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. WWW.hmdb.org 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, http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?MarkerID=6542 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, www.cityofelberton.net 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, www.appalachiantrail.org 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.