Natchez Trace Tour Day #11
Duck River (Shady Grove) TN to Waverly TN
Today: 53.5 miles Cumulative this tour: 645.2 miles
A strange night in the tent. For a good part of the evening, the nearby cattle were lowing. In the dead of night, the sound was mournful, sorrowful, over and over, echoing. Then packs of howling coyotes would start up from one direction, then be answered from another direction.
In the morning Jack wondered aloud what he would have done if those coyotes had decided to get aggressive with us. Brandish a Click-Stand at them maybe.
I grabbed Pop-Tarts and Motrin for breakfast and was already thinking about grannying my way up and down those steep hills on SR50. I even decided to wear my brightest color jersey and put my rear light on blink so as to be best seen. When we actually got out there, I stuck close to Jack, giving those trucks only one entity to pass instead of two.
We stopped again at the general store in Duck River for coffee and snacks, and ended up watching some TV with the locals there. Couldn’t help but smile at one of the blowhards yakking away at the table. It seemed like with every comment he positioned himself either as a victim or as a judge, which got really tiresome.
Finally further west on SR50, which, to add to the situation, was rumble-stripped. Alas I do protest too much, because I soon found that every driver passed courteously. The route turned onto SR230, giving us a taste of truly rural and beautiful Tennessee. A number of the hills were killer, repeatedly requiring my lowest granny gear.
We hit SR100 and found the market closed there. Passage on SR100 is downright lousy. Rumble stripped, no shoulder, 60 mph traffic and too much of it. Fortunately we had only 5 miles on it and found the drivers courteous there as well. We did have to dump off the shoulder to the right a couple of times when vehicles phased badly on us.
I felt relief at getting off SR100. These two sections of SR50 and SR100 are the only ones that the ACA warns about on their maps. We were actually in the northern outskirts of Centerville TN, and soon found a dollar store so I could grab some new reading glasses. Yes!
We decided to bypass the McDonald’s there to see if we could find something better. The ACA maps indicated 3 more restaurants up the road on SR230. Alas, as usual, the maps were out of date and all 3 of the places were closed up. Sigh.
We continued north and mostly west on SR230 and enjoyed some very nice riding with tough hills, crossing the Piney River in the process. At I40, we finally found eats at the Comet Mart gas station. We both had a Philly cheese steak with tomatoes, lettuce and mayo (Jack’s without steak of course), which hit the spot. There were a surprising number of customers there – they must do a strong business.
Onward up 230 we crossed three more small watersheds. Tumbling Creek, Hurricane Creek, and Blue Creek. We enjoyed idyllic gorgeous downhill riding and brutal granny uphills. Very nice.
Dog encounters were common. Most were pooches, a few larger dogs. None chased very far.
We jumped onto SR13 for less than a half mile, then ducked west again on Pumpkin Creek Road. This is sort of an ACA detour way to get to Waverly. This is rural riding at its very best – simply glorious. Jack rolled past me shaking his head, “Rich, it just doesn’t get any better than this.”
One last granny climb up SR570 into Waverly, and we found the Imperial Lodge, which might have been the only motel in town. It was almost amazing that we arrived at 3pm, but the miles certainly went by faster without all those stops at Trace historical sites.
The lady at the desk was partially friendly and partially heifer-like. She seemed utterly confounded at our request for a room 1 day earlier than the reservation we’d made. “Wait. I have a brain freeze. Don’t talk.” When she finally gave us a key, she pointed to the door behind us and says our room is there. I ask, “Through that door?” And I get the heifer-face again.
Collapse. Shower. Wash some clothes in the sink. After a brief discussion, we decided we could use a rest day here. After all, we’ve ridden 11 straight days, 645 miles.
Las Plazas Mexican for dinner. Chicken enchiladas. Chili relleno. Tecate cerveza. Queso blanco dip. Bean burrito. After chowing down we sat outside on the patio for a long time as the sun set.
Finished out the day watching Atlanta-Philadelphia baseball. Another fine day on tour.