Posted by: caryandjohn | May 18, 2009

Pikeville TN to Nachez Trace Parkway

I met a nice group of VFR riders – a group out of Franklin NC or TN – not sure – off of one of the VFR forums. I had a couple cups of coffee with them, chatted for a bit and then decided to head on. Leaving Tellico Plains, I headed west on 39 and by chance took 315, which dropped me onto 30, which I took west to Pikeville. This was a beautiful road through rural TN. I dropped into Relliance TN before getting on 30. This is a beautiful spot on the river and railroad line- where there seemed to be several fly fishing and kayaking outfits. I saw a sign for cabins and hot tubs- went to check it out and it was way back off the road (a rough road) and then dropped down into a gravel driveway. Maybe on the DR 350 I would have ventured on- because you know bad roads bring good people- but on the VFR I decided to turn back for it was too much trouble.

Headed out on 30 the road opens up a bit and then leads you into small cities off of 4 lane divided hiways- Athens, Dayton… I think I could have left off my trip- somewhat congested and not much to see. I checked out a hotel in Dayton- which I thought was too expensive – $60 – when my budget is around $40 – so I decided to move on down the road. And of course it started to rain and rain. The road got better though – super curvy and scenic- even in the rain – it was enjoyable. Over to Pikeville I decided to check out ‘downtown Pikeville’ – there seemed to be progress in Pikeville- although it was currently in the works- the whole downtown road was pulled up and not so accesssable- except maybe on the DR- ha! I went back to the main road turned around a couple of times (in the rain) and found another ‘main street’ where there was the ‘Coachman Inn’ – down the street from what looked like a good BBQ joint and the Piggly WIggly. For $35 (plus tax) it wasn’t a bad deal. Not too scary and it didn’t look like anyone was a ‘by-the-week’ tennant. I walked to the BBQ joint which was delicious- ribs, hushpuppies, cole slaw and 2 big glasses of sweet tea (which kept my up for a while). I stopped by the Piggly Wiggly and picked up a bottle of water, gum and some deli turkey- an ‘interesting combination’ as observed by the check out clerk and then headed back to the inn. The TV volume wasn’t working so well – and the only channel that seemed to sound the best was the weather channel- which worked for me. It rained pretty good from about 8 pm to 6 am – so i slept a bit to let things dry off a bit.

On the road by about 8 am I was on my way to Nashville. Rte 30 out of Pikeville was gorgeous. NIce and rural, curvy. I stopped in Woodbury for a cup of coffee. This was a cute town with a beautiful city hall and town center. They had just recovered from there “good ole days” celebration and rememnants of good times was left over to be cleaned up. I headed on to Murfreesboro- which was mostly a big main street that went for miles with retail/restaurants.

I followed 70s to Nashville where I stopped in the downtown area. Seemed like a nice nightlife scene with plenty of bars, restaurants and music venues and right on the water. I had a small snack- whatched all the tourists a bit and decided to move on to jump on the Natchez Trace Parkway.

The “Trace” as they call it is super scenic with no commercial activity anywhere. The road meanders along with some big sweepers, but mostly pretty mellow. I stopped at a rest area and chatted with Randy on his Harley for a bit. SUper friendly guy who shared with me all the things he liked about the Trace and said that end at Nachez is worth staying at where the casinos are and hotels like the old west where you share a bathroom with other people. Meeting Randy was a nice part of stopped and taking a break off the parkway.

I stopped in Collinwood TN, right above the Alabama border. There was a welcome center and a really nice lady named Diane who moved up here from New Orleans after Katrina. There was motorcycle only parking out front, coffee brewed and cookies for a smally donation and a couple of nice rocking chairs to hang out in. This was a super nice break off the parkway and a good way to get a sense of the places along the parkway.

On to Tupelo Mississippi, where I decided to stay for the night. Checked out the downtown area where there was one HIlton place- too pricy for me Im sure- so I rode on down the main street a bit towards Elvis’ birthplace– a small house- really small – with a chapel and a mueseum. It was closed but I took a picture- saw an elvis look alike who was walking around and chatted (and giggled about the elvis look a like) with some ladies who were on there way down to Florida.

On to find a hotel- the America Best Value Inn- $40 – within my budget and once again not too scary. Although the attendant did put me on the ‘good side’ of the hotel. Ordered dominos in and watched some TV.

Up today- the weather is great and according to the weather channel it looks clear for the next 2-3 days- sunny and no rain – doesn’t look like any clouds either. I’m on down the road to Nachez TN where I think I’ll check out the casinos and the hotel with shared bathrooms. I’m planning to get on and off the Trace today to take some local roads that look nice and twisty. We’ll see…

Sorry NO PICTURES for this post- at least for the moment- The computers at this library don’t seem to recognize my camera and I can’t load the pics. Will try next time. love, cary

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