Thursday, October 07, 2010


Joe and Betty's oldest boy is now 61 years old as of today at 10:45 a.m. which is the time listed on my birth certificate. It also list my father Joe's profession as "Butcher". Mother Betty was 19 at that moment and is listed as a housewife. That was about 61% of a century ago and gravity is working much more fiercely on my body. I am now locked in mortal combat with gravity.

So in the epic battle for truth, justice, and the American waistline I have started riding a road bicycle. I like it.

For my 61st I decided to do something hard (for me) and ride from the Tennessee Valley to the top of Mt. Roosevelt on the Cumberland Plateau. That sounds more epic than it is since our yard goes from the Tennessee Valley up to the Cumberland Plateau  but it is still an 9 mile ride if you go by pavement with 1200 feet of vertical, half of which is in the last mile or so. The pavement at the end of our driveway is at 800 feet. The Roosevelt Mountain Fire Tower is at 2000 feet. Here's the Google Maps Route. For some reason the Google wouldn't let me embed it. Point A is the end of our driveway in case any of you decide to come by. Point B is the Fire Tower. If you note the embayment and main lake on the right that is the Tennessee River backed up into Watts Bar Lake. You can see the embayment and the Tennessee river main channel in the distance in this picture. The picnic platforms look to be old CCC projects made of cut sandstone. In case you've ever heard of Crab Orchard Stone, it comes from a little way past the the back side of this mountain.

So that picture is taken from Mt Roosevelt looking across the Tennessee Valley to the Smoky Mountains in the distance. On a clear day, of which there aren't that many any more, you feel like you can reach out and touch North Carolina. My bike is resting while I take pictures. It's tired.

Here's the old fire tower which they have fenced off with razor wire. I think it would be an awesome project for Tennessee to restore this old relic. I've been up it and the view is 360 degree fantastic. People would pay.

This is the view looking northeast toward the Cumberland Mountains. Sorry about that old guy getting in the way. Somebody's undying love for somebody else has been marked through on the rail behind him but you can't see that. Apparently "will love...forever" doesn't mean forever.

 Just so you is much easier on the thigh muscles to ride a bike down 1200 feet than going the other way. The only thing that hurt going down was my hands from the death grip on the brake levers.


  1. Happy birthday, Steve!

  2. Wow. Look at all that weight you lost!

  3. Happy Birthday! I've been there several times, never by you're route. It is a beautiful unused resource.

  4. Cool! glad you came over to the darker/or lighter side of road cycling=less crashes. that is a tough climb for sure. shoot me an email when you and the Mrs. are gonna ride sometime on the weekend and i'll try and join you.