Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dawsonville and Elachee

I expected this weekend to suck. Obligations at work required me to be within 2 hours of internet access at all time. Yesterday I tried to do a bunch of stuff with my family, but it just turned out to be hectic. I did take the kids to ride their bikes, but I scraped and bruised up my back up doing something so stupid with Sophie's bike that it could have won $10K on America's Funniest Videos, if we'd had a camera. I figured today would suck too. But...

Kathryn had a photography club meeting at 2, but I managed to get up early and get in a morning ride. Basically I rode from Cumming to Dawsonville and back.

There's some cool stuff on Hwy 9:

Grogans Grocery:

 Old Grogan's Grocery

And more of those weird fruits, this time just along the side of the road. Oddly, along the side with no trees on it.

 Weird Fruit

Monster truck for sale...

 Monster Truck

... and a perfect opportunity to study the duality of man, or at least the duality of Dave. While one half of my mind weeps at the environment-crushing potential of this abomination, the other half appreciates the engineering; the time, effort and skill... man that thing looks freakin' awesome.

The courthouse.

 Dawsonville Courthouse

The old jail.

 Old Jail In Dawsonville

City Hall AND Motorsports Hall of Fame. Same building.

 City Hall and Motorsports Hall of Fame

Lumpkin Campground, est. 1830.

 Lumpkin Campground

They had a different idea of campgrounds back then I guess.

The ride was cool, I saw some cool stuff, but I'd stolen the seat off my road bike to race at Tumbling Creek a few weeks back and it was poorly adjusted today. I stopped to mess with it 4 or 5 times, but it's still not right. Also, I never felt warmed up or loose. I guess that's what I get for taking almost 2 weeks off. Good enough though. I got home in time for Kathryn to go to her meeting, jumped in the shower and let the ammonia fumes burn my eyes out.

Kathryn took off, and me and the girlies got down to business.

First we tried to find a place to eat in Buford. I'd seen a bunch of restaurants in the historic Main Street area, but apparently nothing is open on Sunday in the city of Buford. We ended up at Fosters Grille by the mall, ate, and shared a large chocolate shake.

 Fosters Grille

Post milkshake, we eased on over to Gainesville, and the Elachee Nature Center. I've ridden bikes at Chicopee since 2000, but it was only last year that I learned there were hiking trails there too. As some unnatural force compels me to set foot or tire on every square inch of dirt in Georgia, it was criminal that I hadn't yet set foot on those.

We checked the map at the nature center. Wow, I thought there were just a few miles of trails, but it looked like there might be about ten. This might take a couple of trips.

We chose the Dunlap trail, grabbed a map and got moving. The trails reminded me of the old Chicopee trails. Some were well placed and purpose-built. Others followed old roadbeds. Some were clean and flowing, others were chunky and eroded, screaming for some pro trailbuilder to come work his magic. Lots of variety. Just the way I like it.

There were a few cool points of interest along the way.

An old dam.

 Vulture Rock Creek Dam 1

I guess an old, mangled bridge?

 Bridge Ruins on Vulture Rock Creek

An awesome bridge.

 Girls on Walnut Creek Suspension Bridge

Some old homestead ruins.

 Homestead Ruins

Stone steps.

 Dunlap Trail 2

Walnut creek.

 Walnut Creek

The girls had a great time. We met a bunch of friendly people and their dogs. Both of them are getting good at navigating with a map.

Around 4:45, we were out of the woods. We'd planned on going somewhere so they could ride their bikes, but it was getting kind of late and the usual places were pretty far away. As I realized the problem, the solution presented itself. On Sunday, Gainesville College has a billion huge, empty parking lots. The career center looked good. Problem solved.

The Iz, blazing.

 Iz Riding in Gainesville

She might even be ready for the Mosquito Flatts.

Sophie almost figured out how to ride without her training wheels yesterday. Today she got it.

 Sophie Riding in Gainesville

She has work to do on turning and on getting started, but she made a lot of progress today.

For a day that I expected to suck, it was turning out pretty good. But there would be more. My dad got into town early that morning. We met them for pizza in Vinings and watched the Saints beat Carolina. AND, on top of all that, he brought my truck back! He'd taken it to his shop in Dallas a few months back and they did a bunch of difficult work done on it, like changing the evaporator and heater cores, replacing the timing chain, and diagnosing some other problems. I've got AC again! Just in time for winter :)

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