DAY RIDE 5/2/2020

Escaping The Madness

May 2, 2020
  I had to put down my loving little Lady Bug due to cancer this week. She always greeted me when I got back from a ride with a big smile and I miss her a lot. I reckon I probably grieve more over the loss of one of my dogs than I do people, but then my dogs treat me a lot better than many people. So I need some time and space just to air out my head a bit. And since the governor of Tennessee has loosen the Covid-19 restrictions a bit, it's a good time to get in a much needed ride. Our city is still shut down pretty tight since the mayor operates in a different 'world' than the rest of the state. Andy and I decide we'll meet at the Holler and then run over to Sonic for a quick breakfast burrito or two. It's an absolutely beautiful day as we pull out of the Holler.  
  When we pass our church, I reflect on how our sign pretty much sums up my feelings about the whole Covid-19 situation. I believe you should take reasonable precautions, not ones dictated by a media that loves to work people up into a frenzy. But at the end of the day, the Lord provides His Children with safety. I usually change the sign once a month, but since this one seems so appropriate for the current time, I feel led to leave it alone until we are back to some sort of normal.  
  It's a short hop to the local Sonic and we get some grub to fuel our inner beasts for the journey ahead. We are kindly instructed that we cannot sit on the picnic tables under the shelter. So we park our carcasses two feet away from the tables on the curb and enjoy our vittles.
  We bat around where to ride today and decide we'll head down the Trace to Collinwood and chase some back roads down there. We figure the Trace will be pretty isolated in keeping with the current 'requirements'. We take my favorite shortcut through Newsom Station to get to the Trace.  
  It's a few miles and we are at the entrance with the fancy bridge. The house that I currently live in used to sit just past the power lines before they built the fancy entrance. I bought the house which was the northernmost ranger station for the Trace and had it moved to my property. So I guess I could say that I live in a piece of Trace 'history'.  
  The upper fifty miles of the Trace is a splendid ribbon of asphaltic twists and turns that are real pleasure to ride.
  And today it is in a wonderful state of 'isolation' with very few cars and bicyclists. I set my cruise control about a mile in and never have to touch my brakes until I get the Collinwood exit - a distance of over eighty miles on peaceful two lanes.
  It's about time for a fuel/defuel stop, so we wander into Collinwood and stop at the first little market with gas that we see. It is completely empty as we sit outside enjoying a little sunshine. Then as if by the wave of some unseen conductor's baton, we are surrounded by Harleys and such coming in from all directions. Then as quickly as they show up, they are gone.
  I figure we'll wander out of town a bit and turn west at the first opportunity. It's been a while since I've ridden down here, but my old brain kicks in and I see a familiar road - highway 203.
  The spring wildflowers are just starting to grace to roadside with their purple, white and yellow hues.
  There's a phenomenon in Tennessee called the county road commissioner. You can usually tell where the county lines meet by the pavement. It is an elected position so long about election time, lots of new pavement goes down if there's any budget left. In this county, the road is brown pavement and when we get to the next county, it's black pavement. But it's all good pavement to us as it twists and turns like a snake on a hot rock.
  We wander through the small village of Clifton which sits on a bluff overlooking the Tennessee River. It was founded in 1840 and named for the high cliffs where it stands
  Highway 128 runs through and north of Clifton and it too is a good road if you like twists and turns.
  We have really been blessed today with practically no traffic - except back at the little market in Collinwood.  
  Highway 128 runs into highway 13 and on 13 I see this unusual quarry. I figure it must be a chert quarry which may explain why many of the roads in this area are brown instead of black.  
  Off of highway 13, we turn onto highway 438 which used to be Highway 50 until they 'improved' it. It runs through the heart of Amish country in this area and is also a delight to ride - except for the occasional 'green' exhaust product from the Amish buggies that may be found on the road.  
  It will take us to the 'new' highway 50 which will take us to Centerville and just the place for a good lunch.  
  Fish Camp is the real deal if you a looking for genuine Tennessee River Catfish cooked to perfection. They were destroyed by the flood in 2010 but chose to rebuild and are now back better than ever. Since the governor has opened things up a bit, they are allowed to offer limited inside dining.  
  We wheel our two beasts up to the hitching post and make our way toward a delightful culinary adventure.  
  While they are cooking your fish fresh, they bring you bowls of good old fashioned white beans and coleslaw to hold your hunger at bay. And when the fish comes, there is plenty of it with all the fixin's and it is fresh and tasty.  
  We decide we'll just head on back to Nashville as the day is getting late. Andy is about due for gas, so I find a station and he feeds his hungry mechanical beast. Since we just passed I840, he decides he'll go back and hop on it since it avoids Nashville and runs close to his house. So he heads out in one direction and me in the other. I take another little shortcut back to the Holler that is always deserted and a delight to ride.  
  It's been a perfect day - perfect weather, perfect roads, perfect food - and most importantly - perfect company.