Day 14 May 21, 2018 Ste. Genevieve, MO to St. Louis, MO

Day began with temperature of 67 and  storm threatening clouds.  Plastic bags were passed out to protect phones and cameras.  Load was at 7:00. Most of us were on the road by 7:10.  We had 80 miles with 5000 feet of climbing.  The rollers (hills) began immediately and would not end until we got to St. Louis.  I have tried to capture what the ride was like through my photos.  We ran into a drizzle for about 15 minutes so I put my camera away.  Finally I got my camera out and starting taking pictures again.  Rain threatened all day but once again we were lucky and missed all the rain that was around us.  The ride was beautiful and challenging.  When one hill ended another began.  Rode with Cynthia most of the day.  Tremendous sense of accomplishment when we pulled into the Drury hotel in St. Louis.  The hotel was two blocks from Busch Stadium, a block from the Arch, and across the street from the Court House where the Dred Scott Decision was made and years later overturned by the Supreme Court of Missouri.   Great location.  Tomorrow, May 22 would be a rest day and so would see and do as much as I could.  The Cardinals played the Royals last night so after dinner I walked down to the stadium and watched a little of the game from the outside.  I was in the right place when a home run was hit;  fireworks followed.  I was so tired I then went back to the hotel and went to sleep. Finishing blog was postponed till today.  It was another great day.  Days are passing quickly.  Tomorrow we begin the final stretch to Minneapolis.  Miss you.  Thanks for all your comments – they mean so much.

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Load at 7:00. Notice clouds.

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The hills began immediately.

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First photo after the light drizzle – loved this vista.

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Sky is still threatening.

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Another flat – how many people does it take to change a flat?  Just your friends!

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Drop off is ahead

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Trying to capture the rollers.

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We rode over I-55.

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Behind the next curve was another roller.

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Size of horse caught my attention.

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Donkeys

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Loved the bird houses

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A burned out field of corn. Discovered this helped nutrients return quicker to the soil.

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Yellow flowers lined the road.

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Smiley Face House

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Fishing off the bridge with a bow instead of a rod.

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Muddy creek

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Top of a 1.8 mile 7% grade climb.  At the bottom of a six mile descent from this climb a cardinal was sitting in the middle of a wire crossing the road.  I waved and said “Hi Dad”.

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Sweat drenched me after the 1.8 mile climb. My heart was beating fast.

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The treat of storms is still with us.

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River on the county line just outside St. Louis

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Puzzle caught my attentions.

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Gargoyle on the corners of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery

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Anheuser-Busch provided the money for the bike lane. It was nice to be away from the traffic.

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Church passed coming into St. Louis

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First good view of the Arch as I rode my bike into St. Louis

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The Court House is in the back ground.

 

Day 13 May 20, 2018 Cape Giradeau, MO to St. Genevieve, MO

We got to sleep in an extra hour this morning since breakfast did not open till 7:00.  Bill and Daun came down at breakfast to say good bye.  They will be driving back to New Orleans on Monday to pick up their van and then head back to Tucson, AZ.  They plan on staying an extra day at Cape Griadeau for Bill’s pain to settle down.  It will take them 9 hours to get back to New Orleans where as it took us 12 days to get to Cape Giradeau.  Bags were loaded at 8:00 and then we were off.  We had blue skies and temperature of 72.  High would be 87.  It would be another day of trying to out bike the rain.  There was a 40% chance of rain in the afternoon.  Today at mile 51.3 we would reach the half way point in our journey from New Orleans to Minneapolis.  Photo opp.  Our ride today would be 71 miles with 2,990 feet of climbing.  Climbing would be rolling hills, where one hill ended another would begin.  Three were very challenging – climbing 600 ft with 8-10% grade.  The climbs took us to the top of a ridge where we rode shorter but more frequent rollers.  The vistas were beautiful, mostly consisting of fields and farm houses.  These vistas would be perfect for jigsaw puzzles.

Shortly after we left our motel we began to ride on a bike path.  I am sure all of us were thinking about Bill and his accident yesterday on the bike path.  We were all very careful.  We crossed over three wooden bridges.  Trees formed a canopy over us.  The only scary part was when we exited the bike path at 3.7 miles and the exit ramp was covered in mud.  I carefully rode my bike through it ( had to clean it after ride today) while others walked and got their shoes muddy.  All made it safely through it.  Shortly after that the rollers began and would go on until mile 44.  If you know what ribbon candy looks like that is how the road appeared today.  We had great descents.  My climbing legs are coming back.  Was able to climb standing up for 75% of the rollers.  Iced my knee when I got in my room.  Knee is holding up.  Tomorrow will be the big test – 80 miles with 5000 feet of climbing – must remember to just focus on one roller at a time.  After the 44 miles of rollers we had 15 miles of flat roads surrounded by crop fields on both sides of the road.  You see how a farmer has little control over what the weather gives him.  Freshly planted fields were flooded.  As I rode by I hoped that the crops would survive.  Yellow flowers lined the road in several areas.  The last 10 miles were rollers.  Once again we climbed to the top of a ridge and rode up there and then down again.  For a short distance the road ran parallel to a train track.  There were three tough climbs but soon we were pulling into the motel’s parking lot.   Three of us then rode down to the historic section of St. Genevieve and while there had a chocolate shake.  It was a hard ride today but I felt a sense of accomplishment when I finished.  Once again I called on my angels to help me through the steep climbs.  Sometimes I counted to 248 and other times I just said a litany of names.   Enjoy your comments.  Miss you.

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Wooden bridge on bike path. There would be two more.

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Bridge we rode under.

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Found the sharp of barn interesting.  All the barns I saw had a similar shap.

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Road we rode on. Still damp from previous night’s rain.

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Turned around to go back and take photo of two cows in creek, but van came along and scared them.

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Interesting…

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Bend in the road brought field of yellow flowers into sight.

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One of the descents.

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Creek is muddy from over night rains.

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Town where we had our first SAG stop – Brazeau

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Blacksmith shop in Brazeau

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Green vista on the left of road …

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Brown vista on the right side of the road.

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Muddy river from previous night rains. Water level is high.

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Yellow flowers in the overflow from the river.

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Another river – only a few rivers are named with signs

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Last steep descent from the ridge. Caution was taken as we crossed the railroad tracks.

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Welcome flat road.

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Church with cemetery on side and in back.

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The front that we were trying to out bike – We succeeded

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Halfway point

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A church in the middle of no where.

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Train bridge over river

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Starting to climb again

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Another train bridge

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For Leslie – a party silo.

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We rode parallel to the train track – notice single track.

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Flooded field

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Safely at motel

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Oldest Brick House west of the Mississippi located in historic St. Genevieve

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Southern Hotel in St. Genevieve.

 

 

 

 

Day 12 May 19, 2018 Union City, TN to Cape Girardeau, MO

Breakfast at 6; Load at 7;  temperature was 70;  fogggy this morning, probably due to the storms that past yesterday and last night.  Since we would be riding 91 miles and climbing 2030 feet I wore my white jersey.

Today we would be leaving Tennessee riding in Kentucky for 6 miles and then would take a 30  minute ferry ride to the other side of the Mississippi where we would be in Missouri.  Three states before 10. We had to be to the ferry landing by 8:30 so we all left as a group but soon spread out.  Roads were good.  Birds were chirping.  Had to concentrate on biking so did not take too many pictures until I got to the ferry landing at 18.5 miles where we had our first SAG stop; the next one would  not be for 50 miles.  At ferry landing got to see two barges and then an unloading of limestone from another barge- was interesting.  Someone saw a bald eagle, but I wasn’t so fortunate.  Unlike when I crossed Lake Michigan in 2014 from Milwaukee to Ludington this ferry was small.  It was really nice.  Once in Missouri we had a steep climb from ferry and then for the next fifty miles we were on flat roads.  We had a slight tail wind for several miles.  When we turned wind became a cross wind or even a head wind.  Rode by myself and asked my angels to help me as the temperature and humidity climbed and there was no shade.  When riding into a head wind for 3.5 miles I counted to 248 several times so as to think about my angels and not the tough ride.

After our second SAG stop we had 20 miles to go 10 of which would be challenging rolling hills so typical of Missouri.  You would finish one roller and immediately begin climbing the next.  For the first time I was able to stand and climb.  My knee is getting stronger as well as my legs.  Climbs were surrounded by beauty but I could not take pictures so just have the memories.  Less than 10 miles from the motel we had our second accident – a couple chose to leave the busy road and ride on the bike path that ran parallel to the road.  Unfortunately due to the heavy rains a dip in the bike path was covered in mud and his bike got stuck.  Bill went down and broke his collar bone in four  places.  He will have surgery once swelling goes.  Please continue to pray for my safety.

It was another great day.  I felt proud of myself and happy at the end of the ride.  It was definitely a high-totally unexpected.  Miss you.

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Foggy morning

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Riding as a group

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Susan and Daun

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Field of hay

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Kudzu

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Kudzu

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Welcome to Kentucy, our fourth state

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Barge on Mississippi

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Pushing the barges upstream

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Walking onto the ferry

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Group photo

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View as we are leaving the dock

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Looking out the back of the ferry

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They even do mail delivery!

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Plowing through the water

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Leaving the ferry

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Welcome to Missouri, our fifth state

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Remember and honoring all 248 names on my jersey

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Nn

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Creek

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The only shade trees for miles.

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Muddy waters from storms; notice how high water level is.

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Water stop

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Flooded field from storms last night

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Another flooded field

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Cemetery

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Reflection in water by side of road

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Name of evergreens ? They smelled so good.

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Stream

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Jj

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River

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91 miles – just beat the rain

Day 11 May 18, 2018 Ripley, TN to Union City, TN

69 miles 73 cloudy skies.  Air was thick. Rained night before so cooled everything off.  The last 20 miles of ride were ridden in heavy downpours. I will let photos tell about today.  Had to stop taking pictures when the rains came.  Temperature fell from 85 to 67 during the rain.  Rain did not ruin memories of a beautiful ride.  91 plus miles tomorrow- time for bed.  Miss you.  Thanks for comments.  They mean so much to me.

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Rounds of hay

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Road closed due to flooding,but was clear when we got there.

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Reflections on a lake

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Field of hay

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River that flowed under the Richard Hill Bridge. River is muddy due to heavy storms last night.

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Interesting geometric designs in field.

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Storm clouds

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Me in a field of wheat – Pam’s creativity

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Fertilizer in field we rode by.

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Muddy river

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Beautiful vista

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Beautiful vista shortly after I took this picture heavy rains came.

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Been seeing this T since Memphis – finally realized it was for Tennessee

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Stood under a tree next to the round of hay when first batch of heavy showers came.

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Second place of refuge from second round of storms.

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Soaked and cold the 6 9 mile ride was over. Happy to be safe.

Day 10 May 17, 2018 Memphis, TN to Ripley, TN

80.5 miles with 2,250 feet of climbing.  Total miles rode so far 696 miles.

When we walked outside the air was thick and the temperature was 73 with cloudy skies.  They were predicting rain, but the time kept being pushed to later in the day. I carried my rain coat just in case.  Since yesterday was a rest day we did not go over the route until after breakfast this morning.  Pam had done an early load of our luggage so that a few of us could leave immediately after the route meeting. I was on the road a little after 7.  We began riding next to the Mississippi River.  Then we used a pedestrian walkway to ride our bikes over to Island Drive.  The ride only got more beautiful as the day went on.  The route had many turns and behind each turn it was equally as beautiful.  Honey suckle bushes again lined the road and their sweet smell filled the air.  Saw some bamboo trees and kudzu again.  At times I felt like I was back  in the Emerald Forest in Ireland because it was so densely green.  Sorry photos do not do it justice.  Several times during the morning it looked and felt like the sky would open up, but it never did.  After our first SAG stop we began our climb to the top of the bluff.  Climb consisted of rollers with a few steep rollers tossed in.  During the climb I saw three cardinals.  Once on Ray (my dad’s name) Bluff Road I saw five male cardinals and two female cardinals.  For those of you who are just joining my blog, my parent’s favorite bird was the cardinal.  Because of a promise I made my dad the night he died, my journey to bike across America began and continues today.  The descent from the bluff had a 10% grade.  After the descent the terrain changed from densely green wooded areas to open agricultural fields.  Our final turn took us onto US-51 N.  With only 10 miles to go we began racing against the storms that were behind us.  We could hear thunder in the distance.  Unfortunately with 6 miles to go the rain caught up with us.  The rain drops were huge but we were able to pedal faster than the storm was moving.  Soon I was back on dry pavement.  The miles quickly disappeared as I pedaled hard to get to the motel.  Instead of going to the motel Paul and I stopped at the DQ and each had a blizzard.  We joined the other bikers inside.  After 80 miles of riding it hit the spot.  It was another great day.

Internet was not working last night so that is why I am a day off.

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Riding next to the Mississippi

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River with the rising sun in distance

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Reflection of the trees in the water caught my attention as I passed this lake.

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Country road with plenty of shade but it was a cloudy day.

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Roller that we were on

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Bathroom stop at our first SAG stop

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While in line for the bathroom I noticed this poster – What dreams are made of….

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Which way do we go? Take Bluff Rd.

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The road to the bluff.

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Bamboo trees

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Kudzu is carpeting the ground and the trees.

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Kudzu is everywhere

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Ray Bluff Road

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We all will experience this at least once on the trip.

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The descent from Ray Bluff Rd.

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The Emerald Forest -Kudzu carpets everything.

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Kudzu transforms nature

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Leaving the shade and the greeny of the bluff roads we find ourselves viewing fields of golden wheat.

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The contrast in colors of the two sides of the road.

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Passed several mailboxes with this purple and gold bow attached to it. I asked a man on the street what it was for. He said that a child of one of the neighbors had been diagnosed with cancer.  This was there way of showing support for the family.

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Paul riding through the dust created by farmer cultivating his farm.

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Soon it would be my turn…

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On the other side of the road a farmer is fertilizing his crops. Dust and then fumes

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River I crossed shortly before the rain (drizzle) began

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My blizzard!!!!!

Day 8 May 15, 2018 Senatobia, MS to Memphis, TN

67 miles, 2280 feet of climbing, mostly rolling hills one after the other.

Walked to McDonalds for breakfast (1/2 mile) at 6:30.  Luggage load was at 8:00 and then I was on the road again.  It was another beautiful warm morning.  We would be riding into our third state, Tennessee.  If Memphis reaches 92 degrees today it would break a 30 year record.  I guess we have been breaking records every day.

We retraced our route into Senatobia and soon were on Browns Ferry Road -rolling hills begin.  Some how the ride out of town seemed shorter than riding to our motel – guess fresh legs make a difference.  Began riding with a group but soon dropped back because they were going 15-16 Mph.  With my knee I knew I would not be able to keep up that pace all day.  Following a cue sheet you have to watch your odometer carefully.  We were to turn at 5.4 onto Veazey Rd, unfortunately did not turn because sign facing me did not say Veazey.  Went a short distance and turned around and in this direction sign did read Veazey.  There would be one more cue sheet error in 5 miles.  Guess I am a rule follower.  I was then able to ride with Ward and Susan for a while.  As we rode I was greeted by the sweet smell of honey suckle which lined the road.  It was so fragrant – guess the morning dew made the fragrance stronger

I was tired in the morning and so I felt myself out of sorts and missing a turn did not help.  I just needed to ride and work it out.  As I began riding by myself again a male cardinal flew across the road in front of me.  The cardinal was my parent’s favorite bird and so when I see one I feel their presence.  Somehow that little thing changed my mood.  I saw 6 more cardinals.  Pam our leader who I rode with for a while said she had never seen that many cardinals in one day. – she was with me when we saw three. She has been a leader for 10 years.  Little things do make a difference.

The next turn I missed was turning onto MS 304.  Cue sheet said MS 301 and so I kept going for another half mile – no MS 301 so I turned around and turned onto MS 304 which turned out to be the right road – the road to Arkabutla Dam.  Unfortunately when I realized that I needed to turn around four dogs came charging at me.  Two black labs  and … I rode a little bit further, turned around and rode back through the charging dogs.  I was told to yell UGH, the sound the mom makes to her puppies,  This seems to work.  No bites but scary.  As it turns out I was not the only one that missed that turn and have dogs chase them.  Dam was beautiful.  Fish, we think carp, were jumping.  Fun to see.  Rode with Pam after that to SAG stop.   After the SAG stop the rolling hills increased in height and in frequency as the temperature continued to climb.  Odometer read 105 again – the heat radiating from the asphalt.

As we approached the state line I felt like I had just crossed into a different world.  There were stores, Kohl’s, Walgreens, and other familiar ones.  Traffic increased also.     There were no shoulders to ride on.  Most cars were polite, but one orange semi came pretty close to me. Glad when we got off that road.  Once again there was no “Welcome to Tennessee” sign, but there were bike lanes. Yea!!!  Stopped to take a picture of a violet house and Paul and two other buddies passed.  I rode with them the rest of the way in.  Rode on Elvis Presley Blvd and saw Graceland.  It was neat to look around while riding but had to be careful of potholes and grates.

The last 10 miles to our hotel were challenging for me.  The heat had really afffected me today.  We stopped at Sun Studios, but did not go in because we were told it was not wise to leave your bikes unless someone is watching.  Hotel is on the Mississippi.  Beautiful views from windows. We had dinner at Rum-Boogie Cafe on Beale St.  While at dinner there was a heavy down pour.  Timing is everything.  At the cafe we listened to blues music after dinner.  I found Beale St. to be more alive with music than I had experienced on Bourbon St. last year in New Orleans.  Did not work on my blog last night – I was so tired I went to bed and had a good night’s sleep.  Today is a rest day.  Need to do laundry this morning – have to go to a laundromat since hotel does not have machines.  Leader is driving a group of us at 10.  Too far to walk carrying laundry.  I will be going to the Civil Rights Museum after that.  Museum is a must see if you are ever in Memphis.  Late afternoon walked to Mud Island and walked along the replica of the Mississippi River.  The “river” walk had over 85 signs explaining the history that occurred at certain points along the Mississippi.  It was fascinating.   Thanks for sharing in my journey.

We have an 80 mile ride tomorrow.  So time for me to say goodnight.  I had a busy but a very good day off the bike. Looking forward to riding tomorrow again.

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Peaceful shaded road to begin our ride.

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This would be Rick’s last day – he had only signed up for the first part. Good thing after his bad fall.

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Cemetery- noticed how many graves have flowers. So much family history is here.

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How Kudzu has carpeted the ground and wrapped its vine around the tree.

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Honey suckle – fragrance was so sweet and pleasant as we rode by.

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American Flag along with the Confedrate flag

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Arkabutla Road – the road I missed in looking for MS 301 N

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Field of Brown-Eyed Susan wildflowers at Bayou Point on Arkabutla Lake

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View from the road as we passed by. It was breath taking.

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Arkabutla Lake in back ground

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Arkabutla Dam 

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Another view of dam; fish are jumping on the right

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Looking downstream from the Arkabutla dam

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Beautiful tall  white pines. 

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Dead turtle on the road. Never had seen what was under the turtle’s shell so decided to take a picture.

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Fence surrounding Palmer House for children.  Any idea why fence is black and not white?

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Canopy of trees – great shade

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Soon we would be leaving Mississippi

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Welcome to Memphis

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Memphis is a bike friendly community.  Finally a bike lane!!!! 

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On way to see Graceland

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Sidewalk in front of Graceland

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Graceland as seen from Elvis Presley Blouvard

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Standing in front of wall that surrounds Graceland. Bicycles were not allowed inside.

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Guitar outside Sun Studio

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67 miles – now a shower.

 

Day 7 May 14, 2018 Clarksdale, MS to Senatobia, MS

Had a great 63 mile ride.  I must be getting used to the heat and humidity.  Even though it was already warm – 80-  at 8:00 It was comfortable to be riding.  Even though there were many fields, the ride was not boring – fields were broken by trees or homes.  We also rode on some beautiful back roads.  Reached as high as 105 on my odometer –  that is a lot of heat radiating from the asphalt – feet got hot again.  It seemed like the humidity was lower.  Water stops were frequent.  The van seemed to be waiting with ice water when I was just about empty.  Drank 6 bottles.  Leg muscles were much better today, due to a great night’s sleep.

Rode the entire ride with Cynthia, friend I had meet on 2014 ride.  Leaving motel in Clarksdale we missed our first turn, but with only a .4 mile difference we were back on route.  Because of this we did not see any of the other riders all day.  Taking pictures does slow me down, but again this is not a race and I am  enjoying ever mile.

Was introduced to Kudzu, an ivy plant that grows a foot a day.  Very difficult to contain.  Can smother any vegetation that it covers.  There were rolling hills the last twenty miles leading into Sneatobia, MS and 6 miles of chipseal road.  As I was riding up I noticed a home with flowers bordering her drive way and walks and I thought how beautiful it looked.  When I was in front of home I discovered that the flowers were artificial.  No time to take a picture.

Passed a road sign that said “If you Litter SHAME ON Y’ALL!   After that the parkway was covered in litter.  It was almost as if the sign made people litter.

Forgot to mention Clarksdale is the home to blues music.  As we left town in front of the civic center there was a silhouette of Elvis with the caption underneath “The King was here”.  No photo too busy concentrating on turns.

Time to say good night.  65 miles tomorrow followed by a much needed rest day.  Total miles since I arrived in New Orleans is 549.  Love the comments -sorry I cannot answer them.  Miss you

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Once out of Clarksdale we were on this road. Loved the trees

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Creek

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Beautiful field

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Storage for crops

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Drivers of farm equipment always gave us the road.

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The deep crack in front of field should be flowing with water

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Irrigation system for Kettie

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House we passed on this beautiful tree lined road – a fixer upper.

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 River behind the trees caught my attention.

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Another home on the same road.

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Any suggestions? I am checking.

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Loved the precision of the rows.

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Vacant store where we had our SAG stop.

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Water for irrigation

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River

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Not sure about this but maybe rice?

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Another rice field?

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Train engine of long train that passed us.

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Riding next to a very long train. Nice to hear the clicking clack of the train until it came to a halt. They had to move the track to go over this single track bridge. Felt sorry for the people waiting to get to other side.

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Kudzu – looks beautiful but grows a foot a day.  Hard to contain.  

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Kudzu climbing and smothering trees. The Kudzu forms like a carpet.

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Interesting

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The fight to find a cure for cancer is everywhere. We will beat it!

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White pines. At end of ride a logging truck passed us loaded down with cut trees. Loved the smell.

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You can see the Kudzu on the right of creek

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Bethesda Cemetery in Senatobia began in 1848

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At the end of 63 miles

Day 6 May 13, 2018 Greenville, MS to Clarksdale, Ms

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms.  Hope your day has been special.  Heard from my two daughters before my ride which made my day.

When I exited the motel at 7 I immediately felt the heat (75) and high humidity.  I new it was going to be another hot one.   I am not complaining just wanted to let you know weather conditions.  It has been quite a change from training in 40 degree temps to biking in 90 plus degrees.  I wish I could send you some of the heat and sunshine.

Our route today can best be descibed as getting from A to B with as few turns and climbs as possible.  I prefer routes that make you think.  When there is little scenery other than fields sometimes with crops and others without makes the one 23 mile stretch seem to go on forever.  The steadily climbing temperature and lack of shade did not help either.

As the day wore on my legs began to suffer from muscle fatigue.  Drank a lot of water to help with this.  With 5 miles to go the bottoms of my feet were burning from the heat radiating from the road.  Michael, a leader stopped and filled up my water bottles with cold water.  It was all I needed to make it to the hotel.

Tomorrow shorter mileage – 63 miles with some climbing.  Time to say good night.  Thank you for all your comments.  They mean so much.

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Load luggage in van and check bicycles at 7.

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Creek we saw as we began our ride.

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First of many fields that we would see today.

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Creek flowing under bridge caught my eye.

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Is it really is a white field?

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Newly planted field

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One of many cemeteries that we rode by today.

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Pam, our head leader, rode 23 miles with me.  Still the miles passed slowly as we saw one field after another.

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Storage of their farm crops.

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Day of rest for the farm machinery.

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Road we rode on for 23 miles.

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Pecan grove

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Another field…

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Interesting field…

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In memory of or in honor of the 248 names on my jersey.

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Pink and white wildflower buttercups (?) that lined the road.

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We turned right onto Bobs-Rena Lara Rd and the scenery became interesting. Miles quickly went by. Grateful since temperature was saying 102 on my odometer.

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All I could think about was jumping into the lake to cool off.

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Looking back I saw Paul and Pam.

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Field that they are burning – you can see the smoke in the back.

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Shade!!!!! Even though only for a few minutes.

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Creek that people fished in.

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Van stopped to give me fresh COLD water. While Michael was filling water bottles I notice this on back dusty window.

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Just finished 84 miles.

 

Day 5 May 12, 2018 Vicksburg, MS to Greenville, MS

Began riding at 7:00 in a temperature of 68 degrees.  By afternoon it was 92 again.  Was hot, sweaty, and dusty when got to the hotel. Today would be another long day, 100 miles but with little climbing and long stretches of straight flat roads.  It would be a white jersey day.

We began our ride by returning on the same roads we came in on – that meant riding down the 12%  hill and then climbing up (7%) and then finally riding down to the Mississippi.  It was a challenging way to start the day with little warm up for the legs.  Reward was that we got to ride along the Mississippi River for about five miles.

If there was a theme for the day it would be poor bumpy roads.  We rode on chip seal, pot hole roads, and gravel roads.  Every once in a while we got lucky and had a relatively smooth road, but nothing like yesterday.  The scenery – rivers, creeks, overflow from rivers, grassy plains followed by fields of corn and other crops just beginning to grow – helped the miles go by quicker.  We also were lucky to have a slight tailwind.

We rode on chip seal for twenty-two miles – bumpity bump bump bump.  I was riding by myself and so I began counting to 248, the number of names on my jersey, to remind myself that these bumps were insignificant to the bumps people fighting cancer have each day.  Each full pedal stroke was a number (name).  I repeated this counting process for the entire 22 miles.  I will never quite the biking challenges that I have  because I do not want anyone fighting cancer to quit.  I know it can be difficult, but I have hope that a cure will be found soon.

After the second SAG stop I rode the last 35 miles with Paul, Ernie and Bill.  It was nice to have their company as we zig zagged our way to the motel.  Was tired and hot after riding in the sun for 7 hours.  They brought in pizza for dinner.  It hit the spot.  Another long day tomorrow- 80 miles so I had better say good night.  Thanks for all your comments.  They mean so much.

To all the mom’s:   Have a wonderful and Happy Mother’s Day.

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Ride down Grove St. to river

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Vicksburg Cemetery

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Yahoo River

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Overflow from Yazoo River

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More overflow from Yazoo River

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Irrigation

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This creek can be used to irrigate field in background

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Deer Creek

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Field of corn

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Onward Store

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Can you guess the toy – teddy bear!

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Bluff to left prevent fields on right of road from being flooded.

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We share the road with farming equipment.

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Grove of trees that offered so much shade but was off limits. Will find out name of trees.

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Detour, but we were able to bike through it.

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The remains of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Greenville Cemetery.  Church was destroyed by a cyclone after the civil War.

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Lake Washington

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Front view of corn duster.

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Dusting the corn

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My white jersey with 248 names on it – back and both sleeves.

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The end of the ride. Angels on my jersey gave me the strength to finish strong.

Day 4 May 11, 2018 Natchez, MS to Vicksburg, MS

70 in the morning but by afternoon it was 95.  Another hot and humid day.  It would be a long day – 91 miles with 4000 feet of climbing.  It took me 7 hours.  I was very tired when I reached the motel a little after 4.  Had to clean my bike, shower and then go to the map meeting followed by dinner.  By the time I got back to motel it was 7:30 and I had not done my stretching exercises or the blog.  I did some stretching exercises and worked on the blog, but was unable to finish it – too tired and we had 100 miles to do the next day.

First 15 miles were rolling hills with a couple of very rough roads.  When we turned onto the Natchez Trail I was immediately impressed by the smooth surface.  We rode 45 miles on the Natchez Trail and every mile was smooth as glass.  It was a biker’s dream to ride on this.  Also there were no stop signs, or gas stations, or restaurants.  So peaceful and beautiful.  Photos do not do justice to the amazing natural beauty that surrounded us while we rode.  At mile 61 we left this trail and returned to busy highways.  During the last 6  miles we did some serious climbing, in fast the last rode we climbed up on reminded me of Nob Hill in California.  The grade (steepness) of this road, Grove, was 12%.  I used my lowest gears and made it to the top (1.5 mile climb),  My heart was racing.  The motel was a very welcomed sight.  It was a beautiful scenery day.

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Setting sun on the MIssissippi on May 10

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Ride today began on a peaceful country road.

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Emerald Mound in background

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Natchez Trail – smoothest road I have ever ridden on. 45 miles without a stop sign too. Trees were beautiful. Photos don’t capture it.

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Sand River on right of road.

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Sand River on other side of bridge. River was flowing unlike others that were just stagnant.

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Cynthia and Daun on Natchez Trail

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If you look to right of me and down you can see the path the people walked on.

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Big Bayou River

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Loved this sign

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We will be following these signs all the way to Minneapolis

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Surprised at how many cows I saw.

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Even saw a few short long horn cows.

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Bridge crossing the Mississippi in Vicksburg, MS. Casino is right on the river.

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