Friday, March 8, 2013

Home away from home.


Leaving Orlando behind, I took time to travel up the coast and pass through the city of Saint Augustine.  Unfortunately, I picked a very busy time to visit and decided to save checking out the place in detail another time.

I had planned on going to the 5-hour Energy presented by Kenda racing team training camp but was told I wasn’t needed.  No problem, I still have plenty to do.  So I was surprised by a last-minute invitation to camp.  Seems the bikes had been held up in customs and due to their late arrival, extra help was needed.  It’s great to have a flexible schedule then.  
Indoor camping.

Bike-mechanic-jedi.  Wrench, or wrench-not.  There is no try.

I made a short detour to Charleston to attend a great 1st annual chili cook off and then cut that visit short to drive to Gainesville, GA.  I spent the week working with the other mechanics, just enough to make me miss the job.  Maybe they’ll need me again before the season is over, hint-hint.  There are a lot of new faces and new friends were made before I was on my own again.  
Seeing this rig and knowing it's going to get towed all over the country... I don't miss the job any more.

I found my way to the town of Ellijay and visited the local shop; Cartecay Bikes. There I discovered, among other things, that Ellijay is the mountain biking capital of Georgia.  Mike, the owner of the shop, took me on  a “easy 20-mile ride” that was closer to 30 and left my legs rubbery.  Then he gave me all the guidance I needed to find camping for the next week.  

      One place he directed me to was the wonderful Mulberry Gap Mountain Bike Get-A-Way.  I’m normally opposed to paying for camping, but for one price, I had camping with showers, a hot tub, breakfast and dinner, and easy access to awesome mountain bike trails. This place must rock when the temps are above freezing!   If there was something bad to say about the place, it was that it snowed on me.  Add one more to the list of states I’ve been snowed on since leaving Washington in October.  Well, I guess you can’t fault them for the weather.
Camping in the snow.  Again.
Eventually, I had to leave there.  Just not enough feeling left in my toes and fingers.  Seriously, it was cold!  I warmed up for a couple days in a nice little hotel room, then found another great place to camp, the Skeenah Creek Campground.  For an even lower price I had everything but the meals.  And the weather was a huge improvement.  Well, it is March.  Crazy weather is to be expected.  
It's warm, the sun it out, the roads are curvy.  What should I do?
Re-reading what I’ve written, it sounds pretty commercial.  It wasn’t meant that way, it’s just the reaction to the incredible friendliness of this place.  I’ve been all over the country and few places, where I was a total stranger, have been as friendly as north Georgia.  Sure, there are contenders.  But if you trace my route on the map, you’ll see the places I avoid and the places where I linger or go back again and again.    And the chance to find more places like this makes me want to keep wandering.

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