DAY RIDE 4/1/2017

Today Is As Good A Day As Any

April 1, 2017

It's been a tough last eight months from a medical perspective for me and my lovely wife. I've been sidelined from riding since my surgery in February to remove a blood clot from the main artery in my left leg. It's still a bit sore, but I've gained some flexibility and the pain is manageable. I figure today is as good a day as any to see just how I will do with some time in the saddle. The first challenge is to get a boot over my swollen foot and leg since I don't like riding barefoot. With that done, I suit up and get ready to roll. Lady Bug watches me as I back SweetTreat out of the garage. She says -

"Be careful daddy. And by the way, don't forget to bring me some biscuits back."

Or at least that's what I think I hear her say.

  Since my left foot is sore I decide I really don't want to do a lot of gear shifting. So I predictably head for the Trace. I figure I'll run down it until I get to Florence, Alabama then get some lunch and come back. I decide to take the Newsom Station 'shortcut' to get there. Whenever I cross this bridge, I remember when it was an old one lane iron bridge with two 'track' boards. In those days, it was the 'test' bridge for the new school bus drivers to see if they had what it takes.

Off to the left are the remnants of the Newsom Dam and Mill. It's a real shame that they tore down the old house that went with it when they put the interstate through. History once destroyed is seldom recovered.

  Before long, I'm on the Trace proper. I still haven't figured out why they moved the entrance sign away from the entrance and put it here. But then a man can spend a lot of time trying to figure why the government does half of the stuff that it does.
  The redbuds are really out this time of year, lining the Parkway like lovely greeters for those who venture this way.
  Dogwoods are just starting to bloom and it doesn't appear that the late frost we got hurt them too bad.
  I call the Trace one of the most peaceful rides in the country as there is usually very little traffic and they've done a great job of maintaining the corridor. In most places, you feel as if you are a hundred miles away from everything which suits me quite well today. But I'm snatched back to reality when I see the sign. They've had the Trace closed from highway 412 to highway 20 since 2015. I hope they get off their nickel and get the bridge fixed so this section opens back up.
  The detour is not bad as I pass by this old stone house. I just can't imagine why they would let such a well built structure just slowly fall in. Whoever built it, obviously built it to last a long time as it still appears to be in pretty good structural shape. But I've learned that we have no control over those who will come after us regardless of our best plans and intentions. And at the end of the day, there are a lot of things that men do that I can't imagine.
  On down the road are some well kept barns which I guess may belong to the Amish as this is one of the areas where they have settled.
  The detour is primarily on Swan Creek Road which is a pretty nice detour. The road surface is a little lacking, but the curves are not.
  Soon I'm routed back through the Meriweather Lewis Death and Burial Site. The whole story of what happened to the Lewis part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition is still a mystery to this day.
  As I get further south, I see bright red blossomed trees - another gorgeous sight on this lovely spring day.  
  My turnaround point is in the Florence Marina called the River Bottom Grill. I just figure sitting near the water and eating some simple grub will be nice.  
  I get SweetTreat all parked in a safe spot and wander on down.  
  They have outside dining upstairs, so I slowly hobble up a flight of stairs and pick a nice table overlooking the water.  
  They have all sorts of grub, but the fried oysters catch my eye. They are pretty good for being this far inland. It's nice to just sit in the shade, chill and enjoy the view.  
  With the grub dispatched and the dues paid, I know I need to get back to the Holler. I don't even want to ride the Trace after sundown with all the wildlife that's around. A deer or a turkey would not look too good hanging off my front fender.
  The Trace has all sorts of historical sites along the route and I have visited all of them from the north end to Tupelo. This one explains the history of how Alabama and Tennessee borders were set in the beginning.  
  As I near Nashville, I see this lovely field of yellow wildflowers. It reminds me a bit of the canola fields that I've seen elsewhere in my travels.  
  The Trace is pretty much all mine even as I get closer to Nashville. I enjoy the peace and the solitude as I cogitate over several things in my noggin.  
  When I reach the Holler, I pull SweetTreat back into her berth in the garage. After every surgery I've experienced, I always wonder if it will be the one that stops me from riding. If I make it until September of next year, I will have been riding motorcycles pretty much uninterrupted for 50 years. Fortunately, this surgery isn't a 'stopper' as my leg and foot are not doing too badly for riding over 280 miles today. I may have to hang up my helmet one day, but today is not the day and for that we are thankful. I've learned that life is to be enjoyed for the moments we have for we have no knowledge or promise of what a day may bring. And today was an enjoyable day.