Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day One Hundred-twelve, 0910620 - White Plains, GA

Day One Hundred Twelve, Date Saturday, June 20, 2009
Time in Saddle: 8:58
Distance for the Day: 80.63 miles From Blackville To White Plains, GA
Accumulated Trip Distance: 5317.86
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 205’/614’, Highest: 622’ Accumulated: 2746’
Speeds: Avg: 8.9 mph, Max: 31.2 mph
Weather: 74° getting to over 100 with occasional light breezes
Expenditures: $18

Woke up while it was still dark at 5:45am and was ready to go by 6:24, just before sunrise. My shirt was still soaked from yesterday, and there was lots of dew in the morning so it didn’t dry overnight (yuk). The sky was a high, thin partial overcast with no thunderstorm activity visible (yay!) The countryside continued to become slightly more hilly, with planty of ups and downs, and getting steeper (yeehaw!) I stopped at a mini mart for breakfast and to replenish fluids ($8). Temperatures today were also supposed to get into the 100s, but there was a slight breeze, which was helpful. The classic stable air conditions: hot, humid, low wind, no thunderstorms. At 1:51pm I went through Sandersville and got a $6 Blimpie sandwich (similar to Subway). I just passed 400’ altitude and kept hoping to climb higher as I continued on to Sparta; I knew the air would get drier and cooler with altitude, but I still had a ways to go before I’d begin to notice any difference. I got $12 worth of drinks during the day (hot!). Some of the locals I chatted with in Tennille said Sparta was a rough neighborhood, but I should be well past it before needing to camp, so I wasn’t too worried. When I passed through it, it didn’t seem too bad to me, but there was a bit more decay of abandoned businesses and homes than I’d seen in other parts of Georgia. A bit after passing through Sparta, I took a break from the heat on the side of the road, reading my book, and drinking Gatorade, when a cop passed by, turned around, put on his flashers, and stopped behind me. I thought he was going to push me on, but he just wanted to find out about my trike and trip, and wished me well before taking off. Gee, he didn’t even run an ID check – I must be losing my touch. Georgia has some very pretty countryside, but I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked due to the cyclist-unfriendly roads. I was constantly checking my rearview mirror and traffic around me to adjust my position or be ready to run off the road, blaugh! The good news was: drivers were by and large quite tolerant of my presence, and would slow down, sometimes even wait, before passing me with way more than enough space. I appreciate that, but wish they would pass a little closer (two feet at less than 45mph is fine), and not play chicken with oncoming traffic quite so much.

This being Saturday evening, I didn’t think any church would want me to camp on their grounds before their big day of the week, so I found an empty lot right off Hwy 15 to do my stealth camping in (N33 27.581’ W83 2.154’). At first, I tried hanging hammock in some trees by the lot, but noticed plants with three leaves on them (poison ivy?), so I abandoned the hammock idea and set up the tent away from all that. I had to set up while hiding from traffic, because it was still daylight, and I was visible from the road. I didn’t want anyone observing me and maybe reporting me to the local constabulary. I put the green and white fly on the tent, to help keep it hidden amongst the trees and bushes in the lot. Inside, I was dripping with sweat, but would have to wait for it to get dark before I could take the tent fly off, and get some more ventilation. In the meantime, I washed my hair, did a sponge bath, and read my book in the tent. I didn’t put my shirt back on because it was still wringing wet with sweat (ugh). After a while I stopped sweating, but when it got dark enough, I still took off the tent fly and let the cooler air in, and let the darkness be my camouflage. The sky was clear enough to see the stars through my tent’s netting, but unfortunately, the moisture of the air came through the netting, and got my sleeping bag wet. I’d have to try drying it out, sometime the next day. Oh, in the distance, I could hear the occasional crack of a rifle and the baying of hounds. Somebody was doing some night hunting, but they were at least a half-mile away, and were getting further away. I read my book by guarded flashlight until about 10pm, before going to sleep.

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