Map of Our Natchez Trace Bike Trip

Friday, October 1, 2010


Geri at the entrance to Cave Spring
 
Dennis in front of Bear Creek Indian mound
 
Old lovers at Freedom Hills Overlook

video

A bad place to stand if you have a wooden leg!
 
A very special family - Marilyn, Karen, Mike & JR Ligon
 Day 29 - We were up before the sun again and able to pack up with very little dew slowing us down, however, we discovered a small scorpion under the tent when we were packing it up and that led to a very thorough inspection of our sleeping quarters. We were leaving the State Park before 8:30 AM.  Like yesterday there was much to see along the Parkway today.  We visited a small cave called Cave Spring, saw another large Indian mound and pedaled into Alabama all before 11:00 AM.  We took a long lunch break before crossing the Tennessee River and hiked several short trails.  One trail, called Freedom Hills Overlook, brought us to the best view of the surrounding area we have seen.  Another trail took us to Rock Spring which was surrounded by a lot of evidence of beaver activity.  One unexpected roadside attraction was an incredible rock wall maze complex.  We have been amazed at the many Indian mounds we have seen and we have pondered the vast amount of time and manpower it must have taken to build them.  The rock wall complex we visited was huge and it is hard to believe, but it was constructed by just one individual.  It almost puts the Indian mounds to shame, since those required many workers.  We were only in Alabama a short while today then we entered Tennessee.  This makes 3 states in one day on our bike.  We have pedaled in 3 states in one day only once before, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri.  That was during our Route 66 adventure.  Route 66 leaves Oklahoma, catches the SE corner of Kansas and then enters Missouri.  Our last attraction along the Parkway today was another spot showing the original Natchez Trace.  We reached Collinwood, TN. before 6:00 PM and our guidebook indicated that we had the option of camping or staying at a motel.  We were more interested in eating first.  We found an all-you-can eat seafood buffet that we took advantage of.  We were very hungry and worn out from our ride today.  We covered nearly 60 miles and the north wind was even stronger today than yesterday.  So we had a bit of a struggle against the wind as the protective forests have diminished and our climbs have gotten longer and steeper.  We broke 1000 feet in elevation several times today.  Our average speed was under 10 mi/hr as evidence of the difficult travel we experienced.  After we were stuffed from the buffet, we decided to reward ourselves with a motel stay, but we found that the local motel only had 2 rooms and both were occupied.  That forced us into camping, but every spot where the city allowed camping had rest rooms that were locked and there were no commercial campgrounds nearby.  We really needed to cleanup badly before going to bed.  Just as we were ready to set up our tent in Collinwood's city park, Karen Ligon drove by and saw our tandem bike and she knew we were travelers.  Karen and her husband, Mike, are tandem riders also.  Karen discovered we had no facilities and before we knew what happened she had called a friend, Jim, who drove his pickup to Collinwood to haul our bike, all our gear and us to the Ligon's home for the night.  As usual, we are humbled by the kindness of some people and they seem to appear like magic when we need them the most.  We enjoyed the Ligon's 2 children, JR and Marilyn, in their comfortable rural home.  Geri and I will both be searching for bicyclists to rescue when we return home!

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