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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Trace to Nashville then On to Bowling Green

Thursday March 27,2014 Room 306 Sleep Inn Bowling Green, Kentucky 7PM CST

Continued on the Trace in on again off again drizzle ---at least through the remainder of Mississippi and the tiny bit of Alabama across which the road runs. Although we saw none of the promised daffodils yesterday and the Trace people said the large field was located south of French Camp, we did see several clumps here and there and several large swath of them, especially in Tennessee.

They are in really strange locations, not near any cellar holes or other evidence of ancient habitation. Also, though they are “ naturalized “ as bulb catalogues describe the scattering, they are in many places just a single clump—the rest could not have all been planted and died out! So, I did a bit of research to determine whether they could be wild. It seems they are—BUT since daffies are not native to North America they must be escapees from earlier planted gardens. It seems that like all angiosperms they form seeds and, though bulbs are the more successful method of propagation, the seeds will germinate if they fall in favorable conditions. The plants produced are smaller than the garden variety and they also take anywhere from five to seven years to bear flowers. This explained the presence of multitudinous clumps that we easily recognized but that had not borne flowers nor did they seem to have buds in the offing. At any rate, like all daffies they were wonderful touches of golden sunshine on an otherwise dreary day. Very few trees leafing out and those that were are really more encased with a slight haze of color indicating swollen but not yet opened leaf buds.

In several places along the road in Mississippi there were swaths of trees that had been blown down since we passed through here in February—there were certainly several areas of very gusty winter winds if not outright tornadoes. In one area the very large trees had been blown over on the edge and fell right across the two lanes of the road. Glad we weren’t here for that!

Once we crossed Cedar Creek at Bear Creek Mound we entered Alabama and came across fields that will be planted in corn a bit later when the ground starts to dry out. There was, however, a field of cotton already planted for this year. Alabama line is 310 miles from Natchez so we pass through a good distance of Mississippi on the Trace—as a matter of fact most of the Trace is in Ms—since it is only 444 miles to Nashville from Natchez. We cross the Tennessee River within a few miles of the Al-Ms line which is really interesting. That river flows in a very  strange path to the Ohio! Although the next picture shows us entering Tennessee it is really a distance from the river but the scenery didn’t change very much so I didn’t take many pictures.

Once in Tennessee we had entered Mid-Temperate hardwood forest—no more stands of pine, no more magnolia, lots of oaks with last fall’s leaves still clinging to them. The greenest thing around is the grass at this time of year and the clumps of daffodils and clumps of leeks—which by the way, according to my research are connected linguistically, at least, to daffodils.

Let’s see if I can explain this clearly. St David is the patron Saint of Wales and the daffodil is his flower. In Welsh, which I’ll neither try to spell nor pronounce, the name of the daffodil translates as Peter’s ( who knows why ) leek AND the leek, as we all know, is the symbol of Wales!

Shortly after Little Buffalo River is the Tobacco Farm and Old Trace drive. I didn’t photograph the field of cut tobacco nor the inside of the empty tobacco barn—probably have a dozen pictures of both—when growing, when harvested and hanging in the barn and when the harvested field is dry and the barn empty—but we did take the Trace drive—which is always scary because there is an area where it runs dangerously close to the eroding edge of a very high ridge. Still, I love driving on it and looking through the trees to the fields of the farms below. For most of its short distance it isn’t much different than that “two lane paved road” I found to follow in Louisiana the other day! This time I spotted a red-tailed hawk perched in a tree looking over the valley, too. Bill backed up slowly—got me right opposite the hawk—I opened my window—lifted my camera--------------and the hawk yawned and lifted himself off the limb and with wide-spread wings and tail flew swiftly through tangled branches and out of sight. How do they, with such a wing-span fly through that mangled mess so swiftly and without mishap? Amazing!

When you return to the main Trace you soon come to the Baker Valley overlook and my favorite farm in this part of the country. I have a zillion shots of it framed by that tree but I just love it.

Then it was onto that part of the Trace we followed weekly while staying in Nashville last Fall. Took shots of the ever present, throughout the country, of these ugly but graceful turkey vultures. Soon we crossed the beautiful white bridge that crosses the Franklin historical area—it is the bridge that every website and brochure use to depict the beauty of the Trace.

Stopped at Loveless CafĂ© on the off chance we might get a table—much of the parking lots are out of view so I didn’t know they were packed. The wait was 45  minutes to an hour. No way—there isn’t food delicious enough to wait for it. I should have remembered the whole town is packed with this March Madness stuff! So, off we went down Old Hickory Blvd under trees so full of blossoms they looked covered in snow. Got on 65 north and struggled through traffic and roadwork until finally across the Cumberland and headed to the suburbs the traffic thinned out.

Traveled the remaining hour or so to Kentucky and Bowling Green. Ribs for me and Pork loin for Bill at Smoky Pig. Then to the Sleep Inn. We are staying two nights—trying to get in just a little more warmth if not sun before truly entering the North and the eastern time zone and the return to what is left of winter—probably another month to month and a half. Sad smile

Have a nice double hot tub, books to read, a River walk park, if it doesn’t rain all day tomorrow and maybe a museum if we feel like it. NOT the Corvette plant and museum—have done that several years ago and have no desire to see a sinkhole close up. Tomorrow, therefore,may be a slow picture – blog day. Just another lazy day!

Have to go—cute Cavuto is on---just love him. Goodnight all, KandB



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