D60: Cross Plains – Pembroke (Kentucky)

D60: Cross Plains – Pembroke (Kentucky)

72,18km – 10H01′

Serge looks at the weather forecast before going: weather is expected to deteriorate in the late afternoon. For now it is fine and we do no wind.

We begin to move away from Nashville, and we are far from urban area. Traffic is so quiet, we enjoy the countryside and the road.

During our first stop of the day, we receive a visit of a policeman biker who seems not to have a busy day. He takes time to chat with us. We offer him a postcard that hangs on the windshield of his motorcycle, and he leaves.

As usual now, I make a quick point of complete sports news Serge at the first stop. The “Blues”, national football team, are inspired offensively, it’s a pleasure.

The farms are increasing as we approach the Kentucky.

Another notable fact: the chairs. Since this morning there are chairs in front of all the houses! Rockin ‘chairs (although typical rocking chairs from here), but also chairs, sofas and even chairs for babies. Everyone here aligns its collection of seats under the porchs of  houses, as if the family reunion was held every day at the same place.

It seems that   weather forecast services are good in the United States: as expected the wind picks up on the stroke of 11 am, and the weather turns gray.

We change of state at the 34th kilometer. Bye bye Tennessee, Kentucky hello!

And the least we can say is that the change is radical! Just after the frontier, so many farms, so many fields.

A few kilometers later we celebrate the passage of 4000 km in 59 days, 9 am and 9 minutes!

At 4001 kilometer, three dogs rush together at full speed to Serge.

René  accelerate speed, we interpose between them and Serge.

Dogs follow us on several tens meters, but Serge is safe. This kind of situation is obviously very complicated to manage, especially since the repellent spray that Serge keep with him would have been useless with such a wind.

Laura and I are leaving early in the afternoon to do some shopping while René finishes alone last 25 km with Serge. Once arrival René says ” it was a peaceful end stage”. He meets very nice people. During our shopping we had the same thought, people here are kind and we look forward to know what will be our second tomorrow in Kentucky.

D59: Watertown – Cross Plains

D59: Watertown – Cross Plains

72,06km – 10H05′
Starting this morning in the northern suburbs of Nashville.
Since our entry in Tennessee this is certainly the best place we pass with beautiful homes with well-mowed lawns. Americans like to show their property and everything that goes with it. Each house reflect a family’s way of life a family, with games for children, various vehicles owned.
In the 15th kilometer we continue our bypass Nashville via Lebanon. Since the beginning of the day the sun is quietly set in a perfectly blue sky. Only a fresh wind still keeps us from falling sweaters.
Serge asks for the second camera between 2 aid stations and ten minutes later, he gives me 3 more videos and tells ” I am a little talkative” with a big smile. Nothing can stop “Cinérun” …
Shortly before noon a local resident reprimends us. He asks us to go out from his lawn (it is really not easy to park and we are along the road but private property begins along the road…), and to stop taking pictures. All with courtesy of his own. Moments later, Laura is calling us: she was denied her shopping cart at checkout a W… Supermarket, because it contained beer and she did not have US citizenship to buy them. Funny way of doing business in Tennessee …
After LaGuardo we follow the noisy highway 109 for about 15km and during almost two hour, it is difficult to talk with so much traffic, otherwise Serge has good shoulder. It will be different on the road 25 with no shoulders, up and down and curves with no visibility and speed drivers. Afraid to stay alive on this small road… but landscape are beautiful, many ranches and fields, all bordered by pretty fencing. Serge runs with caution.
Our Sergio still ends at over 72km today. The furious pace continued, with a smile please!
Tomorrow the road goes to Kentucky!

D58: McMinnville – Watertown

D58: McMinnville – Watertown

73,95km – 10H22′

Only 2 roads today: the Highway 56 and the Highway 70. It was pretty cool this morning and grey but the sky became blue in the afternoon with a temperature of 19°C. Serge tells that  it is a wonderful weather for runners.

At 40km of the stage, during the aid station, I locked the keys inside the car and I was outside – Lock out!

The conversation with the assistance service of our rental car will be terrible. After 1 hour conversation, they don’t  locate the car. It was too easy: on the Highway 70, half way between Smithville and Dowelltown on the right side, on the shoulder, westbound. When I give the GPS points, it is more confusing for my interlocutor.  1 hour later, the supervisor hold the line and  understand everything in 5 minutes and 10 minutes later, they give me the contact of a provider who is supposed to arrive in 1 hour to delock the door. But same thing for the provider, they don’t find my car and we are going to wait 2 hours. Difficulties for something – I forgot to tell you, there was no signal on my cell phone where the car was…..

During nearly 4 hours, Serge will be alone on the road with his food and water. He enjoys even if he tells he prefers to meet his support team every 5km. The way was easy today no changes in the direction. It will be different tomorrow, we have 2 cities: Lebanon and Gallatin, to pass.

 

 

D57: White City – McMinnville

D57: White City – McMinnville

72,04km – 9H52′

Yesterday Serge has been arrested by the Sheriff. Tired at the end of stage, he should be walked not very right and Sheriff asked “Have you drink?” Serge replied “water” and Sheriff not at all inclined to joke replied “No Alcohol”. Serge said: no. But Sheriff didn’t believe him and asked for his papers that Serge didn’t have in his bag. The team’s car arrived with Serge’s ID and they gave a postcard to Sheriff who finally smiled and left Serge continue his way. End of a funny story.

Since yesterday the road is up and down in the middle of wild forest. We can imagine in what kind of landscape stands the Barkley 100 miles race at the end of March. We are not so far of Wartburg where takes place this crazy race: only 16 finishers after more than 10 editions…..

Today was nearly quiet on the road 41, 56 and 108 until McMinnville. Serge feels good and eats well all day long and takes a good dinner the evening before going to bed early because he needs lot of sleep.

We have changed of Time Zone, It is Central Time for us now and clocks are switched forward one hour.

D55: Armuchee – Oglethorpe

D55: Armuchee – Oglethorpe

72,03km – 10h20’

As usual, Serge is ready to go at sunrise. This morning a nice morning mist envelope a landscape that is more hilly than in recent days. The Appalachian Mountains are not far away. Meadows begin to appear and Serge admits to feeling “less oppressed” by tree density previously encountered.

Serge is certainly a good mood. With René we find particularly talkative.

In the 12th kilometer we cross Summerville. Lots of traffic at the exit of this city, and no shoulders. Fortunately it only lasts a few kilometers, and right out of the city we find our old 2×2, with a large shoulder this time!

The fact that there are no aisles, no sidewalks, while we are still in an agglomeration confirms René’s analysis: there are no many pedestrians here. People move by car only.

Serge continue his journey to go to north, under a sun more ardent.

The afternoon continues and the “Martha Berry Highway” that we follow now from Rome is very painful. Many cars, noise …  Don’t forgot it is a day before the Easter Week-end.

Fortunately, about ten kilometers from the final point, we turn and enter the “Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military”. It is a quiet road where cars go slowly and where joggers can run quietly. For the historical side, I let our budding filmmaker to explain it in his videos.

The day ends and therefore we retain the United States it is better to be pedestrian on the highway than in the cities, that darken due north does not lower sun intensity, but also that even if Serge went slower today, and even if he was embarrassed repeatedly by circulation: he has fun on the road, and it is a pleasure that is shared. See you tomorrow.

D54: Yorkville – Armuchee

D54: Yorkville – Armuchee

71,53km – 10h00

It is 6:30 this morning, everybody get up at the same time. We sleep at 4 in a same room. In USA, it is easy because hotel and motel get rooms with 2 queen beds…

Breakfast time, unpack and we leave to find our point of departure. Laure join us later.

As for Georgia, after two days there is certainly the most wooded area that I have seen in my life. So short is it. We did end up more crossing forests and forests!

In addition to the vegetation, we also continue to see many churches.

These have their crosses decorated with a purple scarf, a sign that we are in Holy Week at the approach of Easter.

Shortly after the 10th kilometer, the american police is interested in our vehicle. Here Police officers or other drivers seem quite anxious to see motorists stopped on the roadside, and they ask if everything is “okay”.

The day takes its course, the sun still does not rise and the wind blows a little harder than yesterday. A storm is expected in the evening, Serge hopes to pass between the drops.

At the 40th kilometer we reach Rome. European cities names are legion here, I just have to take the card to give you some of the surroundings: Athens, Florence, Manchester, Birmingham, Dublin, Milan … and even Paris!

Cities with French consonances are also present in large numbers throughout the country, due to the fact that France had vast territories until the nineteenth century.

Sign in Rome, therefore, is complicated for Serge. Lot of traffic and so much noise, on a road that offers little shoulder.

Fortunately, the route is not complicated: the “Martha Berry Avenue” will be our only way to go through town.

As expected, the weather deteriorates at 14:30. The wind is getting stronger, tossing traffic lights suspended above each intersection.

After crossing Rome, Laure and I are going to the motel we have to work  on the various administrative tasks and update website with video, pictures and so and so,  while René ensures the supply until the end of the day.

He and Serge returned shortly after 18h, exhausted. “From buckets of water,” tells René.

Tonight we sleep in a very typical US motel. The rain stopped and some squirrels are riding on power lines.

See you tomorrow.

D53: Fairburn – Yorkville

D53: Fairburn – Yorkville

71,23km – 10H00

After 2 days of cold weather, 3 ° C and 0 ° C at the start, we find more spring temperatures this morning.

In the southern suburbs of Atlanta much traffic yesterday but this morning we cross countryside with great pleasure.

The team is growing with the arrival of Thomas and René.

Serge has good appetite  since the climate is coler, no doubt that the body needs energy to keep warm.

A smiley day, Serge is very glad to have two new team members including Thomas, his son.

The end of the stage will be more difficult because of the traffic on Highway 101 and the lack of shoulder which make the race dangerous with very fast drivers.

 

D50: Cordele – Fort Valley

D50: Cordele – Fort Valley

71km – 9H37′

After driving 8 km we went through a town with nice name of Vienna, then the town of Fort Valley at the end of the sages.  In between the two, we see fields, farms, a few woods and stands of trees.  The scenery continues to be rural for our third day in Georgia.

The north-west wind is rather brisk this morning.  Serge put on a second layer for the first time since March 6th, the day we left Miami.  It’s chilly! During the day temperature ranges of 20°C are finished and Serge isn’t winded in the morning.  His body regulates better and does not overheat.

We have not had so many direction changes in a long time.  They break the monotony of long straight lines, even though Serge really likes the long and straight.  At km 58 we reached US 341, with heavy traffic this Sunday afternoon.  The drivers seem to be in a hurry because they exceed the speed limit.  Here there are no kilometers, only miles so, once again, I need my calculator as I do for gallons and liters and pounds (Lbs.) andmm kilos.  On this US 341, the speed limit is 55 MPH, which makes 89 KPH, but the majority of the vehicles drive faster.  What the dickens are the Sheriff and the Police doing?  There are 2 vehicles patrolling in Fort Valley!

The countryside is beautiful in the spring sunshine and we are sorry to see that very often the roadside is used as a garbage dump, in spite of signs saying « Do not Litter, » occasionally with a $500 fine.  It does not seem to keep people from throwing beer and soft drink cans, bottles and fast food wrappers on the roadside.  Sometimes the quantity of stuff is huge.  Either the road maintenance is less efficient than in Florida or in Georgia people are less concerned by the matter; both I suppose!

After yesterday, which was unusual because it was longer than normal due to the fact that we split it in two, we were both tired.  Serge was really fatigued when he reached Fort Valley, probably because there was a head wind at the end of the stage.  It seems that there will be the wind from the same direction tomorrow.  We will stay on US 341 without changing direction, North West, in order to reach the South-West of Atlanta Tuesday evening.