17 February 2011

Solo Ride: America's Stonehenge

16 Feb 2011:  Georgia Guidestones, Elberton, GA

I was riding today "Come Hell or High Water".  Fortunately neither came and I had an awesome nearly 200 mile day on the bike.  Just enough to realize I need to toughen up my rider's butt!

I've been saying I'm going to ride tomorrow since Friday.  I told Cruzman, "I'm riding this weekend."  It didn't happen for a variety of reasons, some related to theWolf and some not.  Sunday was gorgeous and I kicked myself for not getting out to enjoy it.  I couldn't go for a ride on Monday because of a doctor's appointment, but Tuesday was going to be my day.  Or not.  TheMomma was supposed to go to the doc but canceled at the last minute.

So I decided, "I'm riding tomorrow come Hell or High Water."  I woke up with no real idea where I wanted to go and took my meds in a haze before deciding I needed at least another hour of sleep.  I didn't want to leave real early or get home real late so I opted for something close.  I had two routes in mind as I put on my gear before deciding to see the Georgia Guidestones or "America's Stonehenge" as the bike was warming up.  I'd planned a similar ride last year (that I never took) going to Athens to see the Stonehenge replica among other things instead of this place.

I had a one way route planned and tried not to think about it too much.  A short stop to fill up the tank and I was on the road proper.

I'd forgotten what it's like to ride alone.  No one to check on or consult with about stops.  Good thing because when I pulled into Watkinsville, I saw this as I waited on the light to make my turn

and realized in my haste to leave I'd forgotten to eat!  What should I do?

Like you wouldn't've!

I walked in hoping they had a shrimp po boy like the one I had in Copperhill, TN last year.  Then I saw something about grits handwritten on the menu and got confused.  I asked the lady behind the counter what the best thing they had was and she rattled off a list of po boys, including a fried shrimp one that wasn't what I wanted, before mentioning their hamburgers that they hand shape.  Hmmm....  Then she said, "You should try the Shrimp and Grits."  Okay!

Yep, I took a pic of the food before I ate.
It was as good as it looks, except the Cesear Salad.  The dressing was bitter.  But I cleaned the plate of grits, maters, and onions.  Yum!  If I ever go back to Watkinsville and they're open I'll go back.

After that it was follow the GPS prompts to Elberton, GA where the Georgia Guidestones are.  Along the way, I had a dirt excursion because I didn't make sure my waypoints were on the road I wanted to be on and not in somebody's front yard.  It was about 3 or 4 miles of hard packed red clay with a few tire ruts before I reached beautiful black top again.  I should have taken a picture.  I was the only one on that road.  I know it was a road because they had signs and stuff, just no pavement.

After that it was on to Lexington and then Elberton to see the 'stones.  Riding through Lexington, I discovered they had an historic district.  If I didn't want to be home early, I would have stopped to find out why but now I have another thing to do that's relatively close by.

The 'stones are easy to get to.  They are north of the city of Elberton on the highest point in the county.

According to the stone on the site:
Elberton Granite's reputation as one of the world's best monumental stones, Elbert County's geographic location, and fate seem to be key elements in why one of the nation's most unusual monuments was unveiled near Elberton, March 22, 1980. Already called "America's Stonehenge," after the mysterious monuments in England which have puzzled men for ages, THE GEORGIA GUIDESTONES has attracted nationwide publicity and promises to become a major tourist attraction.
Overwhelming in size and steeped in enigma, the GUIDESTONES was revealed to the nation in the Winter, 1979, ELBERTON GRANITEER -- and is as much a mystery now as it was then -- and probably still will be when man ceases to record his history. The gargantuan, six-piece monument stands 19-ft. high in the beautiful hill country eight miles north of Elberton and proclaims a message for the conservation of mankind. Its origins and sponsors are unknown; hence, the mystery.
Just like the real Stonehenge, these are placed in relation to the sky.  On the east side is a cipher of sorts, that tells you about the guidestones.

They were kind enough to make it so you could stand in the middle and get pics of the important stuff.

You approach it from the North so you see the English and Russian stones first.

The West side is in Chinese and Arabic

The South side is in Hebrew and Hindi

Finally the East side is in Swahili and Spanish

The stone in the middle is called the Gnomon Stone (which is the prominent stone of a sun dial) and has it's own features.  The first thing I noticed was the slot in the middle

Of course it's a window so you can see the sun during the Soltices!  It also lines up so that at the equinox the sun shines to mark noon in a (or is it with a?) curved line.  I wasn't there at noon, so no curved line photo.  Here are views through the hole though.

From the east side

Remember, this is basically in somebody's front yard and since they live in the boonies, you see crops!

From the west side

It's neat how it perfectly frames their house.

There is also an oblique hole drilled from South to North

And what I see when I look through the hole (too bad I ain't taller!)

This hole is so that the North star is always visible.  (At least that's what the site says.  It was hard to find one that didn't seem to have a bias.  Who knew granite could be controversial?  Let's not mention Stone Mountain.)

The capstone has stuff written on each side but nothing on the top (that I can find an image of).  There is another hole though, for the sun to shine through at noon.  You can use that hole and where the sun is like a calendar (as long as you use Sun time and not eastern time).

There are a whole bunch of theories about why this thing exists.  I could care less, I think it's cool.  Let the future generations wonder about it like we wonder about Stonehenge.  If you believe the doomsday folk, the ice caps will melt.  When that happens, this "monument" is put in a spot so it'll be high and dry and the survivors can come to it and live by these rules.

Whatever floats your boat.  (Get it?  Noah, arc, ahh nevermind!)  I enjoyed my ride to see it.  It was a perfect day for it.  I think Baby enjoyed the day too (especially when he found out he's getting his face fixed soon).

Baby's good side (for now)
It was time to get home.  Nothing planned like on the way there (avoid Athens), just hit home on the gps and follow, so no dirt roads.

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

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