30 December 2011

Ride Report: Christmas Day

25 December 2011:  It's going to be a rough day.

At least I expected it to be since it would be my first Christmas without TheMomma.  I didn't have to cook this year and didn't have to be at my family's house for the festivities until the afternoon.  What could I do to keep busy and not think about Christmases Pasts?  Ride, of course.  When I checked the weather, I knew that it would be iffy, but thought I could beat the afternoon showers.

I didn't come up with this great plan until late on Christmas Eve so I spent the rest of the night planning a route that would have me back home around noon but no later than 1.  I decided to ride out to the Etowah Mounds to see if it was the same place I remember going there on some school trip.  I didn't really expect it would be open on Christmas but hoped I could at least get into parking lot.  I decided to take the interstate there then work my way back home via the back roads.  If I left at the right time, I could be at the Mounds when the sun rose.

That was my plan and it seemed to be working as I backed out of the driveway around the time I wanted to.  It was still dark and a little cloudy, about like what the forecast said, so I didn't waste too much time as I gassed up and hit the road.  By the time the sun rose, I was getting off of the interstate with only a few miles to the Etowah Mounds.

I stopped at the truck stop and got a cup of coffee in a new mug hoping that it wouldn't spill so that I could drink it at my stop a couple of miles away.  With my mp3 player on, I couldn't hear the directions from the gps.  With my mp3 player off, I couldn't hear the directions from my gps.  I fixed this problem before and wasn't sure why it stopped working.  I plugged the gps into my other audio booster and hoped for the best as I wasn't inclined to trouble shoot.  The sun rise revealed really gray skies and I was beginning to think the forecast for afternoon showers might have been optimistic.

With my coffee secured, I continued the three or four miles to the state park.  I was wrong!  I had coffee in the bottom of my tail case and some things got soaked.  I had to spend a few minutes dumping out the coffee and discovered I had nothing to dry out the case.  Oh well, I still had about half a cup left and enjoyed it as I looked longingly into the park.

They had the entrance closed so I couldn't enter the park.  I guess it was expected since it was Christmas Day and all.

I still can't say if this was the place we visited on one of those school trips.  I know I've been to the civil war site near here though.

Baby was looking pretty photogenic with the aux lights installed even under gray skies.

Me, not so much but I was dealing with memories of Christmases past so I think I made a respectable effort.

I didn't have that much coffee to finish so the stop wasn't as long as I planned it to be.  With the threat of rain, I decided I'd get on with the rest of my journey.  I chose these roads based on what they looked like on the map and kind of stitched together a way to get over to Jot Em Down Rd then I planned to hit 53 into Winder and 81 home.  However with a silent gps, and all the turns, the ride turned out to do exactly what I wanted:  Get my mind off of Christmas.

I hopped back on 75 and went up to HWY 20.  This was where Cruzman and I met EricR for the short ride last year and I took the same road--Hwy 20 to Hwy 108.  Instead of going into Waleska, I wanted to take some of the other roads.  This is where I missed the first turn onto Sam Nelson Road but I didn't realize it until I got into Walesaka.  When I turned around, I thought I saw bird statues on the side of the road but as I passed them they moved!  Where those turkeys?

I had to turn round again just to see but when I got back, they were gone.  I know I didn't imagine it.  I'd love to go hunting one day so I've been real cognizant of the wildlife I see.  Oh well, I turned around again, went back to Sam Nelson Rd, and managed to make the turn this time.  I missed the next one and the one after that though.

Then it started to sprinkle.  It was after 10 but not close to 11 when it did.  That gave me the motivation to be more diligent about following the turns so I managed to not miss any more after that.  The roads were really too small to be included in a ride.  It was like I was taking some shortcut that only the locals knew.

I saw nice houses and discovered that part of GA near Canton and Ball Ground has a lot of subsidized chicken farms and must have a huge landfill.  It smelled awful up there making me really glad it wasn't warm!  I also made a mental note not to include the area on my possible places to move list.

I did get to see turkeys again.  They're a lot bigger alive than they are on the plate!  I didn't bother to turn around because I figured they'd be gone when I got back and with the sprinkle changing to mist then sprinkle I felt the better idea was to keep moving.

By the time I reached Hwy 9, it was raining in earnest and I decided to cut my meandering route for one I could do without consulting the gps.  I took Hwy 9 to Hwy 20 through Cumming.  By the time I reached Buford, the rain was steady and the traffic fairly heavy.  Wasn't this Christmas?  Where were all these people going?

I got home just before noon like I wanted to.  If the forecast had been more accurate I could have avoided the showers too but either way it was a good ride.  After a shower and a short nap, I went to my family's house for dinner and fellowship.  It turned out to be a good day despite the morning showers and I didn't get too down either.  My last memory of TheMomma on Christmas is last year's snow and how happy she was.  That made me smile!

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

2010 Christmas Night.  TheMomma marveled at her very first White Christmas, "I've never seen snow on Christmas!"

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