Thursday, June 30, 2011

Savannah GA and 1 more day.

Hinesville GA to Savannah GA ( 53 miles )

Made it all the way to the east side of Georgia today and 1 more day to go. It was so nice to get a text that Kelly, Creean and Pavin were leaving the same time I did this morning. I had a much shorter day!!

Good storm last night brought a nice fog this morning. lasted til 9:00 or so before it burned off. Almost half way to Savannah by then. It was a 1 stop day for drinks and a quick rest, then on into Savannah.

What a cool town and history lesson I got today. A lot going on here since 1733. Original state capital, civil war battles, slavery, and ship trading in one of the original 13 colonies. Really cool town to visit if you haven't already!

Had a good lunch at a local brewery, checked in to the hotel, and I took a 10 mile ride to the Bonaventure Cemetery. Well worth the ride, it was way cool to see how the plots were laid out, all of the family members in the plots and 200 years of historical burying. Very cool, and I'd call it a must see if you are here.

Then a stroll along the river walk ( couple pub drinks and dinner along the stroll ). All the historical cobblestone streets and rise up the river banks to the town, the warehouse, and the whole river was very neat.

After that on to a Haunted city tour in the back of hearse. Great ghost stories, great history of the 100 of thousands of people that dies in battles, slavery, and drunken sailor escapades was a great time.

Foggy morning.

Foggy ride.

1/2 way Richmond Hill GA

Even the road markers wear a helmet.

Done and ready for lunch.

Our pub crawl count was 3.

Ready to honor the dead.

I didn't recognize any names.

One of the more elaborate plots

Plot "A1".

Streets from the river up to the city.

The old mortuary is now a haunted bed and breakfast.

Free Masons from 1734!

I wasn't in that one, but I was in one of them.

Original bar and brothel built in 1734. Priorities, gotta build that as soon as the city was settled.

This bridge starts the last day!

I can't wait for tomorrow to see my family after 6 weeks!!!

Stats - 53 miles ( 2,475 )
Calories - 3,101 ( 138,960 )
Time - 4:48 (196:04)
Total Climb - 499 ( 61,842 ft )

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Water Towers and Wipeouts

Blackshear GA to Hinesville GA (57 miles)

Let's start with the Wipeout. Splatted me and the bike on the ground today going through the city with construction going on. Very smooth move with many on lookers to laugh at. Had 4 lane highway narrowed down to 2 lanes and tight shoulder, so had to ride the sidewalk. That was great until they decided to finish the last 15 feet of sidewalk with a pile of sand ( instead of concrete for me to ride on). No worries, I see a break ( but I also think I see an elderly lady behind the wheel coming up from behind). So, I make my move, hop down (inch, inch and a half lip) on the "pre final surface coat of blacktop off the concrete curb. Sprint around the last 15 feet of unfinished curb, hop the front tire back onto the concrete curb ( inch inch and ahlaf again). But the back tire decides not to play along , wah wah wah.... :( Bike twists, J-dog falls right, luckily most of it up and into the sand, but left a quarter size piece of my left palm on the ground. Hop me and and the bike up as quick as possible to make sure we don't get run over. Laugh, dust myself off and enjoy the shear excitement of a bicycle wipeout in front of many. Then stop at the C-store, clean off the blood and dig into the my bags for a band aids. No worries, no I can't tell if my partially paralyzed left hand the whole trip is hurting or not.

Water Towers (more cool pics and how they work here)....been meaning to bring these up. Some time after Austin TX, I started to notice the water towers again. It's too bad I had forgotten what they really were all about. My smartphone, google maps, interstates, bill boards, and getting to my destinations as fast as possible had fainted my childhood memories of these wonderful statues.

As I've ridden off the new beaten paths and back on to the old ones the past 3 weeks, I've simply had to watch the horizon for the water towers to know I was approaching the next town. I started remembering traveling as a kid and how I'd have my Atlas Map, following our path and tracking the next town, always wondering when I'd see the Water Tower. What color would it be? Would they have a town logo? What was the zip code? Back then just like it's been the past 3 weeks, I'd see the water tower long before the town and know I just have a few more miles to town.

So, as the last 3 weeks have progressed, I've remembered how the Water Towers are the Light Houses of the land and realized that the water tower symbolizes a lot of this trip for me. The past 6 weeks has been so refreshing to 1) live simple ( no car, a bike and 2 small bags, OK I got all my gadgets, but you know what I mean!), 2) admire and enjoy the rural towns and all the things they symbolize to me, and 3) be entertained and cared for by all the people I've met along the way.

Way to go Water Tower for always being there.

Screven GA 31560

Waycross, GA 31501

Normal start of the day ( it's not Waffle House, managed to stay away from them)

Another beautiful Georgia morning.

Cool place, just didn't realize it at first. It's a locomotive repair shop. Probably had 30 engines out on the ground 10 bay doors where the engines come in, and a huge yard in the back with 40-50 engines back there.

Not creative enough :(

Apparently this town knows how to party.

Almost done with Georgia pine forests

Orange barrel dodging before the wipe out.

I don't think I figured this one out.

The secret's out now.

Rolling into Hinesville.

My man CT from Jazzy's barber shop. I had a great time in the back of the barber shop in CT's chair. Here's what I learned....CT's from DC ( but he's a Cowboys fan ). People from here split their loyalty to the Jaguars and Falcons. CT's got 2 boys and a 5 year old girl that "owns him" already. I'm next to Fort Stewart, largest Army base east of the Mississippi. CT's wife is an Army RN and served 13 months in Iraq while he took care of the kids ( you rock CT!!). Women are the #1 conversation in black or white barber shops ( CT's worked them both). My gray hair's the easiest hair to cut. We shared stories and decided we're all alike, we work hard, we want the best for our kids, and we need to take responsibility for our decisions, doesn't matter what color your skin is or how much money you have. Thanks CT, I'm glad I found your chair today.

Stats - 57 miles (2,421)
Calories - 3,428 ( 135,859 )
Time - 3:42 (191:16)
Total Climb - 344 ( 61,343 ft )

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sort of like a machine.

Valdosta GA to Blackspear GA ( 75 miles )

I know this is the 39th day of the trip and I should be pretty good at this by now, but, I still gotta pedal. Today I was like a machine for 5 hours and 75 miles. That's 15 MPH average, best of the trip. I know it was flat, I know there was a little tail wind, I know I pissed Aaron off with yesterday's comment about be the lead wolf so he pushed it today, but that was a good ride. Miles 31-35 were even at a 17.1 MPH pace at the end of my 36 mile non-stop run. That was a fun ride.

We went a little further than planned because Waycross hotels were a bit expensive and out of the way, and the wind helped us the extra 10 miles or so. But.... the $40 hotel here is certainly in the "bottom 5" of the trip. I pretty much try not to look around too much, 'cause you just don't want to know what you might find.

First 36 miles from Valdosta to Homerville GA was pretty clean road, 4 lane divided highway, a little climb of 100 feet and pretty flat. I went straight through all 36 miles and then stopped at Jerry's Cafe in Homerville for some eggs, bacon, and cinnamon roll. Good stuff, but I've got to start throttling back on the caloric intake now. The post office was right across the street. So close to shipping back the extra 10 pounds of camping gear, and the route maps ( heavier than you think) , and the 15mm wrench I bought in El Paso to take my pedals off if I needed to on the train. But I didn't, it's a "gotta lug it all the way now kind of thing". Also, I'm a little worried if I throw my weight off something bad will happen. Karma maybe?

Next 27 miles, maybe the most treacherous of the trip, certainly top 3. Down to 2 lanes with an 18" shoulder, heavy truck traffic, and constant monitoring of the mirror to see what was coming up on me and timing it with oncoming traffic so they could move around. Bailed to the side of the road about 10 times when the semis were coming and going past me at the same time.

But, it was beautiful southern Georgia landscape. Red sand roads, occasional pecan grove ( very mature trees, way bigger than New Mexico ), and A LOT of pine trees. All kinds of forests of them. Newly planted, newly harvested, half grown and big and tall ready to go. Very very cool to ride through this area and pretty much what most of the pictures were from.

I'm going to miss starting out days like this. (That's the bike talking not me)

Down town Valdosta GA.

Morning logs.

Pecan racks in Valdosta

Didn't realize what was passing me otherwise I'd have raced. Not as fast as the sprayer yesterday, but still pretty quick.

Hell yeah I got the conductor to blow the whistle!!

OK seriously this is what I heard the trees talking about. Tree in the forest-"Well I don't know why she got to go be a pole". Pole-"Girl, I'm straight as an arrow, you got a booty on you that's why". Tree in the forest-"Oh no she didn't just say that, girl you are in big trouble". Pole-"Back it down girl, you don't really want to be where I am". That's all I can repeat, it got really nasty after that.

There has to be a country song already out there about this creek. Seriously somebody find it for me.

I got nothing for this one that's nice.

"Wood Yard Road" - seriously, we see it, don't need the sign for it.

Artsy, still try to have one of those every so often.

Apparently I was on the Okefenokee Trail today.

Jerry's cafe to the left, train stop on the right.

OK, Mile 1 is at the start of EVERY county here in Georgia. It's really throwing me off. How's that go? 911-"How can I help you". John-"Yeah I'm at mile 1 with a broken body from a semi that just hit me, can you help". 911-"What Mile 1 are you at?" John-"Mile 1 that's all it says". 911-"Well do you know what county you are in?" John-"not from around here, so NO!!!".

Found out where these go.

The Acme Pole Company in Blackspear GA.

Pine Tree stages of life:


Half baked

Mature and ready to go loggin'

Stats - 75 miles (2,364)
Calories - 4,345 ( 132,431 )
Time - 5:00 (187:34)
Total Climb - 384 ( 60,999 ft )

Monday, June 27, 2011

That's the longest day I have left

Tallahassee FL - Valdosta GA ( 75 miles )

I can't believe there's only 4 more days left! I can't really tell if it's been a long time or short time riding at this point. Some of the trip seems just like yesterday even though it was 5 weeks ago. And then as I was re-reading some of my earlier posts, it seems like they were forever ago. It's just a little unusual how "time" is seemingly different after doing this for 6 weeks.

Anyway, I keep getting lazy here and not really checking over my bike at night when I need to. First, its an awesome bike and it's easy to take advantage of not paying attention to it. I worked a little too hard this morning for 20 miles because the back tire was about half inflated. I couldn't figure out why Aaron and Aleena were kicking my a** today, one stop Aaron says "I have a confession, we had pizza and pasta last night, we are really feeling good today". I said "That must be it, I can't keep up with you". The next stop I said "Maybe it was my air pressure? I just pumped up my tire, let's see how the next 15 miles goes". Back to our normal riding where I'm the lead wolf the rest of the day.

Rode out of Tallahassee pretty much against the inbound rush hour traffic. It was about 20 miles to the Georgia state line and then 15 more into Thomasville GA. Took a quick bicycle shop stop for some supplies and then on the east side of town a quick C-store stop to refil drinks and some food. Breeze through Boston GA ( they just have a mini-marathon) and then Quitman was another 15 miles down the road. Quick stop for 3 fun size snickers and a water and off to Valdosta GA right off I-75 for the night.

Georgia roads are a bit not fun. 3 foot shoulder with a 1 1/2 foot rumble strip. Just took the bulldozer and ran it along side the road when they laid the black top. Some of it wasn't quite so bad, but most of the day was riding the white line and looking in the mirror to make sure people moved over to the left lane ( at least it was a 4 lane divided highway all day long).

Learn more here, or trust me. The Armadillo must be over populated ( so their odds are higher), the stupidest or slowest animal, or both. Thought I'd seen them all, but there were dozens of them scattered amongst the road kill today. I also see that they have poor vision ( but that's gotta be theory, how do we really know that). They are furry on the bottom, they have short legs, and their shell can not ( I repeat can not) with stand a car's weight, let alone a truck's weight. They smell and the buzzards seem to enjoy them fresh. Whatever it is, they are so not any good at crossing the road.

I've got 2 - 66 mile days and then splitting the last 80 over 2 days. Now it's the home stretch and it's going to be great to finish off this ride. Just need to make sure I don't hurt myself a this point!

Day break at the Tallahassee HoJo.

Good Bye I-10, been following you a long way.

Jogging with the twins early in the morning uphill.

Typical view.

I know they were way ahead of me cause of the low tire. They already had their picture taken and trying to get out of there before me.

Hello Georgia, you've got the best and most over engineered rumble strips.

Bike Shop stop.

Food stop shop. Bun, slab of ham 1/2" thick, slice of cheese. Presto, ham sandwich.

We can live with that rumble strip.

Seriously wanted to ride underneath that, couldn't catch him. Those things can move BTW!

Boston. I've been all over the place.

Pecan groves again. deja vu of being all the back in New Mexico.

Quitman GA courthouse. They don't have the same flair as Indiana courthouses though.

The Withlacoochee river. Where did these names come from?

Easily the most unique shower I've had. Shower nozzle in the back.

Going so fast I blurred.

Stats - 75 miles (2,289)
Calories - 4,345 ( 128,086 )
Time - 5:24 (182:34)
Total Climb - 1,752 ( 60,615 ft ) That's 2 Mount Everests!!