Thursday, July 8, 2010

July 07, 2010 – Day 32 Tennessee Back Roads to Kentucky

Today I had all the time in the world to reach Dick & Linda’s country home near Campbellsville, Kentucky as it was just over a hundred miles away. If it had been a bit cooler yesterday I might have ridden all the way in but since I have no schedule I figured I might as well wait another day.

The Cookeville Comfort Inn Suites laid out a decent breakfast, sausage, eggs, cereal, bagels, yogurt, the works. Of course I ate sensibly and passed on the bagels as I’m now watching my calories. I loaded up Green Girl and after refueling I was on the road fairly early. My route took me north on 111 and Old TN 52 past lots of small roads and settlements with interesting names like Poor House Road and Neely Crossroads and Joe Stone Road.

My first stop of the day was to look over a business called Practical Combat - The Blade Store. Judging from what they were advertising I’d guess the local militants are their clientele. Less than a mile before I reached them I noticed a house flying the Confederate higher than the USA flag.

The Practical Combat people had a large assortment of flags for sale and their range of offerings seemed a bit incongruous. I suppose it’s something one has to be around to understand their message…

My next stop was to see the small historic village of Gainesboro, the last town in Tennessee I would visit. It was a spur of the moment stop and fun to ride through and look at some of the old buildings.

The warm sunshine cast a sparkle on everything and the few people who were out always waved or greeted me as I walked along.

The local barber shop advertised Dixie Cuts which I think refer to a style not seen on the west coast. I’ve noticed a few young guys wearing an odd looking combination of short cut hair on top and a small tail left on the back so maybe that’s it. I could do the tail on the back but probably not the top part of the deal so I didn’t go in.

The sign on the city park telling people not to bring their guns in gave me a chuckle. I wondered if they were referring to all guns including legal concealed weapons or just the visible ones. Like the Dixie Cut thing, this was another item I’d not test the waters with.

Just north of town there was an interesting old bridge located over Sugar Creek so I paused to look and take a few shots. I always wonder about old bridges and wish they could talk, I’d bet they’d have plenty to say. This one was sporting a healthy crop of tall grasses and looked like it had been abandoned for a long time.

Just below it carp burbled and floated lazily by, apparently not in much of a hurry to do anything while above them on a wire a flock of crows squabbled and squawked at them. It looked like today was an easy one for all the creatures around Sugar Creek.

I continued along peaceful Tennessee back roads enjoying the solitude and feeling lucky to have a good bike to ride on such a fine day. My thoughts drifted back to my childhood and similar summer days on my Grandma’s dairy farm in Oregon. I’m truly lucky.

Before long I came to another of my favorites, an old barn and a corral with horses. Like the creatures at Sugar Creek, they seemed to be enjoying themselves too.

On closer examination I noticed one mule co-habitating among them. He seemed to be a lot more curious about me than the horses which brought my attention to him. When it comes to mules my knowledge is dismal but I think they’re usually the ones that have bigger ears and always seem to have a bit of lighter coloring around their noses. I used that today as part of my decision making process in mule recognition. If I’m wrong he can kick me…

Further on north I spotted another road sign that got my attention; the West Old 53 North and I couldn’t resist leaving my GPS assigned route to see where it would take me. After photographing the sign I turned onto the road and immediately felt the difference; I was in the back country even further. The small farms and out buildings looked older and more interesting; even the road itself seemed to take on a different persona.

Meandering along I was treated to views of a different America, one that is fast disappearing in today’s world of high tech everything. I’m glad I’ve been able to see as much of this as I have but sad to think most of it has gone by the wayside.

Eventually the road led me back to the main highway I’d been traveling on before only this time the sign said it was the Old Burkesville Highway.

Shortly after that I saw the sign for the Kentucky border ahead and stopped for a photo. It wasn’t easy to achieve a clean shot as there were political signs stuck all over the place plus there was a lot of litter. I wondered if this was an anomaly or would I see more litter in Kentucky? I’ll find out but I hope it was just chance.

You know I’m a sucker for funky signs and when I saw the one for the Sawmill Night Club I had to go take a look at the place. It was just up the road less than a mile and quite a place it was.

Two things struck my funny bones, one being the sign declaring parking for Harley’s only and parked directly underneath it were two vehicles, a family sedan and a pickup truck. Poor Harleys, they just don’t seem to command respect. The other thing was the drive-through beer window; most likely very handy for those in a hurry or already too bombed to get out of their car. Marketing 101: never stop selling.

After that bit of entertainment I decided I should focus more on getting to my friends Dick and Linda’s place as I knew they were expecting me and I hadn’t called to tell them where I was. 

Where have you been Larry?

We thought you were dead!

They live way out in the country on a road not listed on most maps but I was able to zero in on a small town not far from their place and wing it the rest of the way. I found them on my 2nd try and after our happy reunion we drove to town for dinner at a Chinese buffet restaurant. It was great; we ate ourselves into oblivionThey both had commitments previously scheduled at their church for the evening so I went shopping at Wally World.

Tomorrow I’ll start towards Kansas City to see my friends David and his son Noah and if I'm lucky I'll get to see Noah race his kart on Sunday.

Life on the road is good.

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