Natchez Trace Tour Day #13
Waverly TN to Land Between The Lakes TN
Today: 53.6 miles Cumulative this tour: 698.8 miles
All the sleep yesterday did me very good. I woke ready and fresh at 6 AM this morning.
Jack and I returned to David’s Place for breakfast. I got a 3-egg omelet with ham. Unfortunately, when it came out, there were cupfuls of gloppy cheese all over it – the menu did not mention the cheese. I scraped off what I could and even then only picked on it. Jack’s veggie omelet looked way better.
From Waverly, we took backroads heading north and basically along the shores of Kentucky Lake. The route was very hilly, and consequently we never caught sight of the lake itself, only a few of its tributaries. I’m sure we climbed the same 300 feet at least ten times in 40 miles.
At a church named Hill Crest, we met a nice talkative guy. He related how he’d met a touring cyclist from Switzerland once who’d later mailed him a letter. In fact, we got a variety of thumbs up, friendly waves or car honks today – people are friendly in these parts.
Rolling along the white stripe one’s mind can wander, or turn inward on itself. Today, I decided to take note of these thoughts, writing them down periodically to consider later.
I decided that the sound of leaves falling onto the road surface was quite a fine thing, something that motorists usually never get to experience.
I decided it sadly ironic that one of man’s loudest inventions, the internal combustion engine on a Harley Davidson motorcycle, is often taken into some of the quietest places on earth set aside by man. Jack pointed out that they’re seeking the maximum amount of attention that way.
I decided that bicycle touring leads to true understanding of your bicycle, its chainring, its cassette, and especially its engine, the intimate and harmonious way these parts work together. Zen and the Art of Bicycle Propulsion.
I decided that panniers are definitely the better choice for bicycle touring. My reasoning: the panniers effectively force you to utilize racks, and the racks effectively force you into buying the right kind of steel touring bike with braze-ons.
Fantastic overcast riding today – perfect temperatures. We looked for a restaurant and store about halfway in today, but found nothing. Instead, we ran into lots more dogs, as usual none too mean or tenacious. On one stretch (Greenbrier Creek Road), our ACA maps warned of potholes and gravel. Someone had repaired them all however, but might as well not have bothered. It appears that someone used a wheelbarrow and shovel, then just backed their big-tread pick-up truck over the patches to tamped them down. Even on our bikes doing 12 mph, the going was extremely rough.
We hit the Austin Peay Highway (US79) and turned east onto a nicely graded surface with 12’ wide shoulders. Subway for lunch – a chicken sub on honey oat was just right for me.
Afterward we both hit Fred’s and the Piggly Wiggly for provisions. We purchased quite a bit to cover camping tonight and most of the ride tomorrow.
Finally what I’d been waiting for: the ride into Land Between the Lakes! Three miles brought us to the LBL Welcome Center. We talked with the nice lady about camping options, then got plenty of laughs checking out the books sold there. “The Tent Camping Handbook” “Field Guide to Ticks”
After another mile north, we turned east and onto a gravel road. Four slow, slow miles on the gravel, which included some downhill sections. Steep downhill runs on a loaded bike are actually pretty difficult, but we were careful about it.
We reached our destination at Gatlin Point. The place is really pretty, located right on the shore of Lake Barkley (Cumberland River), and we rolled around exploring, crossing the land bridge there. One of the great things we noticed right away is that we were the only campers, and so we picked out a perfect place right on the waterfront.
That we were alone later turned out untrue, because I ran into and girl jogger who seemed overjoyed that there was another camper in the area.
After setting up and paying our site fee, Jack and I explored around, skipped stones on the water, and took pictures. We laughed at all the food we had available because we couldn’t possibly eat it all. I even had a leftover brownie from Perry still sitting in my handlebar bag.
Colorful sunset, dinner, and finally, a few mosquitoes. It was really amazing how few we’ve had all tour.
Another marvelous day on tour. Perfect conditions, beautiful backroad, and excellent campsite. Here I am lying in my tent, and all I can hear are frogs, insects and the occasional goose, all singing together.