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Category Archives: Tennessee State Parks

There I was sitting at home thinking about life. Thinking about what I had in mind for the day. Thinking about how a wonderful evening the night before had gone to shit. It was one of those mornings that had completely put me out of the mood from doing the things I had in mind to do.  Then it happened.

I could hear the vibrations of my cell phone on the chest of drawers. Who on earth could this be? I was surprised at who it was. It was a text that simply stated we are wanting to ride who else wants to go? I briefly thought about declining. I thought I don’t really want to be around anyone right now. I was still licking my wounds from the night before.  Then I thought about it. I thought how nice that someone asked me to join them on a ride. That is something that’s extremely rare for me.

I sent the reply saying I’m in. When I made it to the meeting spot there were only the couple who had sent the invite and myself. The other folks weren’t able to ride. It was decided we were hungry. So we needed an out-of-the-way place to eat. I made a phone call and got some well guarded info. Soon it was kickstands up and the low rumble of the engines. Or was that the low rumble of our growling stomachs?

Back roads were the path of choice. For me they always are. I love them. I love seeing the out-of-the-way places. I love the little pieces of history along the way. I love seeing the lives of the people who make up the true America.  I love the folks on the fringes. The ones that the mainstream media doesn’t see. The generations that have speckled the landscape of this great nation to season it with the flavor of their blood sweat and tears. That’s the America that I’m in love with.After enjoying some good grub we were off to explore some more of Tennessee. I can’t help but think of the similarities of the water passing over this dam and the people passing through my life. They’ve served their purpose and moved on along. I seem to find answers to most things when I’m enjoying nature. My mind’s eye sees more clearly when it’s outside the confines of walls. With every journey comes challenges. New bridges to cross. New hills to climb. The choice is ours to make. Do we cross them? Do we climb them? Only you can answer that. It’s the wanting to know what lies beyond that fuels this great wanderlust within us. Sometimes from a distance we can’t see who’s coming down our path. Sometimes it’s a blessing. Sometimes it’s good people who bring happiness and laughter and brighten our day. Those are the times and people to cherish in the vaults of our memories. Those are the times to relive when we’ve grown old. When we’ve grown apart. When the road has led us farther along the journey. When someone crosses our path we should greet them with a wave and a smile. Doesn’t matter what brand they ride. Doesn’t matter what group they are with. Doesn’t matter if they simply ride alone. Because when you give a smile and a wave to someone both you and they realize that you truly aren’t alone.

Ride Safe

Ronman

2011 has certainly been a harsh year.  I’ve learned a lot about myself and about other people as well. I can’t ever remember another year that I’ve been so happy to put behind me. It was nice to end the year doing some things I enjoy.  The weather here in Middle Tennessee was beautiful.  So I bet you can name at least one of the things I did on New Year’s Eve.  That’s right, a scooter ride.

I got in from work and took a short power nap to sort of recharge the batteries.  Then it was off to meet up with my normal riding partner Jody and three folks I’ve known for a while but hadn’t ridden with yet.  Lisa, Micky and Greg were all ready to enjoy some nice Tennessee back roads with us.  Our plan was simple. We were going to ride to eat lunch at a place Lisa, Micky and Greg knew about.  The prior evening we had all been at a party and planned our ride.

Ride planning for us consisted of talking about taking a ride.  We figured out who was in. Unfortunately one couple couldn’t join the rest of us due to work and a funeral. Once we decided a time and who was going it was then time to pick a route.  To accomplish this I was chosen to lead the ride.  So my question to them was simple. North South East or West?

First South was chosen. Boom I immediately had a destination in mind.  Moments later is was said another direction was wanted.  Not a problem. Another route was already working itself into my head.  With the information of the good eating establishment it was set. I think all five of us enjoyed both the ride and the company.

Once back from the ride it was time to grab the camper and join the rest of the group at the campground for our New Year’s Eve celebration.  Nothing like ringing in the New Year around a campfire.  I think everyone enjoyed plenty of great food. Certainly there were plenty of laughs from everyone.  It was fun passing high fives around to other folks.  It didn’t matter if you were next to someone or not. If you wanted to high-five them you just gave it to whoever was next to you and they would pass it on around until the intended party received it.

The nice thing about camping for New Year’s Eve is that you don’t have to worry about being on the roads with the drunks. You don’t have to worry about having a DD.  You can just enjoy the celebration and all you have to do is get inside your camper and go to bed.  So not only is it relaxing to enjoy the outdoors, but also its safe too.  Not to mention the kids are welcome as well.

We had one individual that it was their first time camping. They seemed to really enjoy it too.  What a memorable way to go on your first camping trip.  Start off the New Year with a new adventure. Hopefully it will be the first of many more camping trips to come for them.

How was your New Year’s Eve?  What did you do to celebrate? I trust it was safe and fun for all of you.

 

Ride Safe,

Ronman

Simplicity doesn’t sound like a very difficult thing to find now does it? Unfortunately it seems to be very elusive for me.  How do I find that which I seek?  First things first. Think simply, simply think. In doing so one thing came to mind.  Camping.

Fortunately for me Tennessee is blessed with some of the most wonderful state parks of any across the land.  That being said, all that I needed was to decide which state park to visit.  I had been invited by a dear lifelong friend to join he and his family for a weekend of camping. As much as I love this family I knew I needed to spend time alone. Rock Island State Park provided just what I needed. Fortunately for me the tent camping area only had two other spots in use.  I settled in the back corner and set up camp.  Arriving in the late afternoon I had just enough time to get the tent up and the fire going before darkness fell upon me.

I spent the rest of the evening thinking about things. I used the peace and quiet to sort through things. Not that I made any progress on the things on my  mind. At least I didn’t have any outside distractions.  Well unless you consider the moon and stars shining down from above as distractions.  Such a wonderful crisp clear night.  I couldn’t help but think of all the campfires I’ve watched burn throughout my life.  There is just something mystical about the way the flames lap around the wood like a tongue working over an ice cream cone.

I’m not sure what time I finally crawled inside my sleeping bag. Time doesn’t really matter when you are on a journey like the one I was traveling on this night.  I do know that the roosters crowing must have had their internal clocks screwed up.  I suppose the moon could have had them stirred up.

Along with the roosters crowing I was also serenaded to sleep by the distant sound of someone’s hound working a track in the night.  Having grown up coonhunting I knew exactly what was going on.  I traveled back to those oh so many nights listening to my own hounds chasing Mr. Ringtail around the hills and hollows of Tennessee.

The next day I woke after some sleep. Granted I didn’t sleep soundly. Although these days I rarely if ever do.  I was very nice to wake to the fresh air and sunshine.  I spent a few minutes soaking in the beauty surrounding my humble little campsite.  I may not be able to get away from all that is bothering me. I may not be able to clear my mind. I was however able to stop for a few moments and enjoy the majestic beauty of the wonderful state that lies within these united states that I call home.I’m still searching for simplicity. I may have had a brief glimpse at simplicity. It’s still not within my grasp. I know it exist. Someday once again I’ll embrace it. Until that time I’ll continue my search for simplicity.

 

Ride Safe

 

Ronman

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Tennessee is blessed to have so many natural wonders and beautiful places for all of us to enjoy.  One such place is Big Cypress Tree State Natural Area.  You have to want to go there to get there.  I’ve had this on my radar for some time now. Thankfully I was able to drop by for a nice visit.  What a pleasant surprise it was to see such a peaceful area.  Not exactly what I was expecting but a nice treat nonetheless. The day I rode over there was a super hot day.  Hell most of the days this summer have been super hot.  It was nice traveling down the back roads of Tennessee. I love taking roads both old and new to me.  The countryside is always filled with the sights of wildlife. You never know what sort of oddity you’ll run across.  One sad thing I noticed was the empty shell of some old factories. What a shame these jobs aren’t here anymore.

Talk about the road less traveled. Now these are my kind of roads.  The shade was a welcome relief from the heat of the sun.  Amazing how much the temperature will drop in a little shade.  I truly enjoy these back road journeys.

There was a nice garden full of raised beds with all sorts of plants to enjoy.  Take for instance, I never knew there was such a thing as a Mexican Petunia.  Well there is and I have two pictures to prove it.

See I told ya so. There was this little sign to point out what this plant was.  In fact there were all sorts of signs to point out all sorts of plants.

This little guy was my tour guide for the gardens and playground. He sure did jump around a bunch. I think he was excited that I came to visit.

There is a really nice set of swings here at Big Cypress Tree as well as picnic tables and restrooms too. There’s a ball diamond and plenty of space for kids to run and have a good time.

There’s a great kiosk with lots of pictures and information about the area its history and the Big Cypress Tree.

Take some time to get out and find out about the many state parks or natural areas in your area.  Whether you visit Big Cypress Tree State Natural Area here in my home state of Tennessee or some area in your home state, enjoy the beauty of our countryside.

Ride Safe

 

Ronman

Here is a picture from Cumberland Mountain State Park in Tennessee.  This group had just finished a very enjoyable visit to the park restaurant.  The bridge in the background is the trademark of the park.

There is nothing like a great ride with some wonderful friends to create memories that will last a lifetime.  This weekend that is exactly what I did.  I absolutely love riding the back roads of this great country.  I call it seeing the true America.  Sure you can see scenery from the interstate rolling 70 mph.  But really folks,  slow down and take the two lanes to get the true feel of our great country.

Let’s take a moment and see what makes a great ride.  To me it takes only a very few things.  First thing is a great route.  Be honest, if the road isn’t fun to ride then the ride isn’t that fun.  We need twists and curves to add excitement to the ride.  Throw in some breath-taking scenery and the senses are soaking in the flavor.  Speaking of flavor you’ve got to eat.  A great meal is a must on any ride.  Especially one with a group.  That gives us another essential for a ride.  The friends we ride with.  Face it, what good is a story without friends to share it with.

Our ride today had all these elements so how could it be anything other than spectacular?  The temps for the start of the ride were in the thirties.  Yes that’s what I said thirties.  We didn’t let that stop us because the forecast called for upper sixties before the day was over.  Our first stop after making our way down some great twisties was for food.  Not just food, trash plates.  That’s right I ate trash and loved it.  The little eatery at the cross roads know as Payne’s Store is fantastic.  Well worth the hour it took us on our route to start the day.

Leaving Payne’s Store we took highway 25 over through Hartsville where we turned north onto highway 10.  10 took us into Lafayette and the intersection of highway 52.  We would spend the next couple hours taking our time enjoying the sights, curves and scenery on 52.  Oh how could I forget we got close to nature as well.  Perhaps a better way to put it would be to say nature got close to us.  Specifically a deer.  It was one of those you had to be there to see it and believe it situations.  If you’ve seen the video online of the deer jumping over the rider then you will have some idea of what it was like.  Word has it from one of the eye witnesses that after the deer made it across the road and my bike for that matter, the deer turned around and gave me the finger.  Or would that be the hoof?  Either way no one or no wildlife was harmed in the making of these memories.

Soon we turned north on U.S 127 and rode to the Alvin C. York Home.   This quiet little setting on the banks of the Wolfe River is very peaceful. You can see all sorts of family photos and belongings of the most highly decorated citizen soldier of World War I.  Across the river from the house is the grist mill.  What a beautiful setting for a park.  On this day there were many families enjoying picnics and using the playground.  I think a few folks were even fishing.

Continuing north on U.S. 127 we stopped  at the general store located at Forbus.  Most of us enjoyed a taste of some of the fudge that they make there.  A couple of us devoured thick cut bologna sandwiches while others had some hand dipped ice cream.  We even sat on the porch and chatted with the locals.  Even though one of the so-called locals wasn’t from around there.  No hiding that New York accent around me.  Uh huh I’m too cleaver for that.

Just north of here we turned onto highway 111 south and soon came across our final stop for the day.  The Cordell Hull Birthplace Historic park is located just off the highway in the rolling hills around Dale Hollow Lake.  It’s interesting to me to sit and think of how the visions of a man from such a humble beginning changed the world.  Hull  is known as the father of the United Nations.  I can’t help but wonder what Hull would think of the state of his U.N. today.

We continued south on 111 into Cookeville where we jumped onto Interstate 40 over to Lebanon and then took 840 back into Murfreesboro.  All in all it was around 329 miles for the day.  Not too shabby don’t ya think.  We learned some things about the history of our nation and enjoyed the company of friends.  All this while partaking in this passion we all share of riding our motorcycles.

Ride Safe,

Ronman

The first Sunday in March of 2010 brought us hope of Spring.  Seizing the moment two other couples joined Trish and myself for a little scooter time.  It was planned that we have a fairly early start for this time of year.  8 o’clock was to be the departure time.  Granted it was still rather chilly but who cares we were going on a ride.

The three Ultra classics roared to life and off we headed via back roads to Dickson Tennessee and our first stop of the day.  Trish and I would spend our day with David, Brenda, Tim and Ellie.  David suggested we eat at Farmer’s in Dickson.  One look at how corpulent he is and you know he understands good food.  Farmer’s is a buffet to die for.  In fact I can’t wait to go back and try them for supper some time. 

Now that we were sufficiently foundered it was time to get some riding in.  We took highway 48 out of Dickson over to Nunnelly.  Here we turned onto highway 230 which wound us over to highway 13 just south of Waverly.  This is where we made our second stop of the day.

Back in 1978 the little town of Waverly was nearly blown off the map by a propane tanker explosion.  The tanker was part of a train that derailed.  The L&N railroad has placed a Caboose here along with some markers to commemorate this horrid event.  Several people lost their lives in this tragedy.

I had stopped at this location back last November while I was out doing some Geocaching on a camping trip.  I searched high and low back then for the hidden cache to no avail.  Today the story was different.  While the group was reading the info on the markers I made my way over to the rail car.  Soon I was rewarded with finding this micro cache.

We continued west to our next stop.  Johnsonville State Historic Park is located on the banks of the Tennessee river.  I led our group up to an overlook.  We took a break and enjoyed the view.  I always enjoy soaking in the historic surroundings of such a place.  The rifle trenches dug back in the 1860′s are still visible.  Nothing like stepping into the middle of History.

Our next stop would be on the other side of the Tennessee River.  Camden lies on the west bank of the river.  Some three miles west of Camden is another historic marker.  The crash site of the plane that killed Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Patsy Cline, and Randy Hughes is marked by a giant stone.  There is a small cross that marks the spot Patsy’s body was found.

I had been toting a travel bug with me for some time now.  I wanted to find a fitting site to move the TB along.  Somehow today seemed to be the time to do so.  Seeing as there is a cache at this location I felt it would be a great opportunity.  Not to mention showing my friends what Geocaching is all about.

Soon we rode to the other side of Camden and up Pilot Knob at Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park.  From here we could see the view of the Tennessee river from the Confederate side of the battle of Johnsonville.  This marks the only spot in history in which a cavalry defeated naval gunboats.

Riding north out of the state park we made our way to Big Sandy and the Danville road.  Danville is where we rode onto the ferry-boat to cross the river.  Soon we would be back in Middle Tennessee and on our way home.  All in all it was a great ride.  We covered some 300 miles for the day and many miles through history.  Not to mention all the wonderful memories we created to last our lifetime.

Should you want to learn more about Geocaching you can go to http://www.Geocaching.com.

Ride Safe,

Ronman

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