DAY RIDE 7/7/2018

Some Time In The Wind

July 7, 2018
  If all goes according to plan, I'll be leaving two weeks from today for my ride into Canada to finally visit Newfoundland and spend some time in Nova Scotia with my friend Alain. I just had Frost in the shop for her 100,000 mile service, changed out the front and rear wheel bearings, and put on her some new dancing shoes. I know on Monday I am probably gonna have an ingrown toenail removed from my left big toe, so that will stop me from riding for another little while. I have not been in the saddle since my right hand surgery on May 4th, so I need to see how all of that is going to work. Frost and I both need a little time in the wind to see how we are getting along since our respective 'repairs and enhancements'. So today I've got to pull the lever while there is still time to make adjustments.  

Lady Bug is at her usual station, but I tell her -

"Sorry little girl, there's slim chances there will be any biscuits from this run."

But even with that said, she is always sad to see me go and always glad to see me back - even if there are no biscuits to be enjoyed.

  Since my right hand is still tender from the surgery (a CMC Arthroplasty - cutting tendons and drilling bones), I opt for my usual safe route, the Natchez Trace. I should be able to use my cruise control a good part of the way and have little need for braking which will give my right hand a rest. I pass by our church and thank the Lord for how good He has been to us. Some of the dearest and kindest folks in the world go there and I am tickled to call them my friends. It is a refuge from the ever increasing madness that seems to be engulfing this present world.
  Soon I am at the get on for the Trace and once I am on the Trace proper I see ...
  a not so welcoming sign. I guess revenue must be down or something as they want to be sure you are warned of the perils of exceeding the already low speed limit.
  And once I ride in a few miles, I still scratch my head as why they have moved the entrance sign so far down the Trace. It makes me wonder just exactly where the 'Trace' actually begins as far as enforcement by the rangers start. But I'm in no mood to contribute to the federal deficit this morning so I set Frost on cruise and make my way on down to my destination.  
  When I cross the high bridge at highway 96, I can't help but remember that they had another jumper a few weeks back. Sadly, the person was successful in their quest to end it all as have been the ones that have preceded them.
  When I look out, I just wonder how long before there are high fences on the bridge in an attempt to stop folks. In my mind, the 'new' Trace was to follow the old Trace and you can bet Andy Jackson didn't cross any bridges like this on his way to New Orleans. To me the bridge is a colossal monument to government waste that has turned into a sad magnet for those seeking to end their lives. A much lower bridge as there are along the rest of the Trace would have been just fine. This is a classic example of unintended consequences from a bad dose of engineering ego.
  The Trace, especially the upper end, is a lovely venue of sweet sweepers and green verges. I call it the most relaxing ride in the country as no commercial traffic is allowed and there is usually very little traffic anyway.
  If you ride the Trace, chances are you will see deer (sometimes a little too close), cattle, raccoons, groundhogs, and wild turkeys. You do not want to be on it before sunrise or after sundown unless you relish the idea of a fur or feather ornament on your vehicle.
  I pass several stands of good looking corn as I head south. I guess the rain and the heat have been really good for it this year.
  When I pass the SheBoss Stand, I always have to chuckle.

Here's the story -

Travel on the Natchez Trace was an adventure in the early 1800s. The 500 mile Trace transversed a sprawling wilderness where only Indians, outlaws and wild animals were at home. Travelers needed a place to find food, supplies and rest. At government request the Chickasaw tribe permitted an establishment of inns or stands at one day intervals through their lands, but only if Indians were the proprietors. One such stand was known as Sheboss once operated near here although the exact location is unknown.

A widow operated an inn here with her Indian second husband who spoke little English. According to legend when travelers approached with questions about accommodations he would only point to his wife and say, "She boss."

  Soon I've made my way down the 120 miles or so to Highway 20 which will take me to my turnaround point today. I was here at the River Bottom Grille back in 2017. It's a floating restaurant with a nice view from the upper deck of the Tennessee River. The food is good, the prices are reasonable, and the service nice and friendly.  
  I find a good parking place a little closer than the last time and for that I am thankful.  
  The hostess leads me upstairs and I find a good table with a great view of the river.

When my server comes up, I tell her -

"I already know what I want - your fried oysters, fries and two glasses of ice water."

She replies - "Sure thing, I'll get it right in."

She does and the wait is not long at all. It comes out nice and fresh and hot.

  And I manage to do what needs to be done on the field of battle before me.  
  I settle up and make my way back to the waiting Frost. I have to take a second look down at the dock to try to determine if this is a real bird or a real decoy. It finally moves and that settles that.  
  I rode down wearing both hand braces and I decide that I will ride without braces going back to see if it makes any difference. Soon I'm back to the Trace and start my journey northward.  
  Before long I cross the border back into my beloved State of Tennessee. I am fortunate to have been to a lot of places for a feller that started out as a hillbilly living in 4 rooms and a path. But I'd rather be in the hills of Tennessee than any where else I've been. My ancestors settled in this area before it became a state and I am a seventh generation Tennessean. During my business career, I've had many opportunities to move around but I guess my roots have always been buried too deep for me to move very far. I still live within an hour of where I was born and raised and have no real desire to live anywhere else.
  I pull back into the Holler with Frost and me all intact and no pieces missing. Frost seems to have all systems in good working order and for that I am very thankful. My right hand is still not exactly where I would like it to be, but it is serviceable. The surgeon said it will be 6 to 12 months before everything is 'as good as it gets'. But I know now that I can ride and I am looking forward to some more time in the wind.