January 31st, 2009
Sunny chilly beautiful morning.
Breakfast & short drive to Bill’s house. Meet Liz, Bill’s wife. 3 kids are whirlwind of activity.
Drive over to FATS TH to meet other riders who are joining us. Bill’s plan is to complete the FATS dance card for me & complete all the trails in the system. He & his friend Trey take off & are gone almost immediately. Sometimes the trail twists in on itself & I can hear them talking. Man I can’t stay that close anymore. They would stop along the way to let me catch up. You Spokane riding buddies that taught me the 29 30 rule was applied to me. I pushed real hard to keep close.
These trails are so fun to ride, it’s like a constant spin either in a big gear w/ low rpm or lower gear but high rpm. I haven’t figured out the gearing. The ups & downs thru the old creek beds. Tread is 99% dirt, hardly anything on the tread. Turns are nicely radiused and never usually by suprise. Some of the dips are body swallowers in depth & distance. Access this website & open Utube window for ride video:
http://www.longcanetrails.com/4.html Trail Portfolio tab.
Its a different ride: high speed, dips & rollers coming out of them. Hard ride keeping up sort of. These trails are perhaps like Moab that you need to ride once in your life. I will say that you could spend more hours riding these trails than just Slickrock @ Moab. This is single track for mountain bikes only, no sharing. the expression trails built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers is shopworn. Dust it off, restore it to its naive charm and ride FATS and the old phrase is apt truly again.
Lot of cars in parking lot but hardly encountered any on trails. Its a social ride: we hammered for a bunch of minutes & would stop briefly for a conversation. Its like skiing with us providing the lift.
Saw Palmetto this far north:
Tomorrow are some of the old trails that are hand built & hardly ridden.
My mail did arrive @ Thomson on time but was rejected for insufficient address. Got to chase it down Monday. The tracking seems to send it to Atlanta. Lost in the USPS system.
January 30th, 2009
Slept well back in the woods.
Plan is to drive to Thomson, GA to pick up my mail and continue to FATS. Drove less traveled highways. Stopped in Greensboro & took pictures of some of the old big houses there. Picturesque.
Mail was not there. My calcs said it should have been. faced w/ a strategic dilemma: Do I drive back west on Mon to try again and then drive back east & north to Brevard? Stopped @ post office in Edgefield to ask if I could have my general delivery mail forwarded to another general delivery post office. Clerk said yes. I filled out a change of address card to make request official. i could spend the next several weeks trying to catch up w/ my mail. All to save 60 miles of driving.
Stopped @ FS ranger station for camping permit. Staying up above Lick Fork again. Walked in woods which have been well maintained. Beautiful day windy, chilly 50′s, & blue skies.
Made appointment in Brevard to see Kim and let her work on my left knee. Kim said that there is a snow forecast for Brevard.
Contacted Bruce of Pisgah Works of my plans to hopefully ride w/ his gang & brewery crawl.
Those that remember reading Blue Highways and this part of it: Heat-Moon picked up a slug that got in his van and he never found it. I experienced several moths flying inside my van that I picked up somewhere last summer that were hiding until outside temps warmed for them to emerge from their hiding places. Difference is my stowaways emerged.
Friday night and no homework, second shot of Scotch to keep me loose.
January 29th, 2009
Yesterday I boasted of sleeping spots I have found and not being bothered. About 1:30 AM today that string was broken. My bladder woke me up for mid evening pee. I looked out front window and saw headlights w/ a searchlight. Oh, this could be interesting. Lights left the van and circled the building parking lot and finally came to rest on me. I crawled back under the covers to play I’m asleep but the raps on the door were incessant. A flashlight shone in my eyes. I was greeted by a sheriff’s officer. A brief conversation about what i was up to and the request for the driver’s license. Several minutes he came back and said I was cool. We talked a bit and he left me to go back to sleep.
Started raining during the night. Plan is to go to Sunshine cycle in Watkinsville just down the road and maybe I wouldn’t piss anyone off. As I was waiting for the light to turn green @ the shop I saw a pickup leave bike parking lot. I pulled in. Shop person was tardy in showing. He said that the bleed kit was picked up by somebody from the Athens store. Great, return of the crossed wrench. I still shared w/ him a pasrty for just being there.
I drove back into Athens to downtown store bearing my pastry i walked into shop. Josh, the wrench was in good spirits. He had a bike in 1 stand but jumped up and took mine & put it in a stand and started working on it. He worked for hours trying to bleed the brake. He discovered a missing oring so he went to the well to find one, not exactly the same size but close and the brake in the stand worked. I paid $25. for his hours of work.
Drove S of town to do interent work. verizon booted me off & I was unable to get back on.
Heritage Park is outside Oconee NF. My sleeping plan was to drive a logging road back into forest for sleeping spot. Scored. Rain quit but was foggy.
Slept w/ no heat but used doubled down blanket for warmth. Slept in.
Today is short drive to Heritage Park TH. I get there and check out trails from TH. They seem dry. Beautiful day. I decide that I will do my laundry first to allow more drying time. Drove into Watkinsville. I check out Chamber of Commerce: No laundromat in entire county. The receptionist is very helpful and draws me a map of a location up almost on UG campus. I find it. No college kids or anybody. DO wash.
On way to TH I check out an advertised campground to see about a shower. Lady said $5.00 and I am clean. Will wait until after ride.
Drive back to heritage TH and gear up. Tight trails thru trees w/ ups & downs. Maybe 1 lap netted 8.57 miles & 1260′. Concern that my derailleur hanger is bend causing some drivetrain issues. Call Sunshine in Watkinsville and wrench has derailleur hanger straightening tool.
Stop @ XG for shower.
Drive to shop. Hanger is slightly bent and wrench works it as far back as he fells comfortable straightening out the hanger for fear of breaking it. I have an extra one. Said hanger bend could cause my shift issues.
I ordered parts for brake from Formula to be shipped to Ellijay,GA up in N GA mountains.
Beautiful day: blue skies, high cirus clouds for sky filler. Drove back to last night’s spot.
Tomorrow I head back towards SC. Bill is hosting me @ FATS this weekend.
Mail forwarded to Thomson, GA for tomorrow pick up, or Monday on swing back.
Debating about driving all the way back to Brevard, NC and then head W to catch N GA mountains. Such decisions: it’s a financial issue to spend $30.00 to back track for some expected fun w/ guys in Asheville and Brevard.
Last night I looked @ pictures from out west. Nobody has asked to see pictures or really asking about riding anywhere else. In the East riders get off on seeing vistas. I noticed in the west pictures that there is an awful lot of sky. I do not have the eastern vista jag.