It was a pleasant, unseasonably cool morning in June when Linda decided to do some work at the Cedars of Lebanon butterfly garden. Knowing I could get a bicycle two to the spot and loving to ride the backroads in the area, I decided to come along for the ride.
I put my bike off at the work site and started my pedaling trip, determined to get further down the road than on previous times. On the last one, I covered all of Whippoorwill Road, which let me get a street-side view of much of the cedar forest extending into the backcountry. This time I would head toward Norene and over Blue Wells Road while I waited for Linda to finish her gardening. It didn't matter how far I got because she could call me by phone and then drive to pick me up.
The beautiful large trees on the cedar forest road seemed to circle me in a cave of green as I took my time to enjoy them at a leisurely pace. I listened and heard the common birds and saw a redheaded woodpecker and a bluegray gnat catcher.
When I reached Norene, a journey of six miles, I stopped at a little country store for a cold drink. The attendant assured me that a turn onto Blue Wells Road could get me back to the park but said it would be "a long way" on a bicycle.
After my refreshing stop, I backtracked toward the park and turned on toward new territory on a route that ended on Simmons Bluff Road. This was a well-traveled road, but the wide pavement expanse made up for the increased traffic. There was a gentle flowing creek just beside me still running slowly from the last two-inch rain. I would put this down in my memory bank as a creek to run in my kayak after the next big downpour. Looking at the mailbox numbers along the road, I noticed they were receding, indicating that I was getting closer to Highway 231. About that time, Linda called to say she was driving to pick me up in the car. The problem was that she had trouble finding me since the backroad intersections had no signs, and she couldn't figure out where I was until I told her to use the map app on the phone, which quickly straightened her out. Had there been no phone reception, she might still be driving looking for me.
The 12-plus-mile journey complete with a look at the Tennessee Cone Flowers growing on Burnt House Road fulfilled my fun day of exercise and exploration. I never get enough of the Tennessee backroads.