We’re headed to Martin Tennessee today and hope to find an affordable motel to stay in. There are not many warmshowers hosts this far west in Tennessee and looking ahead at our route into Arkansas, cycling hosts and campgrounds will be few and far between. I’ve been taking a closer look at our savings and seeing them slip away faster than expected due to less hosting availability and scary weather that forces us to seek shelter which includes a sturdy roof and walls to protect us from high winds, hail and heavy, sideways rain. I’m starting to realize we won’t have the funds to travel as far or as long as we’d hoped. This equals a lot of stress and we both know we’ll have to make some definite decisions in the near future. For today, we’ll just keep riding and hope Martin offers more than how it appears on a map.
Egan prepared a delicious pancake breakfast for us and has offered to ride the first part of the day with us. Yes! We’re super excited to have company as well as someone who knows the local roads and can help us navigate away from busy highways. Egan rides a cool folding bike and often takes his dog Reese with him in the rear basket. Reese was disappointed to have to stay behind today. After eating we pack up and head up the road to have a friend of Egan’s join us. We spend a couple of minutes debating the route and then we’re on the road again. It feels good to be riding with friends.
This part of Tennessee is less hilly. Well, actually it’s quite hilly but the hills are rarely more than 200 feet of elevation change and frequently shorter. I’m feeling pretty wiped out after some heat exhaustion and not being able to keep down much in the way of calories. The pace this morning is steady and we soon cover the first 10 miles without a problem. The countryside is beautiful farm land with wheat and barley that’s ready to be cut.
Eventually Egan and his friend needed to head back and we say our goodbyes. Having them join us was a real pleasure and took a lot of the monotony out of the day, While Hannah and I are still enjoying traveling together, there isn’t much to talk about at this point. We usually just pedal along in silence and now and then hand signal for a pee break, the need for more calories or curse at trucks that go by too close and too fast, so having others riders along and new conversation is a relished treat.
My energy seemed to sink with their leaving. Not only was I feeling physically crappy but emotionally it was hard to see them go and get back to the grindstone of pushing forward into Arkansas. All those short hills felt like monster climbs and I felt like I was dragging along on the flats as well. Hannah lead and made an effort for frequent stops and kept reminding me to eat and drink more.
The remainder of the days riding was slow and quiet. We opted to avoid one of the main roads due to it having no shoulder and a speed limit of 55mph. Too many folks heading home from Memorial Day weekend with trailers full of ATV’s and boats. We didn’t have directions for a detour but checked the road map and it looked like we could find our way to Martin on the back roads with just the map and our sense of direction. It added an element of mental challenge to the day and the side roads were almost abandon of vehicles besides a few tractors.
We reached Martin around dinner time, after an encounter with a group of about 5 dogs that spooked Hannah. We spotted the Eagle Inn just where we entered the town on the north side. At this point I wasn’t interested in searching out a better place to stay so we got a room and went to a diner across the street for dinner. The room and the food were not great but it was calories and a dry place to sleep. Once we had settled down for the night I sorted through our finances and we then knew the decision of where to ride and for how much longer was going to come sooner than we thought. I fell asleep rather disappointed and frustrated with our situation and hoped that eating dinner and a good nights rest would help sort out my mental well being.