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Well, Daddy and I returned from our biking/camping/walking (yes, walking) trip early Monday morning. We had a good time adventuring, but it was shadowed with sadness as my oldest cousin passed away suddenly during our trip and we came home a day early for his funeral. I am going to write it in more than one post, because it is so long. [I will fill in with pictures when they are developed.] Pre-trip After my Admin law exam, I packed up the rest of my things and zipped to Ellerslie where we packed and repacked Bob, our bike trailer, and our rack trunks. We ended up with Bob hauling about 40 pounds, plus our gear in our rack trunks. The morning of the 4th, we were going to pick up our rental truck from the airport and head to Nashville! Early that morning, my parents got a call that my cousin's condition had suddenly deteriorated and my mother went to the hospital. That morning, no one knew what would happen, and Daddy and I decided to go on to Nashville and wait for news there. Once we got to Nashville, we scouted out the route to the Trace from our hotel near I-40, which was about 6 miles away. We discovered that we could ride through the parking lots of the shopping centers next to the hotel to the first road, and that road conveniently had a wide bike-lane all the way to the end. While the next two roads were a little narrow, they weren't very long and we could get to the Trace without much problem. We also rode down the Trace for about a half an hour, scouting out places to hide in case of rain (60% chance forecasted). We decided to keep the truck until the morning in case we had to return home. I think we learned that night that my cousin had been transferred to Emory and had been stabilized there. (The timing of everything is off in my head, and I can't really remember when we knew what and where we were at what point. Everything seems to have happened at once.) Since things seemed to be looking up at that point and the doctors there might be able to figure out what was wrong and start treatment soon, we decided to ride the next day. Rain or shine. Day One The next morning, Daddy got up at the crack of dawn and took the truck back to the airport in Nashville and took a cab back to the hotel. We ate our breakfast and loaded the bikes all up and off we went! We arrived at the Trace with no big problems (minus a speeding school bus), where on the ramp I promptly threw my water bottle on the ground instead of putting it back in the cage and had to stop, lay my bike down, and run down the road to get it. Poor daddy probably thought I'd already had enough bike riding! The first leg of the trip was pretty good--the weather was nice, in that it was overcast and not too hot. We took some breaks along the way and ate our figgie newtons, and made about 10 mph time, which was what we were aiming for. There was a giant hill in the first four miles, and Daddy decided to push his bike and Bob up the hill so he wouldn't be completely worn out by lunchtime. We crossed the huge double-arch bridge over Birdsong Hollow this morning, and it was incredible! There are tire-grabbing seams on this bridge, so you have to be careful! Probably the highest I have ever been and not been in an airplane. Day one was about 63 miles altogether. After the huge hill in the first few miles, we made great time to where we expected a lunch stop, near Centerville, TN. Yeah, well, sometimes expectations aren't met. The park service said there would be food/supplies a mile towards Centerville, but we pushed our bikes to the top of a huge hill and saw nothing but another huge hill beyond that. We did see a propane place that looked like it could have once been a store, but ha. So, we went back to the Trace to the Gordon House. This was built by the Gordons (surprise) in the early 1800's, when they operated a ferry on the Duck River nearby. Just a simple house, but a good place to stop for a break. We ate some of our snack food here, and the chicken I had packed for our emergency meal. And yes we did note that it did not bode well for our trip that we dipped into the emergency rations during our first meal! After lunch, we only had about 20 miles left for the day. What we didn't know was that it would be all uphill. No, I'm not joking. In the rain. No, I'm not joking about that either. The rain at least kept us from getting too hot, but it is not fun pushing your bike up a hill in the rain. Daddy says at one point, "Well, it's got to go downhill at some point." Many uphill miles later, he began to worry that we were about to see the Matterhorn up ahead. It didn't rain the whole afternoon, but afterwards it got a little warm! At one point, during a rest break on the side of the road, I laid down on the shoulder of the road and thought. . .I could just sleep here tonight! It brought back memories of laying on the warm asphalt at mile 19 of the 3-Day, and I began to get a tiny bit worried. In the very last few miles of the day, we found the downhill at Swan's Creek. And what a downhill! I didn't have my computer on my bike, but I could tell I was in the upper 20's--with my brakes on. We found the Fall Hollow Campground and collapsed on their porch. We met the owners who showed us around the campground and let us pick out a nice site--for $5 a tent camper per night! A pretty sweet deal. The Fall Hollow Campground is really a nice place, and it has hot showers and a nice little bathhouse. The hosts/owners are very friendly and helpful to bike people! They also sold us the most magnificent snack ever--a honeybun and cold Coke. It's a wonder we didn't bite our fingers off feeding ourselves. They also offered us a ride to town later on in the evening, which made us prick our little fox ears up. My brother called (or we called him) and he talked about some giant rattlesnake he killed, but cell service was very spotty so it was a short conversation. But with "4 foot long rattlesnake, as thick as my arm" apparently the most pressing message, we figured that no news was good news. That night, our hosts drove us in to town for dinner and we saw the big city lights of Hohenwald, TN. (It does have a McDonald's and a Sonic, so it is pretty big--relative to Ellerslie!) We ate at Snappy's pizza, which was fantastic. Between the two of us, we ate a 14'' pizza--plus half of our host's small pizza. Then they took us to MickyD's and bought us ice cream cones, and we ate those, too! Ha. It still looked like it might storm, but we went down to our tents and went to bed. This is where I heard a Chuck-will's-Widow. I don't think either of us slept very well, our first night out, but we did not have to pick up our sleeping bags in the middle of a thunderstorm and run for shelter either. Here is our little tent.

1 Comment

Wow. You guys are so brave! I can’t wait to read part two!!! My mommy will like this too, so I am going to tell her to read it!

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This page contains a single entry by wildernesse published on May 9, 2007 7:56 PM.

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