Tuesday, December 22, 2020


I haven't gotten many rides in for the past few weeks. Rain, work, family obligations, the usual. I did manage to clear some of the cobwebs out of my lungs this past Saturday at Blanket's Creek though, and followed it up Sunday with some exploration of the Old Little River WMA and the greater Woodstock area, in general.

I parked at Rope Mill, got changed, threw the bike together, and hit the trail. "The trail" being a little fishing trail on the south side of the Little River that I'd never noticed before. As expected, it led along the river some ways, before just petering out into nothing. Several groups of people were fishing, but it didn't look like anyone was having any luck. The trail was really tricky in a few spots - super off-camber, rooty. In one spot, it was extremely narrow, with a steep drop down to the river on the right, and I kept catching my bars on thorn vines. Sketchy, sketchy, sketchy. There was also this makeshift bridge where my back wheel was just big enough to fit between the boards. No idea how I managed to keep from breaking my derailleur.

Speaking of my derailleur... It had been giving me trouble all day at Raccoon Mountain - just would not shift into to smaller gears in the back, if I got it more than halfway up the cassette. I finally had to release the clutch to make it work. Since then, it's been slapping around like mad, and it's really damn annoying. Worse, I really need to increase the B-tension a bit to pull out the slack in the chain when I'm in the smallest 2 gears, which would only make the shifting worse. I know the issue is a dirty cable, but internal routing makes that a pain to fix. Yay, technology.

I ended up riding south and re-riding a bunch of stuff I'd explored a few months back. The word seems to be out on those trails though, as I ran into 6 more folks out riding them while I was out there, none of whom were Chris, Shane, Avery, or anyone else generally associated with those trails. Though, Avery worked for one of the guys I met. His name slips my mind now, because I'm terrible with names, but I recognized it from somewhere - internet maybe? He was riding with Van Council and Van's son. I definitely remember Van Council from the internet - sorba forum probably. It's always neet to finally run into people that you know, but don't really know.

Approaching Towne Lake Parkway, I met another guy and we rode together for a while. I wanted to explore the woods around the high school, but he had to get back to Rope Mill, so we parted after a quick chat.

The high school turned out to be both high school and middle school. Chris called it Dizzyville after he and Shane spun countless laps there in the early days of the pandemic, when everything was still shut down. Dizzyville it is.

The loop they did wasn't hard to find. It's basically this really obvious trail around the perimiter of the property.

Dizzyville Climb

At some point, it devolves into a network of ATV trails and right-of-ways though, which were a little challenging to decipher.

There was an old bridge out there at one point.

Old Bridge

I love when there's a trail on one side of a bridge, but nothing discernible on the other. How long since it was last used?

Little spur trails led from the main trail to various ball fields and access roads.

Woodstock High Football Field


(that's a Red Dawn reference, for anyone too young to remember)

One of the right-of-ways led to Posey Creek, and it looked like ATVs mainly came from the other side, rode all over the hills behind the school, and maybe strayed onto the main trail occasionally, but not too often. I didn't feel like I had time to cross the creek and go down that rabbit hole, so I turned back there and finished trying to decode the web of trails closer to the school. It seemed like some of them may have predated the school itself, as they ended abruptly at fence lines, or in parking lots. There were old looking arrows on trees too, and trails so disused that the only way to tell where to go was was to look for the corridor and then verify that the ground was slightly harder in that direction.

The Towne Lake Pass Trail ran alongside the road to the school, before diverging off to the east a block or so away.

Towne Lake Pass Trail Sign Towne Lake Pass Trail

I took that bad boy east to the Woofstock Dog Park, picked up the Noonday Creek Trail there, and explored it in both directions. Years ago, I'd ridden it from Kennesaw to Bells Ferry Road, and I figured this section was just completed since then. Well, that turned out to be semi-true. It is a new section, and it was completed since then, but it doesn't connect to the section ending at Bells Ferry. Instead, it just ends abruptly at Hwy 92.

I can see the corridor that might connect the two sections on aerial photos, but for now, they are distinct.

I the other direction, it led to downtown Woodstock.

Downtown Woodstock

I'd parked in the lot next to that end of it many times over the past few years. I'd to work all day at a client's site in Canton, spin a couple of laps around Blanket's Creek or Rope Mill, then grab some dinner in Woodstock, and I'd inevitably park in the lot right there. It was cool to finally be riding there.

Some park just off the square had some festive decorations up.

Christmas in the Park, in Woodstock

A couple of families were taking pictures of their kids in front of the tree.

It's actually getting pretty close to Christmas, but this year just doesn't feel much like it. We'd watched a stream of the Alliance Theatre's Christmas Carol earlier that day, and it was honestly the first hint of the Christmas spirit that I'd felt yet. It was a pretty cool version, actually. They did it like an old-timey radio show, with 3 actors and a foley artist. They elaborated a bit on the traditional ghost stories too. The Ghost of Christmas Future made Scrooge experience his own death, in his actual grave, and the infinite expanse of time that followed - the sun going red giant, and the eventual heat death of the universe! I loved it, it was creepy as hell.

But, I digress.

That little display in the park there really helped, and I had a bit of a smile on my face as I rode up Main Street back to the car.

Back at the park, I saw a guy playing with his little 1 year old daughter in the creek. She was picking up rocks and trying to hold on to a big pile of them. Then she'd throw them into the water. I really miss that kind of thing with my kids. Maybe not exactly that, but spending time with them, exploring our world.

I guess I can still explore my world. I guess that's what I did all day, actually.

More of that then.

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