Laughing Right Out Loud

Saturday, October 02, 2010

A Nice Change of Pace

I ride a bicycle. A lot. Most of my rides happen before sunrise around 5:45 in the morning. These rides, which last only about 22 miles, help get me focused for work and give my metabolism a boost as I start the day. Since I am constrained by time on these rides, they usually are at a quick pace that offer me little time to enjoy the scenery. Over the 3,000 miles I have ridden this season, I have seen so many beautiful sunrises, magnificent hillside landscapes, and many wonderful lakes, streams, and rivers. I have always told myself, "One day I'm going to come back here and bring a camera". I decided today needed to be that day.

I am truly blessed to be able to explore middle Tennessee by bicycle. It wasn't that long ago that it seemed impossible for me to be able to get out and ride like I do. This area is full of magnificent sights and I have decided that occasionally I will take a camera with me, take lots of pictures, and give a ride report for anyone who is interested in reading.

Today's ride started around 9:15 and, after about 3.5 miles, I had to call Felicia to come bring me a baselayer to put under my jersey. Once she showed up, I pedaled toward Ledford Mill, hoping to get a nice picture or two of the old mill. Having recently visited Falls Mill in nearby Belvidere, I had great expectations for what this mill would look like. Unfortunately, Ledford Mill, which no longer functions, is tucked away in the woods and I could not get back in the woods far enough to take a picture of the water wheel. I took a few pictures of the mill from the dam above the mill, but there are still too many leaves on trees to get a clear shot.

I got back on my bike and went a few hundred feet to a small roadside waterfall that I always enjoy looking at. After leaving the waterfall along Shipman Creek Road, I pedaled toward Rowesville Road with the idea of heading toward Normandy to check on one of my favorite restaurants, The River Cafe. I have never taken this route to Normandy before and didn't know what to expect, but I had looked at the road on a map and decided to give it a shot. Normandy sits along a big lake and is at a fairly low altitude compared to the rest of the area. Turning off Rowesville Road onto Normany Road, I saw the start of a very big hill. Once I got the top of that hill it leveled off for about 20 yards and then kept going up. I totally was not expecting that, but hammered my way through it and enjoyed my 45 mph descent into the little town of Normandy (see the picture, this is the whole town).

As I mentioned, Normandy is in a low-lying area. There are about 4 ways to come out of Normandy and everyone of them involve a good climb. I decided to come out via Cascade Hollow, the home of the world-famous George Dickel Distillery. The Dickel distillery is quite tiny compared to the behemoth Jack Daniel Distillery in neighboring Lynchburg. Like Jack Daniel, all Dickel whisky is produced right here in middle Tennessee. Both distilleries offer free tours and have some very pretty landscaping. Dickel is a little off the beaten path and seems to never be busy. I stopped there today for a couple pictures of the creek, the general store, and the old fire hose cart that is on display in front of the visitors center.

After this, I put my camera back in my seat bag and hammered up Cascade Hollow Road back to town. After a couple of big hills, I felt that I deserved a donut, so I made a quick stop before returning home. My total ride was only a little over 23 miles, but very enjoyable and, as mentioned in the title, a very nice change of pace. I look forward to offering more ride reports in the coming weeks.


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