Thursday, July 31, 2008

(Day 3) Rednecks in Tennessee? Nahhh…couldn’t be.

Sunday, July 6th, 2008
Day 3
Sparta, TN to Lawrenceburg, TN

I was the first one up at the campsite around 6:30am. Today’s plan was to knock out as much of Tennessee as possible. The first thing on my mind was the laptop, curious if it still worked:

…and it did, excellent. I managed to get everything packed up and ready to go around 7:45am:

Adios East Tennessee, let’s move further west:

Today was a very nice day for riding, partly cloudy and not too terribly hot. Scenes such as these were common:

One of my favorite things to do was to just stop on the side of the road (maybe even relieve myself) and just listen:

This was quite peaceful and a nice change from the drone and vibrations of riding.

This, however, was totally unexpected:

A lot of times the roads would lead directly thru someone’s farm where they owned land on both sides of the road and pretty much the road itself. The picture above is one of those instances. Taking pictures here was a little risky since it felt like I was already trespassing. I usually would just turn the bike off, shoot a picture and take off before any confrontations occurred.

I-24, too much traffic and running in the wrong direction…not for me:

Bell Buckle, TN is nice little town:

It was only 10:50am, a little early for a lunch break, but this gas station seemed like a good place to stop:

I got a chicken salad sandwich and it was awesome.

People at gas stations asking me for directions and pointing out all the things I was doing wrong was a common occurrence on the east coast. I guess the GPS made them think I could tell them where to go, which it did, but most everyone would ask me first and then go double check with someone inside.

“Aren’t you hot in all of that?”
“Yes, I am. But, it’s not too bad when I’m moving.”
“Do you know how to get to Lynchburg, TN?”
“Let me punch into my GPS...”
[Sigh, sigh…sigh…hurry up…]
“Here we go, go south on [whatever road goes thru bell buckle], blah blah blah”
“Thanks” [walks into gas station]


I think I’ve seen in other ride reports where this road is flooded. Not today though, dry as a bone:

ATV’s were popular all around Tennessee. Apparently it’s OK to drive them on the road (and in one instance, I saw a couple women on a 4-wheeler drinking some Busch Light, I tried to take their picture, but I missed, I think they wanted me to stop… no thanks.).

Here was an 8 year old kid and his dad driving:

Another country store:

And some more gravel roads. This was what I saw mostly throughout Tennessee. Small farms and hills, big oaks and clouds:

Everyone likes a sephia picture. I particularly like them when the objects captured are obviously post 1880. I actually never intended to take a sephia picture, but the dial on my camera liked to grab my pants and spin when I was pulling the camera out:

I was already past Columbia, TN (the scheduled stop for day 2 on the TAT) and decided to get off the trail and head down to Lawrenceburg to see what the motel rates were. I also stopped by O’Reilly’s to recycle my oil and pick up some fresh Mobil 1 15w50:

I forgot what the motels were asking, but I decided to make a quick trip over to Davey Crockett State Park which turned out to be around 30 to 40 dollars cheaper for a campsite by the creek with water and electricity, good deal…or so I thought…

Much like I used to pick the ugliest dog of the litter, or pay too much for an ugly car, I picked what I thought would be the best available campsite, but it was right beside the most unsightly of campers.

There were about 60 campsites overall and there were about 10 campers on the far south end and about 10 campers on the far north end of the creek. And then there was 1 rough looking camping box with wheels on it, being pulled by a beat-up 1980’s Chevy truck right smack in the middle of the park. It looked like an elementary school classroom where one kid had farted. The site next to this Sanford and Son scene had prime access to the creek and being the closest site to the bath house, I figured it wouldn’t hurt for me to pull up beside this mobile junkyard and set up camp next door. What could go wrong?

Meet Randy:

Randy is only 46 years old, he’s not too interested in what your life is about, but he drag races that truck you see in the background (heck, it’ll even “lay rubber down as long as you want it to”), has self-proclaimed “mental problems” that he takes medication for, has had open-heart surgery, had something fall on him and break his lower spine, spends hours cleaning paint off of old pennies for monetary use, bought his box on wheels for $165 (which actually has A/C, TV, plumbing and electrical hook-ups and glow in the dark stars on the ceiling (this was mentioned several times)). Randy calls the Amish in the area, “The Midnighters” (probably a “short” version of Mennonites, and he was telling me this like I knew what a “Midnighter” was). He’s not too happy that the “Midnighters” are able to bypass some of the local tax laws.

Randy also probably told me a few other details of his life within 30 minutes of my arrival, but I forgot a lot of it. One detail I didn’t forget. Unfortunately, I will not go into details for my own personal safety, but shortly afterwards, the look of, “Oh dang, I shouldn’t have told him that” ran across his face. I now know it’s possible to get into a world of trouble just by simply opening your ears to someone.

Here he is explaining how he came across the hundreds of coins he had in his pocket:

At this point I had already laid everything out. So packing up would have probably made him suspicious. I usually download my pictures and GPS tracks after setting up camp, but I’m sure all of the electronics would have made him a little more uneasy. Luckily I had already sent out my SPOT message, but he was aware of the fact that I had some sort of satellite communication.

Anyway I decided to dart off into town to get dinner (and to give my ears a break) at DQ:

Inside, a man and his grandchildren sat two tables down from me. The man’s voice carried all throughout the restaurant and would constantly order each of his grandchildren to, “EAT IT!”. I should have counted the number of times this was said, but I’m guessing it was over 30 times. I’m sure it ruined everyone’s meal. I started to think that I had picked the wrong town to spend the night in…

I roll back into the park and see Randy walking away from my campsite…great. Not wanting to show him any more electronics (he had his eyes on me a lot); I really had nothing to do. The mosquitoes came out and I got into my bivy before sunset.

Much like the night before, there was no breeze, high temperatures and it was terribly humid. Remaining completely still in the bivy was the only way I could remain in there. Getting out wasn’t really an option due to the mosquitoes.

Needless to say, the plan tomorrow was to get up extra early and get out of town, I got to sleep by planning out each step I needed to take in the morning to get everything packed and ready to go.

Total mileage: 667
Daily mileage: 199
Wildlife observed: 2 peacocks, vultures and your typical deer, wabbits and birds.
Favorite Sight: Peacocks
Favorite Scent: DQ Blizzard
Favorite Sound: The creek
Favorite Taste: DQ Blizzard
Favorite Feel: Warm shower
Ailments: Boot causing bruise on calf, wet clothes (all of them), and mosquito bites

No comments: