Spartans Forever

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Collinwood, TN

We arrived in Collinwood, TN after peddling in three states today; Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee, and spending the nights in two State Parks.  They were Elvis Presley State Park and Tishomingo State Park.  The hill up to Elvis Presley State Park about did us in!  We rode the next day to Tishomingo State Park and arrived late after riding once again in the rain.  Everything wet!  Decided to take a day off and dry out, pay bills, grocery shop, and mail unneeded materials to Lansing.
Before leaving Tupelo we visited the boyhood home of Elvis.  The home sits on its's original site.  They have moved the church of his childhood that influenced so much of his music so a near by site.  In the church they have surrounding screens that make you feel like you are attending a church service as it would have been in Elivis's day.  Pretty cool!  This was a worthwhile visit.
Today was a fun ride but for some reason Doug and I are feeling like we rode a hundred miles.  We're pooped.  But we had a great day.  It was fun to enter two new states.  When we got to the Alabama State line there were signs alerting vehicles to bike traffic.  We thought how great that Alabama was so concerned about bicycle safety.  Come to find out the signs where there because of an organized day ride called The W.C. Handy Bike Ride sponsored by the Shoals Cycling Club of Muscell Shoals, AL.  They welcomed us to two of their rest areas.  Great hospitality!
Along the way we met Jim McCullough, a frequent Trace rider, he told us about The Wall.  This is a wall being constructed by Tom Henricks in honor of his great, great, Grandmother who was an Indian moved to Oklohoma by the U.S. government.  She was U.S. #59.  Somehow she was able to get away and walked back to Alabama.  The trek took her 5 years and she is the only person that there is proof  of having completed the journey. Tom has been building The Wall for thirty years and it is still a work in progress. His web site is  Tom is 80 years old, doesn't look it.  We had a very interesting visit.
Yes we did ride in rain to get here, not bad.  We had re-met Jim McCullough at one of the ride rest-stops and he accompanied us to Collinwood.  We had reservations for Rochell Rooms.  Our instructions were to check in at the Coast to Coast store.  This turned out to be a very large and homey room in a very small but very friendly town.  They do have to traffic lights, however one block apart.
Tomorrow night the tent.
We have now ridden over 1000 miles and are approximately half way to Lansing.
We'll just keep pedaling.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My cell phone is dead

My cell phone died 2 days ago.  You can reach me by calling Doug.  His number is the same as mine with a 10 at the end.

77 miles closer

Tonight we are in Houston.  Houston,MS.  This brings us 77 miles closer to our destination.  We had planned to stop 30 miles back but the only motel was NASTY!  Nasty enough to compel us to ride 30 more miles.  Fourtunately we were at the 1st place mid-afternoon.  There are no pictures today because I left the memory stick in the computer.  I realized this when we were about 6 miles into our ride.  There was a big fallen tree across the road.  We were able to manuver around it on the right shoulder, but not without incidence.  It took both of us to push my bike through the mud.  The biggest problem was Doug's tryke.  There was a steep drop-off.  His tryke went rolling down the hill, rolled over about four times before being stopped by a tree. The best thing was that he was not on it!  His cargo was really on good because nothing came lose.  That's how our day started.  We continued to see damage from the last nights thunder storms.  It was definately a good night for a motel.  There was a detour on the Trace due to the clean up from the spring tornados.  We did ride by some tornado damage along the Trace.  Amazing how swaths were carved out through the forest.  This day was quite hilly.

Tomorrow we are heading for Elvis Presley Lake and Campground in Tupelo, about a 50 mile ride and stay for two nights.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Don't why there are two of each of these pictures.  Don't know how to delete just one.

Great Ride!

Today we finally made some northern progress after being in Ridgeland, MS for three nights.  We started out at 6:35a.m. and rode along the Ross Barnett Reservior for twenty miles. We rode a flat, I mean flat not relatively flat 63 miles with cloud cover and no rain until 20 miles before arriving at this interesting town of Kosciusko, MS.  While it was raining we did find a shelter along the way and pulled in.  Because it was wet and damp a cup of coffee sounded good.  We got out our jet boil and Star Bucks instant coffee and made coffee.  We are really enjoying the Star Bucks instant coffee.  One of the best things we brought with us.

The town of Kosciusko is named after a Polish General who served under George Washington during the American Revolution.  He was the engineer who designed West Point and Saratoga plus others.  This is the only town in the country by this name.  This is also the child hood home of Oprah Winfrey and Roy Oswalt.

Things we learned today:
A tupelo is a tree.  Silly me, I just thought it meant where Elvis was born. 
Beavers mate for life and pair in the spring.  I guess the term "pair" is a politically correct non-offensive term.
The Natchez Trace is all asphalt except for 13 miles of chip seal, from mile 181 to 194. 

We are in a motel this evening while a thunder storm is raging.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The bike repairs were the budget buster.

Budget Buster Day

To all you blog followers who are praying for our safety and well-being, keep up the good work!  When we needed lodging Susan Hayes appeared.  When we needed major bike repairs we were conviently located by probably the best bike shop along our route.  When the heavens opened up and dumped 1 and 3/4 inches of rain we had not reached the Natchez Trace that has no shelter.  We were able to head to a quick stop for shelter, where we stayed for about and hour and a half.  Because of all this rain we have returned to the same motel we were in last night.  I'm not complaining but you could have arranged for a better place to change a flat than in a very long two lane bridge with heavy traffic and no shoulder.

We have gotten bogged down in MS.  Because of an off the route trip to the Vicksburg Battleground, bike repairs and rain.  The area around Vicksburg was very hilly!  As we struggled with the terrain, we kept commenting that no wonder Grant had such a hard time.  We do feel the effort to get to Vicksburg was worth the challenge.

Yesterday we met our first cycling tourists.  They were a couple of young men from Francewho are traveling the US by bike for three months.  They said that they have met several cycling tourists.  All if them foreigners.  We had decided that other people thought that it was too hot at this time of year.

The tobacco industry is alive and well in MS.  Looking around it looks like something out of a fifties movie.
With the building slow-down the logging industry seems to be doing well, judging from the number of logging trucks on the road.
Quick stops do an amazing business!  We have been at many and the coming and going is unbelievable.

It has rained all but three days so far.  There is an 80% chance if rain tomorrow and 70% the next day.  What can you expect, I'm traveling with Doug.  He brings rain everywhere except home.  I was telling this to a local and he wants Doug to stay around as they have been in a drought situation here.

We'll do a weather check in the a.m. and decide what to do.

Oh the raccoons.  We are experienced campers and we do know to put away food.  However, we had both forgot about trail mix and a granola bar in our bike bags.  They gnawed holes in both bags and in doing so left there muddy paw prints all over our laundry.  We were not personally attacked.  They did disturb our sleep.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Jackson, MS

Hello blog followers.  I am relaxed and not too anxious to get to bed so hopefully this will go better.

First of all let me tell you it is the humidity and not the heat that is getting to us.  We have been wet since leaving our drive way 718 miles ago.  Using plenty of fungacide and antibacteria products.

In a nut shell what we have learned is two things.  First of all we have learned why they call the maps Adventure Cycling and why they put all those gears on a bike.

Our most amazing adventure to date was in a an area called Rosetta, MS.  This town has far more people in it's cemetery than living in the area.  We found ourselves there after riding 60 miles in hills at 6:00p.m. in a thunder storm 34 miles away from anywhere.  We were under a shelter of a truck parts and service store.  What to do!  We had decided that we had water, food, and a tent and this would be where we needed to spend the night.  As we started to set up our tent our guardian angel appeared and offered us a dry bed and a hot shower.  Susan and Steve Hayes welcomed us into there home, fed us cat fish from the river and fresh grilled vegetables from their garden, and cereal and fresh fruit for breakfast.  The hospitality was great but best of all we met to wonderful new people.

Yesterday a ride that should have been a 25 mile ride turned into a 56 mile ride thanks to the American Development Reinvestment Program.  Bridge out over the Big Black River.  We made it to The Rocky Springs campground on the Natchez Trace. We were the only campers in the park.  Very remote, no cell service.

My bike fell over and the GPS holder broke.
I tripped backing out of the tent and fell against a metal box and scraped up my arm.  That's why I get tetinus shots.
My glasses I got especially for the trip came out of the case in two pieces.
Replaced our first cable.
One flat.
Raccoon attack last night.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Vicksburg, MS

Too many computer problems.  Going to bed.  Having fun except when I get near this computer.  Fortunately my riding skills are better than my computer skills.  Bedtime.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Today we rode through cotton fields with scattered corn and maze fields, after riding through rice fields yesterday.  Our ride yesterday  was 90 miles long in a heat index of 111 degrees.  It was by accident.  The town we had intended to stay in had all the motel rooms booked up due to a funeral.  Guess all the kin came home.  This actually turned out to be a happy situation.  We stayed in a wonderful B&B in Washington, LA.  The propriator was a very interesting artist who lived in Paris and on a LA plantation.  So we had a late start after touring her art gallery and parts of her home built in 1903.  We met many fun people along the way before landing at the Sportsman Motel.  It certainly is not up-scale but the hospitality could not be any better.

Over 300

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

In Louisiana

Day three finds us in Louisiana after a 76 mile day. We left Texas after experiencing a lot of Texas hospitality.  We camped two nights in RV parks.  They both offered us wonderful hospitality.    This is big because normally RV parks don't want to have us tenting rif-raf on their premises.  The first night was at Cedar Grove RV Park in Ames, TX.  The second was at Thompson Lake RV Park.  Jean Thompson says she loves to have tenters because she loves to hear their stories.  This park even had coffee available in the morning.  Later in the morning we made a stop at Mama's kitchen before leaving  Texas.  There we met Kaylon Booker who was very gracious with his Texas hospitality.  He introduced us to Organo Gold Coffee.  He gave us packets to try.  It may be just what we need for travel coffee.

Just when we thought you couldn't beat Texas hospitality we entered Louisiana.  We stopped for lunch at the only resturant in Merryville.  A gentleman there liked hearing our story and wanted to buy our lunch,  However, we had already paid so he had his grandson hand us $10.

Thanks to Doug's insomnia in the heat last night tonight we are in an air conditioned motel.  He should be careful, I could get used to this.  Although, I do love my tent.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cross Country Bicycle Trip

After conceieving the idea of riding to my 50th high school class reunion 3 years ago, the time has come to put that plan in action.  Tomorrow morning Doug and I will start from our home in Baytown, Texas on a bike ride to attend my high school reunion in Owosso, Michigan.  Our ride has  come to the attention of The Baytown Sun.  The link to the article can be found here: