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Old 12-16-2014, 10:09 AM   #1
AllBlak OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Sep 2014
Location: The Land of Nod
Oddometer: 159
a week or so in GaFlatistan the Coast to ONF

So this was the weather news on the first morning of the year I decided to take the bike to explore the Georgia coast and Flatistan:

"December Thaw Gone Wild: Record Highs Continue for Midwest While Florida Sees Fifth Day of Frost Advisories

http://www.weather.com/forecast/national/news/december-thaw-major-warming-trend?&cm_ven=Email&cm_cat=undefined"

Brrrr.
But then I am getting ahead of myself. It started when a fellow inmate posted his time share that he couldn't use (Thanks Paul), and I thought what a great way to go spend some time with (and some without) the family! After all I had done a quick trip in the Jeep a few years before and spent the first night on a Georgia beach in shorts...

So back to the planning. I had been to Max BMWs "Color in the Catskills in October as a means of testing the equipment I have had for years and see what did and did not work. It was a great ride up and back, but Saturday was a soaker and the wind Friday night, well I almost intentionally left the errant (or subconsciously placed) "F" before the "t" in "the wind" if that gives you an idea. Anyway, Max put on a great event and I got a good field test in. It became apparent that my MSR stove needed a rebuild it just would not run. Thankfully someone with a Jetboil provided me with hot water for coffee. (Thanks Engineer from Rochester!) Given the stove hadn't been used since camping on a beach in Mexico ten years ago. But who knows. Maybe the fuel was bad, maybe the pump, but it was fixed before this trip.

Anyway I figured my tent was good, aside from a hole in the fly that I didn't recall. My bag was good I felt great about the bike and had some solid gear. But, anyway...

I started thinking, two weeks in Florida, pula a week of touring, (or more?) maybe I need to become a bit more space efficient! So I read some gear and trip threads. I decided to go the Hammock route. Hey, It will be warm right?

I also picked up a sage green vinyl table cloth to use as a fly, if needed, or a partial bike cover/ camouflage if stealth camping is required. I also went with a green and brown hammock. Well I got home and the tablecloth was a bit shorter than I thought. Oh, well nothing a couple of trash bags and binder clips can't fix. So I added six grommets to the table cloth and called it good. Besides the table cloth makes a good impervious layer in my gear bag. I so wanted one of those BMW GS Soft Bag 2's, but then I figured that I could put the "must stay dry" stuff in the panniers and save the bag for the cook kit, food (in ziplock), and other stuff that could be either bagged to protect it from water seeps, or allowed to get wet. Besides I could use that money for something more likely to be needed.

I watched the weather, corresponded with other inmates from the area, checked out the tent space thread did some test packing and researched the areas that I wanted to see. Then in the week leading up to the trip a huge Nor'easter came through and temperatures dropped. Ugg. Ok need some glove liners, my windshell blanket to over my sleeping bag if it gets to that. A few disposable heat packs from 5Below, hey check out this little camp stool, which is also just the right height to use when adjusting your valves. Score! I looked at the REI and Helios ones, but decided to stick with my thermarest converter and grab a Sena instead! Gotta have music, and they are less than $90 now!

Ok, it's Saturday and I am running around doing last minute details, packing and errands. The Sena is charged, the hotspot crapped out but was replaced under contract, (it arrived Saturday morning) I will have some time later together a few playlists and get to bed early so
I can be on the road at 8. Oh yeah and the high Sunday is only going to be 44 (6 C). Then comes 2 AM as I finally have everything crammed in, and made sure that I have not forgotten anything. It's tight, but I am using my old tank bag as a system case liner in case I cut it too close.

7:30AM, Drat. This is going to be a late start. Bike packed, for breakfast for warmth, clean up, close up the house, gear up (glad I did a test run last night, this is a lot of stuff)


On the road (9:30AM) drat, maybe I can still beat the Sunset to Georgia. At least I am warm and have music to rock out to....wow road crews working on Sunday, maybe it is going to get nice today, but it was supposed to be sunny, and it's not I hope that I stay warm.

Back roads to dodge the super slab as long as possible, hey is that snow? I thought that the roads looked wet back there...I am going add those glove liners before I get on the Freeway...

The first other motorcycle that I saw on the road was a full six bike motorcycle escort taking someone from D.C. to (I am guessing) the Baltimore a Ravens game. The guy on the lead bike gave me a look when he saw me headed the other way. Kind of saying: "are you nuts? We are paid to be riding in this, and you are out here voluntarily" (It still was not warm).

Hmm is that water dripping or wind on my nether regions? Where is my camelback hose?

Well just north of Richmond I finally broke through the front and crossed into the sun. Just south of Richmond I stop for my first full tank (I did top up before hitting the slab). A McDonalds/Exxon. A good place to warm up, grab a coffee and fries to go with my meat biscuit, and check my camelback, that was definitely liquid, I hope it was not my flask.

Well, it was the camelback. The bite valve had gotten squeezed and the whole thing siphoned out, ran down the outside of my gore-tex and dropped as a puddle in my lap. On positive note the gore-text works and I am wearing mostly technical fabrics that dry quickly. The temperature here was showing as 57 so I decided to drop the glove liners, Hippohands, and the technical top with the dampest waist line. The negative, apparently BMW summer pants are not color fast when they get wet, and a bathroom hand dryer can do only so much. It wound up being a slightly long lunch with a fair bit of sun drying going on. I am so glad the sun came out! Back on the road and it is almost 2PM, well there goes a daytime arrival, at least I know a few probable places to camp...

Well that tank took me until sunset. Just before I got off for fuel I saw a guy on a black Versys,
He was in all black and from behind it looked like he was wearing a hoodie sweatshirt. When I came up on him I saw it was just a funny spoiler on the helmet. Anyway, just a quick stop for fuel, and to muck with the Sena, my phone keeps pausing 3/4 into the first or second song. Just long enough to get on the road and running. It was fine with the first play list, but the last several have been a bit of a pain. Let's try deleting the pairing and re establishing it.

One exit down the road, no that didn't work. Several more "hit the off ramp, pause at the stop sign, then strait across to the on ramp" attempts and I give up. We will go quiet for a bit.

Around 7:30 pm I stopped for dinner, a warm up and to futz with the Sena. Well it's off now. Maybe it needs a charge. I take the phone in, grab a booth, order coffee and dig out my (now moist) trip notes. A point to remember if it starts raining, the outer shell pockets will soak through. Don't put any important papers in there. Now where to stop. Something close to the border I think. Either one of these first two, or my fall back..now for music. Maybe it is the phone? Is it on battery saver? No well let's try skipping the playlist and go by genre or album.

Back on the road 8:30pm full dark, pretty cold for South Carolina, I opted to go back to full morning gear, just no glove liners. Cycling the grips and seat on and off seemed to work pretty well. As for the music, I kept jogging the songs, tweaking the volume and trying to keep the two devices connected. It seemed to work. The best part? I saw some fantastic shooting stars along the way.


I hit reserve again just after crossing into Georgia. It's still chilly but not as bad as it was in the hills. I stop for fuel and a last warm up and a bit of food as it is too late to be stumbling around a campsite. This McDonalds is a mess with a huge line and an irate customer berating the staff, who to be honest did not seem to be operating up to par. Disclaimer: it's not that I like Frequenting McDonalds, lord knows I hate the fry-o-later aftertaste, but they have free wifi, and in these two cases, shared a parking lot with a gas station. In any case it gave me a chance to warm and finalize my path in before settling down for the night.

So I filled up and headed off to my spot. I found an appealing tree line with a few down branches to open a hole and provide cover for my bike. I tucked it in, found two trees with about the right separation and a nice bed of pine needles underneath, deployed the hammock and got settled. Even though it was now 2 AM, again, I was still a bit wound up, so I sat back to enjoy a couple of nips to counter the coffee, and watch a few more shooting stars, before eventually drifting off.

What was that? Too loud for my eyelashes on the sleeping bag (yes I read that thread). Russell, crunch, it's definitely something out there, and not those little "Flitting about" bird like noises. Where is the flashlight?
There movement, low, dark...
Ping a pair of eyes, low to the ground, whitish gleam. How does it work? Foxes reflect Yellow, cats green? Raccoons? What if its a skunk? Well the food is still on the bike, zipped, clipped and secured..there is nothing that attractive anyway, I hope they don't gnaw. Through the bag....snore...

Ah it's getting light, but I need more sleep, after all have five days to cove part of the distance that I covered yesterday. Besides it freezing out there...snore

Finally I wake up, unable to sleep because of the light, not hungry because of the late meal, and not interested in moving because of the cold. What to do... Aha, I planned for this. I have the ipad in the hammock with me, I will write to my fellow inmates... And so here I lie my friends, telling you the tale of my GaFlatistan explorations.

looking up:
__________________
'00 Gelände Sport_________________________
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece, but to slide across the finish line broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, leaking oil, and shouting GERONIMO!!!"

AllBlak screwed with this post 12-17-2014 at 06:53 PM
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Old 12-17-2014, 10:11 AM   #2
AllBlak OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Sep 2014
Location: The Land of Nod
Oddometer: 159
Day 2 - Pics to be added later.

2
Stirred from my morning revere by a campground caretaker, I put aside my IPad to chat. Mike was a nice fellow and invited me to his site for coffee. I declined as I needed to eat some of what I had brought to make space for my cold weather gear. He told me where his site was an I told him that I might stop by later. And so we went our separate ways. By this point, with no wind and plenty of sun, it had warmed up considerably and I was able to make my preparations in just a tech shirt and shorts. I wound up doing a rather major repack as I did not want to dig through my cold weather stuff every time I needed something, which was the way the Test pack had run. And I wound up putting the tank bag into use.

Breakfast and repacking done, I suited up and went to find Mikes campsite to say hello and ask some advice on what to see and what to skip. I strapped my jacket to my gear bag as I was just puttering around the campsite...it was not quite as warm as I expected, and a bit further to the proper sites than I expected. I did not see Mike's car but what a view. The other sites were incredible!

Onward! I headed south checking the sites and heading to scout out the area that I had identified with some interesting potential for my first full day in Georgia. I skipped the Public's and other major groceries on the way out as I thought that there would be something in a town close to where I was planning on stopping. I also wanted some clear tape as the map pocket on my tank bag seemed to be filling with air somehow. Well there would not be much to be found later.

I came to a small town just north of my turn. In the town I saw the town hall, a post office, a package store, and a little mart of some sort. Maybe there is something on the other side of the tracks. Hmmm, nope, and here is my turn. Well here we go, I have enough to get by anyhow. The turn led me through a little "Community" with a couple of churches, a few houses and nothing else I quickly came to a T where the area that I had wanted to explore should be to the left. Well there is a locked gate. No way in. I had read that the there was a contentious real estate deal between two partners developing the area, but that was four years ago. Apparently they are still at an impasse and the I saw on the map are not public. Ok let's go south, Boy Scout Camp Road sounds promising.... The pavement quickly ended and tuned not into packed dirt, nor sand, but dry loose silt! Wow, this is squirrelly! I stopped at a junction with an open gate to the east. Well that would be the direction I want to go,but I would rather not get accidentally locked in. Well as I sat there what comes out? A road grader. Now I see what the fellow from Montreal was talking about on his Trans-Lab trip thread. These things make big soft dirt puddles that you can't see! Evil things... The gentleman in the grader stops locks the gate, says hello and trundles off.

My decision having been made for me, I motored strait on ahead getting the hang of the silt bit by bit or, more aptly, learning to read the dryness and fluffy ness. Yes, it was actually fluffy in the worst spots. Down the road a bit it was more firm. A few more gated roads turned up all locked. Eventually the silt ended and the road became an older packed sand and grass track. It looped around a couple of man made ponds and I spied a little pavilion between the two of them one had blue-green water that looked like it was used on a golf course, and the other, larger pond looked like typical pond water. This was the end of the road. It was a peaceful little dead end by the ponds. In retrospect I should have set up camp right there.

As it were, I turned around and headed back to try my back up, another historic state park. I was hoping for something like The real campground that I had left. Alas, when I got there the gates were closed and locked, no way in. I guess it was a day use only site. Not to worry, just down the road is a little island with a branch off the mans road called Camp something or other. It's getting dark now and after turning down the camp fork I see something low and black out of the corner of my eye, several actually. Then something darts ahead of me and I hear hooves scrabbling on the pavement. I grab a handful of brakes, hear a squeal and narrowly miss. Was that a boar? Are you kidding me? What a day! I motor ahead slowly until the road comes to a T. The map say strait ahead, what looks like a driveway, but it has a sign that says Lake Pomona so I try it. Well it quickly turns into sand, then deep sand and I get squirted off onto the grass. I stop and have a look around to mellow out after the near miss of the boar, the sand and think about my next fall back. I guess that I should have learned my lesson form "Boy Scout Camp Road", as there was just a private community of small cabins around a lake. It was pretty though. My next option requires a some back tracking, A ten mile stint on the slab and another series of back roads. Well I struck out three more times before pulling up the list of hotels and finding the nearest few. A bunch of cold dark roads with tendrils of fog forming and I had a nice warm place to sleep. A good chance to plug in charge everything up, and plan the next couple days.
__________________
'00 Gelände Sport_________________________
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece, but to slide across the finish line broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, leaking oil, and shouting GERONIMO!!!"
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