodate those walking the Trace.

Of course we have to have at least one silly shot each day. After lunch at noon and getting everything ready for the last leg of today's ride, the girls all decided to SAG and the guys raced off to finish the day. (13 additional miles.)

After finishing the ride, we all wanted to head back about 30 miles to see the Windsor Ruins. This house survived the Civil War but it was burned to the ground several years after the war ended. All that was left were these massive pillars and a couple of balconies. I can not imagine what this mansion looked like in its glory days. Wow!

Then we drove into Vicksburg for the night. We are staying at the Comfort Inn and Suites. After showers and clean clothes, we made our daily Walmart run and got Jack Daniel pulled pork, coleslaw and baked beans for dinner. Dessert was an apple caramel pie. Yummy! Now we are all settled in catching up on FB and emails and watching football. Tomorrow is a little shorter ride which will give us time to explore the city before hitting the trail.

So goodnight from the ponies and riders...
I will leave you with a couple of live videos of today.

Posted by brendagerber07 17:34 Comments (1)

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