Sunday, July 5, 2009

Vacationing and Riding in North Georgia

This year for the July 4 holiday we decided to do something a little different. Rather than fight the crowds at a fireworks show, or shoot off our own fireworks in the front yard, we decided to "get away from it all". We found a cabin for rent in the North Georgia mountains and rented it for the holiday weekend. We located a company that rents pet friendly cabins so that we were able to take our dog Alfie with us. We left on July 2 and drove about 90 minutes to a secluded location halfway between Ellijay and Blue Ridge, GA. At the end of a long dirt road on the banks of the Ellijay River we found our cabin. It was gorgeous, well kept up, with beautiful surroundings.

We spent 3 nights at the cabin and had a great time. We had a bonfire and made s'mores every evening. The girls relaxed in the hot tub and went wading in the river. We watched movies and played games. Every evening we had entertainment in the form of a visit from the local pack of dogs. They belong to the farmer down the road and they know that cabin visitors often give out free food, so they wandered by every evening about dinnertime to look for attention and handouts. Our youngest loved playing with them: it was probably the highlight of her trip.

I brought my bike with, of course, because I didn't want to go an entire weekend without doing some riding. So on Independence Day I put the bike on the back of the Jeep and headed in to Ellijay. My plan was to head for the bike shop there, park the car and head out for a 36 mile ride. Well, I forgot what small towns do on Independence Day: they hold parades. Getting to the bike shop proved to be too difficult so I headed south of town until I found a likely looking parking lot and just pulled the car in there.

My intended route was 36 miles, leaving south from Ellijay and looping back in the town of Talking Rock. This was a route recommended on the local bike shop's website. After heading south on the main highway (Old Highway 5) for a few miles, I turned right on Roundtop Road. I should have known from the name what was in store for me. The first mile was a rather steep climb, and I had to stop halfway up to catch my breath. But I finally made it to the top and the rest of Roundtop was a wonderful ride through the countryside. At two separate points along the road I had some visitors in the form of local dogs. They wanted to see if they could outrun me, or herd me, or bite me. Not sure which. I didn't make it all the way down to Talking Rock. Instead I turned on County Line Road and headed back to Old Highway 5 for the return trip to Ellijay. Somewhere along there I stopped for a breather. While resting, another biker rode by and said "rest time is over!" So I mounted up and chased him. I didn't catch him until he stopped for his own little rest. Then we spent about 10 minutes chatting. He lives in Talking Rock and was out doing his holiday ride. I was hoping he would ride with me all the way in to Ellijay but he was ready to turn around and head back the other way.

So I finished the ride, reracked the bike, and drove back to the cabin, having successfully missed the parade.

25.07 miles in 1:39 for an average of 15.2 mph. I should have done the whole 36.

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