Sewanee, Jack Daniels, Shiloh, Kayaking

Sewanee, Jack Daniels, Shiloh, Kayaking

posted in: Bicycle Touring, Tennessee | 24

It’s been a while since my last update!  Lots of smaller towns along Highway 64 which I’ve been traveling on for a majority of my westward travels in Tennessee.  I’ve been camping since Chattanooga and will probably be doing so until St. Louis.  Hopefully get back to more frequent updates… I tend to forget some of the details and the posts get lengthy.

Day 27, May 26th – Tracy City to Winchester

Not much progress today.  Did some hiking around the park trails (camped at the Fiery Gizzard trails) this morning and found a good place to shower up.  Once I got going I was feeling sluggish on the road.  I stopped at a rest stop to dodge some rain that was passing through and charge up my phone.  This afternoon I rode through Sewanee and looked around.  Sewanee is home to “The University of the South”, whose original construction ended because of the civil war.  After the war, the school reconstruction was funded by the church of England and hence the Oxford-like buildings.  I grabbed something to eat on the way out of town, hiding from some intense lightning and heavy rain.  My day ended in Winchester where I decided to call it a day and squeeze into a tight bunch of trees near the back of a business park.



IMG_5465My shower this morning.

IMG_5462A great quote engraved in the railing from “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost

IMG_5479Sewanee University – The University of the South


IMG_5492Memorial Cross on Memorial Day… cool views up here

IMG_5502My dinner spot had a leg lamp!  Sweet!

IMG_5503 Still some fun downhills in Tennessee


IMG_5511Cowan is an old railroad town.

IMG_5665Multiple stab wounds later the tent is up.  Cramped in here!

IMG_5514Not so friendly trees.


Miles:  37.6

Day 28, May 27th – Winchester to Frankewing

Woke up and packed up my things fairly quick to start riding early.  I decided to detour my route slightly so I could head up to Lynchburg today and tour the Jack Daniels distillery.  The tour was really cool.  Very informative and better yet… Free!  I could have done the tasting tour and would I have realized it was a dry county I might have (I figured I could buy one to try after the tour).  Oh well!  Still learned a lot about whiskey.  From Lynchburg I rode to Fayetteville and then on to Frankewing where Will mentioned the old shutdown campground would make a good stealth camp location.  I decided that was probably my best option and set up camp.  Probably should look for a shower soon.


IMG_5523Tims Ford Lake

IMG_5527It’s warm out… The cows are escaping the heat.

IMG_5666Got my tour spot!





IMG_5538This is where they burn the sugar maple boards to get charcoal for filtering the whiskey.  This process helps remove a lot of the bite and add flavor.

IMG_5548Lots of good smells coming from this place.  Mashing in process.

IMG_5552Some BBQ before I hit the road again!


IMG_5565More stealth camping.

IMG_5570I’ve had several of these huge creepy spiders.  They want in!


Miles:  64.1
Acts of kindness:  1 – Will, a guy in an old woody wagon pulled up and gave me a whole list of stealth camping options in the next 60 miles or so.  He said he does a lot of motorcycle touring.


Day 29, May 28th – Frankewing to west of Waynesboro

Got up today and made coffee and oatmeal.  I laid out my tent to dry since some thunderstorms rolled through overnight.  I rode from Frankewing to Polaski where I stopped at a great tasting deli to sit down for a bit and charge my things.  Never had Mate tea but it was good.  From there I rode on to Waynesboro.  I rode Highway 64 most of the day.  Interesting Fact: I read a sign today that this highway is the approximate rote of the Trail of Tears taken by the Cherokee tribes as they were forced to relocate by the Indian Removal Act of 1830.  Some storm clouds rolled in while I was stopped at Subway in Waynesboro so I was lucky to miss out on a major downpour.  I seem to have a 6th sense on when to take a break because I’ve been missing a majority of the torrential rain that passes through.  There weren’t any camping options in town so I kept on riding and ended up stealth camping at an abandoned property with an old burned down foundation along the highway.

IMG_5573Drying things out this morning…

IMG_5571 Meanwhile I enjoy coffee and oatmeal.


IMG_5599I’ve heard great things about biking the Natchez Trace.  Perhaps another time.

IMG_5597Flat tire.  My pump came apart inflating this repair.  I saw a spring pop out bounce down a nearby storm drain.  It seems to still pump air, but not very good.  I will have to replace this one too!  I could not find this air leak when I pulled the tube out.  I went for the new tube out of my pack after 20 minutes of inspection.


IMG_5586I came across a huge tractor graveyard.  Old tractors and related equipment for at least a mile.


Miles:  72.6


Day 30, May 29th – Waynesboro to Saltilllo

Unfortunately I didn’t get pictures of my camping spot because I woke up at 6 AM to construction workers pulling in right next to me to start work on the highway.  I packed up quick and got moving before I got any questions.  I rode into Savanah, TN pretty early and grabbed some breakfast before riding down to the Shiloh Battlefield National Military Park.  The park was huge!  I rode to the visitor center and looked at their displays.  They had a really interesting and informative 45 minute movie about the battle in a small theater.  After I toured the cemetery and a few of the key areas of the battlefield before heading out.  Crazy that there were about 110,000 infantry involved in this battle.  Just looking at some of the strategic battlefield maps made my head spin.

I backed tracked to Highway 64 and then broke North/Northeast along the Tennessee River towards Saltillo.  I think this road (Glendale Road) has the most dogs per household in Tennessee.  I had more dogs after me today than all other days combined.  At one point I counted 7 dogs that actually circled my bike and ran along side me barking with three more running along in the yard.  Luckily they are all bark.  I was hungry by the time I pulled into Saltillo and was happy to see they had a small Mexican joint in the small downtown area.  After dinner I planned to ride another 15 miles but decided to ride down to the river before heading out just to take a look around.  As I pulled up to the boat launch area I met Arthur. We didn’t chat long before he offered me a place to camp along the river just down the road.  It was a great spot under an awning so I was able to keep everything dry.  As a bonus they had a small laundry room next door that coughed the quarters back up after you pushed the change slide in.  So in the process of washing my laundry I took a partial shower as the washer filled up.  The creative ways you find to wash up on the road…


IMG_5613Tennessee River


IMG_5618Shiloh Battlefield


IMG_5636I wasn’t about to ride the whole park, but the parts I did ride were nice.

IMG_5619The cemetery holds 3,584 bodies from the battle.  If you include the missing, wounded, and killed then casualties are close to 24,000.



IMG_5660Camp spot for the evening.  No rain fly!


IMG_5654My camp buddies.

IMG_5659I saw the little guy running off with my sandal while I was in the laundry room.  No catastrophic damage.

IMG_5662Great views from camp.

Miles:  67.5
Acts of kindness:  3 – Arthur invited me to camp under some property he owns by the river; The owners of the corner gas station and cafe near the TN river also said I could camp out in front of there property after Arthur had already offered me a place; One of the residents near my camping spot invited me to come over and watch TV or use internet if I wanted to.  I didn’t go, but it was still a nice of him to offer!

Day 31, May 30th – Saltilllo to Buffalo River Campground (South of Waverly, TN)

I packed up and had breakfast with some locals at the cafe down the road.  It seemed like the local coffee stop for the retired guys.  After some good conversation I headed out.  I made about 30 miles before I got a flat.  Luckily I didn’t have to work on my half functioning hand pump since the flat occurred right in front of a mennonite family’s home.  They use electricity and had a compressor that they let me use.  The kids (7? of them) were pretty interested in the trip and stood around with some sort of fascination watching me replace my tube.  One of the kids was a pretty big cyclist himself.  They helped me get my tire inflated and find the hole in my other spare tube from a previous flat.  I thanked them and continued on.

My phone died so I rerouted some to follow roads that were actually on my map.  I rolled through Lobelville looking for a place to eat and figure out camping options.  I grabbed a sandwich and found a KOA 7 miles down the road.  This seemed like a good option since I knew I could get a shower and wifi.  Well… as I neared my planned destination I ran into Cadillacs and Hot Rods outdoor sports bar.  It looked like an interesting place so I pulled by to take a closer look.  A guy there suggest that I keep riding down the road less than a mile to another campground along the river.  I rode down there and I’m glad I did.  It was a nice spot and the owner was really great.  When he learned about my trip he offered me to camp there for free and gave me a free t-shirt.  There was also a great group of guys there on a guys weekend canoe trip.  They offered me some food fresh off the grill and a beer.

IMG_5672There was an old school pharmacy with a soda parlor in Decaturville.  I had to check it out.  It was 10 AM… I went for the milkshake and got to talk with these lovely ladies.  They said the milkshake was on them when I went to pay for it.  Thanks to both of you!

IMG_5676Several times I had a flock of these birds would swarm whenever I rode by.  Must be nesting nearby?  They would follow me for about a half mile each time.


IMG_5695The Buffalo River

Miles: 72.5
Total miles: 1538
Acts of kindness:  5 – Free milkshake; Mennonite family helped me get some flat tubes repaired; new friends at the campground gave me food and a beer when I arrived; One of the campground owners (Keith) let me stay for for free and even gave me a free T-shirt since he was pretty excited about my trip.

Day 32, May 31st – Buffalo River (Rest Day)

I woke up today with pretty tired legs.  The LDH canoe team had invited me to join them today on the river if I wanted so I decided to take them up on it.  I walked over there in the morning and they generously fed me breakfast.  Nice work Opie!

I rented a kayak for the day and we had a blast on the river.  Finally a little bit of an upper upper body.  It was a relaxing day with great company.  At night I got to enjoy some fried chicken wings made by Alan.  It was fun to join in on a weekend outing with these guys.  I’m really glad to have met them.  Very fun and extremely generous!  Thanks for the fun times!

IMG_5692Opie making breakfast.  He has a handshake that about put me on my knees.

DCIM103GOPROThe Long Dong Hong Canoe Drinking Team.  The drinking team with a canoeing problem.


DCIM103GOPRONeck strap cozies are a a great idea.

Miles: 0
Acts of kindness: 4 – Breakfast, lunch, dinner and sharing in a day of fun with the LDH canoe team!


Day 33, June 1st – Buffalo River Campground to ???

Just heading out to try an reach a campground in the Land between the Lakes on the very northern most part of Tennessee.


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24 Responses

  1. Erik Lewinski

    Love the updates! It’s so interesting to see all the people you meet and the places you see!

    • Bradley

      Thanks Erik! Saw a nice airstrip the other day! Was thinking about ya!

  2. Tom Jakab

    Brad you are awesome at writing. I never wanted to travel through Tennesee until now. Lol

    • Bradley

      Ha! Not sure about being good at writing, but it’s been fun! It’s easy when I just talk about things that actually happen 😛

      • Tom Jakab

        You definately tell a good story and your photos are amazing!

  3. Dave Ryan

    It sounds like you are having a blast Brad. Thanks for sharing the trip with us in your updates. I love that you got to take a day and hand with the LDH crew, they sound fun. Keep spinning!

    • Bradley

      Thanks Dave! LDH was a great group of guys. We are going to have to discuss fall fishing trip plans before you know it! Their outing reminded me of our fishing trip actually. I’ll be in the area in September!

  4. Enjoyed all the photos, but especially loved the old Texaco station and cactus with blossom! You’re making good progress through the Volunteer State. Safe travels!

  5. Lindsay

    Looks like you’re having an awesome time! That spider is pretty disgusting… Run into any snakes yet? Thanks for the updates, its fun reading your blog. 🙂

    • Bradley

      Haha those spiders keep showing up! Lots of snakes lately, but most of them are dead on the side of the road. I actually almost ran over a really big live one the other day 😮 Yikes! Glad you enjoy the blog! Fun reading all the comments 🙂

  6. Jeff Makulec

    Yikes! Watch out for the spring eating storm drains. I’ll bet you’ll sit next to one of those again. Too bad you couldn’t get one of those big spiders to go down and get the spring. I like the LHD Canoe Drinking Team. It’s good they know exactly what their problem is. I’ll be the kayaking really felt good after all riding. It’s heartening to see all the folks willing to lend a bit of support.

    • Bradley

      Hahaha right! Maybe they should go to Canoeaholics Anonymous. Got a new pump today… I’m hoping it’s a bit more robust than the previous one. Plus it has the connection for CO2 cartridges so I can get these tires up to pressure finally! Kayaking was a great time!

  7. jean Ryan

    I worried at first that you would get lonely on the trip alone but I underestimated your ability to find friends wherever you go. Your post about the dog packs brought to life our phone conversation with dogs barking in the background! Keep peddling.

    • Bradley

      The people I meet definitely make this trip. I admit it would be tough if I found myself alone day in and day out. That was definitely comical when I had a pack of dogs on me.

  8. brad martin

    looks like those guys know how to eat…and drink…and canoe of course! I hope you dont have to start a “number of bird shittings” count 🙂

    • Bradley

      Haha well no incidents to count yet! The LDH were a good time indeed!

  9. Steve Gage

    Did you get invited back for next year’s canoe trip? can I come?

  10. Billy West.....aka woody

    I am one of the LDH with a canoeing problem, lol. Wish we could of gotten a group picture for your blog.Glad you had a good time with us at the Buffalo. Any ways be safe and we will be keeping up with your travels.

  11. Ashleigh

    This is awesome! My husband is Billy and my dad is Alan, both part of LDH! I am glad you got to enjoy the fun and food! Have safe travels!! Daddy said there are bad storms on the way where you are headed.

    • Bradley

      Thanks Ashleigh! Got a little rain, but nothing to keep me off the bike 🙂

  12. Having so much fun catching up on your adventure! Great photos too!

  13. Sam Moffatt

    the neck strap coozie is genius. Definitely going to use that idea for my next rafting trip.

    • I forgot to give you that coozie! Guess you’ll have to go mountain biking with me next weekend or something to get it! Let me know if you are interested! Laura could come with of course!

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