Riding the Rim

After my extended rest, I have come back with more energy and more enthusiasm, both for my ride and for life in general. I just have to wake up first...;-). (Yeah...climbing the ladder to a higher dose of the nerve med, gabapentin continues...slowly, slowly. Fortunately, 600 MG seems to be managing my jaw pain and the muscle spasms like a charm. Hurrah!)

Anyway...how about a bike ride* report?

Let's see, as of the last report I had made it to Monterey, TN, in Putnam County, and had recorded 387.4 miles. Let's ride!

2/15/14: 10.7 miles, heading into Cookeville on Buck Mountain Road. This would be a lovely ride...if I were really doing it, of course. My route is taking me along the Upper Cumberland Quilt Trail, where historical patterns are preserved and displayed on barns and roadside buildings. Much better than the "See Rock City" signs, eh? See...there's the Star of Bethlehem on Buck Mountain Are, Cookeville!

2/16/14: Rest Day. Actually, I missed my ride and thought about ditching RD altogether. Seems like I am enjoying this experience...and the benefits of the exercise. If it EVER clears up outdoors, it'll be fun to see how much I've gained in gardening-related strength. I can happily report that I've lost 8 pounds...without too terribly much effort. No diet, remember. Just recording everything I'm eating...and riding to Disneyland, of course.

2/17/14: 10.1 miles in 48 minutes, bumping the Resistance Level up to 3. I know, I know...I said I was going to ride as if the USA were flat as a pancake, but I began reading about this region I'm riding through and tried the "Hill Climbing Workouts" that are resident on my NordicTrack bike. Heheheheh. Not ready for that! So, I took a baby step by increasing the resistance by 2 ticks for 2 miles. That should help me with my leg muscles...which are used in gardening activities almost as much as arms are. 

So, what was I saying about this region? Here's a great visual from the website www.tnhistoryforkids.org, overlaid with a pointer for my approximate location:

As you see, it's called the Highland Rim, surrounding the Central Basin, where Nashville is found. Actually I'm on the portion known as the Eastern Highland Rim. Here's a good bit of info from http://www.tnhistoryforkids.org/geography/a_3:

2/18/14: 9.8 miles in 45 minutes, putting me in Gainesboro, the county seat of Jackson County, and one of the oldest towns in Tennessee.

My ride today took me by Cummins Falls State Park, Tennessee's newest. I love waterfalls, and I have been to nearby (if you have a car...:-) Burgess Falls. I am putting Cummins on my list of "Want to See For Real."

2/19/14: 11 miles in 55 minutes, crossing the Cumberland River west of Gainesboro on my way to Lafayette on Hwy 262.

The Cumberland River was the "highway" that late in the 18th century brought first the long hunters, then the brave-hearted early pioneers to Tennessee, including my Sparkman, Barnett, Cummings, Hunter, and Smiley ancestors. From its headwaters in Harlan County, Kentucky, to its confluence with the Ohio in Paducah, the Cumberland makes a giant loop, dipping deep into the heart of Middle Tennessee. While a key player in the settlement of the West (of the Alleghenies), it has at times been treacherous and sports several dams and man-made reservoirs, like the nearby lake named for native son and former Secretary of State, Cordell Hull. Most recently, in 2010, the Cumberland defied all the good intentions of the Corps of Engineers and TVA and jumped its banks, devastating great portions of downtown Nashville, including the building...and all the essential printing equipment...where Brother J works.

2/20/14: Rest Day. And time for a celebration! My total today is...drum roll, please...429 miles! I've achieved my 4th century! Double hurrah!

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that I rode into Gainesboro on TN Hwy 56. That very same highway, if you followed it south, goes through Smithville, TN, county seat of Dekalb County.


The city of Smithville was founded in 1838 as the seat of DeKalb County. It was located on 50 acres donated by Bernard Richardson and named Smithville by the general assembly in honor of Samuel Granville Smith of Jackson County, a state senator and Tennessee's secretary of state. (Learn more from "The Promised Land Trail" on Tennessee Trails and Byways: http://tntrailsandbyways.com/trail/7/promised-land/?p=5)
Smithville is a darling place near the beautiful Center Hill Lake, where several Country Music stars have homes, and near the Joe L. Evins Appalachian Center for Craft, which is on my list of "Things To Do When We Retire." Like North Carolina's John C. Campbell Folk School, another one on that list, the Appalachian Craft Center offers weekend, half-week, and week-long classes in a host of arts and crafts (including fibers...yea!). Being affiliated with Tennessee Tech University also allows Ap. Craft to offer degreed programs, too. I'm here a bit too early for the big do in April, though you can read more about here:  http://www.tntech.edu/craftcenter/celebration/

Smithville has the requisite town square around the courthouse, where you can get a great cup of coffee at Webb's Drug Store and where, every first weekend in July since 1972, you will find the fabulous Fiddlers' Jamboree and Crafts Festival, which reportedly attracts 100,000 folks...give or take...:-)

Smithville is also where my parents retired in 1985, buying the house that my Aunt Christine and Uncle Walt had purchased as their retirement home a few years before. Even though they lived there for just five years (until Daddy died in 1990), it was probably the happiest time of their lives. And I have every hope of visiting there again.

Of course, I've discovered something interesting happening this very weekend, south on 56, too. The DelMonaco Winery in Baxter is hosting a Wine, Shine, and Stein tour. We all know where I would be, now don't we? Celebrating that big 400, of course. Heheheheh. 


* Bike Ride Footnote: To bring you up-to-date, in case you are just joining me...

My plan to get/keep in shape for gardening this year is to ride my stationary bike. Because I always need a reason to do something...or at least to continue doing something, I have decided on a program based on a distance of 2600 miles...which is the distance from our house to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, as Google-mapped using the (beta) Bike function. I started 1/3/2014...and am continuing the saga today. 
BTW, I am tagging all the posts about my ride "Where in the USA is Patricia" on my blog, and #WhereintheUSAisPatricia on Twitter. While I won't be blogging about my ride on a daily basis, you can check my Twitter Feed over there in the right column for daily updates on my ride and location.

Happy pedaling!


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