Day 56 Martin, TN to Columbus Belmont State Park, KY

With a new perspective and end destination we set off early heading to Columbus Belmont State Park in Kentucky. At this point we were close enough to the Mississippi River that the terrain was indeed flat and the scenery had switched over to mostly large tracts of farmland. It felt like we had finally reached the mid-west!

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The weather was hot but afternoon thunderstorms were not in the forecast and we easily covered miles.

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We arrived at our campground fairly early in the day and I felt pretty good about covering 40 some miles by 2pm. This was riding the way I’d imagined it. Every road flat but scenic with little traffic and comfortable sunny weather!

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The campground turned out to be nicer than we’d expected. It had flat, grassy campsites and was right in the middle of a historic Civil War park. The campground was nestled in between deep earthen channels dug by confederate soldiers for protection and the whole place hovered over a large overlook of the Mississippi River. We rode the bikes around, sans panniers, for the afternoon and enjoyed the history of the area and some ice cream cones at the park snack shop.

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The snack shop is the only place to grab anything to eat or drink for a distance including the local town which consists of five house, a small post office and a broken soda machine. As we sat there enjoying our ice cream, local people came and went and we ended up chatting with most of them for a few hours. They were used to seeing bicycle and paddling travelers since the Great River Trail runs right through this area. We heard some interesting stories of folks who had paddled from Colorado to the Mississippi and all the way down to the delta. I asked Hannah if she wanted to try that for the next trip. She said “no” without even having to think about it.

We cooked dinner and showered in the lovely air conditioned bathroom. Yes, despite how nice the day was it was hot and the heat lingered into the evening even after the sun went down and I seem to have acquired a heat rash where my bike shorts grip my thigh which itched like crazy.

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Finally we settled into our tent to read before falling asleep and looked forward to crossing the Mississippi River on a bicycle.

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