Monday, October 3, 2016

Before I tell about yesterday, I want to acknowledge Dev, the nephew of the owner of the Days Inn we stayed in Saturday night.  Although their WiFi showed a strong signal, I could not get any Internet access.  Dev finally found a router I could go through from their breakfast area so that I could plan yesterday's route and complete the blog entry for Saturday.
Yesterday looked like it would be a great day.  Cathy ferried me three miles to the start point.  We both appreciated a local flower that looks a lot like a Morning Glory.

Before I could get on the road, we had to listen to the Sunday Puzzle on NPR.  While it was on, four cyclists I had met the previous day came by.  I had thought they were out for a day ride when in fact they were also cycling to New Orleans.  One of the rider's sister is driving their sag vehicle.  When the radio show was over, I started the day's ride.  I was not quite two miles down the road when Cathy called to tell me the car would not start.  I rode back and after we waited for the emergency road service to come and give us a jump start, I was back on the road at nearly 11 with 90 miles to go.  We never had a clue as to why the battery appeared to be drained.
Yesterday I saw cotton fields still in bloom and many ready to harvest.  Here is the first one I saw after the harvest.
It is hard to see, but the ground is littered with scraps of cotton.  I'll bet this field had less of that in the days it was hand-picked.
This was a day of changes.  The roads made me think of one of the jokes about Seattle weather--if you don't like it, wait a bit.  It will change.  After the first 8 miles, I believe I had only one or two times I was on a road for 4 to 5 miles.  Most of the time, my Ride with GPS app told me my next turn was in 2 1/2 miles or less.  I rode through rural and semi-rural areas, farm land, lush forests and everything in between.  While the elevation profiles makes it look mostly flat, it was actually a lot of gently rolling hills and rollers that were just long enough that it was not possible to gain enough momentum from a downgrade to crest the next hill without effort.

And, of course, the ever present Kudzu.
One thing that has interest me on this journey is the different materials used in different states for roads.  In Minnesota, I had to get used to the high mica content in their asphalt.  This made the pavement glitter as though there were shards of glass when it was actually some of the smoothest surfaces I cycled on.  Wisconsin apparently added crushed limestone making some of their roads a much lighter shade of gray.  When I first entered Tennessee from Kentucky, the road immediately turned tan.
I found different grades of this, depending on whether it was a highway, shoulder or rural road.  While you cannot tell from these pictures, the difference is significant as to how rough was the road.  In order, these are highway, shoulder and rural road.  I would love to know what is the stone that makes the tan color.
In semi-rural areas, it is nothing to have a large lawn.
I also saw some pretty nice estates.
But even in neighborhoods with homes like this. . .

About twelve miles from Memphis, I ran into Dave Thorpe and Murphy.  Like me, he started at the headwaters and is headed for the delta.  He and Murphy are camping along the way.  He told me I was the first other cyclist he has met doing this same tour.  He has his own blog at

As I neared Memphis, I crossed the Wolf river
A couple of miles later, I turned a corner and finally saw the river along with the Memphis Greenbelt Park.

As I cycled along Island Drive, I passed many homes that have likely been here a long time.

To get downtown, I went over the Wolf River again and got these views.

It was nearly 6 so I got cleaned up as quickly as possible and Cathy and I went out for a burger and a beer.  My last photo of the day was this mural near our hotel.
We are going to spend the next two days being tourists.

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