Monday, July 6, 2009

Day One Hundred-fourteen, 090622 - Hollywood, GA

Day One Hundred Fourteen, Date Monday, June 22, 2009
Time in Saddle: 8:13
Distance for the Day: 69.28 miles From Danielsville, GA To Hollywood, GA
Accumulated Trip Distance: 5454.22 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 744’/1544’, Highest: 1560’ Accumulated: 3793’
Speeds: Avg: 8.4 mph, Max: 34.9 mph
Weather: 75°
Expenditures: $28

Woke up at 5:25am and noticed some minor activity near *my* football field. I got up and quickly secured the hammock (always a faster breakdown than the more complex tent), and was ready to roll by 5:45am; it was still pretty dark – Venus was up and very bright. At one point, the headlights of a truck driving around flashed over my trike from the other side of the stadium stands, and the reflective sidewalls of my tires may have been visible to the driver, and he parked just opposite me behind a wall at the back of the stadium; we couldn’t see each other, but I wondered what he was up to. I rolled out and went to the Men’s bathroom to wash a sock, and then rode over to the guy in the truck and let him know about that there was a leaking urinal in the men’s bathroom. He thanked me, and took off to go take care of it, and that was that. I stopped at a min mart at 8am to replenish liquids ($5). The sky became mostly cloudy, with a high strato-cumulus layer. It almost looked like rain, but didn’t quite feel like it. By 8:43am I continued on the back highways of GA, heading north, closer now, to the North Carolina border, and my current goal: the beginning of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

More about the roads (some of this is a reiteration): there are either no shoulders, or if there are shoulders, they’re too narrow, or if they aren’t too narrow, they’ve got a shoulder-wide vibration strip, or if it’s actually wide enough even with the vibration strip, it’s pretty cluttered with debris (rocks, tire shreds, nails, etc.) Again, fortunately, most of the drivers were tolerant of my trike’s presence on their roads, and took great care to slow down and go around me when it was safe to do so, kind of like I was a horse-drawn buggy or a tractor. Georgia! Fix your roads!! The next time I pass through here, I expect to see much better shoulders. I even saw an emergency vehicle trying to get around traffic, and got stuck, because nobody could pull off to the side, because there *was* no side.

Gratefully, the sun was mostly blocked this day by that high layer of relatively thick clouds. I got drinks ($6), and lunch at a greasy spoon (no Subways) ($6) and also got lots of drinks ($6). This was the worst day for wrong turns: at one point, I went 2.5 miles south when I needed to go north; about three times, I took wrong turns and had to backtrack. It was because the route became more complicated, so I vowed to be more careful to check my maps more frequently, and verify my turns. At 1:50pm I got more drinks ($2), but met up and chatted about my trip with three guys in a tiny store, and one of ‘em gave me $5 to contribute to my Gatorade fund (he saw how sweat-soaked I was). Just a bit north of Toccoa, I got onto a new highway construction area where traffic wasn’t allowed onto the new road, yet, so I got to ride on it all by myself, just like the new road in the Florida Keys. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long, and I was back to the tiny shoulders of typical Georgian highways.

I stopped at a Subway in the late afternoon, and got some cookies and choco milk ($3) (no sandwich, since I was still full from eating at the greasy spoon), and used their outlet to charge my computer. Today was an expensive day for fluids and food. While it was mostly cloudy during the day, which made things much more pleasant most of the time, there were still some periods in the afternoon when it became burning hot. There was a little more breeze than the last few days, so that helped some, too. But, there *were* times when there was no wind, no clouds, no shade, and it was burning hot. I would look forward to any kind of shade and pray for cloud cover or breeze. When it’s burning hot sun in a cloudless breezeless shadeless day, watch the atheists pray!
At about 8pm, I almost passed this elementary school before making a quick decision to check it out for stealth camping. I rode up the short, steep entryway, and pulled my flag out as I approached the horizontal locked gate poles, and was able to ride under them as if they weren’t there. There was no traffic on the road at that time, so no one witnessed me entering. There were a few houses nearby, but far enough away with no activity visible, so no one from the houses saw me enter, either. I made it into the parking lot/schoolyard, which was elevated above the road, and therefore unseen and unseeable from the road – perfect! I found a spot in the large parking lot near one of the buildings, and set up camp, there (N34 39.599’ W83 26.563’). I took a nice sponge bath, and read my book until it got dark (about 9pm) (sunset was abouty 8:40pm). The temperature was cooler, here, as I suspected it would be at a higher altitude, so I was happy. I saw three fireflies between dusk and when I went to sleep, and this was a totally paved lot. There were probably more in the surrounding forests. Nice to know.

No comments: