The jar is empty

Earlier this evening I enjoyed the last of the peach flavored moonshine. Sniff.. no more.

Today was a rest day recovering from last several days of hard riding. My right shoulder has a rotator cuff type pain caused by a hike a bike down climb @ Monte Sano when i slipped, fell backwards & put down both hands. Seems to resist force applied, believe it is just bruised.

Round trip to Chattanooga for Candy pedal rebuild parts. Yesterday about 3 miles from end of ride the right pedal just blew up by not staying attached to the spindle. Turned out the sealed bearing froze and broke apart. River City cycles on N. shore of Tennessee river. Ronald, the owner let me take a shop shower. Back to Dalton @ Bear Creek and rebuilt pedal.  Nonmetallic body showing abuse. New design makes the body from cnc aluminum. Might be worth new purchase as much as I hate these present pedals as they are hard to get into and sometimes release unexpectedly… but it is the mud clearing that sells them.

Saw a sign for train show @ trade center. Checked it out in afternoon. Big garden toy show G gauge, modlerers make their layouts outside. Talked to several slightly older men about the gauge and one guy about steam engines. Interesting & informative but $10 entry fee was considered way too steep.

Went looking for a dinner spot hoping to find something like The Elk in Spokane. No success. Ate @ Charlies, had a salad with deep fried chicken tenders. Huh?

Back of Bear creek for sleep tonight.

Last night i slept near the Dry Creek TH @ start of Snake Gap race. Found level spot  about 100′ off the gravel road. While I was there several rigs went in & out. Today when i drove down to use CXT outhouse made in Texas plant I saw the gravel road had been chewed up by spinning tires. My original sleep spot was @ the center of the damage, would have been pretty noisy.

Yesterday I left bike shop and drove to above spot for ride start. Ride will be about 15 miles of Pinhoti and a road ride back. I rode this section 2X last year, one being the road ride back. This section is not very technical but it beat me up from exertion. past 2 days of hard riding had a carry over. 27.25 miles, 3 hours, 3144 cals, & 3257′ climbed. Rinsed mud & sweat off w/ wet wash cloth from van h2o. Low elevation mtns that provide about 800′ relief, back roads are narrow & twisty. Very pleasant. Quite a few houses for sale. Economic engine is carpet that goes into new homes & remodels. Guess where the employment numbers are?

2 days ago on Shane’s led ride we rode by Shake rag road from moonshining days suposedly a grandmother would sit on a house porch and shake a rag @ cars driving by if there was moonshine to be had. She didn’t wave @ the Law.

Tomorrow I will start working closer to Augusta for May 5 start of IMBA conference. Staying @ Bill Victor’s. Chris Lesser emailed to say a snowball has a better chance than he making the conference. Darn.

More Pinhoti Dalton, GA

Slept again behind Shane’s shop, pretty quiet, down blanket cool @ bed time.

Today Shane drove us up into mtns on same road as Mulberry Gap to his family’s cabin.  Fort Mtn is somewhere near 2400′, Dalton is 551 or there abouts. Big mtn climb out of flat land. Shane rides a hard tail 29er geared. Me, I’m on my squishy 5 1/2″ travel 26 er. Stayed w/ him. Trails are mostly old logging roads, some older and decomposed than others. 26 miles. My EDGE battery discharged b4 start of ride rendering no data. Shane’s route gave us a wonderful smooth downhill weaving among trees. Trails are not tech and are rideable climbing. Broadleaf forest, forest floor is mostly open meaning the canopy years ago killed off the less shade tolerant understory. We stayed on it. We kept up a Craig conversation on the climbs. I rode mot of today’s ride when i was here last spring.

I like riding new trails, sort of. I also  like riding familiar trails, sort of. On this trip I am revisiting most of same places and people. testament to quality of experience. The paradox of old vs new. I really have enjoyed almost everyone I have met and remet. The Southeast, what they call The South is exotic to me. i like it. You can’t be a Yankee here. If you slow down & be flexible this place can grow on you. The guys in Huntsville were just so crazy in their native way, the humor , choice of words & delivery make for clever conversation. Bought a hand crafted beer from Miss called Slow Magnolia made w/ roasted pecans.  Next year I envisioned wintering in Sedona and snow birding it back up North out west. The South will be hard to not include, maybe my path will be a triangle rather than this year’s rectangle thru the mid west. Prolly (Bill Victor’s Kentucky way of saying “probably”). Shit, I keep meeting people along the way my route grows albeit not New England.

I followed Shane. His tires would part the puddles creating 2 high walls of muddy water. If I were close enough and if the puddle had more dirt in it making the waves stiffer I could almost ride thru his parted puddles like what, Moses & the Red Sea?

Back to town & shop to hang for a while. Then back to busy fitness center for shower.

The magazines selection says something about buying public. I notice in the South that there are few, if any, mags dealing w/ physical activity not counting hunting or firearms mags. Krogers is big here w/ health food section. Also have bulk filtered water.

Plan tomorrow is to drive out to mid point of Snake Creek Pinhoti & ride to or from the start out & back. I need to be in Augusta this Wed afternoon.

East Coast time zone.

Dalton, Georgia

Quiet night in the toolies. Except for the constant sound of like rain pattering on the oak leaves. Pattering sound was caused by caterpillars eating the leaves and passing the leftovers via gravity impacting leaves below. Leaves are chewed full of holes. Some leaves are vein skeletons. Might learn about the chewers.

Watched first of 4 discs of Ken Burn’s Civil War educating me about this part of US history and of where I am now. Dalton has Civil war history.

Drove to mid point of Pinhoti on rt 136. Nice parking lot w/ sign, “No camping in parking lot”, which is why i didn’t stay there. Another CXT double holer made in Spokane outhouse. Only rig in lot for a Monday. Overcast & forecast of possible showers. Replaced wind jacket w/ rain coat.

Pedaled out and up. This part of the trail is the most rugged. It is an old hiking trail that was to be part of the Applachian trail but a right of way thru valley could not join parts together. Trail is rocky of  Appalachia character.

Pinhoti trail mellower rock gardens
Pinhoti trail mellower rock gardens

The DW link on my new Turner Spot allows me to pedal thru these gardens when I have the right combination of energy & strength to churn the cranks which, incidentally appear to be tight. Forest is leafed out obscuring sunlight which sometimes makes reading trail tread and line choices difficult. But this is what riding is all about. Ride it after the leaves have fallen have it’s issues in that the trail is covered w/ dry fallen leaves are slippery and that hide the nasties. Views are great.

Rode the almost 15 miles of trail in 2 hours 16 min, 2660′ climbed then dropped down onto paved road for 10 miles road ride back to van. Part  way along sprinkles fell. I considered these as a shot across the bow and put on my rain jacket. Sprinkles quit and later I stowed my jacket.

Georgia spring, ridge is where trail travels
Georgia spring, ridge is where trail travels

Back @ TH. Loaded up & used GPS to create route to Dalton. Scenic drive, pretty in its own way. It is what it is. Wandered a bit resurrected memory to find Bear Creek Bike. Memory flashes succeeded and I parked out front. Walked in & Shane, the owner greeted me by name. Kinda picked up from where we left off from last year. He has the Chris King bottom bracket grease tool, one of few shops I have found. Actually he installed the original bottom bracket in the old Spot. Tues. I get new grease. Shane will call in “tired” to his shop on Wed and guide me a ride on another part of the Pinhoti on, or near Bear Creek, the namesake of his shop. Shane offered the back of his shop as a sleep spot which I accepted.

Prior to posting up for the night i visited a bustling fitness facility for an $8.00 shower. I do have a few spots of poison ivy.

Poison ivy coverage varies. Arkansas was very heavy, the plants had smaller leaves. Tanasi had fewer plants. Pinhoti has more than Tanasi but the leaves are huge, almost oversized.

Today is putzing around as forecast calls for showers and I need the grease. Will be too late to drive out to furthest start of Pinhoti and ride out & back. Besides that part of trail is not as exciting.

The June issue of BikeMag is not in retail stores yet. Apparently those who have read the article about me receive the magazine via mail.


Hung in bike shop. Shane lubed my bottom bracket and tightened the screws holding the rear derailleur; when they are loose a creak occurs. I knew that, I just hadn’t chased down the creak. I was gifted a small amount of that wonderful peach moonshine. Enjoyed a few sips, tasty and possibly deadly. Paula raced the Cahutta 100 miles. She had a rain jacket

Called River City cycles in Chattanooga and learned that they have the new issue of BikeMag. Ronald, the owner, answered the phone. He read the cover lines to describe the issue, he said the one that has “Craig’s list”. Alright. Chattanooga is about 40 mins away. Just a jaunt and I drove it. Had some thought of riding Raccoon while I was in town, however several violent rain squalls put an end to that thought. Hung @ this shop for some stories. An employee rode the 100 mile Cahutta race last Sunday, he had a rain jacket also. Read the article by Chris Lesser and the photos by Dawn Kish. Chris made a story of me. The double page picture taken by Dawn is killer.

Drove back down in wind gusts to Bear Creek, sleeping behind shop.

Tomorrow Shane leads me on a ride near Mulbery Gap on the Pinhoti near his family cabin where he played as a kid. Knowledgeable local rider leads touron in the wilds of Georgia.

Listening to the Mariners & KC on XM.

Off to watch video 2 of Civil War.