Monday, June 20, 2011

Just got to get to Georgia.

This was by far one of my favorite days of riding. After waking up and biking for half an hour, I arrived in Cleveland, TN. The reason I loved it so much was this was my home turf. This is the first section of road that I know. I don't need a map, or directions, or phone calls to people accessible to computers to bail me out because I am lost. I know exactly how to get home. And that is a beautiful thing to me.

I started on the ride home to Clemson. Once I hit this point, my only thought was, "I want to get to Clayton, GA, so I can stay at Chip's lake house." I had my mind set on it. I followed the road, and it is such a great drive. It follows the Ocoee river for 20 miles or so. The Ocoee is where they held the Olympic Kayaking events in 1996. The river was running, and the weather was good, the the water was packed with kayakers and rafters. It was awesome stopping and talking to kayakers about how the river was running. I used to be a raft guide, and I still remember a few words that make me sound not ignorant when talking about the river. So it was cool just remembering that time in my life a couple summer ago, at the same time taking pictures of some kayakers getting trashed trying to surf a class III. Just great stuff. I stopped at the shop at the Olympic facility to get a glass bottle soda, but they were 2.50. I just walked out. Well, I filled my water bottles from their fountain machine, then I walked out. I had to get that cold water, you know.

I biked past the Ocoee, and hit that beautiful sign. The one that says, "Welcome to NORTH CAROLINA." Ahh, I got more and more excited the farther I biked. Once I got to Murphy, NC, I stopped in a McDonalds to get some Powerade and refill the water bottles. When I walked out, I somehow noticed a storm that I somehow managed not to notice for the last few hours of riding. It just barely started to rain, so my only thought was to get into Georgia. It was only a 12 mile ride from where I was.

And then the RAIN came. It was so brutal I could literally not see ten feet in front of me. The raindrops felt like I was getting hit with water balloons with every drop. It sounds like an exaggeration, but this was probably the most absurd rain storm I had ever been in. I peeled off onto a little side parking lot/road, and went and sat on a porch for an hour. Cars were either stopped completely on the side of the road, with blinkers on. Or they were driving at a speed that would have lost to the tortoise from the "tortoise and the hare."

I was pretty mad I couldn't bike at this point, and I was getting cold. And I still wasn't in GA yet. The main storm blew past, so I got on the bike and cranked out the last few miles to GA. I ended up at Lake Hiawassee. It is a little lake town. I saw a couple buildings, then a glowing sign for a movie theater. At this point, I pulled into the movie theater parking lot just to see what was playing.

I proceeded from this point to go behind the movie theater, climb up a hill, and put up my tent. Over the top of the movie theater, I could see the major part of the storm, all the mountains for a good 30 miles, and Lake Hiawassee. It was pretty beautiful. I put on some dry clothes, then walked back down to the movie theater. I ended up going to watch the movie Super 8. It was just a good alien movie. I would recommend it. It was funny in parts, a little suspenseful in others, and just a classic Spielberg/JJ Abrams flick. Good stuff.

I went up to the tent, and went to bed to one of the the more stunning sunsets of the trip.

I barely got to GA, and all I have is 93 miles till Clemson.

Oh, and all my stuff is wet from the rain. Great.

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