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.