Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride

Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Washington, GA to Athens, GA
50 miles (854 total miles)

We had as many as 4 faithful readers (and the rest of you are either too nice or hadn't read it yet) point out that our "hawks" were really vultures. The actual names suggested were: vultures, buzzards, turkey vultures, and black vultures, with black vultures being the likely winner. Good thing we have you folks keeping us honest - I tend to use "hawk" to indicate any bird that floats on the breeze with its wings outstretched. You must admit, it sounds better than "vulture". Today's prize goes to the person who can identify the food named in the first picture below. After tempting us for miles with little signs promising these mystery items and boiled peanuts, the market that should have had them turned out to be closed. Very disappointing!

This morning started out with heavy clouds but 54 degrees. We had breakfast early and headed out at 7:45. Our route was easy - we would be on Hwy. 78 or 78 Business all day. We started out through what was billed as "Historic Washington"; we didn't expect much of it, but it turned out to be a lovely section of town with several stately mansions, and several bed-and-breakfasts. It was a little like Cape May, NJ (for those familiar with that town), except the houses were southern-plantation style instead of Victorian-era. Unfortunately, we don't have any pictures of them as we were anxious to get underway and didn't want to stop. We later went through Lexington, GA's historic area but it was disappointing except for a magnificent court house.

Today's scenery was similar to the past few days, but more populated. We saw several large farms, many with cattle, including a few Angus farms. The usual pine woods filled in the gaps between farms. There were also a few more towns and places to stop than we've been used to. The traffic was still fairly light most of the time, until we entered the Athens area when it got horrendous. The clouds cleared up briefly but more, lighter clouds soon replaced them. It only got up to about 58-60 degrees and felt fairly humid. The white blossoms on the pear trees are slowly giving way to green leaves, and the dogwood trees are just beginning to bud. We also saw what I think was a red sugar maple (pictured below; let me know if I got that wrong, too!).

The highlight today was our destination, Athens, and the University of Georgia there. It dawned on me, as we passed a sign, that we were in Athens-Clarke County, one of my former employer's pension clients, so I had to take that picture (hope you're reading this, Craig!). The University had some lovely buildings and a very nice student-oriented main street with quaint shops and several eating (and drinking) places. They are obviously very proud of their football team; there were references to Bulldogs (or "Dawgs") everywhere, and there were several bulldog statues artistically painted around the campus area. The hills and the traffic had not been bad all day but they were both awful in Athens. The streets were narrow, the traffic was very heavy, and the last 5 miles to our motel had several major hills. Pat & I were both getting pretty cranky by the time we got to our motel. We had decided to pick a motel on the far end of town so that we evened up today's and tomorrow's mileage (at least we don't have to do those hills first thing in the morning), so we ended up at 50.3 miles in 4 and 3/4 hours, arriving at our motel at 2:30, very tired.


The rolling hills of Georgia

A logging truck on its way past us

The tail end of the truck - note the red maple on the left

Some long, low farm buildings

An old car - we saw lots of old cars being driven

Entering Old Lexington - note the bicycle hanging like a sign in front of the building

The impressive Oglethorpe County Court House in Lexington

The Crawford, GA water tower (did I mention Pat has a thing about water towers?)

An old-style building

A church through the trees

Another old building still in use

An Athens-Clarke County building

A University of Georgia building - dorm or apartments?

A hill we just went up - it was worse than it looks

Our bike catches its breath at the top of the hill

One of the painted bulldogs

The artist and sponsor of that statue

Another bulldog dwarfs Pat - the main campus intersection is behind

Another view of the statue

The Univeristy of Georgia sign

A view of the main street