We had one of our usual breakfast of bagels with peanut butter in the motel room, loaded the bikes up and took off on Route 11W. The ride was pretty easy and uneventful. However, this was our first day of riding with real heat and humidity and we were glad we each packed 2 extra liters of water for the day. Eventually we left Route 11W and moved to some side roads that took us right along the edge of the Holston River and later Cherokee Lake.
Cherokee Lake is quite long (maybe 25 miles???) and it made for fairly level riding with nice scenery despite no real views of the river or lake due to the heavy greenery growing on each side of the road.
As we approached Morristown, TN, the road we were looking for was not marked so we decided to stop at a pizza place and get some ice cream before trying to figure out where to go from there. The fellow working at the pizza shop was also a local EMT and had a great map of the area at the back of the restaurant and he helped us find the road we were seeking. We then ate our ice cream and rode the last 5 miles to Cherokee park.
Cherokee Park is owned and run by the Morristown Municipality. They had a great disc golf course and nice lake front access for boats. The campground area for tenting left something to be desired (like any flat area that was poison ivy free) BUT it only cost us $15.00 to stay the night and I really can’t complain with that.
After visiting the rustic bathhouse I explained to Hannah that it would be best if she just didn’t look too closely at anything in it. It was painted a lovely shade of pink with rust and grime and full of tiny bugs to boot. However, the shower was hot with good pressure and plenty of space to move around in which is more than some state parks we’ve been to have offered.
Oddly, neither of us felt like eating much after the ice cream. We sat at our lopsided picnic table and read for a few hours, ate some wraps of tuna, hummus and cheese and shared a cold soda from the soda machine a the park office.
Later that night. Again…the raccoon. Around midnight one showed up. It was snuffling so loudly outside the tent it woke us both us. I yelled at it and it ran off. After that I climbed out of the tent and searched for some egg sized rocks. I then sat quietly near the tent and waited for the raccoon to return. It did in about 10 minutes. I shone the light on it and threw a couple of rocks. One hit it’s back end as it slunk off into the bushes and it did not return after that. Our tent was about 50 feet from the lake and a few minutes after the raccoon ran off there was a splashing sound from the lake side and about 20 minutes later lots of barking dogs from the houses just across the water. Maybe it went for a swim and then set out to look for trash cans. Either way, I’m glad it stayed away and I got to sleep.