Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hohenwald, TN

Hello!  Just a short update while I have a minute.  As the title says, I'm in Hohenwald, TN.  It started raining last night and will continue till tomorrow, so I'm just hanging out.  The hosts at the campground very graciously invited me to ride to town for dinner last night and breakfast this morning.  We're all doing a bit of laundry across the street from a coffee shop.

My schedule is to meet Paul at the north end of the Trace on Saturday.  I'm less than 60 miles from there now so two very easy days will get me there.  I was going to ride today and take tomorrow off to rest, but the rain (all day today) made resting today seem like a smart choice.  Saturday Paul and I will begin the return trip. 

Here's a couple pictures from the last couple days, since leaving Tupelo.  Enjoy.
From Natchez Trace

From Natchez Trace

From Natchez Trace

From Natchez Trace

From Natchez Trace

From Natchez Trace

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tupelo, Mississippi.

Bicycle touring is great!  I started the Trace at mile marker 89. Actually, I was a few miles from the Trace and rolled through the city on Clinton. Tonight I'm in Tupelo, mile marker 260.  So my average speed is.... well, some sort of math function would answer that but it's not the point.  If I wanted to go fast I would have left the bicycle in the van and ridden the Ducati. 
From Southern States

I camped 3 nights in a row, each time at one of the many campgrounds on the trace. About half of the campgrounds are open to anyone, the other half are "bicycles only."
 
From Southern States

The everyone-welcome places were nearly full, lots of snowbirds heading north for the summer in their big RVs. The "bicycles-only" campground was mine all alone.
 
From Southern States

The Trace is full of history and every ten miles, often less, there is a turn off with a short path through the wilderness or some sort of interactive display. Walk around 2000 year-old burial mounds or maybe a nice boardwalk path just a hundred yards or so around a pond. But every time I checked out these places, I did so alone. People would drive by slowly, a few would pull in and read the signs, but nobody ever gets out of the car.
 
From Southern States

I admit, I was once guilty of the same thing. I followed the Trace from Nashville to Jackson on a motorcycle. But my vacation was coming to a close and I had to be home. The 50 mph speed limit on the Trace meant if I stopped to experience each piece of history, then I would get home very late. So I passed them all.
 
From Southern States

Not this time. Now I'm stopping at every chance. Sure, partly because I look for any reason to get off that bicycle seat, but also because my schedule allows for a lot of interruptions. Ralph Waldo Emerson said "Life is a journey, not a destination." Ted Simon built on that pointing out that "the interruptions are the journey." I hope each of you reading this finds time to stop and smell the flowers.
From Southern States

Till next time...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

After a few more good friends and more good food, I am back on the road. I started the bicycle trip this morning, leaving Jackson, Mississippi heading for Nashville. Look for another blog update in a couple days, at least one of the Park Service welcome centers has wifi so I'm dragging the computer along.
Yes, those are crayfish pies. Yum!
From Southern States

Looks like this but with another wheel and 50 lbs of stuff in tow.
From Southern States

I plan to be in Nashville on the 27th to meet Paul and then begin the return ride to Jackson.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

(Same old) New Orleans

I've been hanging out in New Orleans this week. But after living here for four years, this place has too many memories for me, so I'm not staying here long. Besides, what is the point of running from the ghosts if you head to where so many of them started from?

From Southern States

And the traveling hasn't gotten old yet, so I'm going to keep heading east and north for a while. Next week I'll be taking a three-week bicycle trip on the Natchez Parkway. I'm not sure yet if I'll be bringing the computer along since there will be very little wifi on the road. Blogging will be limited if I don't bring it, but not much better if I do.
From Southern States

Plans after that may be a little more uncertain. I was heading for the Appalachian Trail, though the thought of spending 5 months walking was starting to turn me off. Not that I mind a nice hike, but I'd miss the bicycle and the motorcycles. Other options continue to present themselves all the time, so committing to 5 months on the trail would mean passing on many other interesting things.

I haven't taken many photos here in New Orleans. What is there here that hasn't been photographed so many times before? I have enjoyed seeing friends; I'm definitely glad I swung this far south. Alas, the crayfish are not out yet, it's been a cold winter.

Good food, good friends, good carpentry!
From Southern States

From Southern States

From Southern States


From Southern States

Friday, March 5, 2010

I spent four days in the Lake Livingston State Park, having the place nearly to myself. The weather was great and I had three nice bicycle rides, good training for later this month.


My view in the rear view mirror.

From Texas

This cat came by near dinner time. Not a great picture but when he was walking it was like looking at a black hole. He was so dark no light was reflected.
From Texas

Packing the bicycle trailer. The ukulele had to stay in camp...
From Texas

Returning from a 35 mile training ride.
From Texas

Evening meal. That would be salmon, noodles, yellow pepper, three large scallions, and some assorted spices.  Yum!
From Texas

Sunset on Lake Livingston.
From Texas

I'd like to write more, but for now the pictures will have to tell the story.  Next stop is New Orleans, LA.  Crawfish season!

Monday, March 1, 2010

I spent four days in San Antonio, Texas, camped at an RV park on an Army base, and I might regret it, but I did not go see the Alamo. I headed that way, but parking is a bear around the tourist attractions and in the end, seeing stuff like that when you're alone is just not the same. I did manage to spend a great day out on the Ducati, now equipped with a license plate, thanks to brother Carl.

From Texas

From Texas

I left the RV park late Saturday morning, and after wandering around the Texas hill country, following the twisty lines on the map, found myself with 20 minutes of daylight and over 120 miles from base camp. Time for one more twisty line, alas, no pictures. But heading south to pick up highway 90 back to San Antonio, I had a front row view of a most amazing sunset on my right. Panning to the left, the sky changed from yellow to orange to red to purple, then to normal evening sky with a full moon well above the horizon. It was an amazing view, and I thought about trying to get a picture, but the light was low and the view would have required 4 or 5 pictures stitched together. You'll just have to take my word for it, the scene was magnificent.
From Texas

While out riding, I happened to see my friends from Big Bend going the other way on their way to Austin. What are the odds? Texas is a big state, they are traveling on bicycles, and I happen to be on the same road. If it happens again, I'm going to assume they are stalking me. My own groupies.
From Texas

Next stop should be the Sam Houston National Park. I need to get some miles on the bicycle before the big start on the 17th.