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Old 06-14-2013, 02:25 PM   #1
Liberia OP
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2 Irishmen & 2 Hillbillies visit David Crockett on the Natchez Trace

My son-in-law to be, Kieran and a friend named David rode down from Toronto to spend a few days with our family in Middle Tennessee. So Liberia Son and I set up an all day ride that included lunch at David Crockett State Park, a trip up the Natchez Trace and dessert at Loveless Café.

Here's the teaser pictures.








As you can tell, I'm not the worlds best photographer. Good photographers use the light. Mainly, the light uses me.
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Old 06-14-2013, 03:12 PM   #2
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The Route



Basically the route begins at my office in Murfreesboro, TN and makes a square with the other 3 corners being Fayetteville, Lawrenceburg and the northern terminus of Natchez Trace which ends, conveniently enough, at the Loveless Café.

Here's the gang by the way. On the left is David. He's from Ireland and is working in Toronto for a while. David has a 2003 Anniversary Fatboy that's really a nice looking bike. My future son-in-law is named Kieran and is scheduled to marry my youngest daughter next April. As the name would imply, he's Irish as well and working in Toronto with David. He's on a Suzuki Intruder. Far right is Liberia Son and he's riding our 2003 Anniversary Heritage. He's started life as a Florida Cracker but we moved to hillbilly land when he was pretty young. I'm behind the camera and that's where I'll stay throughout this trip (something for which you should be grateful). I'm riding my Alaska brother's Sportster trike, a surprisingly fun and comfortable bike to ride.



One of the goals of the ride was to spend little to no time on an Interstate highway. I generally don't enjoy riding on the Interstate if there's another way but today there's an even better reason. I have my brother's trike which has small rear wheels together with low profile tires that makes anything more than 55 mph a little too high in the rpm range for me.

The first segment was from Murfreesboro to Fayetteville.



In case you ever find yourself in this area and want to know the roads, we left Murfreesboro on Manchester Highway south (which is also US 41) and turned onto Epps Mill Road. It takes you past the Love's Truck Stop and across I-24 at Exit 89. A few twisty miles later you turn left on Wayside Road, a quick jog right on Christiana-Hoover's Gap Road and then left onto Hwy 269. Hwy 269 is a nice back highway that takes you all the way to Tullahoma and it's a fun motorcycle road with plenty of tight turns and overhanging trees. We only went as far as Bell Buckle.

The Bell Buckle Café is a place worth visiting. Motorcyclist, bicyclist, antique car buffs and just regular folks visit here quite often. The food is good, the prices are reasonable and getting here is half the fun.



Part of the fun of riding with other people is to trade off bikes. So we all switched around and rode each other's bikes. I think I missed riding David's Fatboy somehow. That's a shame as I was looking forward to it. Here's David's first experience on a trike (and a small one at that).



Leaving Bell Buckle after our photo op, we rode about 1.5 miles on 269 and then took a right on Fairfield Pike. It takes you into Shelbyville by a back road I had not ridden before. Turned out to be a nice 8 mile ride. In Shelbyville we jumped onto US 231 south for the best part of that road. Going north towards Murfreesboro is a 4 lane with a lot of traffic. But south is one of the nicest rides in Middle Tennessee (at least until you get to Fayetteville).
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Liberia screwed with this post 06-15-2013 at 10:46 AM
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Old 06-15-2013, 05:40 AM   #3
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Bell Buckle to Fayetteville

Hwy 231 south of Shelbyville until you reach Fayetteville is a really nice motorcycle road. There are a number of good roads that tie into it running both east and west. Lynchburg is only a few miles to the east and Henry Horton State Park to the west. Tim's Ford State Park is fairly close as well.

Today is the first day of the year that we're projected to go above 90 degrees (Kieran wanted to know what that is in centigrade but my private pilot training is too far in the past to remember the rule of thumb calculation).



Time for some petro. The Sportster and the Suzuki have shorter legs than the other two Harley's. So we stop in the edge of Fayetteville at a little market and buy some overpriced gas. The Irishmen both use mid-grade but I've always used premium in my bikes. Everyone has a different opinion of what is required. With the ethanol loaded gas today, I figure it's good to give your bike every advantage possible.




On the map Hwy 231 runs into Hwy 64 after making a bend to the right. Somehow I managed to lead us through a couple of loops around the block before stopping for directions at another gas station. A man waiting at the counter gave me detailed instructions about getting back to Hwy 64. I went back out and told the others where we were going and Liberia Son said that seemed backwards to him. Just then the guy from inside ran over and said he thought he'd given us bad instructions and that we should go the opposite direction. Nice of him to take the time to make the correction. Not everyone would.

Time for lunch.
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Liberia screwed with this post 06-18-2013 at 07:39 PM
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Old 06-15-2013, 06:21 AM   #4
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David Crockett's a pretty good cook

I had cleared my schedule of all work today except for a weekly conference call with a business in Puerto Rico that happens at 1pm. So I figured we could stop for lunch around that time and I could make the call by cell.



As you can see in my signature, some of us in Tennessee are trying to get AdvRiders to visit all 54 Tennessee State parks and post a ride report on them. Having seen a sign for David Crockett State Park I was torn as to whether to try to make a quick pass through. It turns out that the park's entrance is on Hwy 64, they have a restaurant and it was time to eat/call. So we pulled in.



I actually took the above picture when we were leaving but you can pretend I reversed the slide.

A number of our State parks have restaurants. Typically the food is good but perhaps not the best you've ever had. That's okay because it's also typically very reasonably priced. Today was a little different.

Here's the entrance to the restaurant with Kieran and Liberia Son ready for some food.

By the way, the wooden fence along the side is what we used to call a Split Rail Fence. Not sure what others call it but it brings back memories from my childhood when people actually used these around their farms. I would see others along the Natchez Trace.



The restaurant itself is fairly large and there's only about 5 tables of folks in at this time. Of course it's a Tuesday and a little after normal lunch time. It also looks like most of them are locals who come here to eat. That's a good sign.



Lindsey Lake is just outside of the window but the leaves from the many trees blocks a full view. Shoal Creek also runs through the park and we'll see it a little later.



The hostess that seated us immediately told us to have the smoked chicken. Apparently they have a new manager for the restaurant and he's trying to improve the food. So they have a guy outside with a smoker that's cooking the chicken that is being served today and she said that he had just sent a batch up to the kitchen. We had smelled it when we were walking up to the door but didn't know what the story was.

The waitress came over and gave us the same recommendation. She was new at this job and fairly young (everyone looks young to me these days). She said she was working here to save up for Community College and then planned to transfer to Autin Peay University after that. She didn't know a lot about their menu but was friendly and that makes up for a lot of shortcomings.

We all took their advice and had the smoked chicken. It came with 1 side so we each had the fried sweet potatos. Water to drink as it was already getting hot outside.

While we were waiting for our food, this Cardinal kept pecking on the glass. I guess it was seeing it's reflection in the tinted windows. He is in the picture (I warned you I wasn't much of a photographer).



The food came and it was absolutely delicious. I've had a lot of smoked chicken but this was at the very top of the list. I don't know how often they do this but I would recommend it if you are in the area.



The other thing is that the chicken breast was the largest I've ever seen. David made the comment that he's had entire chickens with less meat on them. It was huge. We were stuffed and, because of the great flavor, made ourselves eat it all. But it could have easily been 2 meals and really enough meat for three.



Next we spend a few minutes at Crockett Falls before heading for the Trace.
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Liberia screwed with this post 06-15-2013 at 09:20 AM
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Old 06-15-2013, 07:36 AM   #5
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Is this really the falls?

Leaving the restaurant, we see, again, the Olympic sized swimming pool just down the street. Given that it's now in the 90+ temperature range, it looks quite tempting. But we'll have to wait for another day as time is passing and we have quite a ways yet to go.



Next we cross a short covered bridge. A nice touch.



And beside the stream a small, water powered mill. I seem to remember that Davie Crockett ran a mill among other things. We didn't take the time to go inside but I'd like to make another trip here and perhaps do some camping (more likely, stay in one of their cabins).



I think this is Crockett Falls. I kept looking for another larger falls but didn't find one. We asked someone swimming there if it was, indeed, the falls. They said yes. Of course that brings to mind the guy who gave us directions at the gas station. If you know for sure if this is the falls or not, put a comment on this thread.



This is a shot downstream. I really like to see people bringing their children and grandchildren out to places like this. The water was cool, clear and shallow. And the children were having a ball playing in it while the adults waded around or sat in lawn chairs watching them. Seems like a great way to spend family time plus it's free. We used to do this where I grew up in North Central Florida. No one had a swimming pool and there were no public pools in the very rural areas where we lived, so we went to rivers, creeks and ice cold springs for our picnics and swimming. Good times.



Kieran and Liberia Son discussing something of great importance while cooling off in the shade.



While scouting around for the "real" falls, I took this trail for a while. I was getting higher and the creek was getting lower so I figured out that it was not likely that there was another falls in that direction (I'm smart like that).



It's time to move on if we're going to complete the rest of the trip and make it home before dark. Tennessee parks have some of the best kept roads and green areas.



It must be turkey alone time season because I saw several turkeys in the park and while on the Natchez Trace with only a few that were not alone.




Now on to the Natchez Trace.
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Old 06-15-2013, 08:52 AM   #6
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Trace through the past

After stopping for gas and sunscreen, we finally made it to the Natchez Trace. Most folks know about the Trace and I won't try to present its history here, but basically it was a trail used by wildlife (likely buffalo), then Native Americans from this region, and finally by frontiersmen returning from Natchez, MS after floating boats full of goods down for sale. I think I read that at one point, Natchez had more millionaires than any other city in the United States. So trade was a big deal back then.



We joined the Trace about halfway between Lawrenceburg and Waynesboro and started north.



The entire Trace is restricted to noncommercial traffic only, so no big trucks. It also has a maximum speed limit of 50mph (I think). It's designed to encourage a leisurely pace and also for frequent stopping. Just right for a trike with small wheels.

For those who have been on Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway, this is not like those. The curves are sweeping and the hills are just that, hills. It is a beautiful road to ride motorcycles along however.



These are more likely to be the curves than the corkscrew turns on roads further east.



There are sections of overhanging trees, areas where its wide open but mostly it's a mixture of the two.



Another shot of the typical scenery along the way. I understand that the southern part of the Trace is not as interesting as it flattens out but, having never ridden it, that's just hearsay. (For those in Mississippi it may be heresy.)



Another picture showing the wide, sweeping curves that are typical of the Trace.



There are many historical sites to stop at along the way. It was mid-afternoon and we had to keep moving but I would like to do a trip all the way down to Natchez (in spite of my previous derogatory comments) and stop at each of these areas. I think it would be a leisurely 3 day trip. We did stop at one side area pretty early on but that had more to do with the call of nature than the study of nature.



The actual park property can be pretty narrow in places. I frequently saw signs of farming very close to the Trace but little to no residential or commercial structures.



One thing that's always been odd to me about Tennessee is how they define a River versus a Creek. We crossed over a few "rivers" and you had to look hard to see any water. At times, I wasn't sure it even qualified for a creek. To me, this is about the smallest waterway that should be called a river. I think this is the Duck River.



A split rail fence along the way.



A small, private family cemetery along the way. The family must have been proud of it as they had a sign facing the Trace with the name.



Native rock retaining walls are pretty popular in Tennessee. I've always thought they had a classy look.



One of many turkeys I saw along the Trace.



Bicycling the Trace is very popular. I can't figure out why anyone would want to peddle uphill unless they were out of gas.



Another short, rock wall plus a cut through the hill in the distance. I remember coming to Tennessee from Florida the first time and being amazed that roads could be put though "mountains."



One of many places to stop, look around and rest a little. We didn't take advantage of it on this trip. I think this is near Franklin, TN.



I'm not sure why I included this picture unless the lead bike up front is a Gold Wing. We were a little spread out (I was bringing up the rear) and going about 50mph through a twisty part of the road with solid double yellow lines. All of a sudden this guy on a Gold Wing blew past me in a non-passing section much like a paywagon passing a tramp (he just paid me no mind at all). Startled me a little and confirmed my belief that "loud pipes prevent startling when breaking the law by passing in a curve." I never heard him coming. Of course if my mirrors didn't shake so bad, I might actually have seen him coming. One of these days I'm going to get a Gold Wing and ride without earplugs.



Highway 96. I think this is the tallest bridge along the Trace. When I see 96 I know we're getting close to the end of the road. This runs to Murfreesboro and we could have saved an hour or so by getting off here. But then we would have missed the Loveless Café. That would be bad.



Two Irishmen standing taller than the trees.



This house is only a few hundred yards from the Trace. They must have a lot of children to need a house that big.



Liberia Son and Kieran talk while David rests.



Even though we don't take Hwy 96 home at this point, we do drive down to the bottom of the bridge to get a picture. Everyone wants to have something to claim their area is famous for. I think this bridge is the highest/longest/somethingish arch bridge within 5 miles. My claim is that I was travelling Hwy 96 a good bit when it was being built. They poured the hollow arch section in short segments and lifted them in place starting from the ground up from each side. They would use cables to hold them in place until they got the final section up and it could support itself. It was a little strange driving under them when they were hanging out in space by only one side. (There, depending on how slow a reader you are, I've had my 15 seconds of fame.)



Although it was a fairly hot day, you really didn't notice it until you were stopped. And it's going to get a lot hotter before it gets cooler around here. The sky was perfect as was the day's ride with good people.



On to the Loveless Café.
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Old 06-15-2013, 09:17 AM   #7
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Love(less) peach cobbler.

Well, this is the home stretch of the ride report. We quickly made it to the end on the Trace and to the Loveless Café (which is within site of the end of the Natchez Trace).



The Loveless Café has been a landmark in the Nashville area for decades. Most of the country music stars eat out here from time to time. They are pretty famous for their biscuits but, really, they are not close to what my Mama makes. Just say'n. They do serve a good breakfast of Country Ham, Red Eye Gravy and Homemade Biscuits. Plus their selection of jams and preserves are excellent. But we wanted dessert.



Last week was Fan Fair (or Fare) where people come from all over the world to Nashville to meet and hear country music superstars. Liberia Son said the wait here was almost 2 hours at that point. Thankfully that's over with and we were seated immediately.

Kieran and David didn't know what cobbler was so I had promised them blackberry cobbler at the Loveless. However, it wasn't blackberry cobbler day, it was peach cobbler day and neither of them like peaches (I'm rethinking this marrying my daughter thing). So Liberia Son and I got the cobbler and they got just the ice cream. David took a bite of mine just to confirm that he really didn't like peaches. Sure enough, he didn't.



One final fill up before the 1+ hour ride home.



I think I averaged about 34mpg on the trike (lowest of any of the bikes). The Heritage normally gets close to 50mpg unless you're on the Interstate.

The route home, for anyone that cares, was .2 mile down Hwy 100, right on Pasquo Road for another .2 mile then left on Sneed Road for about 5 miles to a left South Berry's Chapel which turns to Lynnwood and then Moore's Lane. That's about 8 miles. Then right on Wilson Pike (TN252) for another 8 miles until you tee into Hwy 96. 17.4 miles later your at my office (and in Murfreesboro, TN)

I have to admit though that I didn't go far enough on Moore's lane and ended up taking Carauther's all the way to Hwy 96 which is not as good a ride.

I hope you enjoyed the read along. My writing skills are equivalent to the cross-eyed discus thrower: I don't set any records but I sure do keep the crowd alert.
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Old 06-15-2013, 06:57 PM   #8
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Awesome report! Did you by any chance pass a black GS on HWY 64? That would have been me. I was out running errands and getting lost (in my home county ) for much of the day. It was hot while stopped but great while riding. I have no idea how many bikes I waved at but there were a lot of people making use of the weather.

I have never heard of the Loveless but have to check that out. I also want to ride the Trace on my bike from one end to the other which I have done numerous times in a cage of one type or another.

AFAIK the falls you have pictured are the only ones in the area. Upstream there is supposed to be a great swim hole that many don't know about but the water is freezing year around so many don't swim there. The covered bridge is actually the second one since a flood in the mid 90's took out the first one. The "mill" you passed is a museum based around the Crockett time frame and is extremely interesting when you have time. Another interesting thing inside the park is the cupola from the original courthouse. It is somewhat hidden but my DIL and son have found it. When I get over there I will try and get pics of it with the GS. It is pretty neat to see it sitting on the ground.

I am perhaps 45 minutes ride from the park so anyone let me know if you are headed there and I will see if I can meet up with you if I have time.
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Old 06-16-2013, 02:19 PM   #9
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Great Report. It is obvious they are foreign as they do not like Peach Cobbler. Definately not from the south. Probably a bit warm for the Irish Lads, too.
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Old 06-16-2013, 03:30 PM   #10
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Bell Buckle Cafe ---- yes yes; Friday and Saturday night, live music beginning at 6pm and great food...

Loveless Cafe ---- yes yes; The Barn, just behind the restaurant; Music City Roots on Wednesdays (check the schedule) great shows, low price, great fun.
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Old 06-17-2013, 05:49 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N-m View Post
Awesome report!

I have never heard of the Loveless but have to check that out.

AFAIK the falls you have pictured are the only ones in the area. Upstream there is supposed to be a great swim hole that many don't know about but the water is freezing year around so many don't swim there.

I am perhaps 45 minutes ride from the park so anyone let me know if you are headed there and I will see if I can meet up with you if I have time.
N- m,
You really should check out the Loveless. It's a piece of Nashville history and a pretty good place to eat as well. My favorite there is the breakfast.

I don't remember passing a BMW on my way across 64 but could have been distracted. We would likely have been the only group riding with a little red trike.

The swimming hole you mention must be spring feed to be so cold. I grew up swimming in the crystal clear springs of Florida but might be a little old to stand that coldness now.

I would love to meet you for a ride one day.
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Old 06-17-2013, 05:52 AM   #12
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Warm is right

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Originally Posted by FotoTEX View Post
Great Report. It is obvious they are foreign as they do not like Peach Cobbler. Definately not from the south. Probably a bit warm for the Irish Lads, too.
It was pretty warm for them at 90+ but they did well. Had to stop and get some sun block as they were getting pretty red by noon. Liberia Son was too. I wore my perforated jacket the entire time even when it was warm. That kept me from having to put on sunscreen (which I hate to wear).
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Old 06-17-2013, 05:54 AM   #13
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The Barn

Quote:
Originally Posted by aldntn View Post
Bell Buckle Cafe ---- yes yes; Friday and Saturday night, live music beginning at 6pm and great food...

Loveless Cafe ---- yes yes; The Barn, just behind the restaurant; Music City Roots on Wednesdays (check the schedule) great shows, low price, great fun.
I had not heard of The Barn but don't frequent the Loveless very often since it's a ways from my house. I have been to the dinner theater that's just down the road called Chaffin's Barn. That was quite enjoyable.
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