DAY RIDE 1/20/2018

Time For A Break

January 20, 2018

I've been spending a lot of time lately doing some maintenance around the house since the weather has been sort of nasty. I've got my deck resurfaced and the laundry room updated with a new vinyl floor. I've reinforced the garage doors as a torsion spring broke and bent one of them. My next project is to continue the new floor into the kitchen and replace the counter top. My thinking is to get the house in top shape so when the day comes for me to retire, I don't have to spend the first few years on 'housework'. But today is supposed to be in the fifties and most of the ice and snow should be a pleasant memory on the roads. After taking care of a few chores this morning, I decide the house can wait. As usual, my lovely Lady Bug wishes me and well and says -

"Dad, don't forget any biscuit opportunity!"

At least that's what I think she says and with that I'm off like a dirty shirt.

  I've not got any destination really in mind other than one that gets some wind in my face. So I figure I'll head down my usual path of least resistance - the Natchez Trace. This morning I do the "Newsom Station" short cut since it will give me a good idea if there are any traces of ice on the backroads.
  And as usual, I'm very cautious when I come to the one lane underpass as the drivers coming from the other way usually are not.
  First on the agenda is to feed the SweetTreat since the fuel gauge tells me she is getting hungry. There's a Shell station right at the end of the road which makes it convenient although their gas price is pretty steep compared to other places.
  With that bit of business dispatched, I head down McCrory Lane toward the north entrance of the Natchez Trace.
  I've still not figured out why the government decided to remove the Welcome sign for the Trace from this spot. But that's one of many things I've never figured out about the government - like how they can spend so much and get so little accomplished. As I pass through the gates, I reflect on just how many times I've passed this way. The only answer I can come up with is 'a whole bunch'. The Trace is like an old friend - safe, predictable, and comfortable for me.
  Several miles in I come to the 'official' sign and just sort of shake my head.
  As I head south, I cogitate on just where I want to go which will determine where I jump off the Trace. Except for an occasional flock of bicyclists, I pretty much have her all to myself this morning.
  But just past Leipers Fork, I come to a bit of a surprise. I guess in the shadows and shade all of the ice and snow has not melted. This is not the place to hit the brakes, so I just glide right across it, trying to stay in the car track that is partially clear.
  I finally decide that I'll sort of wander down toward my favorite hamburger place in Lynnville, near where my momma went to high school. This means jumping off at highway 50.

At 50, it's definitely a left but after that it can be a another left, a straight, or a right. On down, another left will take me across 247, then south to Chapel Hill, then through Spring Place and come in from the south. A straight will take me toward Columbia, then Mooresville, Culleoka then I come in from the north. A right will take me on some backroads I haven't been on in a while around Greenfield Bend then through Hampshire, Mount Pleasant, and in from the west..

  The right wins so it's off onto Greenfield Bend. The road surface has gone down hill a bit, but it's not that bad.  
  When I get to a familiar bridge, I'm a bit sad to see it's old partner either finally fell into the river or was removed. What it used to look like was this -  
  I guess it must have become a hazard or something to be removed, but it's a bit like losing an old friend to me. I guess such is nature of progress for things seldom stay the same for long - whether you sign on for the cruise or not.  
  I whizz past a road as I take my 'usual' route but I do catch it out of the corner of my eye. I've not been down it, so since it's just the three of us - me, myself, and I and we all get along pretty good, I throw out the land anchors and do a quick turnaround. Today I'll find out just where it ends up and how it runs. This is the way I've found many good motorcycle roads that aren't in anybody's 'book of good motorcycle roads'.  
  As it turns out, the surface is great and the curves are good. I don't know where it comes out yet, but my hunch is that it's going to hit 412 somewhere along the way.  
  In fact it does pop out on 412 just west of Hampshire so it goes in the route for coming this way. It's short hop on 412 to 166 which will take me south toward Lynnville.

Fortunately, with my 'internal' GPS, I can stitch a route together on the fly, so from here I know pretty much the way I want to go. For grins, I plug Lynnville into the GPS and I'll see just how Dave thinks I should go. We agree that we should proceed through Mount Pleasant, so we soon are there. Mount Pleasant used to be called the 'Phosphate Capitol of the World' with ten mining companies operating in the area at the height of the boom. It also is the birthplace of Samuel R. Watkins who wrote one of the best civil war books from the period call "Co. Aytch, A Side Show Of The Big Show". He was in most of the big battles in the First Tennessee and wrote his book from the perspective of a foot soldier. It gives you a real insight as to what the daily life was like for the average man during the war. A quote from his book -

You see, this was our first battle, and the officers had not found out that minnie as well as cannon balls were blind; that they had no eyes and could not see. They thought that the balls would hunt for them and not hurt the privates. I always shot at privates. It was they that did the shooting and killing, and if I could kill or wound a private, why, my chances were so much the better. I always looked upon officers as harmless personages.


  As I wander down 166, I see a sadly abandoned homestead. At one time I'm sure this place had a good fire burning in the fireplace and children playing on the front porch. If the old house could speak, it could tell of many joys and sorrows that took place within its walls. But now it's left to slowly collapse and to become a pile of rubble to be burned or bulldozed one day. Its neglect didn't happened all of a sudden but came on gradually. And so it is with us, our downfalls are usually caused by a slow process of neglect over time.  
  Dave, the GPS, decides that it would be prudent for us to take 245 toward Lynnville and I am in agreement with him.  
  There's still some ice in the shadows but fortunately none on this part of the road.  
  A little past this is a 'waterfall' of ice that the sun has not reached yet.  

It's a quick run down Yokely road and a couple of twists and I'm at the best place for a hamburger in the State of Tennessee - The Soda Pop Junction. Their slogan is -

"If Grandma cooks better, we'll hire her!"


  It's an old converted store front where they treat you like an old friend instead of an interruption to their day.  
  I figure I didn't come this way to mess around, so I order a double half pound bacon cheeseburger. That means two half pound patties loaded with bacon and cheese. Nothing like getting your cholesterol up there where it's easy to measure! I always say this is where the other burger places come to take their pictures for their advertisements.  
  And once again I manage to meet the challenge and clean my plate like my momma taught me.  
  And since I can still breathe, that means I can still eat so I order up a chocolate milkshake to give me the strength to ride home.  
  On the way out, I hear the siren's call of fried pies. It's hard nowadays to get the real deal and these are the real deal. I pick up a couple of apple ones for my lovely wife and couple of peach ones for a little snack for me should I become faint on the way.  
  Heading out, I figure I'll take the back way and head for Culleoka. I want to see if I can find the old ante-bellum house that my second cousin used to own.  
  Once again I see another old farmstead in the last stages of collapse and it makes me a bit sad, knowing that it meant love and home to some folks many years ago.  
  I find what I think is the road I want in Culleoka, but either I missed the house or I am on the wrong road.  
  It pops me out on south side of Columbia. As I work my around the city, I see the sign for 412 and go for it. I know it will take me back to the Trace which will work fine for getting back to the Holler. As I am moving right along, it dawns on me that I will pass the turn off for Greenfield Bend before I get to the Trace. There is a road off of it I want to check out, so this will be the plan. On the way, I pass by the old school house that has been converted to a church. I think it was a much better day in education when your school house was local to the community and the parents were a part of the education system. Now it seems to be more about indoctrination to a particular way of thinking instead of an education that teaches you how to think.  
  The road I wanted to check out is a little rough but nice and twisty so I'm glad at least I know another way to go if I feel up to it.  
  Soon I pop back out on highway 50 and come to the Natchez Trace get on.  
  Once again I have the Trace pretty much to myself so it makes a nice, peaceful run back to the Holler.  

When I pull back into the Holler, Lady Bug is there waiting for me. She is bit sad when I tell all that I have is fried pies for her momma with no biscuits on board. As she wanders off I hear her say,

"Ah, perhaps a biscuit on another day."

I've covered about 200 miles today at a leisurely pace which is what I needed. I've found a couple of roads that will go into my 'catalog' and had a killer burger and milk shake. Not a bad haul for a Saturday in the middle of January.