Map of Our Natchez Trace Bike Trip

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Geri at Fall Hollow Falls
Upper Fall Hollow Falls
Nature's fall color show
400 miles down----42 to go!!!

Stewart Family dinner (Betty, Martin, Geri and Dennis)
  Day 31 - It was a cold night and the morning left us with a heavy dew.  We still managed to get packed up pretty quickly, but we enjoyed a slow breakfast before heading out into a strong, cold, north wind.  We battled the wind all day.  It was the strongest wind we have had on the entire trip so far.  The only time the wind did not bother us was when we were climbing the many long grades we ascended today, but once we crested a hill the cold wind was fighting us again.  We grew jealous of the several bicyclists we met heading south with this wind to their backs.  We met one fine fellow from Australia, who was pedaling from Chicago to New Orleans.  He was very interested in U.S. Civil War history and his route zig-zagged back and forth across the Natchez Trace as he visited famous Civil War battlefields.  The biggest roadside attraction for us today were waterfalls.  We saw several at Fall Hollow and one area that we need to visit again someday because Jackson Falls was nearly dry, but based on the large cirque that the falls drops through, it must be an impressive sight when the water is flowing.  The color show from fall leaves gets better everyday and it is a shame that we will be finishing the Natchez Trace tomorrow before the colors are at their peak, but hopefully we will be able to catch an encore of nature's pre-winter entertainment when we return to the Katy Trail in about a week.  We reached the 400 mile marker on the Parkway, which is the last century landmark we will encounter before reaching the northern terminus of the Natchez Trace and finally start heading back west toward Missouri.  We enjoyed several fine overlook vistas today and a small demo tobacco farm along the Parkway.  Despite tobacco's bad reputation, it does have a very attractive pink flower.  We left the Parkway at Leipers, Fork, TN. and traveled northeast to Franklin, TN. to get lodging for the night.  This turned out to be a much longer detour than planned because all the motels are located on the far east side of Franklin and we had to pedal over 10 miles off of the Parkway.  This increased our mileage to over 50 miles for the day, but even with the wind and hills we got close to averaging 11 mi/hr.  There was another reason for traveling so far off of our regular path.  We needed an easily identifiable landmark so my brother, Martin, and his wife, Betty could meet us.  My brother is an organic chemistry professor at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro and it was only a 30 minute drive for them to visit us.  It would have been a 3 to 4 hour pedal for us to travel to Murfreesboro!  Martin and Betty took us out to eat at a fine restaurant.  It was a fun way to finish our next to the last day on the Natchez Trace.  Thanks Martin and Betty!!!

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