DAY RIDE 12/13/2009

A New Road And Some Old Memories

December 13, 2009

The weather out is pretty cold, but it's not rainy, the sun is shining, and I've got some time. Things have been a little touch and go with almost losing my mother over the holidays, tending to that and some other stuff. I just need a little time to do some unhurried, unbothered cogitating. Also, there's a road I've passed by a bunch of times and figure today is a good day to see exactly where it comes out. I think it will work nicely as alternative link down to Lynnville via the Natchez Trace. So I suit up in my Gerbing Heated gear, fire up SweetTreat, and head out for my 'thinking' road.

  I've got the Trace pretty much to myself, which suits me just fine today. I set the cruise to avoid the Park Ranger's radar and make my way down the smooth paved ribbon of asphalt. Usually I can set the cruise control at the top of the Trace and ride 40 miles and never have to touch the brakes or make a throttle adjustment.

And today is no exception, giving me plenty of time to ponder things past and present in my life. To me, the Trace is one of the most relaxing roads in the country, and under used - which is just fine with me today.


Pretty soon I come to the highway 50 junction which is where I need to get off. I wonder just how many times I've made this left hand turn in the last 40 years of riding.


From this spot, it's 15 miles to Columbia and 15 miles to Centerville, but I'm not going to visit either one of them. I've got this special road I want to check out, and it's in the same direction as Columbia.


It's call Greenfield Bend Road, and it goes to the right just before one of my favorite roads, highway 247, goes to the left. I've always had a hankering to check it out so today will be the day.


The nice thing about having a 'road map' in your head is you can explore roads like this and not worry about where they come out. I had a feller ask me one time -

"You ever been lost?"

"Well, I don't reckon in Tennessee. I just keep riding til I cross a road I recognize" I told him.

This road could stand a little maintenance on the surface, but it ain't bad. And judging by the sign, that river over there has gotten up a few times in these fields and over the road.


As I cross the new bridge, I'm a bit amazed that the old iron bridge is still there. It's typical of the ones I've crossed all over this area, but usually they blow them up into the river instead of letting them rust down. This one ain't in too good a shape as a lot of the cross supports have rusted and fallen off.


I just sort of follow my internal compass, as there are plenty of turnoffs until I come to this intersection. I wonder if there is still a 'Taylor's Store' and it sort of points in the direction my head thinks it should. So I chose it instead of the 'Booker Farm' option. My brain tells me that they probably both come out on the same main road, but my choice should put me closer to where I want to be.

  It's good run with a good surface and no traffic and no people so I can crank right along.

And sure enough it pops me right out on highway 99/412 just above Hampshire and highway 166. Highway 166, which is a good ride of twisties along a ridge will take me right through Mount Pleasant then a short hop on highway 245 and Yokely Road will put in the big city of Lynnville, population 345. The original city of Lynnville (called Waco) was burned down by the Union Troops around 1864 so they decided to move it a little further away when they rebuilt and changed the name. It is also the home of the Soda Pop Junction, the best place to get a hamburger in the State Of Tennessee! On my way out of town, I notice that one of the locals have started raising llamas. You're liable to see anything out these hills - including ostriches that want to race a motorcycle down the fence line (but then that was another day).


As I climb up the 'world famous' (at least when I was growing we thought so) Lynnville Hill, I get a good reminder of why I call myself a hillbilly. I love the hills and was raised in them, and still live between two big ones. The idea of living in a flat place with no high spot to look out has no appeal to me at all. I can see the small village of Cornersville down in the valley, where my mom and dad went to school.

  I decide I'd better check on my mom's place while I'm in the area, so I head to my hometown of Lewisburg. It's amazing how much has changed and yet how much is still the same. I stop at a nearby store for a little break that sits in what used to be a empty field.  
  Everything seems in order at mom's place, then an old distant memory floats across my mind that brings a big smile to my face. Seems like the town power brokers decided to put up a stop sign in our 'new' subdivision which would require those of us living on our street to stop every time we headed for town. Being of the driving age, I got pretty tired of that so I got an idea one day for a remedy. One dark night, I grabbed me some post hole diggers and wandered down to the intersection. When the sun came up the next morning, the stop sign was firmly planted on the other road of the intersection. And now some forty years later, it's still sitting right where I planted it!  
  As I make my way of town, I've got plenty of options on how to get back to the Holler. I could take highway 50 right back to the Trace, I could jump on the Interstate, I could do some combination. I decide that I'll just take highway 431 back into Franklin since I haven't been that way in a long time. It's a nice road with sweepers and good pavement and goes by some pretty farms and ante-bellum homes. Once I work my way through Franklin, I hit highway 96 which will take me back to the Trace. From this approach, I get a great view of the massive bridge they decided to erect for the Trace.  

From here, it's less than 15 miles back to the Holler and it's the best riding section of Trace. It's been a relaxing ride, where I've been able to just let some things percolate through the old head that needed to. And a day of memories of where I was raised up and wandered the first 17 years of my life. And as I have learned -

'The Length of the String Does Not Indicate the Value of The String'

and so it is with life and riding.