Posted by: twistsoffeet | May 20, 2011

Today I Cheated

Today started off very nicely.

I spoke to Roy at the church where I was staying, and then hit the road. The first thirteen miles were not bad; not a total coast, but not bad. Then I got a flat, which is no big deal.

After repairing my flat, I continued on for another three miles, when suddenly the road I was on, and had been on for 60 miles, was closed to bicycle traffic. This really left me in a lurch. I was in a position where I had committed to this route and suddenly I could not ride it.

It just made no sense.

After reviewing my map, I cut across back roads to the city of Griffin, GA, and found my way to Hwy 16.  Big mistake… but I took this highway anyway. I rode ten miles on this highway and was scared– no terrified– the whole time.

This is a very narrow two lane highway, with virtually no shoulder, and is a 55 MPH speed limit.  But the big rigs. I am certain, where doing no less than 65 MPH.  I was nearly blown off of my bike more times than I can count.

Finally, I could do it no more.  I pulled onto the entrance to a driveway and laid my bike down and just stood there shaking and counting my blessings that I was still alive.  Honestly, I had no idea how I would get out of this mess and refused to go out onto the road again.

About this time, Jason pulled off the road and asked what I was doing and asked if I was okay.  He said he could see the look of fear on my face.  He also said I must be “crazy because they will kill you on this road.”  Then he offered to load my gear in his Jeep Grand Cherokee and give me a ride to a safer highway.

I do not feel good about cheating. but at least I am alive to feel something.  Jason gave me a ride about 34 miles to Newnan, GA.

Jason is 31 years old, tattooed and has long pony tail.  His brother is a gunner on Apache helicopters in Iraq, and he has a 6 year old son and 4 year old daughter– although I may have their ages wrong.  He is pure Georgia all the way, and  a truly good person.  I feel he saved my life today, literally.

I rode from Newnan to Whitesburg, GA, where I went to the town hall, but it was closed.  I tried the police station around back, but it was closed and no one was at the churches I went to.  So I tried the library, where I met Becky and Ruth, who went far above and beyond trying to help me find a place to sleep.

Finally, Becky spoke to someone at her church, who said I should camp at the McIntosh Reserve Park and then offered to pay the 15 dollar fee for me.  I was once again blown away by the kindness of the people of Georgia towards me, a total stranger.

I can not say enough about all of the kind people I have met and the wonderful conversations I have had on this trip. If anyone reading this has stereotyped the populace of Georgia as “backwoods hillbilly” and “uneducated,” then you are totally mistaken because I have met kind generous and intelligent people all along my route and I am blessed to have met them.

Tomorrow will also, at least for a while, be a scary day, but nothing like today.  I will have at least 20 miles riding on a fairly narrow two lane highway, but at least this Hwy Alt 27 has a shoulder. It is narrow and under construction, so it has lots of loose tar balls on the shoulder, which makes it treacherous; but anything is better than Hwy 16.

I am staying at the McIntosh Reserve Park and it is beautiful.

It sits down on the Chattahoochee River and is several hundred acres.  The facilities are not quite as nice as the River Landing Park in Hawkinsville-Pulaski, GA, but still very nice with shower and water and a nice camp spot.

I would like to take a rest day here to recover my nerves, but I just can not afford to stay here longer.  Still, I am fortunate to have been able to sleep here tonight.


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