06 August 2010

Ride Report: Feeding theWolf

1 Aug 2010--FZs Playing in Northwest GA:

The ride was supposed to be eflyguy, Cruzman, and me going back to Alabama to ride the Little Grand Canyon since we had to cut the ride short.  We wanted to leave as early as possible so we could beat a lot of the heat.  It was looking like I'd have to leave home an hour before dawn when eflyguy's family obligations forced him to cancel a few days before the ride.  I was a little sad but when Cruzman suggested we do a longer route, my spirits improved.  I wanted to ride part of the route we rode the first time we met so Cruzman put a good ride together.

The first time we met in Smyrna, GA which meant we had to take I 75 to 5 to 515.  That was fine for an early November ride, but it wasn't something I wanted to repeat in the summer.  In fact, I wanted to avoid 515 all together!  Cruzman re worked the original route so we could run it backwards then take Hwy 60 South.  I asked him to include Richard Russell so that meant including Wolf Pen Gap RD.  Oh, the pains of re routing!

Here is our planned route for the day:

Every day for the last couple of weeks I'd been promising myself I'd go for a ride and every night theWolf would keep me awake so by the time I wanted to leave, I was just going to sleep.  As a result, I hadn't ridden much since our last ride so I was really looking forward to the day.  theWolf tried hard to keep me at home but I wasn't having it.  I even put some food in the crock pot so TheMomma and I could eat as soon as I got home.

Cruzman texted me a little early, wondering if I'd called him.  I hadn't, it was his alarm.  After a little warm weather prep--gathering the water bladder and Gatorade--I was pulling out of the driveway around 6:30 a.m. for our planned 7:15 meet time in Cumming, GA.

I arrived at the meet spot at the same time as Cruzman was getting off of the highway.  We didn't leave right away, dallying by getting Gas and Coffee and simply enjoying the morning.  Cruzman tried to revive a dying moth, but it wasn't to be.  It was pretty though:

Not long after I took this, a guy arrived with his dog in the back of the truck barking to let us know he was there.  Once we suited up and mounted our bikes, he barked to tell us to have a safe ride.

It was a beautiful morning and since I'm rarely out that early, I couldn't resist taking a picture of Baby bathed in rising sunshine.

As planned, we took Hwy 9 through Cumming.  Every time I ride through there, I'm reminded of the Jim Crowe South.  Cumming was notorious for warning blacks to be out of their town before the sun set, in the mid 80s Oprah and Hosea Williams marched through the streets to protest some injustice that I can't remember, and right after I was born a gas station refused to sell my father a Coke.  They only sold them gas so my parents could leave town.

There were no signs of this as we rode through that morning, only memories filling my head and me being very careful to observe the posted speed limit.  I was glad to leave those ghosts behind me and as soon as we were safely out of town a gentle twist of the wrist left them in my wake.

It was on to the future and when Cruzman clipped a bird with his front tire sending it tumbling back toward me with feathers flying, I began to wonder what other wild life we'd encounter.  I kept my eyes peeled for deer or other more difficult to avoid things.  There was little traffic on 9 and by the time I was really enjoying it, we reached our turn onto Hwy 53.

Hwy 53 took us to Hwy 183 where we passed a turtle on the double yellow with it's neck stretched toward the other side of the road.  I told Cruzman we should get him out of the road before he met the bird we hit so we turned around and got him out of harm's way.  A little while later, we discovered 183 was lined with chicken farms as the stench filled our nostrils every few miles.  Cow crap smells better and I was glad it wasn't really hot yet so the stench wasn't worse.

Before I knew it, we were turning onto Hwy 52 heading towards Ellijay.  The temperatures were in the high 70s and it was muggy but that was better than high 90s and muggy.  I was glad to be up and out early.  Apparently so were everyone else who seemed to be going to church or some where else that they didn't need to be at a specific time.

Once we rode through Ellijay, we got stuck behind someone in a Camry or Accord who was determined to keep us behind them.  Finally, someone willing to put the idea of Sports Sedan to the test!  It was a little distracting though and I took all I could take before dropping a gear so I could show them what Sport Riding was.

That didn't last long though.  Some old people out taking a Sunday drive spoiled all the fun and the road didn't look like one that would offer any safe passing spots.  Cruzman was in my ear telling me not to bother and I knew he was right.  Just as I was resigned to putting this part of 52 on my ride again list, I saw a scenic pullout and made good use of it.  It was time for a break anyway!

Must remember to bring the taller tripod next time!

There was plenty of good scenery there!

Cruzman and I had discussed getting action shots and videos.  This pull out provided the perfect opportunity for that.  One problem, I am no Action photographer.

Now, go back and do it again.  I didn't get a good enough shot!

That's better, but still I need more practice.

Okay, forget pictures, how about video?  Here's the rest of the way down 52.

From there it was on the Old Federal Road into Tennessee heading toward Hwy 64.  I  was curious to see this area at the height of summer.  I don't know what I was thinking.  As we got closer to the rec area, the traffic increased ten fold.  Before riding through, we stopped at another over look:

Riding Tn 64:

It was a lot of traffic, but it was still fun.  It didn't take us nearly as long as we thought and from there it was onward to Copper Hill, TN for lunch at the same Mexican place as before.  We both got Taco Salads and basked in the cool air conditioning.  The temps were in the upper 80s and rising with my bike's thermometer reading 104.7 in the sunshine.

On a hot seat, we continued south on Hwy 60, heading towards Morganton.  We gassed up a little later then began the last half of the ride.

Too much traffic to get the bikes in the pic, I had to hold up traffic at the stop sign to take it.  Then as we made the turn into Morganton, I remembered we hadn't put our video cameras on.  We stopped long enough to attach cameras before continuing on.  Because I had the video camera running, I didn't bother to take any more pics.  But then video can be better!

Hwy 60 going South towards Suches:

Wolf Pen Gap RD:

Richard Russell Parkway:

In the end, we stopped at Sonic for some cool refreshment before parting ways.  I rode 315 miles and fed theWolf a multi course meal.  Hopefully it won't be another 3 weeks between rides!!

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

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