Day 17 - Dover, TN (Dover Inn) to Grand Rivers, KY (Motel 6) - Seeking A Bicycle Warrior's Death, Part II: The Great Rivers South - CycleBlaze

October 8, 2022

Day 17 - Dover, TN (Dover Inn) to Grand Rivers, KY (Motel 6)

The Land Between The Lakes

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NOTE; I know I have told you before, but today's map is a good one to remind you - these maps are fully live and interactive.  You can use the mouse wheel to zoom in or out, you can pan to your heart's content, and if you put the cursor on the line of travel it will also show up on the profile.  Pretty amazing technology actually.  Try it, you'll like it.

Statistics, Useful & Otherwise;

Elevation Gained Today;  3,404  ft            Cumulative;   32,653 ft

Roadkill Seen Today;   Hawk (1), Deer (1), Possum(1), Snake (1)                           Cumulative; Hawk (3), Raccoon(2), Possum (13),  Mouse (1), Squirrel (8),                      Armadillo (5), Bird (1), Coyote (1), Deer (1), Snake (1), unknown (2)

Found Money Today;   $ 0.01                       Cumulative; $0.34

Lodging Cost Today;    $71.65                       Cumulative; $1,312.28

Bad Drivers Today;   1                                       Cumulative; 10

Dog Chases Today;    0                                     Cumulative; 11

Confederate Flags Today; 0                         Cumulative; 3 (plus 30 little flags decorating confederate soldiers graves on the Natchez Trace)

Average Speed Today;   9.1 mph                Cumulative; 10.09 mph

Summary of Today's Ride; First chilly morning, mostly a good ride.

Gas station pizza is surprisingly good.  At least the pizza I had tonight was, a Hunt Brothers pizza made to order for me from the Marathon gas station adjacent to the Motel 6 where I'm staying tonight.  I've been in a bit of a panic, but have it under control now.  Maybe I'll explain if I have time after I finish the usual entry stuff, maybe not; stay tuned.  Right now I have to run and check the dryer and see if my things are done - I had to wait a couple of hours for it to finally become available for me, I don't want some other impatient person messing with my stuff - I'll be right back.

Clothes are still drying, I'll give it 10 more minutes and go check again  - unfortunately this isn't the kind of modern dryer that has a countdown clock, so it's hard to know how long it will take.  One reason I don't watch TV when I'm on a cycle tour is that there simply is no spare time - at least there isn't if you are the one responsible for planning ahead for the next day, doing laundry and bike maintenance, buying and/or preparing food, and, oh yeah, actually riding the distance each day.   So I'm saying that to set the stage for later when I explain my recent cause(s) for alarm.  But let's start off with today, okay, because today was a special day.  Here we go.

But first I better go check on the clothes, it's been more than 15 minutes.  I'm back, clothes were done, I laid them out on the bed to be certain everything was there (a missing sock is much more of a problem for me on tour than it is at home), and I'll roll each outfit up separately later.  Cycling shorts, jersey, and socks are rolled together into a bundle that I can just grab out of the pannier and set aside for the next day's wear; no need to look for the items individually.  Same with my "pajamas;" the swim trunks I use for pajama bottoms, a tee-shirt, and socks for off-bike use are all rolled together.  But I digress; where were we?  Oh yeah, talking about today; here we go again.

I was up at 05:30 and at the nearby McDonald's at 06:10 for breakfast.  I ordered a Big Breakfast with pancakes, and wrapped up the biscuit, hash browns, and 1 slice of bacon to carry with me for later.  Together with the banana I got at the Piggly Wiggly yesterday they will make a decent lunch.  My motel was located right at the southern end of the Trace Road that travels through the Land Between The Lakes (LBL), so I had a convenient starting point.  You have to travel a few miles to reach the LBL, and I noticed a building adorned with a symbol similar to the barns in Kentucky that have an "official" quilt symbol.

Looks Similar To The Quilt Symbols Found On Kentucky Barns Along The "Quilt Trail"
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I haven't mentioned it in a while, but I have been traveling in mostly Southern Baptist country for a while now.  Certainly there are other Protestant denominations present, but as the graphic in the introductory section showed, this region of the country is predominantly Southern Baptist.  A friend of mine uses the phrase "Stand On The Rock" in his email signature, so I think he would appreciate the photo below showing a church just outside the LBL.

This Photo Is For You, Mark Harris
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The last few miles of my ride today were on a highway shoulder that had a lot of debris - I prefer not to ride on shoulders like that, but there was really no choice given the higher traffic in Grand Rivers.  So I'll be right back, I gotta turn the bike upside down so I can slowly roll the tires and check for any glass or wires or such that might cause a flat tire.  Give me a couple of minutes.

If you examine the map above you will understand the reason for the LBL name.  Kentucky Lake is formed by the Tennessee River to the west and Lake Barkley is formed by the Cumberland River to the east, leaving a strip of land straddling the Tennessee/Kentucky border that is "between the lakes."

Okay, I'm back, tires were good - well mostly so anyway, more on that later.   Rolling into the LBL brought back some memories.  I've been here before.

It's Only Been 46 Years Since I Was Last Here
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As a young Geologist fresh out of college, I was working on a drill crew doing geotechnical sampling for the Army Corps of Engineers.  We were working out of Cape Girardeau, MO and investigating the consolidation of soils beneath the levees along the Mississippi River.  We usually traveled back to our home base in Little Rock on the weekends, but I decided to stay one weekend and visit the LBL.  I drove the Trace Road and camped in my pickup; I remember building a fire - I suspect all the rules about camping and building fires and such have changed since 1976.  More on that story later if I have time, now let's jump back to the present day.  But I really need to roll up my clothes and stuff them away in the panniers now so I don't wake up to a mess in the morning and forget to do something because I'll be anxious to get out the door and start cycling.  Be right back, just give me a minute.  Oh, BTW, I found the 1976 photo in my cloud storage - isn't technology amazing?

Self-Portrait Taken With My 1974 Minolta SRT-102 Film Camera Mounted On A Tripod. I Loved Film Photography, Digital Has No Soul.
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Mark HarrisI had a Minolta myself, I think it was a 101. We take way to many pictures today and do nothing with them. Maybe our kids will go through our computers when we split and look at all the pictures, probably not. That sounds like the makings of a good John Prine song.
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1 year ago

Okay, I'm back.  This morning was the first morning I have actually noticed it being cold.  There was a frost warning out for this area.  The only part of me that gets cold is my fingers, the air chill can penetrate gloves.  I have some leather gloves that I can wear over the cotton gripper gloves I bought on this trip, but they were packed away this morning and I didn't want to dig them out - too much risk of losing something beside the road if I try to unpack the panniers en-route.  So I'll get them out and have them ready for tomorrow morning - I'll be right back, I better go do that while it's on my mind - just give me a minute. 

Okay, back again.  The left leather glove got a bit of blood on it when I wiped the blood off my knee after the embarrassing slip-and-fall incident at the bridge-out construction site the other day - okay, maybe it got a lot of blood on it - anyway, I washed it up with soap that night and it helped -  it's still stained but not too bad - but I think getting it wet and then letting it dry caused it to shrink some - it will stretch back out after a day of use - maybe. Where were we? Oh yeah, I was talking about the chilly morning today.

Fog Arises As The Frost Evaporates
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You can see on the map that today's ride can be broken into 2 halves (there's only 2 halves possible, why do people say that?); the southern half of the Trace Road before the intersection with Highway 80, and the northern half after the intersection.  This is what it was like riding the southern half;

Example Of My Road Today
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Seriously, it was just like that.  Just me and the road, nary a car in sight.  I entered the Trace Road right at 07:00, and I don't think a single vehicle passed me until 09:00 or so.  The traffic was non-existent to negligible.  I heard an owl hooting, I saw lots of deer, I was just gliding along smoothly and quietly and merging with nature.

These Deer Are Uncertain Whether I'm Friend Or Foe
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I must admit that gliding uphill wasn't so smooth, and there were plenty of hills as you can see in the profile. Hey, here's another story about the LBL, sort-of. In the same time period in 1976, I stayed another weekend and visited a friend who was getting his Master's degree in Fisheries at Murray State University.  He and his wife and I went to some roadhouse and drank too much, and the next day he took me out on Lake Barkley to see his research project.  We pulled up some fish traps and he did science stuff, and then we went skinny-dipping in the middle of Lake Barkley - it's a huge lake, no one would have seen.  It would have been embarrassing if someone did see, because my friend was using an official Murray State University boat and that may have caused a bit of a stir.  I'm glad social media didn't exist when I was young.

Yikes, it's already 9:30 pm!  That's my bedtime and I'm not even halfway done telling you about today.  I haven't had time to grab a shower, and if I don't I think I may die of fungus-rot or whatever it is that infects long-distance cyclists in the unseen areas if they don't bathe, so I got to get a shower now.  I'll hurry, just give me a few minutes, okay, I really need to clean up.  My writing will smell a lot better once I'm clean.

Okay, I'm clean now, but it's getting late and I need to wrap this up.  I remember taking a picture of this blast furnace in 1976.

Other Furnaces Once Existed Here Also
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Sometimes we forget all the baby steps we took as we slowly developed technology.  Manual labor is what got us the things we wanted from industry and agriculture.  My mother picked cotton - she really did - that's how it was done before we developed the mechanized tools to do it more efficiently.

Slave Labor Used To Satiate The nation's Need For Metal
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And here's the photo I took in 1976, different perspective, digitized from the color slide positive.

A Moody Fall Day in 1976
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In Yellowstone National Park I was especially cautious near any buffalo.  In Yellowstone they aren't fenced in as they are here.

Buffalo - We Nearly Hunted Them To Extinction
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Have you noticed that my average daily speed has dropped significantly as I encountered the Tennessee hills, and now the Kentucky hills?  Well, I guess I'm riding a slow horse.  I'll get there, but I'm not going to win any races along the way - and that's how I like it.

I'm Riding A Slow Horse
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I've cycled in Kentucky before, from east to west.  The Appalachians are incredibly challenging in the eastern part of the state.  The hills here in the west aren't to be laughed at either, but they should be much less challenging.

No Small Feat To Cycle Here From New Orleans, But Still A Long Way To Go
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The second half of today's ride on the Trace Road was mostly good, but traffic picked up north of the highway 80 intersection.  Those vehicles just whizzed on past and missed the interesting bits of history posted here and there.

The Cars Zipping Past Miss A Lot Of History
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The ACA maps don't show services along the Trace Road.  There is a welcome center on each end of the Trace Road and a Visitor's Center in the middle.  They do have vending machines for drinks and snacks, and the Visitor's Center has a bit more than that, but nothing like a convenience store.  I planned on eating lunch somewhere along the way, and that's what I did.

No Picnic Table Around, So A Small Log In A Shade Will Do Just Fine
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I couldn't find a picnic table near the point that I really felt like I had to refuel, so a stop in the shade and a brief set-down on a small log was adequate.  Once loaded up with fuel it didn't take long to roll on to Grand Rivers.

Geez, it's 10:40 and I'm not in bed.  Something has to give, I may sleep in tomorrow.  I have a shorter day tomorrow, but it has some steep grades. I have changed my lodging arrangements for tomorrow night, no time to discuss now, may not have wifi but I can always hot-spot off my phone if need be.  Sorry folks, the reasons for my panic will have to wait for a future post.

I'm finally out of the Tennessee hills,  but the Kentucky hills are at least a match.  This trip has become challenging, riding the hills every day is wearing me down both physically and mentally.  But I'm thrilled to be fortunate enough to do it.  Good night everyone, I'll close with a little song for my wife who tolerates my bicycle wandering ways;

Today's ride: 53 miles (85 km)
Total: 867 miles (1,395 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 6
Comment on this entry Comment 3
Rich FrasierGreat stream-of-conciousness post! You're in the running to be the William Faulkner of bike journal writing!
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1 year ago
Jeff LeeJust curious - any reason you didn't stay in "downtown" Grand Rivers? You even had to backtrack the next day to cross the river, which you wouldn't have had to do if you stayed at the Grand Rivers Inn.

I hope that place isn't closed, or otherwise problematic now. I ride down and stay there overnight a few times every year.
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1 year ago
George HallJeff: they were booked up. I looked at them after your suggestion, then I remembered I had looked at them when I was first planning the trip. Not 100% sure as I'm typing this in a hurry, but I think they required a 2-day minimum stay on weekends also.
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1 year ago