May 20:  Parsons to Waverly, TN  60.6 miles

The cue sheets said six times to "begin climbing"!!  With advance warnings like that one should not be surprised to see that vertical mirage sitting out there is front of you.  However, each time it did bring a "oh, no!" as each rider dropped to her lowest gear and just pushed and pulled, panted and groaned, sweated and swore to the top!  The first few in the morning topped the 12% grade mark at one point, while those in the afternoon were generally around 6-7%.  The groans came by the lengths of the inclines.  A couple were over a mile long twisting and turning themselves up toward heaven!  Fortunately dogs don't like running uphill, so the only thing to contend with was one's own leg strength!

The scenery in this part of Tennessee is spectacular.  The Tennessee River is to the left or right of us as we work our way north through the Tennessee Hills.  The route follows the river not along its banks, but rather up one hill and down another.  At times we were edging along a ridge in and out of the "hollers" and over the plateaus covered in farm fields of wheat.  The route took us through the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge with its forests of oak, maple, poplar, ash, and some pine.  The mountain laurel was still in bloom giving a pink and white hue to the forest floor.  Honeysuckle is still the fragrance of choice with the birds adding the music to the day.  The route was all back roads with minimal traffic.  Only an occasional pickup truck or service vehicle seemed to want to be out there with us.  

The area does seem to be a favorite for "weekend residents".  There are several stretches where the road is lined with summer homes complete with the water play toys propped up against the garage.  Nashville is only about 80 miles away by expressway, so it is an easy spot to get to for a quick get away.  The towns that pepper the route may have been prosperous river towns in their day, but now serve the vacationers.  Towns like Perryville, Pineview, and Bakerville provide the rider with that ice cold Coke or clean rest room as we pedal through.

Tonight it is Waverly, a community of 4,028 in the only motel in town!  The sun is still shining and the afternoon wind has picked up, but all are resting waiting for that gourmet dinner to be served!  Tomorrow is on deeper into them there hills!! 


Tennessee River

Barges on the River

Mountain Laurel

in the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge

Sue & Georgia in the Refuge too!!

Tennessee Mountain Home

Tennessee Mountain Gypsies

Frankie & Vicki Crossing the Tennessee River Again

View From the Bridge