Thursday, January 18, 2007

Franklin through Nashville to the Trace

January 10, 2007

I didn’t get far enough today, but I have decided how far will be far enough; at least for the moment. Warm enough to not need my suit to ride my bike. Warm enough to not feel that I am freezing to death without it while riding. That would be warm enough and that would be far enough. At least for a couple of days.

Today I got through Nashville and got onto McCrory road to find the Natchez Trace Parkway. I managed to take one of those gosh darn unscheduled detours (to the uninitiated, that means that I got lost). Since I had looked pretty thoroughly at the map, I caught on pretty quickly that I was not where I wanted to be and got myself turned around.

It was a thrilling feeling, getting on the Natchez Trace as it has been on one of my 500 things to do before I die for quite a while. It’s a gorgeous ride that over 400 miles without a stop sign. The road is well maintained and well, it’s just a great ride. There are lots of great things to look at and enjoy, exhibits, overlooks and historical places. The trail also has inherited the karma of the hundreds of people who have traveled it.

And now, here I am. I thought the architecture on the above bridge was really great. There are no structural support other than the arches. It is column free.

Here are some other places that I stopped and took pics of on the way to the campground the first night. First are some pics of the Garrison Creek Picnic Area. There are some great places for people to use who happen to have horses. ;)

This is the view from Water Valley Overlook

I stopped at Mereweather Lewis Campground, one of three campgrounds right on the trail that are free. They are great. This is the only campground in Tennessee. The other two are in Mississippi.

It’s actually a lifestyle choice that I not go further tonight. It’s dusk and it’s cold, but the cold isn’t a totally bone chilling, biting cold. I take off my snowsuit to put up the tent so I won’t sweat.
There’s a guy at the other end who has a motorhome that is hauling a motorcycle in a pick-up that’s his toad. He looks friendly, has a roaring campfire already going and I wish that I could share his campfire and chat for a while, but he’s located too far from the restrooms that I need to be near since I am tenting.

So, it’s just after dark, and here I am; me, a tent that I have never set up before and already it’s down to 40*. At least there is a campsite available. In the summer these places get crowded because they are free and first come first served.

The tent goes up easy, but it is too small. The 5’ by 6’ that the floor is supposed to be is measured from side to side but up the bathtub style floor. I will have much trouble stretching out, let alone finding a place for my stuff. It’s going to be a cramped, really cramped night.
Ok, maybe I really did bring too much stuff. Just don't see what I should have left at home. At this point, I wondered if I would ever find room for me or if I would have to sleep outside of the tent.

I could care less at this point. It’s dark, I’m exhausted and need to catch up on some sleep since I worked much of the night, the night before.
Wow, I like the way the bike cover looks. I thought it would be a waste of money, but I really like it. Great!

It’s cold outside and I have trouble getting warm enough to get to sleep so I grab a clean set of cords that I have, cover up my face but it’s not enough and my nose is still cold, Finally I pull on my hat and pull it down over my nose. For a while I am fine but around midnight the cold starts to seep in and I start to feel chill. I grab my blue blanket (thanks NAMI South Carolina, its one of the greatest presents that I ever got) and set it on top of my sleeping bag to help insulate me from the chill. I fall back into a fitful sleep.

Hindsight is, that if I’d eaten something I would have probably been warmer. But then my hindsight has always been 20/20.
This is the view at the campground after I pack up camp the next morning.

It’s starting to get light out. It’s cold and I don’t want to get out from between the covers. I want to get to Tupelo today to look around. It’s where I originally wanted to start my great adventure. I finally get going around 11AM. It’s still cold, but not a numbing cold. It does make my shoulders ache.
Before I leave, I take a look at the Merriweather Lewis exhibits.
And here is a pic of Merriweather Lewis's grave. Sideways as usual. *snicker I really should have better learned to do photo editing before I took off. rotflmao
As I ride down the road, I realize that almost all of my what ifs had happened. My tent was too small. It was cold, very cold so I had a hard time getting warm and staying warm. It had rained for a couple of days while being cold.

I had handled all of it.

No comments: