Monday, July 6, 2009

Day One Hundred-fifteen, 090623 - Franklin, NC

Day One Hundred Fifteen, Date Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Time in Saddle: 5:25
Distance for the Day: 45.13 miles From Hollywood, GA To Franklin, NC
Accumulated Trip Distance: 5499.35 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 1544’/2161’, Highest: 2185 Accumulated: 2631’
Speeds: Avg: 8.3 mph, Max: 38.6 mph
Weather: 70° cooler than previous, totally clear
Expenditures: $15
Got up at about 5:30am and saw Venus and Jupiter in clear morning dawn. I then made the nasty discovery that I’d left the tool compartment open, and my Topek mini-toolkit had fallen out. Demitol! I’d have to replace that ASAP. I thought about asking my trike dealer, Steve, to send me another one, but then decided I’d first try to find one at a bike shop somewhere along the way. At 6:34am I was about ready to roll. For the last two days, I’ve taken to keeping my handtowel with me to sop up the sweat off my chest and back and face, which keeps me from getting totally drenched with sweat – just thought you’d like to know. At 9:12am south of Talulah Falls, Hwy 23 turned particularly horrible, with no shoulder on this 4-lane highway going 65 mph. Sometimes the road would go uphill and turn to the right; the weeds (where the shoulder *should* have been) were 2-3’ high, which caused me to be invisible to upcoming traffic! I got honked at by one trucker, and I agreed with him completely - GA *should* be ashamed of their roadways. North of Talulah Falls, the road became very nice, with a 12’ wide shoulder, smooth, buzz strip only 10” wide, which left me with lots of room. This lasted for quite a ways, but didn’t last forever; it was one of the very few GA roads I liked. I bought drinks throughout the day ($10). Then, I hit another section of roadway that was under construction, but this time, it reduced the northbound roadway to ONE lane with barely any shoulder, so I was knocking hubcaps with northbound traffic for a while, until I noticed one of the two *southbound* lanes was closed. So, I moved over to that closed lane, and was able to trundle along happily free of interference from any traffic, for a while, until all the construction ended, and everything returned to GA “normal,” (small shoulder on a one-way, two-lane highway) which was not great, but at least somewhat tolerable. At 10:30pm, I stopped in at a Wendy’s ($5) with wi-fi, and brought the blog as up-to-date as possible in a few hours, and then continued on at around 3:24pm. At 4:24pm, I left Georgia and entered North Carolina – the shoulder on the highway *immediately* improved vastly. At 6:27pm I stopped for an hour at first rest stop in NC I came to, and realized I didn’t see one rest stop in GA at all. Georgia! Come on – get with the program! This rest stop was nice, with clean bathrooms, grass and shady areas with picnic tables - a nice set up, but no vending machines. I kept moving up Hwy 23, and around 7:30pm I found a Baptist Church and graveyard that was elevated up from the level of the road by a fair bit (N35 13.359’ W83 21.250’). I went up the short but steep access road to it, didn’t find anyone around, so set up my tent in a small corner next to a building and the graveyard. It was so cool: there were lots of fireflies dancing amongst the gravestones and some even in the parking lot where I set up. I just love those fireflies. Someone really needs to genetically engineer some fireflies to survive the SF Bay Area climate. I checked my phone for messages, and Dave R left one saying to call him, because I hadn’t updated the blog in a while, and he was getting worried. I called him and said in the spookiest voice I could muster, “This is Don, calling from the graveyard…”

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