I Brake for Gardening

There I was, rolling right along on my pretend bike ride* across the USA, when what should happen but sunshine, blue skies, and temps above 50! So I stopped my trip to work in my garden here at home last weekend, which you can read all about in my latest post on our gardening blog, Gardening With Giants. Click here to go there.

And you know? That's as it should be, really. Remember, the whole purpose behind this ride was to get/keep me in shape for gardening 2014. Guess what? It has worked! We put in 10-12 hours outside this past weekend, and the aches and pains were minimal...mostly in my upper arms, which don't get worked out on the bike. No worries...I sure made up for that oversight while prepping (6) potato Grow Bags! 40 pound bags of Top Soil and Mushroom Compost still weigh 4-0 pounds!!

On to my latest Ride Report!

When I left you, I had made it to Gainesboro, TN, and chalked up 429 miles. Now, if I were riding for real, I would have had to stay in town a little bit longer than I did, due to a a Winter weather "event," as reported to me by Cuz HFC from nearby Mt. Juliet:

Good grief! So glad I can pretend ride in pretend good weather, from coast-to-coast. Do hope all is well in Jackson County once again.

Moving on...

2/21/14: 9.3 miles, riding northwest of Cordell Hull Reservoir in Macon County, near Defeated Creek State Park. What a funny name...Defeated Creek, not Cordell Hull...:-). I'm not having a whole lot of success in researching the origins of the name, as it seems to have been called that as far back as the skirmish there in 1786, as is mentioned in this 1909 "Early History of Middle Tennessee" by Edward Albright: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~tnsumner/early27.htm. Interesting.

Cordell Hull: native Tennessean; longest serving Secretary of State, over 11 years under FDR; known as the Father of the United Nations; received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1945. OK, so he's more important than the name of some obscure creek. I'm easily distracted sometimes...:-)


[2/22-24/14: 0 miles. Beautiful weekend...worked in the garden back home. Told you about that already. Then, through the wonder of magic, I popped back on my bike and picked up my journey West, right where I'd left off. To quote Harry Potter:"I love magic!"

2/25/14: 12.0 miles to Lafayette, on Hwy 262. This town, like many counterparts throughout the USA, was named to honor the Revolutionary hero, Marquis de La Fayette, whose reputation is more polished in the US, albeit somewhat tarnished in his native France. And it comes oh-so-close to the French pronunciation (just kidding...:-): 
Lafayette, Tennessee
Population (2000 Census): 3,885
Population (2010 Census): 4,474
Lafayette is pronounced luh-FAY-et.
2/26/14: 12.0 miles to west of Eulia, crossing into Sumner County on Hwy 52. I'm in an old part of the state now, since Sumner County was created in 1786, ten years before Tennessee became a state, and named for Jethro Sumner a Revolutionary War hero. But long before the long hunters ever ventured into the area by following the Indian paths, the Mound Builders were here, leaving the evidence in nearby Castallian Springs.

BTW, Sumner has a "local" connection to me, if you can follow the thread: originally from Warrenton, NC, he served under General Nathanael Greene (hero of the Battle of Guilford County Courthouse). As Wikipedia tells the story:

He was originally buried approximately eight miles outside of Warrenton, but in 1891 his remains were moved to the Guilford Courthouse Battlefield (in Greensboro, NC), where they were interred under a monument intended as part of a "shrine to patriots". In March 2012, a driver struck Sumner's monument after going off-road to avoid hitting a deer, nearly destroying the stone structure. The monument was restored by May 2012, and Sumner was reburied in a public ceremony.
Shall I say it or will you? It's a small world after all.

2/27/14: 10.2 miles, to outskirts of Westmoreland on Old Hwy 52.

Look what I found nearby:

The Little Tunnel

Built in 1886, this tunnel was part of a Chesapeake & Nashville Railroad line connecting Gallatin to Scottsville, Kentucky. It was known as the “"shortest railroad tunnel in the U.S.,"” measuring just 46 feet and 6 inches in length, 13 inches shorter than the famous Bee Rock tunnel in Virginia.

2/28/14: 10.5 miles, arriving at the home of my Portland cousins. How exciting! As I've said in a previous post, I have family and friends in almost every state of my journey across the USA, and the L's are the only ones on my entire route to Disneyland. Better make the most of my visit!

Of course, it is fitting that I should visit these cousins on my way to Disneyland. You see, when I was a tot, Momma, Daddy, and I went to CA, visiting the LA area where the L family was living then (Brothers W and W were mere teens). We spent a day at Disneyland, where older Cuz W took me to ride the Mad Hatter's Tea Cups. I hope he has forgotten how loudly I screamed. Hated going round and round then; hate it more now. Sigh. I'm sure there's an old black and white pic of the evidence somewhere in this house.

Portland is a place that is going on my "visit this one for real, one day." Again, from my "Ring of Fire" guidebook:


This town is perched on the Highland Rim, an area known for its rich soil. Like many of the towns on the Ring of Fire, the climate and soil were perfect for growing dark-fired tobacco. In the 1920s, Portland was gaining a reputation for a different crop, with its farmers providing about 20 percent of the national market for strawberries. The town celebrates its strawberry heritage every May with a popular festival.

When I was growing up in West Tennessee, if the words "Strawberry Festival" were used in a sentence, thoughts turned to Humboldt (not Portland). Looking at the promotional material on the vying websites, it appears the West Tennessee version edges out the Middle Tennessee version by a couple of years (Humboldt's 75 years to Portland's 73). Sounds like they both know what they are doing, though.

So, let's add it all up: 429+9.3+12+12+10.2+10.5=483 miles! Hurrah!!

Next up: a new month...a new state...and more miles. Stay tuned!


* 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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