Monday, October 26, 2009

Trace Trek -- The Wrath of Dog

You spend the whole week planning, packing, and preparing ... and you still end up busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest the morning that you leave for vacation. Which makes you wonder a number of things: Why did I bother? How could I have done this better? How do you win a butt-kicking contest, anyhow?

Regardless, RandoGirl and I finally got to Bill and Sametta Glass's house about 9 am Saturday, having tweaked some things on the panniers and racks on the bike, loaded everything up, and dropped the RandoDog off at the kennel. The weather was a little drizzly, so we sat with our friends and have muffins and coffee for a while. By the time we finally unloaded the bike and got everything ready to go, it was 10 am, no longer raining, but still chilly.

Bill rode with us down to Leiper's Fork on a Surly that he has built up for touring. It was a little breezy, with a wind that was mostly in our teeth, and traffic was a little heavy as we headed south. But the further we got from Nashville, the fewer cars there were.

We figured out that the people in the cars were probably enjoying the fall colors, which explained why a few of them passed us rather closely -- distracted drivers trying to get a cell signal so they could text to their boyfriends pictures of the trees that they weren't seeing. Meanwhile, RandoGirl and I were enjoying nature in all its glory: The colors, the smells, the cold, the wind ... the good, the bad, and the ugly (well, there wasn't much ugly).

After Bill left, we headed down to leave the Trace at Fly, going to the store there.

As I've mentioned, Mr. Fly is back at the store. He has about another 10 days of radiation therapy, and they had to remove his stomach, but otherwise it seemed like business as usual there. All of the middle-Tennessee regulars were sitting around the pot-bellied stove in the back of the store, and Mr. Fly was having a good old time in the front. RandoGirl and I were still full of muffins from our late morning with Bill and Sametta, so we didn't get sandwiches.

Continuing down Leiper's Creek, thru Water Valley, and then on Snow Creek over to Greenfield Bend, our route picked up a few more hills. We've been having trouble with the shifting on the Co-Motion, and found that the chain would jump on the middle ring. Once or twice, that kept us in a bigger ring than we liked. At one point, just before She-Boss Road, four dogs came out to chase us near the top of a long, ill-geared climb. Maybe that was the ugly.

We stopped where Greenfield Bend crosses the Duck River to eat some crackers and peel off some clothing, since the sun had come out and the climbing was warming us up. The river was about as high as I've ever seen it, but looking beautiful.

We cut over from there to Cathey's Creek, which is a lovely, gently rolling road that goes thru fields of wheat and corn. This road also takes you to Keg Springs Road, which takes you in turn to Keg Springs Winery.

We had been here before with friends on a previous trip, so we knew a few things going in. One is that you do not want to try to pedal a fully loaded tandem all the way up their driveway. Another is that the blackberry wine sounds fruity and tastes fruity to begin with, but really grows on you.

There was a party going on on the deck there, with live music and people looking very comfortable sitting next to cozy heaters, but we were worried about cooling down. Thus, we tasted a couple of wines, bought a bottle of our old favorite -- yes, the blackberry wine -- and were on our way.

Here's a picture of me showing off my legs. It wasn't really warm enough to be out like this, but I didn't want to hunt through the panniers for the knee warmers.

Fortified with wine, we returned to Cathey's Creek Road and started climbing. We had figured out how to get the front derailleur to let us into the small chainring, and that was good. Once on top, we rode along rolly Ridgetop Road and down the long driveway to the little cabin at the Ridgetop Bed and Breakfast.

It looks even more cozy inside.

Home is where we hang your helmet ... or lay it, in this case.

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