I've been a bit slack on updating this, so here is a run through of my past 3 days. The general idea of the past few days had been getting a few miles in, on generally boring roads.
Over my stay in Atlanta, Dean and i had been talking about bicycles. I have a huge passion for mountain bikes back home. And it came up that Chattanooga is a cool place to go and that just outside of town there are some great trails.
I set off from Dean's place and made my way there out of Atlanta by the interstate. I arrived in plenty of time to try and sort something out for the afternoon. Unfortunately there where no bicycle shops nearby that could rent me a MTB to have a go on the trails. :( (I will definitely be looking into this again when I get to Colorado and Utah. I can't come all this way and not ride a mountain bike in some of the best places in the world!)
I was a bit disappointed, but as I was staying at the Racoon mountain campsite, that has its own caves on site. I thought I'd explore that instead.
They offer a variety of tours, from an easy 45 minute walk, to an overnight, muddy, crawling expedition where you have to squeeze through incredible small gaps.
Yes, you can sleep in the cave, overnight, in the pitch black. Apparently the last people to do it (pardon the pun), where a couple who wanted to try something different!
I would love to have done one of the more adventurous tours, but I had to settle for the basic walking tour as I missed the last crawling one of the day. It was a very interesting and beautiful place to see.
After the tour I was feeling hungry, so I took myself off into Chattanooga to a place called Aretha's. Great little local run place that is famous for its pancakes. It was 8pm though so I went for an excellent burrito.
I got chatting to some random guy (Fil) about my trip, and he gave me a quick tour of the town.
Chattanooga is a very cool town, with what looks like a great arts scene and culture going on.
After that we were talking to a girl who said that there was a punk festival being held at a local bar in town. I couldn't say no to that. So an evening of punk rock ensued. It wasn't quite the Sex Pistols, but it was still really good fun
After chatting to a few of the girls there and working the British accent, I rode back to the campsite, late! I tried not to wake everyone up by coasting into the campsite, but cutting the engine on this bike kills the lights as well! So I was left blind riding down a rocky dirt road, trying to find my tent.
Chattanooga to Nashville.
Again petty boring roads, but on my way through I stopped at the Jack Daniels distillery in Lynchburg. It was an excellent stop over. The tour is great and all for free.
I also stopped by historic Lynchburg, which was pretty neat.
I arrived at my camp just outside Nashville and got everything set up. And just then, I got a message from Kerry through the ADV forum. So he came over and we took a ride into Nashville and parked our bikes on the main Broadway.
In loving this southern BBQ thing so we went for brisket sandwich at Jacks
: and had a quick walk around the town to see some sights.
It's obvious that this town is famous for its music. Literally every bar had live music in, and every other street corner has someone busking on it. It was a very cool place to be.
This was the night of the 'super' moon, and there were people everywhere trying to take a picture.
I got my stuff together in the morning and set off for Memphis.
I started down the Natchez trace. Going to the Loveless cafe for breakfast. I heard it was quite famous, and when I got there it was ridiculously busy. I ended up having my food to go and sitting outside. Everyone was looking at me very jealously as they were having their 35-40 minute wait for a table.
The Natchez trace, as ricochetrider says, 'it's a nice ride through the woods'. If you're going that way, then why not take the road as an alternative to a highway, but as an road unto it's own, is probably a waste of time.
It did have a cool bridge at the start and some decent views.
And then over the Tennessee river
I organised to meet Jamie just outside of Memphis, where he then took me to another BBQ joint called 'The Commissary'. For an excellent pulled pork sandwich with a couple of other guys from ADV too.
Going to explore Memphis in the morning.
I'll be heading into Arkansas to explore the Ozarks soon, if anyone has any suggestions?