Sunday, December 22, 2019

AD Williams Park

It was set to rain all weekend, so this past Friday I figured I'd take the opportunity to do more of that ITP exploration I've been into lately.

AD Williams Park is a big blob of woods on Google Maps. Could be some trails in there. Maybe? Worth looking at least. Let's go!

Turns out there's a gravel road leading down around the back of the building there. Yay, gravel. Well, a little bit of gravel. There wasn't much to the park proper, but there was a section missing out of the back fence that led to an abandoned school, and behind that, an entire abandoned neighborhood.

Or, at least abandoned neighborhood roads. The houses or apartments or whatever had long been bulldozed and there were fences bordering every road. Nobody had lived there for a long time. It looked like scrappers had taken down a few sections of fence, but that the area was generally abandoned and unused, even by the homeless, despite its proximity to a low-income and fairly high-crime part of town.

There was also a little trail leading from the park over to the Coreta Scott King Leadership Academy, and a gravel road leading from there down into the woods behind the park. Beyond that was a network of what apparently used to be paved trails along AD Williams Creek. In a few spots, you could see the pavement, but in most places, there were 6 or 8 inches of leaves built up on them. One trail crossed the creek over this elaborately decorated bridge. The creek itself flows under the park through the municipal drainage system, but emerges from that in a similarly elaborately decorated waterfall thing before turning back into a natural creek.

Wild that all of that was just back in the woods, fenced off and generally inaccessible. It looks like, at some point, it was a notable feature of the park. I guess maybe the whole area presented a crime problem, and eventually got bought up, shut down, and fenced off. I've seen a bit of that recently. There'll be a low income area, then a buffer zone of recently abandoned properties, some bulldozed into green space, some still standing, then new apartments and houses. There's a bit of that going on north of 285 along Veterans. I guess it's happening on Hollowell too.

It made me wonder if I was casually riding around some neighborhood that I'd have been attacked and robbed in a few years ago.

After exploring everything that was easy to get to, I went back to check out some trails leading off of those roads. The first one just kind of led to and along the back fence line. The second looked like somebody had just bashed a tractor with a big grass-cutting blade through a field of privet. There were hundreds of little stalks poking up out of the ground, cut off between one and two feet high. Some of the cuts were clean, others were at a steep angle, making the little stalks incredibly sharp. I was well into this little forest of punji sticks before realizing what I was in the middle of too. I had to keep moving. It would have been more dangerous to try to stop and get off the bike than to just try to get through it. I'd gotten through the worst of it, into a bit of a clearing, when the ground became soft enough to stall me out. Then I couldn't get my right foot out of the pedal. As I fell, I thought to myself, and may even have said out loud, something to the effect of: "And that's how you get killed..." The clearing had way fewer of those little stalks in it, but it wasn't completely devoid of them. I managed to push one out of the way as I fell, but it still got me.

I couldn't get a good enough grip on that chunk to pull it out. I had to bite it and pull my arm away from my face.

Figuring I was ok though, I walked out and finished the rest of my ride. 20+ more miles. I rode south toward the Lionel Hampton Trail, and explored the sections of it that I'd missed the last time.

Some of which don't get a lot of traffic.

On the way in, there was this lady sitting on a bench, talking on the phone to somebody. On the way out, I climbed a hill and passed her again. This time she was sitting on a swing in the little playground at the top of the hill, smoking good and getting high, high. From there, I hung a right and explored a dirt road the turned out to lead down along the powerlines before rejoining the paved trail at the bottom of that same hill. When I passed her a second time, she was in the same spot and looked really confused to see me again. I imagined her being like: "Damn, I got to stop smoking this shit..."


And that was about it. I rode home.

Then the real drama started. That one chunk of wood went all the way through, but to the right of it, there was a piece that went in and broke off inside. I couldn't tell when it first happened, but later I could see that it was still swollen in that spot, and made sharp little pains if I manipulated it. I fed Sophie, then made the trek up to the Kaiser Urgent Care place in Kennesaw, through town, no less, because of construction of 285. They cleaned it up and the doctor thought there was something in there too, but he couldn't get it out without cutting on it.

It hurt a little, like between a 1 and a 2 on that Wong pain scale. It might have been a 3 or 4 when they cleaned it up, and while he was manipulating it. They gave me shots of lidocaine, and I couldn't feel any pain, pressure, or anything when he was cutting on it, but I swear, somehow, some kind of signals were getting to my brain, telling it exactly what was happening, because I kept getting very strong urges to wince when he'd cut, or press, or open the wound, or drag the sponge across it. Only at those times though. Only when it would really hurt, if I could actually feel it. I figured "oh, maybe I can see what's going on, so that's how my brain knows" and tried looking away, but the same thing kept happening. A similar thing happened a few years ago when I had to get a granuloma of some kind biopsied near the tip of my nose. It was so weird. I can't really explain it. It seems that my mind knows what's happening, and wants to react, despite complete lack of perceivable sensation. Is this a known phenomenon? I guess the weirdest part is that it doesn't happen in the dentist's chair, but it has happened both times I've gotten lidocaine as a local anaesthetic outside of my mouth.

Weird. So weird.

And the worst part... The doctor couldn't get the piece out. He could see it, but only for a split second before it kept getting covered up with blood. He would have needed an assistant and better facilities. So, he just left the wound open to let it try to work its own way out, and gave me a referral to see a surgeon if it doesn't.


All that, for a glorified splinter. I can't wait to get the bill. Kathryn hit her personal deductible earlier this year, but I haven't yet.

I'm sure it'll be the most expensive splinter ever.

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