Day 5 - Dickson to Jackson TN
Todays ride was all on US 70, but 70 changed character several times during the ride, so there were really at least four sets of riding conditions: moderate traffic - no shoulder (OK because the drivers were polite), light traffic - no shoulder (very nice riding), moderate traffic - narrow shoulder (good riding but some vehicles passed too close), and moderate traffic - wide shoulder (easy riding, but boring).
Leaving Dickson TN, 70 is a divided four lane with a wide shoulder. This quickly changes to a two lane road with a narrow (2.5 ft?) shoulder. It is hilly at first, but flattens out before Waverly. Between Waverly and the Tennessee River 70 is like a pretty flat interstate, but with much less traffic. Very easy riding in this section, but I ended up focusing too much on my seat and hands, both of which were hurting. Not enough distraction! I stopped for a break at Box Cemetery, a lovely old (1850?) cemetery just west of Denver TN. Sitting there I was wondering what the area was like when the cemetery was new. I bet it was beautiful there at the base of a hill with just a dirt road. Now it is 50 feet from US 70.
After climbing a pretty good hill west of Denver, 70 goes through New Johnsonville (Johnsonville, which is historic, is on the river a few miles north of New Johnsonville). This is a popular recreational area and there are full services on both sides of the river. Waverly has, at least fast food; I saw the McDs sign, but I didn't see any motels. Camden is a few miles past the other side of the river and I stopped there for lunch.
Tennessee River with part of railroad bridge
From Camden on, and for some of the part between Camden and the river, 70 has no shoulder. From Camden to Huntingdon there is enough traffic to make the lack of a shoulder a problem - although not a serious one because the drivers were so nice - but after Huntingdon, there was very light traffic and the lack of a shoulder wasn't a problem.
The section of 70 from Camden to Huntingdon was the worst riding of the day and the section of 70 from Huntingdon to Jackson was the best. There were fewer hills in general today - probably half as much climbing as in any of the previous days of this tour - but the best riding was in the hilliest section between Huntingdon and Cedar Grove. Headwinds were also a problem and a blessing. They were five to ten mph at their highest which slowed me down a bit, but in the afternoon when the headwind went away riding became mighty hot. Temperatures got into the low 90s in the afternoon and it was muggy. Riding in the morning was quite pleasant, in part because an intense line of thunderstorms had passed through during the night.