Monday, April 25, 2011

Settles Bridge

It's Easter Sunday, and while my family was up late generating festivities...

 Easter Eggs

I was up late diddling around with computers again. Easter morning, as you might expect, the girls were up early, but uncharacteristically, they didn't wake me and Kathryn up and we slept in too late to make either of the Easter church services. In our defense, the services were at odd times, but still... come on.

So the day didn't start out right, but it got a good bit better around lunch. My brother had us over and we killed several racks of ribs and a ton of easter-themed fruit.

 Happy Easter Fruit

Ribs are delicious but they always put me in a coma. It's like the pig's revenge from beyond the grave. When it came time to do the little bit of exploring I'd penciled in for the afternoon, it was a struggle not to just lie down on the couch and dream about it instead.

Somehow, I made it through.

My Settles Bridge map still had several dotted lines on it, and as I may have mentioned before, if there's a dotted line on my map, I can't stand idly by. Where do they all go? I have to know.

I began my descent into the woods behind the park and right away I ran into this weirdness.

 Weird Tanks

I'd seen them the last time we was out there too, and I still don't know what the deal is. It's a tank of some kind. It used to have a top nailed into it, but that's long gone. I always see them right along creeks, way up near the top, notched into the hillside. There were apparently 3 of them here, but only one remains. My best guess is that if they wanted to put something in the water, they'd put it in the tank and rain would carry it into the water. Maybe? Like maybe medicine for the cows that used to get a drink downstream or something. Seriously though, I have no idea. Somebody has to know. You tell me.

The trail I was following became a "trail" and then eventually just bushwhacking through River Cane and Christmas Ferns.

 Christmas Ferns

One dotted line down, 5 to go. From there I did some "freehand navigation" - no compass, not really even following the terrain, just "yeah, I think I need to go this way" and lo, I still managed to end up where I wanted to be. In the past, I'd discovered a weird loop off to the west of the park trails that looks like it might have been cleared for a road and then abandoned, but there was no obvious way in or out. Well, I found what might have been the way in. It turns out that, though not especially obviously, the old roadbed leading away from Settles Bridge road proper bends around and ultimately connects up with it. Near that intersection, I discovered this abandoned homeless camp.

 Homeless Camp

... or I guess that's what it is. I've seen a few of these over the years. Almost always in just about this shape. I've only ever seen two that were occupied and only one where the guy was actually there.

This one was vacant though, and appeared to have been for a while.

I saw a bunch of deer near there too. Actually, throughout the day, I saw dozens of deer. That's dozens - plural. They were everywhere, in groups of 4 or 5 each. Small herds of deer. How many deer do you have to have before it's a herd?

I also saw this strange bird that looked like a mockingbird with a spiky flattop haircut. I need to learn more about birds because that bird was awesome and I wish I knew what it was. I've got this friend that I used to work with who's a pretty avid birder. He took all of these awesome photos of falcons mating in Torrey Pines. He would be shaking his head right now.

Speaking of deer...

 Deer Skull

All that I found of this one was the skull. So, did scavengers tear the top off to get at the brain, or did a hunter chuck the skull into the woods after cutting off the antlers? Those look like pretty clean cuts.

All right, I was really making progress; knocking off dotted lines left and right. One of them led to this outdoor classroom thing.

 Outdoor Classroom

It was tucked in at the end of a sidewalk behind the High School. We'd seen it the last time we were out here too, but didn't check it out. The trail leading out of the back of the pavillion tied into the rest of the system. What class can you take where you get to go walking around in the woods? They didn't have that when I was in high school.

From there I did some more freehand nav over to Settles Bridge road and jogged down to the river.

I noticed some orange ribbon off to the right - must be a well.

Yep, a well.


How'd you like to "discover" that by accident. There were the vaguest signs that there might once have been a homestead nearby - what might have been a driveway, some semi-decorative looking plants - not daffodils, but similar. Otherwise it was just a random well off the side of the road.

At the river, I headed downstream to check out one little unexplored trail down there. I expected that it would lead to a network of trails in the big block of woods to the east, but instead it just crossed a creek and headed further downstream.

There was a fence in the way, which I'd once taken to be the NRA property boundary and not gone past. I'm not sure if it's private land or not, but by the looks of it, people are welcome to keep on going right through the fence.


Beyond the gate there were more trails paralleling the river.


More to explore. Always more to explore. I'll have to come back for those though, it was getting a little late.

I took a different trail back and had to cross this challenging geological formation.


Since that trail didn't lead up into the woods, I looked and looked for another one that might, but I didn't see anything. There is apparently, a big block of trailless woods between the river and a neighborhood. I'll have to go running around up in there some day too.

It's definitely spring now. The plants have been busy rearranging dirt into leaves and buds and other greenery. When I think about it, it's really pretty amazing. Me and the kids talk about it sometimes. Plants take dirt and water and reorganize it into leaves, flowers, fruit and wood. Dirt becomes this:


Will wonders never cease?

There were still some trails up to the north on my list, but I knocked them out in short order. One of them appears to have been a bike trail at some point.

 Bike Trail

One was pretty overgrown.

 A Little Overgrown

Man, it was getting late. I felt my way back into the park, and again, spectacularly, ended up exactly where I expected to be. I wonder now if I was just getting lucky, or if that innate sense of direction I had running around in the woods as a kid has really started to come back.

I ran most of the way back out. The sun was going down, and I was worried that the park might actually close.


It's always darker up in the woods though and when I got back, there were still kids playing basketball and skating. Cool.

The kids are off of school tomorrow, so my mom had them for a sleepover, leaving me and Kathryn with a date night. We shared some delicious parmesan-encrusted chicken at Longhorn and watched "Your Highness" which is guaranteed to win an oscar in the most gratuitously crude humor category. Still though, it was funny, if you're into that kind of thing.

Buford-Suwanee Loop

I spent Friday night and most of Saturday morning in computer nerd hell. I haven't built a system up in 6 years and apparently having to manually set memory timings and voltages is just what's done these days. Weeee.

I did manage to squeeze in a late road ride with my brother though. I also managed to put a few miles on my new Reality club kit too.

 Reality Kit

...or at least the jersey. I ran into an issue with the stitching on the bibs (yes, I pulled up one leg at a time, by the fabric) and I figured it was better to be safe than sorry with the garment obscuring my loins from public display.

We did part of my little Dave's Creek/Gilbert/Melody Mizer loop then headed out toward Suwanee. I was really feeling the long nights. My bro was stomping me. Traffic was exceptionally heavy too. I've ridden that loop a couple of times now and the traffic has always been light and fluffy. Maybe it was because of the Easter weekend or something. Hard to say.

We rolled through scenic downtown old Suwanee...

 John in Suwanee

..., stomped hard up the little hill past that little park at the end, looped back around through new downtown Suwanee too and took the highway over to Buford. For some reason, that section had the lightest traffic. The rest of the ride was all business. We passed a few riders going the other way on Buford Dam road, but they were the only other folks we saw out all. I wanted to faint at the top of the hill going back into my neighborhood. Good god.

It was a good ride in that it was scenic and good exercise, and that I got to ride with my bro, but I just really haven't felt like myself lately when I get outside, and it didn't seem to help much with that. These late night hack-a-thons have been putting down some real suffering. I hope that's all it is.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Weekly Beatdown

Today's beatdown was a little more like what I was hoping for last week. I opted for the B1 group today, and felt strong throughout. Maybe last week I was just still sick, or maybe the ride this weekend and yesterday did manage to kickstart my body. Either way, I felt good today. I could really breathe. My "vast mouth inhaled the air in liberal draughts." It was magnificent.

I saw some friends too. The ChiroCycleGirl was there with a cool new tattoo on her wrist. Get her to tell you about it. I'd met a guy last year too who hadn't ridden before and he was training for one of those long charity rides, like Tour-de-Cure or something. I wish I remembered exactly which. He had a new bike and new gear and it looked like he'd decided to keep after this cycling thing. There was a young teenager that rode with us last year too. He was squirrelly, reckless and overconfident and I feared him. Just to be clear, I'm not judging him for those things; on principle for one, but also because of how infinitely more reckless I was at his age. Over the winter, his riding matured ten fold. At least from a cycling perspective, he's become a young man and for what it's worth, he earned my respect today.

There was also a great deal of personal drama today. Some guy I recognized but don't know kept riding on or to the left of the double yellow line. Maybe he didn't realize he was doing anything wrong. "Hey, keep an eye on your center line brother." No reaction. "Car up!" No reaction while an oncoming car passed him. "Car up!" Again no reaction as another car passed a few seconds later. I had been polite, but another guy in our group was more direct and left-of-the-yellow-line-guy exploded in a fit of threats and cursing the likes of which I haven't seen since high school. I honestly wondered if he was being serious or if it was some failed attempt at humor? At first it was amusingly awkward, but then I started feeling sorry for the guy. There's got to be something deeper driving that aggression. Then I felt bad for thinking it was funny. At the next stop sign, he exploded in another fit, directed at a different rider and later again at that same guy again. He faced some harsh justice though. From that first fit on, almost no one would let him in and was relegated to the wind or the back for the duration. Hey brother, if you somehow happen to read this, it sounded like you're working through some real hurt. I've been there. We've all been there. Stay strong. But also, please, for safety's sake, try to keep an eye on the center line.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


When I got home from work today, Iz was at gym and Sophie was fully absorbed watching Planet 51. They barely noticed when I jumped out on the road for a few hours. I've headed northwest out into the country for so many years, it never really occurred to me to go any other direction, except to get to work, until a few weeks ago. Today it occurred to me though, so I headed down Buford Dam Road to Buford, with it's cute little main street, just off the railroad tracks.


Apparently there was a War of the Worlds fighting machine wandering around to the southwest. I didn't notice it at the time.

There were a couple of riders wandering around too. A girl in a jeep asked me if I knew about a group ride that led out of the church. I didn't, but there must have been something going on. From there, I wandered around further east, recognized Hamilton Mill Road and tried to follow it out to Hwy 85. I was overbudget on time though, and I had to turn back a few miles short.

They're doing construction in Buford and it was a little confusing. I had ridden in earlier though, so there must be a way back out. It took patience and persistence, but I found it.

At Peachtree Industrial, there were a bunch of riders ahead, stopped at the light. Maybe that's the group ride the girl was looking for earlier. One of the riders didn't make it through, so I caught up with him. He had an Addictive jersey on and he looked like Matt Smith from behind, but it turned out to be a guy named Robbie that I've ridden with before, but for the life of me, I can't remember where. We rode together for a few blocks, and he confirmed that it was, in fact, the group ride out of the church.

My father and law and uncle in law were set to be back by 7, so I had to get going.

Buford Dam Road was all wavy and washboardy. It was like that on the way out too. I thought my wheel might have gotten wopped or something, but no, it was just the road.

The sun was getting low, but there was still enough light to make Lanier look good.

 Lake Lanier

I love that time of day. One hour before sunset.

A truck with a bike rack passed me on the dam. A block or two past the dam, it was parked on the side of the road. Brad!

It was Brad Birney. He would have been in that group ride earlier, but he had some boat work to do out my way. We talked for a bit. It was cool to see him. So random.

I ran out of water and the last hill between the lake and Nuckolls Drive is just ridiculous. I seriously considered walking the last hundred feet. Great ride though. I hope I can make a habit out of it.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I'd hoped to ride with my Dad today but he was en-route to Dallas when I tried to get a hold of him. I couldn't get Travis on the phone either and Tim's got the Mr. Mom thing going on this weekend. I guess it would have helped if I'd tried to coordinate with them prior to the absolute last minute. Maybe I can do that next weekend.

Companions or not, I had a hankering for some climbing and the hankering could not go unsatisfied. It took a minute to decide where to go. I saw some blue and yellow wildflowers along the side of the road and remembered climbing Nimblewill Gap road 4 or 5 years ago and running into a mile or more of similar flowers along that road. I couldn't remember if it was spring or fall. Maybe it was spring. Thinking about that reminded me of my failed attempts to find the elusive FS665/665-2 connector. The rusty gears were turning. A plan was coming together.

I parked at Nimblewill Church and headed up the road toward the gap. The weather was cool and breezy. Some folks were out doing yard work. A teenager on a 4 wheeler passed me, then stopped up the road a bit to put a little pinch between his cheek and gum.

"Take that trail there, it's more fun." "Where does it go?" "Just up to the corner."

Yep, it went right up to the corner like he said. There were some fun little whoops at the end too.

Not far up from there I recognized a little side road that I'd seen a couple of times before and in the back of my mind, I half remembered that it should lead to a cemetery and indeed it did.

 Nimblewill Gap Road Cemetery

And a pretty big one too. Bigger than most middle-of-the-woods cemeteries I've seen. It was a little odd too, most of the stones were identical and unmarked.

Nimblewill Gap Road became FS28-2 and the climbing began in earnest. I did some intervals to try to kickstart something. It felt like I haven't ridden in a month. Man, I was fast and strong last year. How did this happen?

From up there, you can see distant ridges and deep valleys.


Photos just don't do it justice. From one of the turns, you can see all the way down to Dahlonega, which really just looks like more woods except for the gold steeple of North Georgia College beaming like a lighthouse. Go check it out, it's pretty cool.

When I reached Nimblewill Gap, my legs were satisfyingly dead.

 Nimblewill Gap

I expected the descent down FS28-3 to be equally satisfying. For at least 11 years now, it's been a chunky, rutted, treacherous, jeep trail of a road. I've double flatted on it before and had to ride out to Hwy 52 on a flat rear tire. Two winters ago we rode it in the ice and snow and kept breaking through into ruts deeper than our hubs. Bring it on.

Woohooo! Ohhh. What? Somebody's been running the bulldozer up there.

Today, FS28-3 was a beautifully clean, perfectly outsloped, model forest road. Except for a few exposed rocks, I could have driven my wife's Honda Fit down it. It looked like they cut in a few inches on the left and filled in the ruts with that dirt. There were literally no ruts, semblances of ruts or vague reminders of where ruts may once have been.

I could barely get my Durango up this hill 2 years ago.


Of course, this is another opportunity to study the duality of Dave. On the one hand, well maintained roads make for clean watersheds and good access for fire fighting, but on the other, that road was way up the mountain, it's a long way down to Tickanetley Creek and it was a lot of fun to ride all wrecked up like it used to be. Well, at least I enjoyed it while it lasted. They may have just hit the reset button though. There wasn't any gravel on the road. Without that, it won't take too many years to return to it's former insanity. The bulldozer work looked pretty fresh though. They may gravel it yet.

FS665-2 had seen no such attention.


The first half mile or so was rutted and technical, but then it became tame like any other old road. I don't think the gate has been open in 10 years though. There were purple flowers blooming in the old tire tracks.

With all the rain we got this past Friday, two little streams that generally trickle down the face of some rocks had become raging waterfalls.

 First Falls off of FS665-2

 Second Falls off of FS665-2

At the end of the road, I'd once seen a sawblade embedded in a tree there. I looked for it again today but I couldn't find it. Somebody might have removed it. There were several scars in some trees in the area where I thought I'd seen it. There were the remnants of a camp fire nearby too and a rusty old 55 gallon drum. I've seen dozens of old 55 gallon drums lying around in the National Forest. Most at what appear to be the former end of a road, or down along creeks off of old overgrown roads. My theory is that at one time, those roads were driveable and the drums mark the locations of ancient campsites. I guess before there was such thing as a fire ring, people either dragged their own 55 gallon drum out there, or maybe they were provided by the Forest Service. When fire rings came around, the drums were replaced, but in some locations, the roads had already been closed and the drums abandoned in place. This is the only one that I can think of that I've seen on a currently inventoried road.

So no saw blade, but I did see a big roll of cable.


Still want to know why there's so much cable lying around in those woods.

Ok, so many years ago I discovered that there is FS665 off of FS42 on Springer Mountain and then there is FS665-2 here, off of FS28-3. Given their names, one might conclude that they were once joined as every other FSXXX and FSXXX-N in the Chattahoochee NF is. However, I have yet to find a map showing them joined and since then, I've tried twice to find a connection between them to no avail. Why does it matter? It doesn't. It's just a mystery and I don't really know why, but I feel compelled to sort it out.

And so began the longest hike-a-bike of all time. I'll dispense with the details. You can re-create them in your head by randomly combining directions and the words: trail, roadbed, blocked and overgrown. I carried my bike for about 80% of the time and the other 20% I spent walking around with my bike parked way back up along the trail.

Though disappointed by lack of progress, I was not disappointed by lack of waterfalls.

The uppermost branch of Ticknetley proper was basically just one long waterfall for as far down as I could follow it.


 Fourth Cascade of Falls on Last Branch of Tickanetley Creek


 Third Cascade of Falls on Last Branch of Tickanetley Creek


 Second Cascade of Falls on Last Branch of Tickanetley Creek


 First Cascade of Falls on Last Branch of Tickanetley Creek

There were more below those too, I just couldn't get to them without spending some serious time on it.

One by one, I checked each side trail. I use the term "trail" loosely here. The most significant led directly down along Tickanetley Creek itself, and crossed it several times. It wasn't the direction I wanted to go though, and I knew for certain that eventually I'd run into some private property.

There is either no connector, or the connector is indiscernible from below. I knew for sure though that if I hiked up along Tickanetley, I'd eventually run into Old 665, so as a last-ditch effort, I gave that a try. After a few hundred yards, I could see foaming water pouring down from a great height. If I wanted to keep going, I would have to scale this waterfall, in bike shoes, carrying my bike.

 Upper Tickanetley Creek Falls

Maybe next time.

Defeated, I turned around and headed home. Or maybe not so defeated. Finding that the connector doesn't exist is still a result. There is still closure in that. Maybe the road designers had planned on connecting the two roads and then ran into all those waterfalls and said screw it. Maybe they just accidentally named both roads FS665 and had to rename one of them. Who knows. The answer may be lost to the obscure history of North Georgia Logging.

On the way back, the hunger began to set in. Snack time.

 Hemlock Buds

Hemlock buds are allegedly edible. I've only tried them once before because there's only about 1 week a year that you'd even have the chance to find them. Last year I saw them and said "Next time I'm out I'll try some" and then the next week they were gone except for one or two buds in the entire woods. Do they really only grow that tiny little bit each year?

I ate a handfull. They were, lets say, "inoffensive." Tender, with a hint of Pine Sol.

The sun was getting pretty low and the new leaves were looking crazy-green. I realized that my glasses might have been enhancing the green though, so I tried taking a photo through them. This is pretty close to what I see, except for the blur.



The climb back up to Nimblewill was uneventful and relatively easy given how plush FS28-3 is now. I did see two Peliated Woodpeckers. I think that's what they were. Huge birds, with crests. The descent back to the car was infinitely longer than it seemed like it should have been from climbing up. I actually got a little bored. "Man, when's this downhill gonna be over?" I can't remember ever thinking that before.

On the drive home, the big bad moon was full and bright and skulking around just above the trees. The sky was still a little blue too, so it looked out of place, unnatural and extra creepy.

Again, the photo doesn't come close to capturing the moment.

 Big Bad Moon

I'd come around a corner and there it was again. One step ahead of me. Watching. What do you want moon? What are you up to?

I grabbed some dinner at El Jinete in Dawsonville. They have some unusual Chile Colorado, but it's pretty good. And that's all. Not the best ride ever, in fact only about half of it could actually be called riding, but I did spend some quality time in the mountains and I climbed like 4100 feet in 25 miles. Maybe I can follow it up next weekend with some more.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Buford Hatchery, Windermere Park and Simms Lake

Last weekend I had some work to do in New Orleans and all week my evenings were consumed by work, illness and bad weather. I don't even remember what dirt and grass look like. Isabel's got a gym meet tomorrow and my buddy Paul and his family are in town from Houston. This weekend was shaping up to be similarly dirtless. Me and Paul were set to grab some lunch together in Douglasville, but his daughter had gotten sick and we had to call it off. As unfortunate as that was, it freed up my day, and the girls and I jumped right on that.

We started off with some Dutch Monkey doughnuts.

 Dutch Monkey

If loving their doughnuts is wrong, I don't want to be right.

 Dutch Monkey Yum

With our blood sugar climbing, we rolled over to Reality Bikes for a quick tune up; at the Trillium Trek last weekend, I'd realized that my rear hub was super loose. They also had a black version of Isabel's bike in the shop, so Sophie gave that a try. It'll fit her if we drop the seat down to about half an inch. We'll have to work that into the budget somehow. The girls picked up some much needed gloves too. They had gloves that fit their tiny little hands in stock. Who'd have guessed?

It's been too cold to fish for a long time, but for the first time in weeks, the temps were favorable, so we headed down to our favorite little fishing hole. We did all right.

In an hour and a half, Sophie caught about 8 of these.

 Sophie's Fish

I caught one and a catfish.

 My Fish

Isabel randomly caught this largemouth bass.

 Isabel's Fish

It was big and scary to her. This is the closest she would get to it. She got it to shore, but I had to reach down and grab it. We were worried it would break her rod.

She caught that two feet from shore, with a tiny little hook and a chunk of sausage. I've been doing it all wrong.

Eventually a whole cub scout troop showed up and we took off before it got too crowded. It was a pretty satisfying little fishing trip though.

We grabbed some lunch at a local pizza joint that I'd never noticed before. Marco's I think. It was OK. I'll eat it again if I'm in the area.

Next we hit Windermere park for some softball and soccer. The ground was moist and the grass was wet but we found just enough slightly-higher ground to get it done.

 Soccer Girls

It's great. We just play now. I teach them when the opportunity comes up, but we've turned the corner. Iz is old enough to just crush Sophie though. We need to bring in an equalizing factor. Maybe we can get some of their friends over to play with us next time.

Nobody got their fingers crushed today, and we determined definitively that Sophie is right-handed as far as throwing a softball goes. She still bats left handed though. We'll have to do a little evaluation on that next time.

When we'd had enough of that, we headed even further east to Simms Lake Park in Suwanee. I'd seen it from the road the last couple of times I'd been down that way and it looked like there were some paved trails there. Suwanee has a greenway system too. Maybe they'd connect up.

"Hey Dad, did you bring my wheel too?" Ohhhh. No.

I'd left Isabel's front wheel at home. How many years have I been riding now? Fortunately we were only 10 minutes from home, so we made a quick turn. There was something wrong though. Her hub was almost immovably tight. I had enough tools to loosen it up, but not enough to get it adjusted right. I need one of those super-flat wrenches. Cone wrenches, is that what they're called? How did it get so tight? Did somebody mess with it? Ohhhhhh, wait. I know. I must have put the wheel on backwards last time. Rolling in that direction, it could tighten up. Wow. It must have been tight like that at the Trillium Trek. I need to remember that. I couldn't tighten it as much as I wanted, but with the wheel in the correct direction, it should tighten itself against the lock nut. Good enough. We hit the trail.


It's not clear what the Simms Lake area used to be. The woods didn't look like woods. There were palmettos and some kind of ornamental flowers that I have in my yard all up in there. Every little stream was all rock-armored. It looked kind of like Disney World, where everything looks nice, but highly engineered.

 Simms Lake

The trails were fun though. They were a lot twistier than the Greenway and there was only one hill that Sophie had to walk. We'll go back. Actually, we'll probably check out the rest of the Suwanee trails first, but then we'll go back.

We'd half planned on hiking around Settles Bridge after riding. It's right there and we had an hour and a half of daylight left, but I'd forgotten to pick up some dollars on the way in and you have to pay to park there now. Plus, Kathryn called to see if we wanted to get some dinner with her and her mom so we punted those plans and ate some dinner at Chili's. For some reason, the sesame seeds on my burger were extra sesame-seedy.

It was fun playing with the kids all day, but it wasn't much of a workout. This time of year, I'm usually starting to ramp up my fitness - epic rides and hikes, group rides, commuting to work... Heck, last year, I'd just finished up the TNGA. So far this year, I've had an aborted Huracan, two 6 hours and one group ride. I'm actually feeling pretty antsy. Tomorrow I'll probably go ride with my dad after Isabel's meet. Maybe that'll get the ball rolling.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Black Widow

Kathryn spotted this mean little girl dangling from a cable on our front porch.

Black Widow 1

It was very still and it kind of blew around in the breeze. It might be dead. But then again, it might just be waiting.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Weekly Beatdown

It's that time again, Wednesday group ride time that is. Today's ride went about like I expected.


It's early in the season though. My lungs aren't ready for this yet. Maybe next week.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Suwanee and Buford Loop

Sunday morning, I was tired, tireder than I expected to be, and I slept in. Around noon I finally got up, did a bunch of work for my dad, and jumped out on the road around 5. I had no specific plan, but as I headed out of my neighborhood, a plan came together on it's own.

I hung a left, headed down Hwy 20. Traffic was light, just a bunch of Sunday drivers. I passed Chung's Package.

 Chung's Package

I see it all the time, but I've never had a chance to stop. I don't know who this Chung guy is, but I'm impressed that it takes an entire store to contain his package.

I hung a right on Suwanee Dam road and rolled out past Settles Bridge, past Simms Lake and into Suwanee proper. Suwanee has a historic district along the tracks...

 Old Suwanee

...complete with an old caboose.


Back up the road they also have a not-so historic district with a gigantic park, fountains, marble-clad city hall building and a sprawling array of shops.

 New Suwanee

The weather was gorgeous and the entire city was in the park.

After doing my little bike-tourist thing, I hung a north and headed toward Buford. At Hwy 20, I had to consult the map. It seemed like there was a road that I needed to take, but it turned out that it wasn't there. I'm telling you. Too many concussions when I was a kid.

Buford has it's own cool little historic district, again, right on the tracks.


I picked up Buford Dam Road on the north side and headed for home. There's an actual bike lane there, and a couple of mean hills. For the first time in months, I even felt a little anaerobic. Yeah, feel the burn. No burn could get me down though. It was in the mid 70's, sunny and I felt really good.

The one thing that could get me down did though. Some time ago, somebody had tossed an empty bottle of Jack Daniels out their window. With the sun in my face, I didn't see it until the last minute and I rode directly across the label, and the glass that it still held together.

Instant flat.

No problem, I'd changed a tube in record time the day before. It didn't take long to fix, but as soon as I inflated it, the spare blew too. Rats. I guess there was a little bit of glass still in the tire that I couldn't feel.

End of the line.

 Island Ford

Fortunately I was less than 3 miles from my house and it only took Kathryn a few minutes to come and get me.

The route was pretty good. A little more traffic than I usually like, but even that wasn't too bad. I think I'll try it again. Maybe I'll even ride up to Gainesville next time.