We loaded up the bikes at our pink and purple resting place in Knoxville and prepared for our 5th straight day of riding. Our legs are about ready to find some new owners if we don’t take a day of rest soon. This day of rest will be so great once we get to Nashville.
One of our hosts rode into town with us before work to show us the way Pete’s for breakfast. It was so great to have someone navigate the roads for us giving us a break from staring at google maps all day. We ate a huge breakfast as usual and hit the road around 10:00 am.
We took the Bearden Village Greenway a couple miles out of town and stopped at a bike shop for Dave to replace his back tire. We were trying to hold out for a Gator Hard Shell but they didn’t have a 27″ in stock so we had to replace it with a less durable tour tire because his had about 4,500 miles on it and about to blow the side threading.
We got back on the road to Nashville around 11. It was a pretty straight shot down (well except for the up part over the Cumberland Plateau) US 70. We rode almost 40 miles before lunch at Mama Mia’s by a lake town where the shoulder was small and the road rage was at it’s peak. So was the sun so we gladly hung out with a 90 year old woman who made all the food from scratch. She flung our pizza out is the oven like a piece of cake!
The second half of the day we all felt like our legs were stuck in quicksand and it hurt even more knowing the hardest part was still ahead. The Cumberland Plateau was said to be a 7 mile climb. It was actually split in to two different sections so it wasn’t as bad as the Eastern Continental Divide a few days ago. Still not an easy way to end the 78 mile day!
Crossville, TN was just a dot on the map until we pulled in to town at 6pm (we gained an hour crossing into central time) and saw what it had to offer. We passed an empty church parking lot that looked like the perfect spot for some street soccer so we took a break. Our legs felt like jello as we tried to knock the ball around smearing all of our signatures. We passed a bowling alley and the little kid inside all of us started fist pumping. Our first order of business was to find a cheap hotel and then go bowling. The plan took a pleasant detour as we rode past Big John’s BBQ and then we realized it closed at 7 and we were 5 minutes too late.
We leaned the bikes up in dismay as the roads got darker and the hotel was still 2.5 miles away. With no food in our bellies we were about to do like those snickers commercials and turn into not nice people. Fortunately, the older man and his wife cleaning up after all the BBQ sold that day ended up being the coolest people in town.
Big John and his wife met us on the side door and offered up some sandwiches, drinks and chips. The five of us chatted outside on the colorful park benches while we scarfed down the free meal. Turns out Big John and his wife have a ministry up the road called Revolution. They help out in any way they can with the young people in the community and the homeless. There is apparently a big drug problem and homeless population. There just isn’t anything to do for the 800 kids that graduate each year from high school. Apparently soccer is becoming a bigger sport in the community and I think it would be a perfect fit for Street Soccer USA! Maybe our encounter will be the seed in something big one day.
John drove us to a hotel in his truck because it was pitch black and the roads were not safe. According to John neither would our bikes be if we went bowling. So we ended up just checking in to the Holiday Inn and calling it a night. Before parting ways John told us he would be at our door at 6:30 am to show us the worlds largest Tree House. It’s been shut down for years now but he was one of the engineers who helped build it and he did all the carvings inside.
So that just happened! One of the coolest things I’ve ever seen and we went up 125 ft to see the sun creeping over the trees.
Crossville you are way cooler than the map led us to believe just like his brief blurb about John and family only scratches the surface of how awesome they are.
Day 19 goal is 120 miles to Nashville. Shane Just left the hotel on a record breaking mission to ride the entire trip by 7pm. Dave and I will be happy if we get 90 miles done today. Sunday will be our day of rest in Nashville if you want to hang!