Posted by: twistsoffeet | June 5, 2011

Interesting People… But Not Necessarily Who I Want to Hang With…

Last night after filing my post for the day, I just could not get comfortable at the park in Decaturville, TN. So I decided to move, but didn’t know where to go.  Also, it was getting dark and I refuse to ride in the dark. I went back to the BP Station and asked about other options.

The manager was less than helpful, but he did let me fill a couple of water bottles and get some ice for free.  As I was standing around, thinking about my options, a man walked up to me and asked some questions about my trip.  After talking a short while, he said I could pitch my tent at his girlfriend’s, and since her water was turned off I could shower at his place.

There was something about Decaturville and also about all the people I met, that just did not sit well with me.  I will not name my hosts because they did not do anything wrong and actually were very helpful… and I appreciate the place to sleep, as well as the shower and the meal they fed me.  But I have been around the block and I know when something is not really right.

I know when a person has “chemically induced anger management issues” and I know when not to turn my back to someone.

That is the way it was last night.

No, I did not see any chemicals ingested.  But my host readily admitted he was “A Bad Man” and had come from an extremely dysfunctional family.

Apparently a relative of his had “rolled” on somebody and fled town and hooked up with someone else, who he also rolled over on.  And now there is a $10,000.00 bounty on his head, and my host said if this relative returns to town, he will deliver him to those he “rolled” on.

After showering at his place, we returned to his girlfriend’s place. where I immediately went to bed.  He and his girlfriend were in and out of the house several times for 30 minutes to an hour all night long.  The last time they returned was 5:00 AM this morning, and as soon as they were in the house I broke camp and hit the road.

Today started on the road at 5:30 AM, in the semi-darkness and pea soup fog.

Not a particularly safe time to ride, but I needed to put some distance between me and my hosts.  I was unable to eat or fill my water bottles, but figured I could do something on the road.  I figured wrong.  I was able to grab a quick bite to eat at Hardee’s, but was unable to get water.  It was a long, hot, painful, and thirsty ride today.

I rode 38 miles and that was good, since after no sleep and Arthur barking loudly at me, I didn’t expect to ride even 38 feet.  I rode lots of mellow hills and rarely left the saddle to push the bike, but I rode slowly and with a lot of pain.

Much of today’s ride– or at least the second half– was flat so I should be grateful.

I must be losing weight because yesterday a gust of wind from the side hit me, and almost lifted me from my saddle.  Today it happened again, and if I was wearing one of those flying nun hats, I could have taken flight.

I am now in Camden, TN, and I think I will continue north and west tomorrow, but I am not certain. The road is actually pretty good and has a ten foot wide shoulder without grooves.

It also is a designated bike route.

I do not know where I will spend the night at this time, other than in Camden.  I do not have it in me to ride any further though.

I have met some good and helpful people here in TN, but people are just not as friendly as those in Georgia and Alabama.

The evening is still young, so I may meet someone interesting… but at this time all I really want is to sleep.  I also am doing laundry in a laundromat and this is only the second time on this trip. I usually just do it in a sink or bucket, but neither was available today and besides my clothes needed a more complete washing.

Stop the presses, update coming through!!! Camden, TN just did not seem like a place I wanted to spend the night, so I have moved on, about six miles. I started riding, hoping to find a place to sleep very quickly, but it was not to be.

However, it was still a good decision. I had ridden about six miles when I got a flat… my third for the day.  I will speak more on this subject in a moment.  Just as my tire went flat, I looked over and saw the Harmony Missionary Baptist Church, and my lucky day– a car was in the parking lot.

Darkness was going to be approaching soon, so I went up to the side entrance and knocked.

My call was answered by Kathy and her daughter, Amy, who were cleaning the church.  I explained what I was doing and told them about my flat tire and asked if I could pitch my tent behind the church tonight.  They answered in unison saying that it would be no problem, and then they invited me inside to the air conditioning.

They gave me water and a 5 lb bag of ice, which I used to ice my knee down (and then other parts of my body, but I will not go into that).

I am proposing a ban on steel belted tires on big trucks.  The reason is that when their treads delaminate and go flying off to the side of the road, those little threads of steel become daggers for bicycle tires.  I had two flats earlier today, and on one occasion I picked out five little threads of steel from my tire.  The other time it was seven threads of steel.

I checked several times during the day, and pulled a couple more at those times.  When I just fixed this most recently flat, I found five more pieces of steel.  All of these little threads of steel are from big truck tires.  I say ban steel belted truck tires, at least on designated bicycle routes.

A police officer just showed up a few minutes ago, Deputy Sheriff Moss, with the Benton County Sheriff’s Dept.  He said that a concerned citizen had called about a suspicious tent behind the church.  Deputy Moss rides a little and was a friendly guy.  He did do a check on me, but as always, I came back clean.

If people only knew that I am so clean and straight nowadays, that I am boring, at least to the party crowd.

My faith in the good people of Tennessee was lifted by Kathy and Amy, as well as Deputy Moss.  I am glad I met all of them.


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