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Old 12-17-2013, 03:57 PM   #1
Rutabaga OP
Studly Adventurer
Joined: Aug 2012
Location: Southeast Lower Carolina
Oddometer: 733
Riding While Peached; Under the Influence of Georgia

I got interested in doing state perimeter trips after returning from a Florida trip earlier this year. I noticed that once you were South of a St. Augustine-Cross City line you could not inadvertently leave the state by bike (theoretically you could not get seriously lost) and thus freed of the navigation burden you could fall into Deep Thought and ride. The birth of the Deep Thought Theory (D2T). As riders, we know some of our best thinking is done moving. Moving aimlessly makes for even better ideas. Moving aimlessly for greater distances compounds the results, similar to the well tested and proven ketchup/butter theory that "more is better". Go farther, have greater thoughts. I volunteered to be the test dummy. The neighbor state to my West, Georgia, seemed a great candidate for testing my theory. I would ride aimlessly around the perimeter of Georgia and try to remember the experience, gather some pictures, eat non photogenic food, and take no selfies on my phone.
Aimless Rutabaga riding machine next to a creek near the house.

The Savannah River divides South Carolina from Georgia in the Southern area along with the Chatooga and Tugaloo Rivers in the Northern area. I live a few miles East of the Savannah River and began the trip on October 30 just North of Clyo, Ga.

Clyo is A. The line (A-Y) is the Deep Thought Theory (D2T) lab. Home(Bluffton, SC) is Y. I gave that a lot of thought.

The mighty Savannah River

I don't make this stuff up.

I like to celebrate a new state by taking a piss. The picture taking is secondary.

Something important may have happened here. Maybe. Interesting site to check road marker significance.

The "aimless plan" was to ride North and hug the Georgia state border by turning right whenever possible without crossing into another state. Off I went out of Clyo unencumbered by the thought process.

First Stop sign I came to had a message taped to it.

Said something to the effect of: "Attn: Mail Thief. The packages you stole from my front porch were for my little girls. Please return them." I forgot the last comment. What rotten piece of dog wad walks and steals in this quiet area.
The sign is located at a railroad crossing in Kildare that is seldom, if ever, used midst a group of several houses closely spaced. This is rural farming country supported by the timber industry, cotton and other agriculture. Stealing from your neighbors is not a good idea. Swamps seldom reveal their secrets. I could feel my arms and shoulders tense as I pursued that thought. Instead of my arms hanging loosely and draping in a long arc from my shoulders to the handlebars now they drew taut and caused my shoulders to rise towards my ears. I became the rider with no neck. After riding a few miles the tension left my body and the arms drooped to their prior comfortable arc pulling my shoulders off my ears. During the spring months the river gods upstream at one of the dams decided to keep the reservoirs at a safe level in anticipation of the impending hurricane season by flooding everything downstream with a rather large release of water. This caused the Savannah River to flow at a very high rate and inundated the surrounding low laying swamps with about another four to five feet of water at some points. Rural roads were flooded, animals sought higher ground and the amount of trash floating around with the moving water was nauseating.

Northeast of Sylvania on Ga 73 the highway crosses the Savannah again where I found this marker. This site,
explains it better than I can. Such a great site. It contains pictures of the old swing bridges that spanned the river and were turned to allow barge traffic through. Fascinating history of an area that is rich in such treasures.

But that water barrier means a left turn to comply with my vows of fidelity to the state of Ga. Up Wade Plantation Road, over to Milhaven, past farms, homes, cattle, people, peanuts. Lots of peanuts. Peanuts of the Leguminosae family which eventually end up underground and are harvested by bringing the mature pods back to the surface for collection.There they wait patiently in rows.

Not too far away from the fields was Sardis, Ga. Neat town, had a good feeling to it.

This concrete silo appears to have been used somehow in the lifting, storing, and redistribution of peanuts to trucks or trains. Looked around but the theory of peanut relocation did not come clear to me. However, my D2T is centered on actually riding and not standing around taking pictures. Only me and a busload of Asian tourists would take the time to stare at this beauty. Concrete is so under appreciated. I had to move on for the sake of science.

North of Sardis these cotton bales await transportation. Sometimes it is baled into rectangular shapes about 50' x10'x10' and covered at the top with plastic sheeting. The irrigation systems spray and drip water with these long rigs that are anchored at one end and the wheels rotate the whole rig in an arc across the fields. I have seen some probably close to 1000' in length made of segments 100' to 150' each.

Another crop that used to be very common in smaller farms was pecan trees. Not so much now except in larger operations that have the benefit of scale.

North of Girad on Ga. 23 cattle farms could be detected in the air, a smell not unpleasant, just agricultural in nature. A few telephone poles in the area had big siren looking devices at the top and notification signs at the base. Just not this pole. Off to the East a few miles I could discern the reason for the siren system. The Vogtle Nuclear power plant.

Did a U turn and back tracked a few feet to Jack Delaigle Rd. to get a sniff of that steam. Passed a trailer park that is not the usual run of the mill. I've watched enough of the Canadian TV series "Trailer Park Boys" and I had visions of Bubbles with his shopping carts strolling out to greet me. Ain't gonna happen here. This is new, very new and very different from the tarped out Trans Am on cement blocks standard. New trailers, almost all versions of the towable type, from modest to monsters all lined up in rows and rows with newer automobiles standing quietly beside them. Moms and children walking around yards that recently had been a farm pasture. Oddly there was a small building with a job recruitment sign from a company associated with construction situated on the corner of the field. Periodically I would spot another one or two really large trailers tucked into the woods as I got closer to the plant. The trailers were residences for the constructors of the plant. Rising out above the trees was a big gantry looking structure next to the cooling towers.

A few miles of this bucolic serene riding amidst the pine forest and pastureland puts one in front of a small rural church at a Stop sign. A left turn to Ebenezer Church Road, another left turn on to River Road and you are in a different world.
Vogtle Nuclear Power plant and new building site.

Subsequent to the trip I have been told the gantry is called Big Blue, can reach heights of 300' and is capable of lifting a million pounds. Truth or not I don't know.
Few miles North at MCBean where the railroad crosses the highway is an "oops "of large proportions. The remains of what once had been railroad rolling stock before the violence of steel and momentum gone awry reshaped the tank cars, cleared the pavement of a median and crossing signals then filled the area with debris. The signals were new, the pavement repaired, tracks relaid, the soil excavated and shaped but the sheer energy involved in the destruction still permeated the air. I do not like railroad intersections with highways.

The cool of the morning had disappeared and the heat of a late October day in Augusta, Ga was taking its toll inside my Aero one piece Roadcrafter suit. Time for a $2.99 hot dog lunch with drink, gas, and rest in the shade of a convenience store doorway. Sorry to plop down on the sidewalk in front of your business and eat lunch in my funny looking haz-mat outfit but this is where the shade is right now. Funny that even the smokers won't come close to the ash can barrel if I sit next to it and take a break from the heat and traffic but four tech savvy looking young guys stood in the shade with me and talked software shop talk. I think they are used to bad dressers.
North of Augusta I began to sense a need for sleeping arrangements as I like to be off the road by late afternoon. Mistletoe State Park on Clark Hill Lake was the target and a great choice.

About $25 gets a great place to camp with nice showers, restrooms, electricity if needed. Populated that day with quite a few towed campers and motor coaches. Other than one blaring 55" TV set screaming out some Bruce Willis drivel late into the night most of the enclosed residents were quiet. Oh wait, the guy with the F350 chipped diesel that could not walk 200' to the toilet and needed to let everyone hear his turbo wind up into an asthmatic wheezing fit of noise and idiocy needs special mention. He did try so hard to be obvious. I guess he could not take a dump in his 40 foot long Wheeled McMansion. Or take a piss. Or leave his empty beer cans in the kitchen trash. Five trips to the restroom/garbage can area. Ten trips? I lost count. There Bud Light Boy, you got noticed.
Next morning after a Jet Boil gourmet cup of Quaker spicy oatmeal and then a cup of coffee I got a worthy sunrise over the lake.

Started repacking the kit back on the bike.

All that in here.

Plus a little laundry.

Day #1 in the D2T ride. Clyo (A) to Mistletoe State Park (M)

Weather was supposed to get wet and cold so I planned a destination short of a total soaking and hypothermia. Seemed like Tallulah Falls would be a good choice and I liked the sound of the name. Tallulah Gorge State Park was just on the state line nearby and had some hiking trails with wonderful views.
Started out on Ga. 47 North towards Lincolnton crossing the bridge over Clark Hill Lake and was reminded of another benefit from these recreation areas. They sell a bunch of boats, motors, and fishing gear. I passed many boat storage areas crammed full of the latest models with engines worth many thousands. The back of the storage areas were usually populated by more neglected boats, some of which were motorless, sitting on trailers that were way beyond road worthy. Saw many signs offering storage and mechanical work for the fishing fleet. The hills suddenly get a little larger in this area and I began to see homes atop clearcut ridges looking out over the changing leaves and lower valleys and maybe even this piece of local artwork.

There are differing opinions on this type of Hallmark card but I see merit in the fact that it precedes Facebook, Tweeting, and Sexting, requires you to get off your butt and leave the house, and do a minimal amount of exercise. Most importantly,unlike texting, you can not drive and paint rocks.
Approaching Elberton, Ga I passed a very nice granite marker for the Elbert County Airport and it called my name since most airports get the cheesy airplane symbol on a metal post announcement. I think they deserve better than a common street sign. I owe airports a lot, more than I can ever describe, more than I can ever repay, yet a debt I gladly and proudly carry. But that is another story with its own time and place.
This mere, and I speak that word reverently, granite sign reminded me how lucky I am, how hard I worked at my profession, how rewarding it is to be around the people that frequent airports. I had to go visit Elbert County Airport, Patz Field as it is named. A visit to the City of Elberton site, and the Economic Development tab will give a hint to their pride and joy. It's a typical rural airport, somewhat flat runway, nice small building for a terminal, neatly kept grounds, and a couple of airplanes tied down on the parking ramp. Two fellows were preflighting an aircraft and just waved. I returned the wave and sat still to watch them in their task. A couple of things in life you do not interrupt with conversation: Dogs having sex, the judge in a courtroom, and pilots preflighting aircraft. Probably will not find that fact in Wikipedia. Trust me on this one.

Downtown Elberton has granite markers galore and proclaims proudly on the side of a building that they are the "Granite Capital of the World". I am a believer.

I continued up to Hartwell, Lavonia, Martin, Toccoa, Hollywood, and finally Talluha Gorge State Park for the evening. I arrived before the rain and cold by many hours as it turned out.

The TYPAR home sheathing over the tent was an experiment that needs some work. Turned out to be more trouble than it is worth; REI has tents figured out and need no help from me.

Went for a hike around the park trails and found out the signs were not to be taken lightly.

After the walk, dinner seemed a good idea and something warm had an appeal with the impending rain and cold scheduled to arrive after dark. This trip I had purchased a Jetboil Zip model to improve morale, cook ramen, and trim my knuckle hairs. It is great for all those tasks and more. It simulates NASA liftoffs, makes you look like a self immolating Buddhist monk in your tent after dark and can heat coffee water. Tonight I would get gourmet. Cook the ramen and then pour some Campbell's Chicken & Rice on top, stir, eat.

Some beer may have been consumed in the making of this meal in the interest of science and trying to remove the smell of burnt knuckle hair from my nose. Dinner was good and it was time to batten down the hatches for the wind and rain due later. I move everything except food into the tent at night. What little food I carry goes into the top box on the ass of the bike. My other new purchase was an REI Camp Dome 2 person tent with ground cover. Plenty of space for me, riding suit, my one pair of jeans wardrobe, plus odds and ends. The two entrances provide a lot of flexibility and cross ventilation yet do not compromise on staying dry. Sometimes I read a while in the tent at night and my routine bed time is sunset which this time of year is about 5 or 6 pm.
Day two in pursuit of D2T. Miseltoe State Park (A) to Talluah Gorge State Park.(K)

Around midnight the rain, wind, and cooler air moved in the area with a little noise and commotion. Great sleeping weather and by five or six o'clock in the morn I was ready for breakfast. I have the preparation of breakfast in the tent to an art form. Unzip the sleeping bag and get wrapped up like an elderly person(no problem imitating that) with your legs out front and the Jetboil/breakfast fixings sort of directly beneath the apex of the tent roof. Usually I like to unzip one of the entrance zippers so my slow fat ass can get out of there quickly if needed due to early morning negligence on my part. Now there are two NASA settings on the Jetboil stove gas regulator; first is "adequate to achieve low Earth orbit" which will boil water before you can get your hand out of the way. Second setting is "Oh Shit, Houston we have a problem". Unzip that entrance. Thank me later.
Proper positioning of equipment. Notice the fire machine is kept away from the short and curlies. Knuckle hair smells bad enough. Just saying.

Time for the coffee.

Several more leaves came down over night.

Bike got the royal treatment.

Packed and ready to roll with the laundry(lite rinse, no soap please) on top for the rainy ride.

I had hauled all my riding gear into the rest rooms 100' away to get dressed in the dry as it was still raining outside. Too cool to be wet starting out and I had just resigned myself to a rainy cool ride across the Northern part of Georgia in the pursuit of D2T. It had been a very pleasant stay at Tulluah Gorge State Park and I found out the campground is actually operated by Georgia Power. The cost was about $25 dollars and that proved to be the standard for all the Gerogia State Parks I stayed in over the course of my of six or seven day journey. Staff were all helpful, courteous, and the parks were a delight to visit overnight. Their site, www.GaStateParks. org will work as a great resource for planning and booking stays at the facilities. The Georgia/North Carolina state lines were about thirty miles to the North and then I would have to make another left turn to proceed in a Westerly direction across the top of Georgia, an area I had not any knowledge of and was excited to be visiting with no itinerary or schedule.
Got a headband stuffed up under my chin to keep the cool air and water from migrating between the Aero suit neck and the chin guard of my helmet. Fired up the bike, turned on the electric hand grip warmers and prepared for a long cool wet ride to somewhere. This was gonna suck. It did suck for ten minutes. Then the sun popped out and it warmed up my soul and the surrounding air. From Suck to Sensational and it got better all day long. These rides happen to everyone I hope.
My neighbor and his wife, connoisseurs of fine food and dining advice givers, had recommended Oinkers BBQ in Clayton, Ga for a meal to remember. Soon found the restaurant but my early departure was not going to put me there when they were open. Next best thing is a picture.

Oinker's BBQ in Clayton, Ga. Bless you Bob and Mary Ann, maybe next time.

Rode thru Clayton and the drying roads were steaming from the recent rain and fresh sunshine mixture. Morning traffic was light and it only took a few minutes to find my Westbound hwy US 76/Ga 2 which I intended to follow to somewhere Southeast of Chattanooga, Tn. for day trip of about 75 miles plus detours of curiosity. And meals.

And this type of stuff. A bed sheet in the top of a tree. Laundry day mishap? Parachuting Klu Klux Klansman miss the jump zone?

Back on the bike and I got a few miles more before I just had to stop and get an eye full of the leaves and take another picture of the bike. It had already been ten minutes since the last one.

A few more feet and Lake Burton called my name to the roadside scenic overlook.

One more then we gotta ride.

Til we see this sign, then a quick U turn on a 4 lane across the median.

Yep, McCaysville's very unique "Drug & Gun" boutique for guns, ammo, accessories, and prescriptions. If you are going to compete with the Big Box stores you gotta get creative.

If you are just competing for the "I've never driven a tank" dollar then your MBA son-in-law says go this route.

There was a tank roaming around out there behind the deuce and a half truck and a few customers in line at the shack. After a tank driving reality park and a gun/drug store, suddenly the bed sheet in the tree was looking pretty damn normal. Now I am convinced it was an aerial KKK drop.
For a 63 year old Southerner riding a German bike with a Chinese motor wearing a Aerostich Roadcrafter Hi-Viz yellow suit made in Vietnam that has two Seal Line 30 liter Baja Bags strapped to the seat behind him with his laundry, sandals, and Gatorade secured by inner tube strips, I was starting to feel some commonality with the morning around me. Arms are loose, shoulders drooped, just soaking up Georgia on a bike. Getting Peached.
I knew the Appalachian National Scenic Trail would cross my path on this route and I was eager to see that historic path which runs from Springer Mtn. Ga to Katahdin,Maine. 2186 miles of trail does not begin to convey the distance involved, geographically or mentally. From the Appalachian Trail Conservancy site, I found the numbers that 2700 started the trip from Springer Mtn, Ga in 2013(as of 11/20/13) and 385 had made it to Katahdin, Maine. A prior neighbor's two daughters walked the full trail. I never saw the trail crossing the highway or any signs concerning it. I may have been distracted looking for sheets in tree tops.

Stopped in Macedonia at the bottom end of Chatuge Lake for a cup of coffee and honey bun. The Sheriff Department SUV backed into the parking space by the front door was a pretty good indicator that the coffee might be fresh or at least the store would be interesting. Both guesses were good. The lady behind the cash register and behind the cigarette hanging from her lips was gracious enough to make sure I got the fresh pot and "not the old piss". I really was not listening too closely but was staring intently as she managed to talk with the cigarette staying balanced on her bottom lip while the top lip did the talking part. I commented on the new growth I had seen and asked if it was good, "Well yea, but some of them people got no class". I thought about that comment as I went out front and sat beside the garbage barrel to soak up Macedonia on a Friday morning while sipping coffee and eating honey bun. Nice and quiet except for the flies circling the garbage barrel. A mid 1980's Corvette convertible pulls up to the first of two pumps and its owner sits yakking on the cell phone. The string of expletives wasn't too bad but how many times do you need to say the "F" word in one poorly constructed sentence? Guido was pretty adept at juggling phone, gas cap, and pump handle as he tried time and time again to get gas flowing. My guess was he didn't see the 81/2" x 11" "Pay First" handwritten note by the gallons indicator or he figured the half zipped velour shirt, sockless loafers, belted Dockers shorts and 17 inches of gold link necklace assured his exemption from the cash up front rule. So he leaned into the car and leaned on the horn. She was right about the no class. She also was not turning on the pump.

On through Hiawassee, Blairsville, Blue Ridge I rode soaking up the good life and then turned South to Ellijay. Lunch at a small deli and a map session to find a state park. No, I didn't forget the no photogenic food promise so you get just the table. Kinda of a honey baked ham in a roll thing with chips and iced tea. Nuff said.

Fort Mountain State Park was the choice for camping tonight and I was really enjoying the sunny Friday afternoon run up a twisty road to the mountain top. Highway 2/52 runs from Ellijay to Chatsworths which is just a few miles past my destination for the day. I needed a few supplies and that would put a Dollar General store in reach without much travel time.
I pulled into an overlook to overlook.

Across the road from the overlook was surprisingly The Overlook Inn. Looked very inviting as a getaway weekend spot.

I had no idea the state park would be crowded and nothing available til I pulled into the office parking lot. A short while later the Ranger(?) looked on the computer and said they were full for the weekend. "Wait, one just cancelled. Do you have a Friends of the Park Pass? It will get you one night free and a years worth of day passes". She processed that transaction and then tried to book my free night only to find out the one empty tent site was booked again. Head Ranger banged a key or two and overrode something so I got a tent spot. Better yet right next to the showers. Yahoo. Third night in a Ga. State Park, third excellent experience. $29 went to the state and I went to my gravel condo.

Day three of the D2T ride. Talluah Gorge State Park(A) to Fort Mountain State Park(G).

Things were a little damp from the rainy Talluah Gorge departure but dried quickly in the afternoon weather.

Lots of RVs in the park but the campers would show up later. I needed to run into Chatsworth for supplies. Something like a thermal shirt or long johns, ramen, chocolate chip cookies, Gatorade. I headed into Chatsworth at the foot of Fort Mountain and of course passed an overlook.

On the guard rail around the overlook was a First Amendment scratch pad.

Quite a family legacy to leave for the kids. That and the World Wrestling Federation lifetime passes.

Maybe I lead a sheltered life but I have never met a person that carries a felt tip pen with them. Do these people leave the house with the intention and supplies to write on guardrails? Truth be told, I like reading their efforts.

Headed on down the mountain side into Chatsworth and passed this pile beneath this sign. I do not like litter. Morons throw stuff out the car on the roadside.

Into Chatsworth I rode around a few minutes and found my Dollar General. I imagine this is Macys to some people and respect that fact because the customers in these stores are spending dollars important to their families. Money in here is held a little closer to the heart than at some other retailers by their customers. When a ten or twenty dollar bill leaves the purse of a mother shopping at Dollar General, it leaves behind a lot of other possibilities that will need attention. Discretionary income does not walk into these stores. The thermal underwear shirt was in anticipation of the much colder air headed into the mountains after the passage of the Cold Front earlier in the day. Low thirty degree nights and cold windy days were forecast for the area I would be traveling in for a while. The clerk gave me a few extra plastic bags as asked so I could try to retrieve some of the trash from beneath the Scenic Byway sign. The traffic volume was too great to risk stopping at that point on the side of the highway during my return up the hillside.

A view of Fort Mountain looking Eastward from Chatsworth.

Dinner was delicious but I do not remember what combination of ramen, chicken noodle soup, chocolate chip cookies, bagels, and Gatorade made it so great. Before dark a family secured the lot next to me with their tent and begin to collect firewood. I am not a fan of camp fire smoke. I know I did it as a kid and so payback is fine. My way of dealing with it is to burrow down inside my sleeping bag with an open bag of cookies or Quaker spicy oatmeal or damn near anything that has an odor and like one of the little devices you plug into the wall that gets warm and emits scents. Once the cookies or oatmeal get up to sleeping bag temp they go to work on the smoke.

I noticed on the camp literature a list of cable TV stations available by merely hooking up to the connector on the same wooden pole as the faucet and electrical outlet.
Maybe there is a good reason to have cable TV, or any TV, while you are out camping. Damned if I can think of one.

After dark a couple rolls in to the tent spot across from me and proceeds to unload the Audi, and unload the Audi, and then get the extension cords and lights out. Some corner of Charlotte Motor Speedway is missing a bank of lights tonight. I've seen Federal prisons that could not come close to his rigging of luminators. One million candlepower arc lights in each corner of the 150 square feet of gravel pad to keep the night boogers away from him and his lady. First up was the dining tent with the pop out aluminum legs and the table for stoves, pots and food. Tent went up pretty smoothly over the next hour or so and things settled down until some small creature wandered into the safety zone and got pummeled with what looked like a full sized shovel. I think that unsettled both of them because they were talking loudly and still getting supplies out of the Audi half the night. I had solved the smoke problem but the cookies are no defense against noise.

Got chilly overnight and I was up by 6:30 AM, dressed, fed, and had my Maxwell-House-Coffee-individual-tea-baggy-looking-thing of morning delight. Down the hillside again with eyes peeled wide open for signs of frost and black ice on the roads towards Chatsworth and beyond.
Next leg: Across the top and down the side.

Rutabaga screwed with this post 12-21-2013 at 04:22 PM
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Old 12-17-2013, 05:24 PM   #2
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Well done Rutabaga! Very entertaining.. Subscribed.
Anyone can take the helm when the seas are calm.
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Old 12-18-2013, 06:32 AM   #3
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Awesome report. In.

Just one tiny little suggestion. More paragraphs, with a blank line between.
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Old 12-18-2013, 09:05 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by SavannahCapt View Post
Well done Rutabaga! Very entertaining.. Subscribed.
Thanks. Good to hear from you.

Originally Posted by rodr View Post
Awesome report. In.

Just one tiny little suggestion. More paragraphs, with a blank line between.
Glad you enjoyed it.

Good suggestion. I think we have money in the budget for some blank lines.

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Old 12-18-2013, 09:46 AM   #5
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Nice Post

Peanuts, cotton, train derailment sites, and nuke plants. Good variety of things to see. Really enjoyed the information to go along with the photo's.
For the record, I hate snakes!

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Old 12-18-2013, 10:08 AM   #6
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Very cool. I'm planning to do much of the northern part of this as part of a ride I'm working on for the spring. Thanks for the awesome pics and writeup!
'15 WR250R.
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Old 12-18-2013, 01:05 PM   #7
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A first class report. Thanks for the story, story and pictures
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Old 12-18-2013, 04:27 PM   #8
Rutabaga OP
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Riding While Peached: Under The Influence of Georgia.

Just a few miles West of Chatsworth I passed this sign on Hwy 225 very close to the Chief Vann House and I pulled in to find out more. Since the picture is horrible I will provide the link to my new favorite site. They really have the goods. This historic site is also along the Trail of Tears.

Soon I came to an intersection with a lone Shriner soliciting donations for their wonderful work they do for children with medical needs so I pulled over and fished out some funds. Many years ago they helped a friend. Thank you gentlemen.

Moved to within about there miles of the Tennessee state line and then turned left towards Ringgold which would eventually put me about 20 miles Southeast of Chattanooga, Tn. Not sure where I was headed by the end of the day but I knew it wasn't any closer to the city and the choices for roads were getting pretty slim.
Now and then you just have to open an eye to get lucky. Saw a road sign with Old Alabama Road heading South and my childhood home namesake was all the reason I needed to turn left and ride. Cruised hwy 151 along the Western side of Taylor Ridge which looks to be the left edge of Chattahoochee National Forest for about thirty miles through rural farms on a Saturday morning schedule in the beginning of Fall. A sky bursting with sunshine warming the cool windy air through the shady sections of the tree lined rural farm roads was an easy place to be. I was easy. The bike was easy. Riding was easy. So was missing my turn ten miles back up the road. Map moment needed.
Cloudland Canyon State Park had a nice ring to the name and was now an afternoon goal. Backtracked towards LaFayette( I think the local's say it LaFeet or something similar as I was told later in the day) and made a general turn towards the NorthWest corner of Georgia where I needed to be before dark. The riding kept getting better and better as the day warmed up, the roads stayed cooperative for an easy pace, and the scenery of the Fall leaves just made a perfect Saturday.

Ahead on the road, at the intersection of Ga 193(which was my path) and Ga 341 lay a little pavilion structure that appeared to be public. Great place to feast on tuna, bagel, Hershey chocolate, and Gatorade which were all accessible without dismantling my carefully constructed laundry perch with a motorcycle underneath. As I unthreaded my legs from the seat I saw off to my right God's gift to the traveller.

The Pigeon Mountain Country Store. How easy can life get?

Walked in to the store/resturant/damn neatplace and knew this was gonna be good. It was that and more. Ordered a BBQ sandwich and went to the front porch tables to sit and soak up sun. A young fellow came out and he asked where I was going. He was from this area but had lived around the San Diego area for a number of years running a bicycle shop from his house, fixing cycles, surfing, and bicycling with friends. He moved back to this area and now was either owning this place or helping to manage it. He told me the Cloudland park was a great place to visit, check out the leaves and stay. Seems a thousand other people had gotten the same advice. I saw several groups of cyclist moving down the road whilst I sat, some stopped in the pavilion for rest and water breaks. Sure enough and predictable as the sun rise, one of the customers walked over to the bike and was inspecting my home away from home, base station for the D2T. He moved to the rear and was looking at the underwear/towel/tshirt drying while riding rig. I feared for his safety because if one or more of those tightly stretched inner tube bands snapped at the wrong moment while he had his face that close it was gonna be death or maiming by laundry. He said he had a Harley at home in the garage and "a washer/dryer in the house". It wasn't meant to be a snarky comment and I thought it was hilarious. Great humor always has a bit truth involved.

Darn good lunch at The Pigeon Mountain Country Store, got some good advice about staying at Cloudland Canyon State Park, met some interesting people. Helluva stop.
Within the hour I came to the Cloudland State Park area and it was congested but that is a relative term. I got within a few hundred feet of the entrance and police had traffic in both directions under their control. Or lack of it. They were letting the cars from both directions alternate going into the park but that did help the fact that only one car would enter about every five minutes. The multitudes from the Chattanooga direction soon realized they were in a line of fifty and the other direction had two cars and me waiting. Time for me to leave.
Found a road running along the ridge line headed South and turned into the afternoon sun for a spectacular run on the top of a valley which rivaled all I had seen today. Rode between the trees on either side of me that blocked any view and could only occasionally see through them to the adjacent hillsides a few miles away. Something amazing was all around me but I just could not get a clear view. I noticed several pieces of property for sale and a few had what I guessed to be Realtors and clients standing on them. Overlooks along pretty mountain roads are a God given right and I just needed a little divine intervention. It appeared in the form of Bill. The hoped for break in the trees was on the left side of the road. It had a small pull off area and a viewing area protected from the cars by a guardrail.The view was awesome and had been worth the wait.
A wonderfully silver haired ambassador waved for me to pull over and showed me a safe place to put the bike next to another. A good looking bike out riding, not "at home in the garage." The gentleman told me I was the 43rd person he had waved over today to enjoy the beauty that he was obviously so proud to share. We introduced ourselves, I met Bill and the day just kept getting better and better. Peach me Georgia, I am here to enjoy your fine state.

Bill explained the lay of the land and pointed out a spot below us in the valley that had been the site of a Civil War reenactment for The Battle of Chickamauga which occurred farther North.

The actual battle involved an estimated 125,00 Union and Confederate troops that resulted in casualties second only to Gettysburg, each side suffering horrific losses.
Bill related he had grown up in this area and had moved back from the West Coast at some point in the past. He inquired about my travels and we did some motorcycle talk, the story of his bike, his adventures, etc. All this conversation was periodically put on hold as he would hear another car coming from either direction and gently walk over to the guardrail, fulfill his ambassadorial duties, then walk back to me and continue our easy get acquainted conversation. I relayed my efforts to secure a campsite at Cloudland and the reason for coming by here was to continue South for about 50 miles and try James H "Sloppy" Floyd State Park. (Yep, chosen only because of the name had that quality I look for in such important matters.) He listened to that plan and then just stood still for a moment, not replying and letting the cars escape his wave. "Tell you what, I've a house and twenty acres just down the road on the top of the ridge line. You are welcome to throw your tent out in the pasture for the night. Hell, I've got a tent and I'll join you." He stopped abruptly. I could sense the pause was an intake of breath trying to retrieve the offer he had just extended so graciously but that could not be withdrawn with so much grace. I felt the warmth, the sincerity, and the pure Southern hospitality in his voice and in the offer of a place to park my tent for the evening. I also felt his angst in that long second or two of pause. "Hey, I don't think I can stand another cold night on the mountains" I said in complete sincerity, "and I need to get little farther South along my journey today. Appreciate the offer." I think it would have been a wonderful evening sitting and sipping with Bill in his pasture along the mountain ridge in the cold of an early Fall. He has that quality about him. Hope some of you get to meet Bill one day on your rides along the ridge. Tell him I said "hello".

And a + 1 for a wonderful picture of a wonderful person.

(yes, I asked and Bill agreed to the picture and use of it for this purpose.)

I needed to get my hustle on if I was to stake out dirt, do the tent thing, eat, and be done before dark claimed the sky again. Actually got to visit Cloudland, Ga as it was the intersection of Ga 157 & Ga 48, just a mile or two inside the state line from Alabama. Headed East to Summerville and then into James Floyd State Park. The ride off the ridge line had been pretty and getting down in the valley had blocked some of the cool wind that had infiltrated the South so quickly and early as far as I was concerned. It had warmed up with the descent into the lower land but the sun was getting lower and it was a good time to get off the road for the day. "No sir, we are fully booked for the weekend" was not what I wanted to hear from the uniform behind the counter. He suggested I head farther South to Rock Mountain Public Fishing Area only 15 miles or so away. He thought there would be a site available along the lake and that sounded like the best plan. The name Rock Mountain did not have much of a ring to it but close by was Lake Tightsqueeze, so all is forgiven. No attendant at the park so money goes in the self registration canister. Rather good selection of sites for RVs and the tent sites luckily were situated on the terrain that was not suitable for building car pads.
Up against the lake was this spot with a small outcrop for fishing.

Took the single cup supper with bagel down to the edge for a dinner out.

Ended up being a great site with great camping neighbors.

Young guy next to me had his girlfriend from Berry College, a private Liberal Arts school close by in Rome, Ga with the worlds largest contiguous campus( 27,000 acres). They boast a student/professor ration of 13.3/1 on their site( and I figure a student/acre ratio of 1/12.6. With an enrollment of 2,141 hormone bombs it seems like a great place to mingle or get lost in the woods. Or just take a blanket and, well, you know. The girlfriend left before dark, so he, my other neighbors and I had a chat-a-round by their campfire. We had several hours of interesting conversation.

Don't know if you have noticed but most of the time there are two Gatorade bottles strapped to my pile somewhere, usually an empty one on top and one with some Gatorade strapped in front of a sandal on the side.

Pretty regular feature in my packing routine and there is a good reason for them both. One is for fluid intake during the day. The other is for fluid output during the night. They are stored in opposite corners of my tent during the night; drinking bottle at the end with my head, piss pot by my feet, both in identical side pouches. Sometime during the early stages of getting to sleep that evening I felt like the tent was oriented on the unlevel ground so that my feet were higher than my head by just the slightest amount. Not good for acid reflux prevention. I sat up in my sleeping bag and reversed my position so the feet were at the lower end. Slept the sleep of babes. Woke up early, took my required medicine and lay back down for the required time frame before eating. Oh GAWG. NO. That tent seems the size of Vermont when you are scrambling from one end to the other in search of the correct Gatorade bottle for something to wash your mouth out with. Luckily the first thing my hand found in the side pouch was my medicine, then I recalled grabbing it and the real Gatorade in the same hand earlier. Relieved, I removed the cap from the other bottle and it smelled strikingly similar to the original product.

Day #4 the D2T ride. Fort Mountain State Park(A) to Rock Mountain Area (T)

Rutabaga screwed with this post 12-21-2013 at 04:28 PM
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Old 12-18-2013, 09:06 PM   #9
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Great report, Amigo! You traveled a lot of my usual roads in the North part. My wife & I stayed at the Overlook Inn for our 15th anniversary. Did you happen to make it to the overlook inside Fort Mtn. Park? It's one of the best I have found! Carry on...
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:44 PM   #10
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Great RR Rutabaga!! Subscribed
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Old 12-20-2013, 05:49 AM   #11
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Interesting route concept. I like it.
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Old 12-20-2013, 10:06 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by TheAdmiral View Post
Peanuts, cotton, train derailment sites, and nuke plants. Good variety of things to see. Really enjoyed the information to go along with the photo's.
I love the variety that is available most everywhere. I learn a lot of new stuff also.
Originally Posted by ZFenderguy View Post
Very cool. I'm planning to do much of the northern part of this as part of a ride I'm working on for the spring. Thanks for the awesome pics and writeup!
I thought it was a wonderful area for riding. I think you will enjoy it in the spring.
Originally Posted by Tom48 View Post
A first class report. Thanks for the story, story and pictures
Thank you for the kind comments.
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Old 12-20-2013, 10:13 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by HPTuner View Post
Great report, Amigo! You traveled a lot of my usual roads in the North part. My wife & I stayed at the Overlook Inn for our 15th anniversary. Did you happen to make it to the overlook inside Fort Mtn. Park? It's one of the best I have found! Carry on...
Did not get to that overlook but stopped at damn near every one on the road. I think I was at "overlook overload" by the time I got parked that day. Wonderful place to gaze out over the valleys.

Originally Posted by Slider17k View Post
Great RR Rutabaga!! Subscribed
Thanks for cutting me a "Pass" on the RTE the night before my departure.

Originally Posted by G.R. View Post
Interesting route concept. I like it.
Yea, I'm liking the concept myself. Next segment will reveal one of the benefits to that choice.
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Old 12-20-2013, 01:26 PM   #14
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Breakfasted and went to the lake edge for some early morn scenery. The very cold air that had moved into the area was giving the lake a chance to show its heat from below.

The cold air was also affecting me in ways that I noticed cumulatively over the past few days. I don't do cold well, a fact I noticed clearly during the Winter I spent just South of the DMZ in Korea many moons ago. After that bone chilling season I made a vow to myself, and I have for the most part been true to it, that I would not complain again about being hot. Heat I do. Riding in the cool air all day then sitting before getting in the warm sleeping bag, getting dressed after getting out of the warm sleeping bag, just totaled up to too much cool time. I sleep great while camping on the ground, I eat good from gas stations and the Jetboil, I have very interesting stimulating encounters with people I meet. The routine is an easy pace designed for a fun and relaxing journey. However, I felt a road weariness settling in and needed to plan accordingly.

Instead of wanting til later in the day to pick a destination for the evening, I selected one before starting my morning on the bike. Lumpkin, Ga was the choice, logical as it was only a few days past Halloween. Pumpkin. Lumpkin. Yea, I know, but it works for me. Besides, who is riding this road? Me or you. Should be about 175 miles of relatively rural straight shot two lane roads as close to Alabama as practical.

Came out of the the wooded foothills area with the twisty wet leaf strewn roads to bright sunshine of a Sunday day in Rome, Ga. A little congested for my taste but was soon South of town and rolling towards Cave Spring, Cedartown, Tallapoosa. Sunday travel and traffic along this path has its own flavor and pace. Depending on the different denominations, church is either just starting, in session, or getting out, and diners, restaurants, and hosts plan accordingly. I could smell their efforts in the streets as I weaved my path through their towns this morning and it had an effect that mere mortals can seldom resist. My path soon crossed Interstate 20 which means trucks and truck stops. Hot dog, drink and honey bun in the parking lot.

I needed to cross the full extent of LaGrange, Ga and endure its traffic. My parents lived in the city for a few years and it is not a particularly pleasant return as their stay really began with the increasing frailty of elder age, advanced to frail and falling, then to an "Independent LIving" facility around Atlanta. Very tough process to watch parents endure. At one traffic light in the center of town I recognized the Catholic church where my dad's memorial service had been held. I drew in a short breath, said " Hey Daddy" and rode out of town quickly.

Highway 219 paralleled Interstate 185 to Columbus, Ga and would have be quicker but it has the personality of a pencil eraser. I stayed with the rural route until the last possible moment, rode Interstate 185 through Columbus to its termination at the gates of Ft. Benning and transitioned through the Army base headed South. The Army operates several major components on the 250 square mile complex, Infantry, Sniper schools, Ranger and Airborne training, and has many other important soldiers. It was interesting and inspiring to ride down the middle and sightsee. Thanks guys.

Out the bottom of the Fort and arrived at Lumpkin. Lumpkin. There, said it again. Don't know why, but it has stuck with me like a rash. Actually, longer than some. Short ride to Providence Canyon State Park. It looked like a very miniature Grand Canyon. Think Lego size. It had camping but we got halfway into the registration process before I was told it was remote camping and involved a several mile hike to the site. However, just a few miles down the road was Florence Marina State Park and it had drive up sites for camping. What a great place it turned out to be.

Picked a spot and got unloaded. Was the only tent. Everyone else had an aluminum box.

I spread out like ticks on a hound and and settled in for a meal.

I promised nothing photogenic in the food category. Promise kept.

The lake next to the campsites had some fishermen but a lot more tranquility than boats

Day #5 in the D2T trip. Rock Mountain State Park (A) to Florence Marina State Park. (X)

Morning brought another shot of cold air into South Georgia but it was forecast to warm up quickly. I decided to head home due East across the state. Enough D2T.

The charm of the morning lake and the prospect of further adventures camping was tempting. My heart and soul were full of travel.

Tranquil moments like this to start the day, 300 miles of rural Gerogia to fill the day, a sweet bike ride across the breadth of my birth state. I am a lucky boy. I am Peached.

Rutabaga screwed with this post 12-21-2013 at 04:31 PM
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Old 12-21-2013, 05:36 PM   #15
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Having decided to rein in the trip meant not quite making the entire perimeter of Georgia. I left 350 to 400 miles sitting on the map, so to speak. A tough decision, sights unseen, places unvisited, people unmet. It will remain so until another trip. Today's pleasure was Eastbound for about 300 miles across the lower third of rural farmland the state has so much of to offer.

This was Day #6 of D2T. Florence Marina State Park (A) to Bluffton, SC (Q)

Made it 15 miles before I found this in downtown Lumpkin, the Stewart County Courthouse. Fine looking building.

The sign says it is a "handsome structure". Handsome it is.

We all start to lean when we get old.

Continued East on US 280 to Richland, Preston, and Plains. President Jimmy Carter(1977-1981) lives in Plains, Ga. I have read a lot of his books, admire his philosophy, his patience, and his efforts in working towards a better life for many peoples of the world. A discreet guard house on the edge of a driveway looked too sophisticated for a regular citizen's need. Was it cheesy to honk as I passed? I have no idea if it was his house or not.

Americus was quick to appear, a beautifully restored hotel downtown, and quick to fall behind me on the highway. Spent some summers there in the 1950's with my grandparents. We had the run of the town. Some family friend owned a gas station(when gas stations were gas stations and manners were mandatory) and he had a pet squirrel that sat atop the cash register while his owner pumped gas or fixed cars. Other times he sat with the owner in a wooden chair under the drive thru portion of the little brick building with the gas pumps.

Hard for me to pass an airplane, especially one that works for its keep. It required a stop. A lot of young men fly crop dusters, some middle aged men fly them differently than they did when they were younger. My admiration for them is born of experience in a whole different field of aviation. These pilots approach the edges of aerodynamics, go confidently into the darkness beyond the boundaries of performance graphs where they should not be, fly it like they stole it, and grin all day long. They young man on top of the building in front of the plane sat and watched as I watched him. I threw a two fingered salute from the brow of my helmet and moved on down the road.

When you get into Abbeville, Ga the Wilcox County Courthouse demands your attention. It is at THE Stoplight. My eyes were drawn to the clock atop the building.

In my childhood I accumulated hours of viewing time from an identical courthouse clock structure located on top of the Monroe County Alabama Courthouse. Easily accessed through an unlocked door, a short series of steps up, and the city square was yours to enjoy for the afternoon. A couple of more steps up a rickety platform of 1"x6" boards nailed loosely and you were behind the clock. It was hot, dusty and all you could see was clock butt. I once found a convicts uniform on the platform beneath the clock, the white with black stripes type, and it damned near cured me of visiting the top of Monroeville, Al. This was before Haprer Lee wrapped her Pulitzer prize winning novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, around Monroeville.

Across the street from the courthouse is this historical marker.

More history.

West I went to McRae, Alamo, Vidalia(think Onions), Claxton(think Fruitcake) and finally home.(think relief) It was great to be off the road.

I had wandered about 1200 miles in six days, been the guest of Georgia, enjoyed its sights and citizens, camped on its grounds, and tried to breathe its essence.
Try riding Georgia. You might enjoy being under the influence of the Peach.

D2T tracks run Oct. 30 - Nov 4 2013
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