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.
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.
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.
Flat 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.
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…
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.
There 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!
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!
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.