It's About Time

January 12, 2013
 I've been working with my head down on my garage workshop project since Thanksgiving. The area serves two duties - a nice area to do my 'mechanicing' and a space large enough to have my extended family over for our traditional feeds. So I am way past due for a bit of a run and today is supposed to be decent temperature wise. Rain is predicted, but I think I can maneuver around it with a little focus. I get on my computer and check out the weather - where it is and where they think it is going.

Looks like if I head west I play between most of the clouds and stay halfway dry. It sounds close enough to a plan to work, so I gather up my stuff - including my raingear - and head out of the Holler.

It's a little wet but at least it's not pouring down and the temps are decent. There's a road I've been itching to chase down and today will be the day. I've ridden by it dozens of times but now I'm gonna make the turn. I check our church building as I whiz by as I usually do, just to make sure things are as they should be.

I know a half a dozen ways to get where I'm headed, but I decide to concoct another variation. Dave, my GPS, is completely confused so he utters his guttural "Off Route" and then goes into his sulking silence. I hang a right on Buffalo Road which will take me up on the ridge behind the Holler.
The road that runs along the ridge is one of the best kept riding secrets in the area. It is great pavement and lots of twisties.
I take an old shortcut to get to River Road which is one of my favorite runs to where I'm headed. And there's a reason they call it 'River Road' ...
It t-bones into highway 49 which a real treat to ride when it's dry. But there's a little water on the road, so I dial it back a notch for safety's sake. When 49 comes to the Harpeth River crossing, I see that they have finally decided to replace the old iron girder bridge after all of these years. I'll miss it though as it was a landmark when I pass this way to know I was about an hour from the Holler.
49 has some real bends in it and with the rain they are little trickier to negotiate. I am running in and out of the showers but nothing so bad that I need to stop and put on my raingear.

I can't help but chuckle every time I pass through this little community. I don't know if there was a 'Mr. Dull' or they were talking about the town itself ...
Soon I'm in Charlotte, the county seat. It has a lovely old courthouse in the center, as do many of Tennessee's smaller towns.
The road I'm pursuing is just past this, so I am excited about finally getting to check it out. My challenge as I ride now is trying to find 'new' roads as I explore the area. You just never know when you might happen upon a real jewel that's not in any motorcycle magazine. And this road proves to be a pretty good one.
It also has got a fair share of sweepers which are always fun to swing through.
When I come to a crossroads, I go straight. When it's a t-bone, I turn which ever way I take a notion. Before long I end up on highway 149 headed toward Cumberland City. It's about time for a fuel and de-fuel stop, so I pull into the market at Palmyra.

I fuel up the bike and de-fuel myself. The little lady behind the counter asks me where I'm from. I tell her -

"Well, I'm just of of Nashville. But I reckon I've ridden a little bit of everywhere."

I tell about my trips to Alaska, California, the U.K. and the Alps. I can see that's far beyond anywhere she hopes to go. But I remember a young feller many years ago behind the counter of a country store who thought the same thing. If you had told me I was going to one day ride a motorcycle in the Alps, I would have told you that's got the same chance of happening as me going to the moon. When you're dirt poor and seldom been out of the county, things like that seem pretty hard to grasp. As I stand outside, I look up and see some hawks riding on the thermals. That's what riding is to me - the freedom to float along a road with no strings attached, no agenda to keep. The freedom to enjoy the wind and ribbons of asphalt as they unfold before me. Those that have never experienced it can't understand it, and those who have don't need an explanation.

But daylight's wasting, so I figure I'd best get back on the road. From here it's just a matter of how much time I want to take to get back to the house. I figure I'll run on into Cumberland City as I recollect there's a nice little cutoff that will put me back on 49.

 One of the joys of having a lot of roads floating around in your head is you can 'route' as you ride. A GPS is a fine thing, but too often folks let it become their master instead of just a tool. Sure enough, I find my cutoff and away I go.
Before long I'm back on 49 and enjoying a little drier version of it than I had this morning.
It's just one sweet run of sweepers and tight bends so I wind the sprocket up a little to enjoy it.
I have to laugh as I pass this sign for the 'Curvey Road Sawmill'. At least they figured out where they are ....
I decide I'll take another cut off of 49 that runs by the Narrows of the Harpeth. It also happens to be a bit twisty if you can imagine that ...
Down the road I see the familiar caboose where I make another turn. No railway anywhere near here, but it's still a nice caboose.
With all of the rains lately, the Harpeth River is up a little bit, This is the same river that did so much damage in my area back during the floods. Sections of this road were completely washed away but have since been repaired.
From here it's a short run to highway 70 then back to the Holler. I've managed to stay pretty much dry and had a good day of it. But then, every day riding is a good day.