“Somwhere Near Patterson Everything Came To A Crawl”: “The All News Station Was Thanking Someone For The Call”

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Saturday January 14, 2017, 71 miles (114 km) – Total so far: 655 miles (1,054 km)

Above lyrics from Transit by Richard Shindell.
Riedsville to somewhere near Patterson, Ga.

As I was doing my morning routine, I heard the joyous sound of giggling and laughter. My neighbors, a mother and her daughter were out for the weekend to enjoy the country by camping out together. There was no auguring, no harsh words, just the joy of being together and being a family. The laughter and love they shared made my day.

As I rode today, the wildlife was abundant. From the black water swamps came the unmistakable cry of wood ducks taking wing. The sight of a great blue heron rising from a pond in the mist and morning sun. All of the varieties of woodpeckers as I traveled on a road designated as The Woodpecker Trail. All of these things distracted me from the long day ahead.

I passed by fields of Vadalia onions, a famous variety of sweet onions grown only in these parts. One field was organically raised and the workers were weeding by hand.

Baby Vidalia onions being weeded by hand.

What land wasn’t being used for onions, pine trees or cattle was used to grow pecan trees. There were orchards everywhere. Most of the trees in yards were pecans. I do love me some pecan pie and pecan waffles.

As I was rolling along, caught up in all the sites and sounds, I heard a noise that almost wrecked me. There’s nothing like being bayed at by a donkey. What an awful sound from such a cute critter. They keep them in the pastures to get rid of the coyotes. Donkeys hate coyotes!

I had a 60 mile day planed ending with a stealth camp somewhere near Patterson but as the song suggests, the closer I got, the farther away I became and everything came to a crawl. No one wants to see a detour sign, especially while your on a bike.

Oh no!!!

I was only 5 miles away. Where will it go? How far and how long will it take? It’s getting close to dark. It ended up being an extra 8 miles which if your averaging 11 mph is around 40 minutes. I was pedaling for all I was worth but it was after all, the end of a long day.

Finally I could see the crossroads up ahead indicating town. What’s that? Another detour sign? You’ve got to be kidding me. As a matter of fact, all roads into and out of Patterson were rerouted. I’m guessing bridge repair and road work due to damage done by the recent Hurricane Matthew.

Fortunately, I was able to get directions from a man at the convince store for the next day and a suggestion for a stealth camp. I filled up my water for the night, headed out of town and found home just in the nick of time.

“I Woke Up This Morning”: “Had Them Statesboro Blues”

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Friday January 13, 2017, 42 miles (68 km) – Total so far: 584 miles (940 km)

Statesboro Blues by the Allman Brothers Band
Statesboro to Altamaha Gordonia State Park in Reidsvile, Ga.

Well, I didn’t really have the blues this morning but the song seemed appropriate given my location. I did wake up to a full moon setting over camp and that was pretty cool. When you fall asleep at 8 pm. it’s ok to wake at 5 am. and that’s when I start my morning routine.

Wolf Moon on Friday the 13th.

First, coffee dripped into the cup. Then while bundled against the cold and sitting in my marvelous chair, I write this blog. I’m usually just to tired to do it at night. After blog posting comes Face Book and then Instagram. Yes, I’m addicted. They say it’s the endorphins again, just like runners (bikers) high so at least there’s an excuse for it. Thing is, it’s an easy way to keep up with everybody and I like that.

Coffee and Maps. Morning routine.

Next, more coffee and planning out my day’s route and destination. I’m usuing ACA’s Atlantic Coast Maps for this part of the trip. Still getting used to them though. In order to fit the page, each section of around 30 miles has to be oriented just so. This means, north is not always the top of the page. This seems to confuse me and I find myself turning right when I should turn left. There are also descriptions at some of the intersections to help you make the right route. These would be a big help if I remembered to read them. Also, some turns are on “un-named roads”. Those aren’t so easy to find. Haha. So it’s not the map’s fault if I get turned around from time to time. It’s human error. Just adds more adventure. Besides, ” It’s not about the miles, it’s about the smiles”. There are times I’d like to strangle whoever said that.

Eventually, I’ve had all my coffee, the sun has risen and is trying to warm the day, I’ve cleaned up, packed up and all that’s left to do is ride to my next location. So that’s what I do.

A house built n 1872 and refurbished in 1976. Reminded me of my first house I bought that was built in 1861.

Cotton on the hoof. They still plant cotton here. Not as much as in 1872 but you can still see some fields.

I’d planned a short day today as there was a nice campground in Reidsville and I needed to do some chores like groceries and find an ATM. I was out of food and cash. Sometimes while out enjoying everything, you have to come back to reality and do some work. Found a good grocery store which had an ATM in the parking lot. Score!!! Needed food cause there aren’t many services for the next few days and there was a stealth camp in the near future.

Checked into Altamaha Gordonia State Park and was lucky enough to get a site on this busy Holliday weekend. Of course this meant more folks to play music for as they wandered around camp. So that’s what I did. My neighbors said they enjoyed being serinaded while they set up camp and enjoyed the sites. Cool!!!

Later, I cooked a veggie dinner and pondered how lucky I was to be doing this type of activity. Tomorrow, I’ll get up and do it all again.

Dinner's cooking.

Georgia On My Mind: Back for a second time

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Thursday January 12, 2017, 62 miles (100 km) – Total so far: 542 miles (872 km)

Stealth camp to Parkwood RV Park in Statesboro, Ga.
I ran out of food last night except for random snacks I had. The double Dave burger got me through the night but I was pretty hungry in the morning. I did have coffee though. It made the Cliff Bar go down a little easier.

Prospects for food looked dim but I noticed a grocery store listed on the map about 20 miles away. Not enough cell signal to post pics on the blog or attend to social media so I made an early start of it. Eight am. I laugh at that as I’ll be leaving much earlier when it gets hot. Riding early meant it was cold and somewhat foggy.

Most towns I went hrough were basically crossroads. I found a gas station that was not marked and heated up a sausage biscuit. Good thing as the grocery store ended up being a liquor store. Still a bit early for me. Today, I was scheduled to return to Ga. I was looking for the Savannah River and the big hill ahead called a bridge announced it's presence.

The Savannah River, Georgia, South Carolina border.

Soon after came my second state sign picture of the trip.

Georgia on my mind.

Soon after that, I filled my belly with meatloaf, green beans and corn at a gas station. These stations have fuel for the cars and fuel for Clara’s engine.

I had 62 miles to do today but the scenery made them go by fast. Had a snack on the steps of a beautiful church nestled under the live oaks.

Soon it was time to put on the music and motor out the last few miles. A Starbucks, double energy, Mocha drink made that push even easier. Now I'm in camp, comfortably full of low country, Cajun, boiled shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn. I'll sleep well tonight.

Late Start to the Morning: Stealth Camping at Night

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Wednesday January 11, 2017, 40 miles (64 km) – Total so far: 480 miles (772 km)

Walterboro to Stealth Camp south of Glenesboro.
It was cold last night but I love to sleep cold. It was so nice spending time in camp talking to new friends Linda and Larry and their yellow lab, Rider. I got to use most of my new cooking gear as I made dinner, then played guitar for an hour. Can’t do that in a motel.

I woke at my usual time and caught up with the blog and all my friends while having coffee and enjoying my chair. I love this chair. Why haven’t I used one before?

I really had no plan for tonight’s camp other than do some miles and then look for a stealth site. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, stealth camping is poaching a campsite somewhere that’s not an established camp ground. They could be behind a church, fire department or just tucked away the woods, out of site. They are free but also come with no amenities like food, water, or shower. There is no one else there, thus, private. Lonely. Anyway, there were no convenient campsites or hotels on my route today so stealth camp it was.

Larry started a fire and Linda asked me over for coffee. Nice. We sat, talked and enjoyed each others company as between them, they managed to have quite the warm fire. All of a sudden, it was late in the morning and I still wasn’t motivated to move on. Why leave a fire, friendly, interesting conversation and just a taste of peach moonshine?

Linda, Rider and Larry. Great meeting you three.

Well, eventually I had to pack up and go. Heading south on the Atlantic Coast Route. Another gorgeous day with a moderate headwind. Started to see some nice black water swamps beside the road. Lots of hawks and other wildlife around including the frogs called spring peepers. Hardy little beasts in that cold water trying to attract a mate.

Black water swamps on both sides of the road.

Food was scarce and I finally stoped at a Wendy’s for food at 3:30 pm. The food was good but the service was superb. I know, service at Wendy’s? Well, here you were greeted by, “Wellcome to my Wend’s”. Each person was known by name and the ladies were singing and dancing for us. Dinner and a show. I needed a smile about then and they gave me belly laughs. Of course I had to have their picture. Thank you for going above and beyond to make all of your customers happy.

These ladies Made my day.

I rode until about one half hour prior to sunset, found a nice spot in the woods next to a cell tower and made camp. The sunset was pretty, and I was greeted by an armadillo. Perfect.

Stealth camp in the woods.