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The Open Road


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The Open Road


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Do you remember when your area offered the open road?

 

When you were young and could go out for an enjoyable pleasure drive unencumbered by traffic?

 

No aggressive drivers, no pressure or road rage.  Just the open road and the luxury of a drive with the windows open and clean air.

 

Does this sound like a dream?

 

Since moving to middle Tennessee, many of us have enjoyed frequent such drives on beautiful, well maintained roads, with little or no traffic.

 

With good weather year-round there are plenty of opportunities for a leisurely drive in the country.  A chance to recapture that feeling you had in your youth before crowded roads became the norm.


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I-24 & I-75 to Florida

Having a son and grandchild in Orlando, Florida means frequent road trips to those environs. Luckily we have an almost straight run of seven hundred miles with a 70 MPH speed limit most of the way. The trip consists of 150 miles on I-24 to the merge with I-75 at the Georgia state line. From there we head another 350 miles south; past Atlanta to the Florida border, and then it’s I-75 and the Florida Turnpike for just another 200 miles to the home of the Magic Kingdom. Making good time on these fast moving interstates means the trip can usually be accomplished in one day, but occasionally we stop in Atlanta where we find the abundance of hotel space usually means a bargain.

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Parkersburg, WV

Our recent drive back from New York was given an alternative route to see a bit of history. While a visit to Parkersburg, WV added about 80 miles to our trip, it was well worth the diversion. Besides, the chance to experience I-68’s beautiful scenery through western Maryland and northern West Virginia made up for any extra mileage the detour added. Parkersburg, on the banks of the Ohio River, was a wealthy boom town in the late 1800’s as can attest the many historic mansions that overlook the river from Ann, Juliana and Market Streets. Parkersburg was the center of a flourishing oil and natural gas business when the Blennerhassett Hotel opened its doors in 1889. Our stay at the hotel, which was a showcase of the gaslight era and is a National Historic Landmark, was an opportunity to see how it has been restored to the elegance of that period.

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Longview Drive

When was the last time driving was a pleasure? It seems that as I get older, the experience of driving in the northeast’s congested conditions, with the attendant stress of overly aggressive drivers, all in a hurry to get somewhere, becomes more unpleasant with each passing year. These days, though, driving has become a pleasure again. My wife and I like to head out about an hour before sunset and just enjoy the scenic roads near our home in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Starting out northbound on Lower Station Camp Creek Road, we parallel the rippling creek while under its tree lined canopy. Soon a left turn takes us east on Jenkins Lane, past the well manicured lawns of the large homes lining its shoulders. Next, it is Longview Drive through some steep hills and past the wooded home sites of secluded houses up private drives. At its end is Long Hollow Pike and westward to large estates and horse ranches and cattle farms. This is all within an easy drive with little or no other vehicles sharing the road while we watch the colors of the sky change with the setting sun.

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Green River Parkway

A sunny day in May and it was time to explore the open road again. This time our destination would be Owensboro, Kentucky; a city of 55,000 on the banks of the Ohio River. It is 125 miles from our home in Hendersonville, all of it an easy drive with little traffic.

We begin our journey on Vietnam Veterans Parkway westbound for ten miles to I-65. Then it is north 45 miles to Bowling Green, Kentucky and the connection to the Green River Parkway. From there it is 70 miles northwest to Owensboro along an open road with few vehicles and only eight exits before its end at the Ohio River. The Green River is so lightly traveled that we set our cruise control to the 70 MPH speed limit and don’t touch the brake for the entire one hour drive.

At our destination is the outdoor terrace of a little Mexican restaurant overlooking Riverfront Park and the rolling Ohio. The river is moving quite swiftly this day as we indulge ourselves with Margaritas and Quesadillas while watching the river traffic. Next stop – a short walk to River Park Center and the International Bluegrass Music Museum.

Open Road Motorcycle Ride

 

When:  A Sunday afternoon in August 2007.
Where:  Long Hollow Pike in Sumner County, Tennessee.

When:  April 4, 2012.
Where:  Long Hollow Pike in Sumner County, Tennessee.

"If you don't ride, then you don't know."

Whether you are now a motorcycle enthusiast, or think you might enjoy the pastime, Tennessee is a great place to ride.  The roads don’t suffer from the harsh winter damage typical in the northeast, and courtesy is the norm for drivers in the Volunteer State.  Add to that, the large number of riders that engender an awareness of motorcycle activity, good riding weather nine months of the year, light traffic conditions on beautiful scenic country roads, and you get the ideal confluence of conditions to enjoy this special brotherhood of the road.


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