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.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Natchez Trace - Day 5 - Tupelo MS to Florence AL

We broke through the 300 mile mark and entered Alabama today.  It was another great day on the Trace filled will lots of historical stops, a couple of "highway men (dogs)", a few good climbs and a sweet descent. The 72 mile route and data -

About half the crew headed into Tupelo to see Elivis' birthplace.  The rest of us made were on the Trace by 6 AM.  Rod, Helen, and I spent the first few miles together before Rod and I went ahead.  I played photographer and captured a few shots of Helen and the quiet mist that surrounded the road. Rod and I caught up with Leo and stopped at another Old Trace marker that included 13 unknown confederate grave sites.  Rod's front wheel continued to give him problems.  We loosened it up, but the bearings were pretty seized up.

Helen Leads the Way

Great Early Morning Shots of the Road

Confederate Unknowns
A few more miles up the road we stopped at Twentymile Bottom Overlook for a nice view overlooking the Trace.  There were two dogs at the stop that appeared to have been abandoned.  They had the remains of what looked like a water bowl and some food.  Rod gave them some water and food and we called the Trace headquarters only to find out the little guys were notorious Highway Men that lived in the area ... they made a good living getting food from travelers.

Lots of These Along The Trace

Nice View of the Road Through the Trees

Rangers Confirmed They Were Not Abandoned
We pulled into the SAG at the Pharr Mounds.  Karen and Aila have done such a great job this week with the SAGs .. .a big thank you is in order.  The rest of the crew arrived and we hung out for a nice relaxing rest.  Rod's wheel continued to cause him issues and even with some tools, he and Jeff could not free up the bearings.  Jeff, Alex, and I headed out and made good time while stopping at several sites along the way.  Rod ended up calling it day as his bike just did not cooperate. 

Best Support Crew ... Karen and Aila

Karen Applies Vanilla to Leo

Our Mechanic Jeff Tries to Fix Rod's Bearings

Alex Successfully Splits a Banana with Her Bare Hands

SAG Laughter and Photo Opps

One of Several of Alex's Faces ...
The Geldings (minus 2) cycled together into another state (Alabama) and then hit our first real climbs of the trip.  At The Freedom Hills Overlook we pushed up short (1/2 mile), but steep 20%+ grade for some nice views.  Next up was our biggest climb of the trip so far (still very tame compared to those mountains of last summer).  That was followed by a sweet descent that saw Joe and I hit 40 mph.  It was like old times and I led the gang for several miles all the way to the Tennessee River and the John Coffee Memorial Bridge.  A few short miles later we were done for the day and quickly on our way to the hotel in Florence.

Another State for the Geldings

Our Photogenic Philly

Freedom Hills Overlook

A Nice 20% Climb

Crossing the Tennessee River (Alex and Jeff)

Great Closeup of Jeff on the Bridge

Alex on the Bridge
I spent a humorous 30 minutes with Ellen, Rod, and Helen in search of some lunch.  After much discussion and a few stops we ended up at Arby's for roast beef.  We had a great dinner at Legends Steakhouse in downtown Florence.  We all got a good laugh when I paired a fufu drink with a 16 ounce porterhouse.  Another 70+ miles tomorrow and a lot more hills to conquer.

Good night moon ... good night bandit dogs ... good night Geldings ... good night awesome SAG team (thanks Karen and Aila!) ... good night friends and supporters (full list coming soon) ... good night steak.

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