They’re only hills. We’ll get over them.

So. The First Ride of the Season was a bust barely a couple of miles in. We had planned to ride about 10 miles or so from the nature center in Knoxville into Market Square downtown and partake of hipster brunch, except that while riding off trail through the Old Sevier neighborhood (currently being hipster-ified) Tony ran over something sharp passing a construction site that deflated his tire. Anna Grace had cruised ahead on her Cannondale, meanwhile, and had to wait it out while Tony hopped on my bicycle (not a vision for public consumption) and pedaled back to the car, rescued me*, loaded the bikes and finally, fetched AG.

Lemons from lemonade. We decided to attempt Hattie B’s Nashville Hot Chicken for lunch, even down to tossing the chicken with the flour and spices in a paper bag.

Tony prepared his famous Belgian Waffles, while I fried the chicken. We cheated a little and used boneless pieces because we are noobs, but that’s okay. The end result was spicy and crispy and damn delicious.

For extra flavor we added genuine Tennessee Maple Syrup and a hot sauce Anna Grace and I picked up from the Space Center in Huntsville: The Sun. The Original Hot Sauce. 🤣

A week later, the bicycles had been repaired, tuned and polished, and we were ready for The First Ride of the Season, the Redux. The Townsend Historic Trail bills itself as an “Easy” and family-friendly trail that makes for a nice 10-mile loop. Perfect.

Beautiful scenery on this 10 mile loop. A couple of the hills along the trail, however, were a little not-so-easy. Phew.

We passed the Smoky Mountain Heritage Center; on its grounds is the Isaac Anderson house. Anderson was the founder of Maryville College, whose forest we have wandered.

A swinging bridge across the Little River.

Lunch was at the Apple Valley Beer Garden, a charming little place. Along with our Spicy Fried Chicken sandwiches we even enjoyed some local entertainment, too!

And then, homeward bound for hot showers and a cold (Un)SweetTea on the terrace.

*Whilst waiting to be rescued I sat outside a local-sourced restaurant and chatted with the owner; he was managing some updates to make his restaurant socially-distanced compliant. He kindly offered me some water and gave me a signed business card, adding, “Drop in some time, and your beers are on me.”  Southern Hospitality.