Southern Tier -
Denis Kertz, ©2004
I packed up and rode the 2 miles back to town, re-entering
After what went for breakfast I rode out of town on 90. In a few miles 97 split off to the northeast
and took me into
Once I picked up 262 north I had to find another road east. I picked a road that looked like the right one but it started heading south. I found someone along the road to ask and he suggested taking a left at the upcoming intersection. He said it would take me east but it took me southeast.
Eventually I turned north on Old 179 which wasn’t labeled on my map but it went north and I knew that was a good thing. I knew it went north because I had a bell compass on my handlebar and it came in really handy on unfamiliar or unknown roads. With my compass I at least knew if I was headed in the right direction. Eventually this road merged with another and swung to the northwest but I noticed a bike sign that said I was on bike route 10 west. That was the right bike route but wrong direction so I just turned around to go east. And I was relieved to have bike signs on this route so I would know where to turn.
I rode into
About 5 miles from
The motel was well located with a Waffle House right across
the street. It also had a continental
breakfast and free Internet access. I
ate at a Taco Bell and then did some research on the Internet. The big limitation of my Georgia Bike Map was
it didn’t show the location of motels or campgrounds. So I used google to find motels at Homerville
When I got up at 6:30 I walked across the road for a double pecan waffle at the Waffle House. Then I checked out the continental breakfast at my motel and it was nothing to write home about so it was good that I ate at the Waffle House.
I left at 7:30 and another aspect of my motel’s location was
it was near the junction with 122 which I took east. Bike route 10 split off from 122 in a few
miles but I elected to stay with 122 which eventually would reconnect with bike
route 10. The reason I stayed with 122
was because it was about 10-15 miles shorter and gave me a chance to make
122 was a nice ride in the morning going by various farm
fields, mainly cotton but also cabbage and tomatoes. It was nice to have a route with variety
rather than just a steady diet of tree-lined roads. I rode 39 miles to Hahia where I stopped for
my late breakfast at 11:00. I continued
on 122 and in a few miles bike route 10 reconnected with 122. In a few more miles I rode past the Banks
Lake National Wildlife Refuge, a popular sport fishing hole and home to a wide
variety of fish, reptiles and marsh and wading birds.
On the outskirts of town I saw a Day’s
I found a buffet down the road and decided I had worked hard enough to justify a buffet. It was about a half mile walk but worth the walk. On my way back I did some grocery shopping.
I didn’t sleep well the previous night which is probably why I slept until 7:00. I walked across the street to a Shoneys for its breakfast buffet that included pancakes and French toast.
The Weather Channel was predicting rain by noon which was my
signal to get out of town. I left at 8:00
on US82. After 23 miles I stopped in
Nahunta for my late breakfast. It really
wasn’t that late but I wasn’t sure when the next opportunity would be. When I passed the county public library on my
way out of town I stopped. Most
libraries require some ID to use the Internet.
This one required me to surrender my ID until I was done. The good news was weather.com showed no rain
It was the warmest day in quite a while and I was soon in
shorts. In 9 miles I was ready for a
cold drink and stopped in Waynesville.
In a few more miles I reached the Junction with 99. I had decided previously to take 99 as a
cutoff and not go all the way to
When I approached the I95 intersection I saw a Waffle House
and realized I hadn’t had a waffle today so I stopped at 1:00 for a double
pecan waffle for my noon break. From
there it was only a few more miles to the coast as the salty ocean smell
confirmed. It was nice wetland scenery
and then I turned north, crossing the
Once I descended the bridge cycling was easy since I had a
fair tailwind. Once I got out of the
When I rode into Darien, uncharacteristically early at 4:00,
I got a room at the Fort King George Motel for $32, an OK room but a definite
step down from the Waycross motel at the same price. Since I still had daylight I decided to ride
out to Fort King George, the first English settlement in
I wasn’t exactly sure how I managed to drop the camera but I guessed I had it in my right hand and I moved it to my left hand so I could slap with my right hand but my right hand must have caught the camera strap as I reached down and pulled the camera out of my left hand and essentially threw it to the asphalt. Later I determined the camera appeared operational except for the use of the zoom lens. At least this happened near the end of the trip and wasn’t quite the disaster it could have been.
There was a Subway conveniently located next door to my motel so I ate there.
At 7:00 I rode a mile up the road to a restaurant for breakfast. Their pancakes were inexpensive so I figured they were small and ordered oatmeal as well and that made a decent breakfast.
I rode US17 to
In another 10 miles US 17 crossed I95 again near
Then I checked my maps for directions to Lyle and
Lyle was surprised to find me at his doorstep when I rang the door bell because they lived in a gated community. However the security gate had a gap easily wide enough for a bicycle to get through as I proved. I spent the rest of the day at their very nice home as we caught up on each other’s history. I got fed a nice steak dinner and after checking the weather forecast I decided taking Monday off would be a good idea with rain forecast for the afternoon.
After breakfast where
Later in the morning Lyle gave me a tour of
Lyle had an early afternoon appointment so I used the time
to check for the availability of motels along my upcoming route to
Around mid-afternoon, Lyle and Charlotte took me on a tour
I got up early, earlier than Lyle or
I rode the access road to 204 and took 204 west as it curled
around the southern
I continued on 204 which narrowed to a 2-lane road after a lot of traffic on a 4-lane road. But the shoulder had nasty deep rumbles so all was not great. Mercifully the deep rumbles were replaced by mini-rumbles after 4 miles. I expected 204 to intersect with I16 within about 10 miles. However, I eventually realized I had ridden a while without seeing I16. My consolation was that my compass showed I was going west so I knew I couldn’t be in too much trouble.
When 204 ended at 280/30 I was finally able to locate myself on my map. 204 had swung northwest rather than going north as I expected based on my map. I continued on to Pembroke and stopped for a break and then continued north on 67 to Statesboro for 24 miles. When I crossed over I16 it was drizzling lightly. It had obviously rained earlier since there were some small puddles. I stopped to cover my maps and continued on 67 and joined bike route 35. The light drizzle faded and the sun put in an appearance.
After almost 70 miles at about 1:30 I stopped in Statesboro for a final break before continuing on to Millen, another 30 miles. When I rode through Statesboro the route became confusing. I stayed on 67 which turned out to be the wrong road but it went to Millen so I stuck with it. 67 was a 4-lane road but it was OK despite the mini-rumbles with only moderate traffic for a 4-lane road. It was also mildly rolling to Millen. However, about 10 miles from Millen 67 collapsed down to a 2-lane road with a one foot shoulder. Still, traffic was moderate enough that the road was still not too bad.
I reached Millen with daylight to spare at about 4:15. I got a room at the Sunset Inn for $34 which was somewhat overpriced but there was only one other motel and it looked more expensive. After settling in I headed out for food. I ended up at a pizza place and was ordering a pizza when I noticed pizza being brought out for a buffet. So I switched to the buffet for $5 rather than the $10 for an ordered pizza. The only negative was I was the only customer at the time so it was obvious exactly who was eating all of the food. But the buffet was a great choice and included a small salad bar as well as a drink.
I walked to breakfast in the dark. There was no Waffle House so I stopped at a Huddle House where I had a pecan waffle with bacon, not as good as Waffle House but not bad. I had a discussion with the waitress about how to pronounce pecan. I pronounce it puh-cahn and many Georgians pronounce it pee-can. I tried to convince them of the error of their ways but I’m not sure I was successful.
The weather prediction was not good and The Weather Channel
showed all of
At 7:30 I set off under overcast skies to make it as far as I could, guessing I would be sitting out the afternoon. I took 17 west out of town. It was a decent road with a small shoulder. There wasn’t much traffic but much of the traffic was large trucks, including logging trucks, so I had to watch for simultaneous traffic.
The excitement for the morning was a black dog that charged me from across the road. However, it chose to charge right in front of an oncoming car. I was sure the dog was dead but somehow the car just missed the dog although it yelped when it looked like the car had clipped the dog’s rear end. But the dog walked back home after the car passed and appeared unhurt although he seemed to lost interest in me. Hopefully he learned a lesson.
The road had some variety, passing by farms and through some wooded areas with fall colors that were past their prime. Still the colors would have been nice in sunshine.
After 14 miles I passed through the small town of
Nearby was the Clinton Motel where I got a room for $30, about the same class as yesterday but $4 cheaper and about the right price for the accommodation. The motel was strategically located next to a Waffle House so I had no choice but to have a double pecan waffle for lunch. There was also a grocery store within easy walking distance where I did a little shopping.
It rained steadily all afternoon and I was glad to be in a dry motel room. I was actually ecstatic, never thinking I would make it all the way to Sandersville without rain. For dinner I didn’t need another buffet but there was a Chinese buffet across the street for $6 and that was as inexpensive as about anything I was going to get so I ate there.
I walked next door to the Waffle House while it was still
dark for my usual waffles. Then I was
off at 7:15. I took the
After about 20 miles the road ended at 24 and I took 24 the rest of the way to Milledgeville accompanied by a fair amount of traffic. I reached town after 28 miles and rode through town to pick up 441 north. I stopped for my late breakfast at a foodmart and continued.
441 was not a lot of fun with high speed traffic and
marginal shoulder with rumble strips. It
was a 4-lane road until
A few miles past the
Another couple miles brought me to
Afterwards we made our way back to Dick and Claire’s
house. I studied my maps for my next
trip segment to outside
I was the first one up and made my own breakfast using my cereal. Later I got a tour of the Reynolds Plantation with its nice homes, tree covered hills, and multiple golf courses. I checked some email and finalized my route plans for the next two days.
In the evening Claire put together a great turkey meal and
we enjoyed the company of their next door neighbor, Ron, who offered a couple
of very useful suggestions on routing for tomorrow. Afterwards we watched a video of Ron and his
wife’s, Maggie, trip to
I left Dick and Claire’s by 7:30, just after sunrise. It was only 37 degrees but I wanted to get started early because rain was predicted by noon. My bare toes were cold so when I stopped at the Publix at the main rode I put on my Seal Skinz socks for only the second time of the trip.
After a couple miles on 44 I took
So I stayed with
In Bishop I did a little jog on 186 to catch
At the intersection with 316 I took 316 west. 316 was a 4-lane divided highway, another
road I normally wouldn’t have taken but I only needed it for a few miles. It really would have been fine except it had
periodic rumble strips that were rideable but unpleasant so I rode at the white
line whenever traffic permitted. In a
few miles I took 11 north for a half mile and then turned into the subdivision
just south of
I met Brad’s wife, Rachel, for the first time but she was a bit under the weather with a chest cold. Later, Brad’s mother arrived to help wallpaper a border in a baby room for an impending arrival. Dinner was another turkey dinner but this was smoked turkey that Brad had prepared for their family’s Thanksgiving dinner. It was great and marked the third straight day of turkey at a time when I thought I would be lucky to get any turkey this Thanksgiving.
Brad was already up when I got up so I joined him for breakfast. A little later Rachel joined us over coffee. I wasn’t in any great hurry to leave so I lingered a bit and then left at 8:00.
The big challenge for the day was route finding. Getting to Alpharetta required passing
through areas with significant traffic so the bike routes 60/70 meandered
around to take less traveled roads. I
initially took 81 south that first descended and then climbed. However, after 81 crossed the
At this point I had covered 20 fairly hilly miles so I
looked for a breakfast place in town. As
luck would have it I followed 20/124 north where I found my Waffle House for
what I suspected would be my last waffles.
The Waffle House was conveniently located near the turnoff to pick up
From there I took
Shortly after crossing 141 I took
I met Stan at home at about 2:00 but Danna was out with
Back at the ranch Danna fixed a nice dinner while
Later, on the Internet I was surprised to find $95 airfare
In the morning I disassembled my bike and fit it into my
bike box. I packed the rest of my gear
in my large duffel bag and my two rear panniers that I strapped together to
form a single unit. It was a lot easier
to pack this way rather than trying to fit everything into two pieces of
luggage, a bike box and a large duffel bag, as I had for my initial flight to
At noon I met Todd for lunch. Todd was a friend, as was Brad,
who I had worked with in my previous life as an RF engineer in
I taped my bike box shut and Danna took me to a UPS Store to ship it home. The clerk put the box on a scale where it weighed out at 37 pounds. Then he measured it and declared it was oversized and would cost $110 to ship. I knew the box was borderline oversize because I had checked the UPS website and did the measurements myself. However, I had come in just under the oversize category. That’s because I measure the height at 29 inches but because it was slightly over 29 inches UPS required rounding up to 30 inches. That was the difference between being just undersize and oversize and about $60 more for shipping.
Well, $110 shipping made no sense since I could take the bike on the airline for $80. So Danna and I went to a Mail Box where I gave the clerk the UPS measurements. He checked and found that DHL would ship it for $72. That was $8 cheaper and more convenient than the airline so I signed up for it.
At noon Stan came home from work and we had lunch with Danna
who works from home. Then Stan drove me
to the North Springs Marta train station where I rode Marta straight to the
airport, about an hour ride. The ride
was a bit nostalgic, recalling the almost 4 years I commuted to
At the airport I discovered my Delta flight was a little late which wasn’t too surprising. Check in was a bit of a hassle since they were inspecting everyone fairly thoroughly but I was plenty early and this wasn’t a problem. I arrived without a seat assignment but I still managed to get an aisle seat on a full flight, even if it was the second last row on the plane.
The flight was uneventful with only some minor turbulence. After I claimed my baggage I called Naperville Chauffeuring on their 800 number that I still remembered from my past travels. I got a limo in about the same amount of time it would have taken if I had a reservation. However, the limo driver was possibly the worst driver I’d had. He seemed tentative and hunched over a bit as if he couldn’t see very well. Nevertheless I arrived home safe and sound at about 7:00.
Copyright Denis Kertz, 2004. All rights reserved.