May 19:  Pickwick Dam to Parsons, TN  67 miles

The ride today was spectacular.  Sun shining the whole way, a soft breeze blowing mostly in a northerly direction giving a gentle push up each hill, and a route along back country roads with no traffic.  What could be better?  

Well, the beginning did give a little challenge to the day by presenting us with a series of hills that seemed to go straight up to the sky.  The downhills that accompanied these heart pounding, lung bursting efforts were gentle and long giving no aid to the incline.  As much as the downhills were fun, each was met with a vertical climb that burned off any calories from the night before.

But the beauty of the surroundings overshadowed any regrets of pedaling with all your ability.  Even nature came alive.  Four deer greeted a couple of the riders as they coasted around a bend and then eagerly jump off to the side of the road to avoid getting in the way.

Shiloh National Military Park sits directly on the Tennessee River and was a must to visit.  The area was the site of a Civil War battle in 1862 that marked a major victory for the Confederacy after losing battles in Kentucky and northern Tennessee.  The Federal Army led by Ulysses S. Grant had planned on "walking through" the forces from the South led by General Johnston only to be surprised before they assembled all their forces.  For more detailed information:  www.nps.gov/shil

Then it was up a hill, down a hill, pedal harder up, coast down, up a hill, down a hill, pedal, pedal, pedal the whole day long!  The road curved around the farm fields, pass new homes standing next to old abandon ones, around paper processing factories with their sulphur smells, and down long country roads with little to no traffic.  The route was predominately a marked bike route, so it possessed all the good qualities of country riding.  A few dogs, but friendly -- no dump truck, semis, or logging trucks, -- an occasional pickup truck -- but very friendly people.

Even lunch was in a friendly neighborhood.  The small town of Saltillo had one general store run by a retired couple from Massachusetts.  They immediately offered their rest rooms and sold us the only cold beverages for miles around.  They became our instant friends.

The afternoon brought a wind that conveniently blew from the south and pushed us down the long and wide last ten miles.  Nothing better after a day of "pounding the hills" then to sit back on your bike and let nature take you home.

Frankie in the Morning!

Shiloh National Military Park

More Shiloh

And More!

Tennessee River in Background

And Again from Another Angle

Lunch in Saltillo

Oh, Does This Taste Good!

Bikes at Rest!!!!!!!