Broken Spoke and Southern Hospitality - Riding in Circles - CycleBlaze

October 15, 2020

Broken Spoke and Southern Hospitality

Day 15: Thurs Oct 15, 2020

Spring Hill TN to Pulaski TN

Distance: 54 miles

Weather: 53 in am, 77 in afternoon, sunny but chance of evening storms

Woke up at 630 and did some basic bike maintenance this morning.  When I went to put some air in my rear tire I discovered that one of my spokes was loose.  Upon closer review, I realized it had snapped.  Now if it were the front wheel I would have just removed the wheel and replaced the spoke as I'm carrying two extra.  Though being the rear wheel and not having a cassette wrench I had to find a bike shop asap.  Fortunately, the bike was still rideable and the damaged spoke barely disrupted ride quality but I knew it was only a matter of time before damage was to be done to the rear wheel.  16 miles south I found a bike shop in the small but upscale community of Columbia, TN.  Apparently the talismanic god of bike touring was on my side because the entire 16 miles I had freshly paved road with a wide shoulder.  I was concerned about further damage on rough roads.  I arrived at the Trek Bike Shop at 915 am.  They didn't open till 10.  So, I sat and waited.  At around 930 am a sales person with the shop named Chris came and we chatted quite a bit.  He was inspired by my trip.  He took pictures of me on the bike and went and bought both of us coffee at the local beanery.  Our conversation continued inside the store.  I mentioned how I wanted to get a bike shop water bottle from Nashville but there was a distinct lack of bike shops.  Chris then gave me a water bottle!  In case it couldn't get any better when the mechanic finished the bill was 42 dollars.  Chris insisted on paying for half.  And the customer behind me,a friendly fellow, named  Kenny wanted to pay the other half.  I was floored by the kindness of two complete strangers!  That, is southern hospitality at its finest.  Again I felt so grateful.  My seeming miserable fortune of a broken spoke was transformed into a blessing by the kindness of others.

The riding itself today was pretty uneventful.  The hills came back a little in southern Tennessee but nothing like the monster climbs in the northern Kentucky hill country.
So, here's the quirky observation of the day.  Say what you will about Donald Trump but by and large, the areas I've been through rural Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee there seems to be resounding support for Trump and his reelection campaign.  By far Trump lawn signs outnumber Biden signs.  By a factor of 10 to 1.  I even saw a Biden sign with bullet holes in it this afternoon.  Trump has almost like a cult like following that is more pronounced than any president I've seen in my lifetime.  (That would be since Jimmy Carter.)

I arrived in Pulaski TN around 3 in the afternoon and by the look of the town about 30 years to late.  Pulaski is well beyond its glory days. 
On a historical note, the Confederate courier Sam Davis was hanged in Pulaski by the Union Army in 1863.  Then just two years later six Tennessee veterans of the Confederate came together and formed the Ku Klux Klan in Pulaski.

There seems to be a distinct lack of state parks for camping in West Tennessee.  This is a shame because Tennessee has a long distance bike tourer friendly law that mandates any state campground that is full must accommodate a long distance bike tourer on the grounds that the bike tourist cannot predict arrival dates due to mode of transportation and has come a long way.  What a wonderful law.  If only I could find a state park. 
Though, there is no lack of southern hospitality in Tennessee which has been the theme of my trip through the state.  I'm currently camped in the backyard of the house which houses college students studying at the First Baptist Church in Pulaski.  Pastor Rodney graciously opened this space up to me and my tent.  He also is allowing me to charge my electronics in the carport.

Backyard of house owned by First Baptist Church in Pulaski TN
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  Its 6 PM as I write this from the comfort of my inflatable mattress.  Its been beautiful all day but a storm is a brewin'  The wind is whipping my fly around and temps have dropped 15 degrees. 
My hope is to enter Alabama tommorow and by Saturday pedal in to the Bankhead National Forest!   

Today's ride: 54 miles (87 km)
Total: 791 miles (1,273 km)

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