Monday, April 10, 2017

Black Top and Red Clay

Beautiful day for a Monday
Ah, the benefits of working retail hours. Sure, my schedule changes weekly. Different days, different shifts. However, sometimes it falls into place. While everybody else was griping and posting Facebook memes all basically saying “I hate Mondays”, I slept in, leisurely cooked and ate breakfast, and took my time sipping coffee while checking out Facebook and Instagram.

Recently, a friend gave me a route he likes to ride on occasion. Normally, I like to discover roads on my own, but then again, I’ve ridden a lot of poker runs and enjoyed the hell out of those roads, so why not?

I set out during what is most people’s lunch hour. The temperature in the low 70s, and no chance of rain. Wearing a light flannel shirt, I was just a bit cool at speed, and just a bit warm at a stop. So, you know, it balanced out just fine.

As everyone knows, freeways are great for getting from Point A to Point B in a hurry (except for I-85 in Atlanta at the moment, but I digress), but not for much else. To really enjoy your ride, you have to take surface streets and back roads. On a bike, you see things differently than in a car. You experience the trip rather than endure it. You can feel the variations in temperature and humidity, you can smell the surrounding countryside (for better or worse)

Black Top and Red Clay
Winding down rural highways and country backroads, I was struck again by the contrast between Georgia and central Texas. I’ve been used to wide open skies, and wide fields off to the side. Here there are a lot more tall trees right up near the roadside, and if there’s a field it’s most likely planted as opposed to just open country. Also, I’ve made numerous mention of kudzu on this blog, but today I saw more of another regional marker: red clay dirt. Yup. Black top roads, pine trees, kudzu, and red clay. That’s what Georgia is made of.

Monticello, GA courthouse and Civil War veteran memorial

I wound my way from Morrow/Rex through Stockbridge, switching to Hwy 138 after 42 turned off west. Turning onto 212, I continued down to Monticello, and stopped for a pic of their courthouse and a pretty neat quote on a veteran’s memorial in front of the courthouse. From there, I switched to Hwy 11 and rolled north back up through Mansfield to 278 east to Covington. Turned onto 81, and back south. 81 crossed my earlier track at Hwy 212. Coming into McDonough, I turned north onto 42 and headed back home.

Sleeping in, followed by a three hour, 122 mile ride on a Monday? Yes, please.