With heavy rain, I stayed at the hostel another day, making the occasional foray out to explore the town. I went to the Blues museum, and spent the evening with the guys from the UK at a local restaurant/bar for live music.
My energy level remained high, yet I didn’t want to move on. I wasn’t having fun. The upcoming forecast included yet more cold and rain, making cycling unappealing. The quagmire of the smaller roads would increase, muddy and exhausting. Yet changing to even slightly larger roads continued to include heavy traffic, often with no shoulder. While overall the drivers were great when they had room to pass (the truck that tried to run Kurt off the road notwithstanding), the scissoring of having vehicles pass me from both directions left little room! The small back roads also included dogs. A lot of dogs. Very aggressive dogs. At one point I was chased by two, BOTH missing a rear leg from being hit by a car previously. They at least were fairly easy to escape.
The main factor of my discontent however was far simpler. Hundreds of kilometers of nothing. I usually couldn’t see the river itself, just the wall of the levy or a wall of trees. Few markets for food without significant detours. Accommodation remained far apart–farther than I wanted to cycle each day. Kurt had followed the Trace, which made my days solitary. I realized I’m used to Europe, with a much higher density of interesting things. I was bored, and not looking forward to the rest of the trip.
When I reached Memphis, I took a few days to see the city.
Then I arranged transport and made a leisurely drive home. Over on the Trace, Kurt had similar sentiments, and made similar plans, heading home after Nashville.
Thanks to all the family and friends who checked in on me directly when they hadn’t heard from me in a while. Everything is fine. Indeed, I’m good. I’m not sad to be home. I’m glad in fact that I could see that I wasn’t having fun, and adapted. I mean, I could have just carried on, and didn’t. That’s great!
Except perhaps for some of the dedicated US cycle trails (not routes along highways, actual trails), I’m likely done long-distance cycling in the US. Which I’m totally fine with. Europe? I’ll be back!
Total distance ~800 km.