Day 01-03, Tour10, NC/TN line to Alcoa, TN

My friend Vance and I started our riding day in the pretty and gentle Delores River Valley on US 70

My friend and I started riding, from the NC/TN state line on US 70, at about 10:30 AM and arrived at the home of Vance's friends in Alcoa at 6:30 PM. I was riding without my hat with a mirror, helmet, prescription riding glasses or gloves because I had forgotten to load those item when Vance and his wife Jean picked me up at 8:30 AM. I'm not very functional early in the morning and this was not the first time I had forgotten stuff I needed when someone picked me up eraly in the morning. I once started a short tour in South Carolina and Georgia with out any thing except the clothes on my back and my helmet and my gloves because I left my panniers in Asheville! Today I had backups for the hat - no mirror - and the riding glasses - no prescription.

Our ride was flat and easy for a least ten miles. Then it got a bit hilly before Newport, and quite urban for many miles through Newport and out past the interstate to where US 411 starts. We stopped in Newport at a supermarket deli for lunch. Then rode on through several more miles - most with a good shoulder - of hilly, urban riding. After we turned on 411, the road was extremely hilly and twisty, with no shoulders, narrow lanes and moderate to heavy traffic. I wasn't able to take and pictures on that part ;-{.

On US 411 near Sieverville, TN where the road becomes easy riding

We rode through Sieverville - Dolly Parton's Town ;-}: miles of fourlane road with no shoulders and heavy traffic - and on to Maryville, TN on 411. It was a very hot - we stopped several times to cool off - and hilly ride. Then we rode north to near the Knoxville Airport and the home of Vance's friends. We had a great evening with them and, the next morning after a nice breakfast, they took us to a great bike store, Bicyclology (sp?), in Maryville, where I was able to get replacements for my helmet, mirror, and gloves. Vince and I left Maryville, on 321, about 10:30 that morning, for an fast and easy, if again very hot, ride to Lenoir City.

In Lenoir City, where we crossed US 11, I introduced Vance to the virtues of shopping at Dollar General for tour supplies and then we stopped at Subway for lunch. A little ways west of Lenoir City we go back on US 70 heading west. Now the hills began again in earnest and the riding was great. US 70, from near Lenoir City to Kingston, TN makes the Blue Ridge Parkway feel flat. After Kingston, things get flatter, although still hilly, and US 70 gets a bike lane and bike route signs;-}

Back on US 70 west of Lenoir City

We spent the night in Rockwood, a small town just east of the Cumberland Plateau. The Budget Motel - the only motel in town - was not a great place to sleep or a good value, but Juniors Restaurant, a mile of so away in the old part of town, was really a great place to eat and great value.

Climbing up to the plateau at 7:15 in the morning

Beautiful Ozone Falls

US 70 shortly after Ozone Falls
Note the bike lane!

We got up (too) early and, after an improvised breakfast, left out motel at 7 AM. We were climbing up the side of the Cumberland Plateau by 7:10 - it is a harder climb than it was ten years ago ;-} - in the cool of the morning. At 8:30 we had reached Ozone, TN and we stopped for a great rest and to enjoy Ozone Scenic Falls. The riding continued to be hilly and beautiful till Near Crab Orchard where the land gets gentler.

We reached Crossville about 9:30 AM - we had crossed into Central time - and had great breakfasts before parting. Vance continued west on US 70, planning to meet his brother, coming east in a car from Nashville, this afternoon. I headed north on US 127 to Jamestown, TN. There was strong wind from the NW this afternoon that slowed, and cooled, us both down. I took shelter from two showers on my ride today. Neither shower amounted to much, but it was good to sit them out, especially the first one where I found shelter under a 'tin' roof ;-}.

Vance took this picture of me just before we parted
Note the non ventilated Kanu hat, the Take-A_Look" mirror mounted on clear safety glasses,
and the new helmet hanging from my bikes handlebars

US 127, once away from Crossville, mostly looked like this

US 127, near Jamestown, is interstate like with full lane shoulders

I had a hard time finding a place to stay in Jamestown. Both Google maps and my GPS say there are several places to stay here, but the only one still open is a very nice, inexpensive, motel a couple of mile south of town. I rode an extra ten miles because I believed there was a motel in town. That made todays ride about 90 miles with over a mile of climbing. Yesterday was only 50 miles, but with almost as much climbing as today, and our first day was 75 miles with about 4000 feet of climbing. It has gotten a little cooler each day. It started out in the low 90s and dropped to about 80 today.

Tomorrow I am heading north into Kentucky and coming down off of the plateau. I hope to follow the west side of ridge north east and then head north toward Frankfort, KY, all on US 127.

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