Day 50 – Carthaghe TN to Nashville TN

Even though no serious storms passed through, we were still glad to be inside for the night. A local the previous evening had recommended we camp under a bridge and hang out at the laundromat all night. Really, our cheap motel room in Carthage didn’t have much more to offer than the basics. Additionally, there was the view, which included a series of interesting cloud formations:

view from motel, Carthage TN

clouds

The other entertaining part was that there were tons of handwritten signs at the motel. The two older women who were running it looked like they’d never touched a computer. Even the channel guide for the TV was handwritten on a piece of paper. Some of the rules posted in the motel office included priceless advice like, if you forget your room key, don’t break the door handle to get back in your room. And don’t flush food and garbage down the toilet.

Anyhow, the bridge we normally would have taken out of town was under construction, so we backtracked a little and left the way we came in.

route 70 in Tennessee

The ride on 70W from Carthage to Lebanon wasn’t awesome. There were many places with narrow shoulders and heavier traffic, and many otherwise acceptable shoulders were partially dedicated to rumble strips.

We stopped for lunch in Lebanon TN, where there was a nice community park with a bike path running through it.

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Lebanon TN

Lebanon TN

There was a police officer patrolling the park on bike, which we hadn’t really seen before, and we were even able to lend a tool to a local cyclist whose handlebars were loose.

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After the park, we got back on 70W. Even though it was marked as a bike route, we rode on the sidewalks because the traffic was heavy and there was no suitable shoulder. But eventually, a shoulder reappeared, and by the time we reach Mt. Juliet, we had a very nice bike lane to ride in.

taking a break

actual bike lanes in Tennessee

There was a chance of thunderstorms, so we watched the sky all day. As we got nearer to Nashville, it seemed like it might rain. We actually got offered a ride and place to stay from two different locals on our way into town, which was a first for us!

Fortunately, it didn’t pour where we happened to be when we happened to be there. Instead, the sky cleared, and suddenly we could see the Nashville skyline.

approaching Nashville

Just as traffic began to get crazy, we saw a pedestrian bridge next to the traffic bridge–we had found the greenway where it crosses Stones Creek. However, it wasn’t well marked from the road, so we had to flag down a runner to tell us which way to go.

The greenway runs to downtown Nashville. Our Warm Showers hosts lived in east Nashville, not too far from the endpoint. And, even better, the greenway was a portioned of a well-marked bicycle route through the city, the Music City Bikeway, which runs in an east-west direction. Cyclists can bypass most of the bad traffic in Nashville by staying on it. It may not have been flat, but it was a welcome relief after 70W.

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The multiuse trail also included this pedestrian bridge over the Cumberland River.

Music City Bikeway in Nashville

The bridge took us to the Shelby Bottoms nature area, which was lovely to ride through.

Music City Bikeway in Nashville

We got a little turned around in Shelby Park, but we eventually found our way into east Nashville. We enjoyed riding through the area, which seemed to have great character and be undergoing an urban revitalization.

Our hosts were Alan and Michaela, who were great people. I am going to let Elizabeth write more about them and their cat.

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