Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Atlanta really gave us a workout this morning. We left around 8 am after a wonderful breakfast Louise made for us. She then escorted us out to the main road we were to start on, to make sure we didn't get lost in the little neighborhood streets. We went through some incredibly posh neighborhoods, all perfectly landscaped, developments with houses that looked like castles, other homes that looked like mansions. It was quite mind-boggling and quite beautiful. The streets, though, were quite hilly. They were also fairly narrow and the traffic was heavy (it was rush hour after all), but the drivers were quite courteous to us. We were already tired by the time we reached the outskirts of town, about 15 miles after we started. We then turned onto 78, the same road we had been on 2 days ago going into Athens, and we stayed on this road the rest of the day into Bremen.
For the next 20-25 miles, we made slow progress. The road was still hilly and seemed to be almost continuously uphill, sometimes just a 2% grade or so, but it made for a tiresome ride. The wind was also fairly strong and had switched to a north-westerly direction, so it was a headwind once again. This stretch of the route took us through some pretty depressing areas, too, so even the scenery was unpleasant. We went through commercial areas with nothing but run-down businesses - used cars (some repos), used appliances, used furniture, pawn shops and wholesale outlets, car parts and repair shops. The residential areas were also run-down and dreary.
We finally came to a nicer, larger town - Douglasville. At some point, a train track started running parallel to our route and we saw several freight trains go by in the next 10 or 15 miles. The crossings over the tracks were very steep and we were amused to see warning signs at each one showing a truck jack-knifing over the high trestle. A little ways after Douglasville we came to another, even nicer town - Villa Rica. We had seen some piles of new railroad cross ties along the tracks, waiting to be installed, and in Villa Rica, we saw the way the ties were being placed along the tracks. A train with cars full of these ties was moving slowly along while the operator of a back-hoe perched on top of one of the cars scooped up a bunch of ties and dumped them to one side of the track. We weren't sure how the back-hoe got up there or how it moved from one car to the next as it emptied them, but it was fun to watch him work.
It was amazing the difference it made to our spirits going through the nicer towns. The landscape between the towns was nicer as well - residential areas were interspersed with the piney woods we had gotten used to. The riding even got a little easier at this point, too - we finally had a few longish downhill stretches. All in all, we were still exhausted when we reached Bremen, GA, a little before 5 pm, 60 miles from our Atlanta stay. It took us 6 and 1/4 hours to do it - probably our worst average yet. Tomorrow, we will be in Alabama and the day after that will be a long-awaited rest day.