DAY RIDE 2/11/2017

Last Ride For A While

February 11, 2017
With another surgery coming up quick to correct a blood clot in my left leg, I know riding time will be a ways off. The weather today is supposed to be 60ish which will work quite nicely. Andy, my long time riding friend, is up for it so we are meeting at the Cracker Barrel on I24 on his side of town. I decide I'll take Frost, the one in the middle since she has the best set of radials this morning.

It's a quick and quiet dash across Nashville to one of our favorite breakfast places. As Andy says

'Anywhere a fellow can start with Cracker Barrel works.'

I do it a little different today and order a cheese and bacon omelet which is quite good. Most folks don't know you can do that at a Cracker Barrel. As we munch on our vittles, we talk about our upcoming Highway 50 ride across the country. We'll start in Ocean City, MD and end up in Sacramento, CA. I plan on getting pictures of the signs on both ends.
But after the eatin' comes the ridin' so we head out on a route that I just sort of cobbled together.
Since we've been riding this area since we were youngsters, it's always a challenge to find interesting roads we haven't been on. I just pick some squiggly lines in a general direction, not knowing if they will be paved or unpaved. We figure we can sort that out when we come to it.
One thing I love about the Tennessee countryside is the interesting old houses sprinkled throughout. Some remind me a lot of my grandparent's farm houses like this one.
But you have to pay attention to the road, cause sometimes it goes sharp left ...
and the next time it may go sharp right. Unless you like clearing brush with a motorcycle, staying focused on the road is pretty important.
Near Versailles, is an old house that someone has taken the time to spruce up a little bit.
We wander around and finally end up on roads we both know. Our journey takes through the booming metropolis of Verona where Andy grew up.
It also happens to be the birthplace of Buford Ellington, who served as Governor of Tennessee from 1959 to 1963, and again from 1967 to 1971. He and Frank Clement sort of swapped back and forth during a period of 18 years.  
It's about time for us to take a defuel break and Andy is due a fuel break, so we stop at a convenience store on the edge of Lewisburg where we both were raised. As I'm chilling a bit, I take a good look at his back tire. He knew it was getting close but it looks a lot 'closer' than we thought. We decide we'll shorten the route up a little bit just to be sure. Though I have a GPS, I still have a lot of roads in my head, so my poor GPS will just have to be confused for a while.  
One of my favorite runs in this area is down Spring Place Pike, the road that takes me past where my grandparents had a farm and the first house I lived in. From this curve, if I took a right I'd end up going over Yell Hill to my great-grandparent's farm.  
As we zip by the old home place, I barely catch a picture of where the 4 room shack stood that my family and I first lived in. Just to the left is the big rock that the 'house out back' used to sit on. The shack has been torn down for a long time, but I can still see it my mind's eye - me and my sister as two little snotty nose kids playing out in the yard amongst the banty hens and roosters with toys we made from sticks and cans and such. One thing about being raised poor - you learn to get by with little and you learn you need little to get by. It's a valuable trait that will serve you well as you pass through this old world. Stuff is just that - stuff and you will leave it all behind one day regardless how big your pile is.  
Just down the road, we come to the big hill with some dandy curves.  
Before I got 'motorized', I use to pedal my one speed bicycle with coaster brakes to the top of this thing and see how fast I could come down it. It's a little tricky as there's a sharp curve right at the bottom of the hill.
I have to chuckle when I pass this little church. We weren't much for church going, but my momma took us here when I was about 3 years old. To hear her tell it, I decided I'd get down and crawl under the pews to see what I could see. Well, judgment fell upon my young sittin' equipment when my momma finally got a hold of me and took me right out on the front porch there for the administration of it.  
And a ride through here would not be complete without a nod to the old country store at Possum Trot which has long been closed.  
In these hills and hollers is where my momma's folks were born and raised and buried. Most of my kinfolks on momma's side are buried in this church cemetery, including my momma and my daddy beside her. If I planted a headstone in a vacant plot, I could be buried here also. But I figure most folks who want see what I look like in a casket will be from the Nashville area, so why put them to the bother of driving all the way down here. One thing is for sure - on that day it won't matter to me at all.  
Barns around here tend to be short on maintenance until they finally are overcome by gravity. Looks like this one has had some mighty fine 'correctional' work done to it including a new metal roof.  
And soon we pass the cemetery where my great great grandfather who fought in the Civil War is buried. He enlisted at the age of 16 and saw half of his unit killed at the Battle of Stones River, their first major engagement. By the time he was 19, he was a POW in Elmira, New York. I plan one day to do a ride tracing the movements of his regiment, visit the battlefields that he fought on and end up in Elmira at the site of the Union POW camp which was about as bad as the Confederate Andersonville POW camp in the South.  
There's some more mighty fine old farm houses out this way as we make our way toward Cornersville.  
Cornersville is named for its location near the corner where Giles, Maury, Bedford and Lincoln counties once met. But they changed the boundaries in 1870 and now it is in Marshall County. It is here my momma went to school and met my daddy.  
Then it's up and over the ridge on our way to Lynnville and down Lynnville Hill with the curve at the bottom.  
When you get down the hill, this beautiful example of southern architecture sits along side a small lake. It's pretty 'four square' style house with columns on all four sides and matching chimneys..  
Nothing much happening in Lynnville today as we make our way into the city proper.  
I decide we'll take a little back road from Lynnville to Culleoka then up to Columbia. When we get just outside of Columbia, Andy hangs a right on 412 back to 231 to get to his house. I take a left and head to 246 to get to mine. I always smile when I pass under this low railroad bridge. Obviously some drivers can't read or don't know how tall their vehicles actually are judging by the dents and the bends in the bridge bottom.  
As I near Leipers Fork, I view another lovely mansion up on a hill. From what I can tell, someone has bought this property and turned into a nature preserve - judging from the signs.  
I always think when I ride through here that some feller has more invested in his fences than I have invested in my whole house!  
Soon I pop back on the Trace which just seems like a nice way to end the ride. The upper end has just been paved, so it's smoother than a baby's bottom and a real joy to ride.  

And as always when I get back to the Holler, Lady Bug is patiently waiting for me. I firmly believe she has a hidden GPS monitor attached to all my vehicles. It seems she always knows when I stop somewhere to eat like Cracker Barrel that has biscuits or rolls. She is our sweet little 'Biscuit Queen' and as soon as I get off the bike, she asks me -

'Where's My Biscuit, Daddy?'

Or at least that's what I understand her to say. And as usual, I hand over a couple of Cracker Barrel biscuits that she quickly inhales.

Once again it's been a great day with a great friend on a great ride. I cherish it knowing that I will probably be out of the saddle for a month. But a feller should do what he can do while he can do it, for there will come a day when he can't.