I am not really sure where this hotel is as I am writing this outside of our room, listening to the trucks on I40, but it is on our route … we had about 65 miles of lovely biking in Tennessee as we are making our way to the Natchez Trace Parkway.
There are lots of pictures on this blog of Dan looking at maps (including the one above, from this morning) because we spend a lot of time with them, trying to figure out where we are, and where we are going next. Every morning before we leave, every evening when we have stopped cycling for the day, and a couple of dozen times in between, we are studying the maps, which came from Adventure Cycling in Missoula, Montana. Most days we complete about three segments of a map. On the left hand side of each map segment are the turn-by-turn instructions for that segment, which differ for southbound or northbound bike travelers, and show, for example, that Waverly has restaurants and grocery stores and places to stay (represented by a star), and that it was on Pumpkin Creek Lane that Dan was chased by six or seven dogs (okay, that is not on the map but I know that’s where we were, and they all got tired out from chasing him before I came along).
At one point in the morning Dan said “this is like the forest primeval,” and it was, with beautiful, old pines and oaks shading the road, and very few homes as we continued through the Land Between the Lakes with lots of signs pointing to resorts and restaurants with names like Fat Daddy’s and Pirates that were a couple of miles away on the lake.
We passed over many beautiful creeks and finally stopped at one, taking off our shoes to wade in the cold, clear water, and then rode into Waverly for lunch. I had sent a note to a lovely fellow who lives outside of Nashville, a friend of my friend Lynne, Paul Binkley, who is a terrific musician and composer and who likes to bike. We had a spirited conversation last December about many things including biking, after a performance of Lynne’s Christmas show, and he said he’d like to bike with us on the Natchez Trace for a day if time permitted. In Waverly, I found a text from him, once we had a signal, and it turned out that he could not bike with us but was wondering if he could bring us or take us out to dinner. Which was an INCREDIBLE offer since I had met him ONCE, and since our planned stop for the night was on completely the opposite side of Nashville.
We checked into our no frills hotel on the highway, adjacent to a Sunoco and really nothing else, and washed our biking clothes in the bathtub because there were no laundry facilities. Paul spent nearly two hours driving to find us, had a cooler full of cold drinks and snacks, picked us up and took us to the closest town for dinner at a roadhouse. While the food was good, the conversation was even better and Paul’s big laugh and great stories about life on the road as a musician and his music copyright work made the time go too fast.
We ended with a nightcap of Kentucky bourbon in our little room and Paul left us with some fruit and muffins sent along by his wife Erin, and said goodbye. Hoping we can return the favor to him someday in Minnesota. Spirits lifted by another incredibly gracious, kind person and act…it was a terrific day.