Four Corners - Day 24
Start Location: Monteagle, TN
Ending Location: Little Rock, AR
Miles Today: 434
Trip Miles: 7618
States Visited: 27
Provinces Visited: 3
Low Temp: 71 degrees
High Temp: 95 degrees
Min Elevation: 193'
Max Elevation: 1935'
After yesterday we decide we need a more scenic ride today.Since we crossed into the Central Time Zone late yesterday, we get an earlier start today. The temperature is in the low 70s and the weather is beautiful. We travel west on route 41 for a short time and then pick up route 64 for about 100 miles across Tennesee. Traffic is light and the time passes quickly.
After that we enter the Natchez Trace Parkway. This parkway is a 444 mile trail that, like the Blue Ridge Parkway, is part of the National Park Service. You can read much more about it at their web site. The Parkway is just beautiful. It is similar to the Blue Ridge Parkway but without the elevation and the roads are not quite as twisty - still an excellent ride. While on the parkway we cross into Alabama but miss a picture. We also see remnants of Hurricane Katrina. There are piles of brush and downed trees along the road and we saw several crews from the park cleaning up the mess. We are only on the parkway for 50 miles because of concerns about going any further south; but this is definitely a road to add to our list of future rides. Before we leave the parkway, we cross the Tennesee River and run into a group of bikers from Kansas who are out for a weeks ride and share some experiences.
After we leave the parkway, we take route 72 west and then we cross into Mississippi. Route 72 is a 4 lane divided highway with a speed limit of 65 but it is not an interstate so the traffic is light and the scenery is very pleasant. Along route 72 we have our first experience with the potential gas shortage. Although we feel that we will be okay, we certainly don't want to go any further south at the present time.
It's also interesting that we have gone from alligator roadkill in Florida to Armadillo roadkill in Tennesee and Alabama to racoon roadkill in Mississippi. We don't have any pictures because you really don't see them until you are almost on top of them and we decide we are not going to turn around for roadkill pictures and you probably don't want to see them anyway.
From route 72 we cross back into Tennesee, go around Memphis, and then cross into Arkansas. We don't see any promising roads in Arkansas so for now we take I-40 on into Little Rock and the end of the day's ride. We're still working on where we will ride tomorrow. It looks like most of the scenic roads in Arkansas are north/south and we are currently in an east/west mode. We'll see what happens.