My latest adventure down the west coast is now over. Posts are listed by date on the right. In a departure from previous years, I am not asking for donations. Instead, I will be making a sizable donation on behalf of my father-in-law, father, and all the wonderful people who have supported me over the years.

My rides will continue to make a difference in the lives of families fighting lung disease and to increase awareness about the importance of lung health. Follow along … Together; we are improving life, one breath at a time.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Natchez Trace - Day 4 - Maben to Tupelo MS

Only 51 miles today ( ... we lost 10 miles at the start due to a detour associated with the recent tornado damage.  A few folks went in search of the damage, but did not find it (we would see some later in the day).  I rode sweep with Joe and by the time we headed out it was 7:30.  Joe and I had a great day chatting and riding intervals ... we stopped a lot for the sights and made sure to keep everyone in front of us.  It made for a slightly longer, but just as fun day.  With the flat terrain, our average was a brisk 17 mph.  This week's ride is definitely more about the people then the numbers, but it was still enjoyable to hammer out some of the miles.

Joe Waiting to Get Rolling

Leo and Alex on the Detour

Leo ... Should I Stay or Should I Go .. He Went

Rod Cruising Along

Helen and I in a Game of Chicken?

Joe Finishes "Herding the Cats"
Riding sweep enables you to ride with almost everyone at some point during the day.  We met up with a group four young riders self supporting from Alabama to California on hand made bamboo bikes.  Check out the Alabamboo for more details.  They even posted a picture of us.

Bamboo ... Lots of Possibilities

Team Alabamboo ... Jason Dilworth, Nicole Lavelle, Rose Lavelle and Marc O’Brien
There were lots of interesting historical markers along the Trace today.  Joe and I paused to celebrate the half way point at mile post 222.  Another great SAG by Karen and Aila (I promise to post a few pictures of them tomorrow) had has energized and ready for the late morning heat.  Peanut Butter sandwiches provided by Alex was a nice touch. 

Rod at Another Section of the Old Trace

I Was There Too

Half Way Point ...
Storm damage was evident along a stretch of the road ... the pictures really do not capture the power of the storms.  So many large trees were just ripped from the roots.  Joe and I could not resist the fun at the Black Belt turn out to recreate Jeff's Black Belt kicks.  It was even funnier when my camera paused for a few seconds similar to last summer (inside joke). 

Storm Damage
Reenactment of Jeff's Black Belt Exam
The highlight of the ride took place toward the end ... as we had hoped, part of our support team from last summer stopped by on their way to Oregon. Mike, Barbara, and Karen brought big smiles to our face just a few miles before we made it to Tupelo.  We caught up, shared some laughs, and had one poor guy take eight group shots before they headed out.  It was neat to see them.

Seemed Like Old Times ... Barb, me, Mike, and Karen

Reunion Group Shot (Yes, I was Out of Uniform)
After lunch and check in, Rod needed a lift to the bike shop to check out his front wheel.  It was also a good chance for a few of us to get some laundry done.  My car filled quick and I was not able to fit everyone in ... Sorry Ellen.  After the bike shop and laundry, Rod, Helen, Howard, Shirley and I made a quick tour through downtown Tupelo and visited the birthplace of the King ... Elvis Presley.  Thank you very much.

Helen Thought These Looked like "Papa Bear, Momma Bear, and Baby Bear"

The King

Rod Enjoys the King's Car

Elvis' Birthplace

"Thank You Very Much" Tupelo
Another hearty and enjoyable dinner was at Vanelli's. After dinner, Jeff, Joe, Alex and I spent a fun hour talking with Toronto Mark and The Duchess (Susan) via Skype.  It was great to share the experience with him.  Our group pace lines and pictures are definitely missing his presence.

Good night moon ... good night Toronto Mark ... good night Mike, Barb, and Karen ... good night Joel (let's talk Thur day) ... good night girls (see you soon) ... good night Elvis.

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