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.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Natchez Trace - Day 6 - Florence AL to Columbia TN

A good night's rest in Alabama but only a few feet of cycling.  We started right at the Alabama/Tennessee line.  With Helen and Alex leaving after the ride it was a great opportunity for group pictures. 
The Gang Crosses Into Tennessee

Joe and Karen ... Awesome Coordinator and SAG Support

Jeff and Aila ... Thanks for Everything

Almost There ...
The road remained quiet, but had more up then down today. The pace was easy as most of us stayed together or pretty close. I rode the first 25 miles with Helen and Alex and pulled into another great SAG stop at Glen Rock Branch. The stop had a nice stream and rocks to play on (for Alex any way).

Dueling Picture Takers

Another Classic Alex Expression

Ellen ... "Car Back"

Leo, Bike Friday, and the Shark

Alex Climbs The Rock at the SAG

Helen Doing What She Does Best ... A Pretty Good Cyclist Too

Joe Enjoys the SAG

Open Wide Leo

A Video of Alex Breaking a Banana with Her Bare Hands!

The Trace kicked up after that and tested us with a few good climbs. We left the road for a 2.5 mile trip on the Old Trace Drive through the woods. A little dicey in spots, but it gave a good feel for what the original Trace felt like.

A Ride in the Woods Along Old Trace Drive

Rod Avoids the Ruts

Nice View Toward End of Old Trace

Leo Emerges from the Wild
The crew rode pretty closely and met up at the Merriwether Lewis (of Lewis and Clark fame) area. The ice cold water felt good as the temperatures climbed into the 90's again. The steepest climb of the day was up next.  Half way up we stopped at the Fall Hallow waterfall.  Alex, Joe, Jeff, and Leo hiked down to the falls and even cooled off under them.  I rested for a few, but kept pushing onward and upward.  I met them all later at the top of the hill.  It was mostly downhill after that.  On the last small climb of the day I tried to power up and past Jeff, but alas, he was too strong and caught me quickly.

Merriwether Lewis Monument/Grave

One of the Overlooks
After a quick shower it was time for goodbyes for Alex and Helen.  I drove them to Nashville to pick up their car for the ride home to Indiana.  Traffic was ugly and the 60 minute drive took almost 90 minutes.  The return was even worse, and thanks to a bad accident, I did not get back to Columbia until 7PM.  The gang had already assembled at Applebees.  I was treated to a cold beer and some sizzling fajitas (Thanks Rod).  Our (well mine) first ice cream run ended the night.  Well almost ... Howard and I had to duck tape my back window which decided to fall inside the door when I dropped Alex and Helen off.

Goodbye Helen .and Alex
Our last day on the Trace will a be a short one.  Only 40 miles until the finish.  Today's almost 70 mile route and data can be found at

Good night moon ... good night hills ... good night Philly (Alex) ... good night Helen ... good night traffic ... good night Dad (Happy Birthday!) ... good night ABB Across Americas North riders (we miss you all).

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