DAY RIDE 3/9/2013

The Pickle Run

March 9, 2013
 One of our family traditions is this wonderful recipe for sweet pickles. We call them '14 day' pickles but the process to make them is lot more complicated. They have just the right amount of 'sweet' and the right amount of 'pickle' - kind of a ying-yang combination. My sister and her son have thankfully taken up the tradition and she has me a few quarts set aside at her house. And since the weather is wonderful and I am tired of working on my garage project, a pickle run is in order. Frost gets the honors this morning as I leave Redbird and SweetTreat to finish their Saturday sleep in.
 And of course, what would a day be without a good breakfast of pig meat and hen fruit to give a feller the strength he needs to do what needs to be done? And what a better place to clog your arteries than at the Cracker Barrel?
 I'm early so I beat the usual Saturday morning grazers. I know exactly what I want so I don't even need to look at the menu. When the place is not crowded, the food can come out mighty quick and it does. Once I get my cholesterol level up to where it can be measured easily, I settle up and hit the road which takes me back by the Holler and to Newsom Station Road.

There are several options to get to the Trace from the Holler, but this is probably my favorite. It goes by the old dam and remnants of the mill.

"The original Newsom's Mill was located upstream and was destroyed by a flood in 1808. Joseph M. Newsom constructed the turbine-powered gristmill in 1862 of hand-dressed limestone cut from Newsom's quarry, a mile south of the mill that is still standing. Newsom's stone is found in many important buildings in the city of Nashville. The original town had a train depot, post office and other shops. The mill was built right on the Harpeth River, and that area was used recreationally by many families who would come for the day by train. Now, however, all that is left is the remnants of the mill and a partial dam."

This area was hit extremely hard during the Nashville flood of recent note but the old stone work is still there - and will be for quite a while. A short run down McCrory Lane puts me right at the Trace. I notice they have removed the old entrance sign so I wonder what is up with that. I see it once I've been on the Trace for a few miles.

  I hope they put one back at the beginning, but who knows when the government is at work. I've got the Trace to myself this morning which suites me just fine. The Lycra clad Armstrong imitators have not rolled out of the sack yet I guess. Actually, I find that most bicyclists on the Trace are courteous and share the road as they should. But in some cases, only their ignorance exceeds their arrogance.
 I've made this ride so many times down the Trace to my sissy's house that I could probably do it blindfolded - but I ain't apts to try. When I get to her place, she's not there but the pickles are right where she said they would be. I brought along some cushioning stuff so the glass jars wouldn't rattle and break. I sure don't want to bust my treasure. With 4 large jars packed away in my left saddlebag, I'm good to go. But where am I going? I decide I'll run down to highway 50 and maybe take a run up to East Tennessee.
  I get off the Trace at 50 and head for one of my favorite runs - Snow Creek Road, also known as 247.
 It's delightful run of tight stuff and sweepers, good pavement and little traffic.
 I work my way over to 246 to hit Sugar Ridge Road, another great piece of road that will drop me into Spring Hill. As I get to the other side of Spring Hill, I can't help but remember when all of this was just open farm land before General Motors descended on the place. I guess that's progress but somehow turning family farms into housing developments doesn't seem that way to me.
 I make my way down to Flat Creek Road where I pass by the Moses Steele Cemetery, the final resting place of several Revolutionary War soldiers. They came here to get their land grants and stayed here the rest of their lives.
 I can't help but notice that someone has put up a Scottish flag on the pole and I think of my friends in Scotland. I'm sure many of the men buried here were originally from that fair land as was my great grandmother on my daddy's side.
 A little further along I come to Rigg's Crossroad - the oldest still in use road in the area. Nothing compared to the age of some of the roads in the UK, but old by local standards anyway. 
 I look at the ST clock and get to thinking as I move along. I can turn to the left and head east, or if I turn to the right, I could be at the Soda Pop Junction just about good dinner time. There are great roads either way, but one of their burgers would be mighty tasty. The stomach carries the day, so I turn to the right and toward Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill is the birthplace of one of the most interesting characters of the Civil War - Nathan Bedford Forrest. Reviled by some, revered by others, his calvary tactics are still studied in military academies today. I remember that I will be going by the turnoff to his boyhood home and decide that today I will finally go see it. 
  There's a winding gravel road that makes it's way to the homeplace, so I ride with care. They have done a great job of preserving the old cabin where he spent the first 3 years of his life.  
 From here I make my way down to Lewisburg toward the old homeplace that I lived in from birth to the first grade. The old four room shack has been torn down a long time, the wellhouse removed, and the outhouse gone. Up on the big rocks was where the 'house out back' set, which I frequented when I ate too many green pears. 
 Just past that I come to the big hill where a notorious local got caught when he killed his wife and set fire to the car. His plan was to let it roll back down the hill so it would look like an accident. He just wasn't quick enough before someone came along. He had a reputation up to that point for having wives and relatives mysteriously die after he took out large insurance polices on them. He got lots of hard time in a striped suit for this one. 
 This section of road I've ridden on bicycles as well as motorcycles and it is a real treat. It also takes you by the lovely settlement of Possum Trot. 
 And this place has it's own guard dog that lets me know he is not happy with my picture taking.  
 But at least he doesn't decide to taste the venison, so for that I am thankful. Since I'm in sort of a historical mode today, I decide I will stop at the cemetery where my great, great grandfather is buried. I want to see if I can find his tombstone and get his birth date. It takes a bit of walking around, but I finally find what I am searching for. 

His stone says 'Lawrence' (per one of his sons), but his name was actually James Knox Polk Lowrance. As it turns out, many families named their boys that during that time as President James K. Polk was held in high regard. Polk was the last US President to keep all his campaign promises. He also had a local law office nearby and his family home was in Columbia, about 20 miles away. My interest in finding JKP Lowrance's birth date was in an effort to determine his age when he enlisted in the Civil War. With date in hand, I know that he was 16 years old when he joined up as a Corporal in the CSA calvary. He transferred to the infantry - Company B, Tennessee 17th - as a private and saw his first major action at Stones River where forty percent of his unit was killed. Then he fought at Chickamauga, one of the bloodiest battles of the war. By the time he was 19, he had been captured at Petersburg, VA. It is hard to imagine the horrors that he saw as a young teenager and carried with him the rest of his life. After his capture, he was shipped to Elmira, NY prison camp, less than affectionately know by the inmates as "Hellmira". It was the worst prison camp that the North ran, comparable to Andersonville that the South ran. It is always sort of interesting that you hear plenty about Andersonville (it's a national historic site) but very little about Elmira (it was torn down and converted to farm land). I guess when you win the war, you get to write the history. I'm just a little ways from lunch, so I climb back on Frost and head toward my destination. It takes takes me up on a high ridge, then drops me into a valley. As a teenager, the big deal was how fast could you go down this hill and still make the curve at the bottom. Some made and some didn't, but I watch myself and negotiate it just fine.

 Before long I am in the big city of Lynnville - which actually was at a different site but was burned to the ground by the Federals during the Civil War. As I have explained to some Northern folks who think the South is always 're-fighting the war', this war happened in our backyards and on our farms, just like the Revolutionary War happened in the northeast and surrounding areas. The history surrounds us and is fascinating to visualize without the historical revisionists that tend to write things to suit their own particular political leanings. 
 Lynnville also has the distinction of being the location where Frank C. Mars of Mars Candy had a big farm. But today I'm on the trail of the best hamburger you ever wrapped your lips around. I behave myself today and only order a single bacon cheese burger and some delicious onion rings.  
  Their 'double' is two half pound patties and it takes an awful big mouth just to chomp on one - so I don't have any trouble when I get one of those. This is the place where the other hamburger places come to take their pictures for their advertising.  
 And doing as my momma taught me, I am sure to clean my plate ... 
  Now with enough food to sustain me for rest of the journey, I decide I'll take a different way out of town. The road looks interesting and it is. It eventually pops me out at Culleoka, location of another famous boyhood curve. I head on what used to be highway 50, skirt around Columbia and out to 246, another favorite ride of mine.  
  Off of 246, I just wander back and finish the loop to the Holler. I go by one of my favorite farms in the area that has their own fountain running most days.  
  It's a short hop from here to the Trace and then to the Holler.  
  A quick Newsom Station and the one lane underpass and  
 soon I'm back home to the Holler. With all the good eatin' I've done today, I almost forget about the treasure in my saddlebag.
  Not a bad day for a pickle run.