Monday, April 22, 2013

Mike Ride 2013: To Helen Back- Part 1

Showing off the 2 versions of the Trips For Kids WNC jersey.
We had planned to leave on Friday for a 3 day trip, but since rain was predicted and it looked like all day rain, we reverted to a 2 day plan.   I met Mike on Saturday morning in Clemson.  I was running a bit late which is unusual for me. 
The first real climb of the day.
We decided to head to Helen Ga, a quaint little German replica, tourist trap town, in the heart of the NW GA foothills.  After about 15 miles of 4 lane hwy, the road narrowed and the traffic lessened.   There are lots of side roads and routes that we could have followed, but with 85 miles of riding the direct route, I had to remind Mike that we did not want to end up with 120 miles for the day.  (well, I kind of did). 
The start of TNGA
One it turned to 2 lane, the ride delivered some climbing, but mostly rolling terrain, with spring popping out all around.  Taking a left of Warwoman road, we saw even less traffic.  Warwoman Rd cuts through a narrow valley with lots of farms along the way.
I had to laugh. Reminded me of my neighborhood.
50 miles into the day, we arrived at Clayton.  We pedaled up onto main st looking for a local cafe to eat in, and found Beans and Vines.  The smoke Gouda pimento cheese sandwich filled me up.  Mike went for the tuna sandwich and wished for a nap. 

After a brief rest, we continued our journey.  We headed up hwy 76 towards Helen.  Winding through hill and valley, exchanging stories, climbing and coasting.   I knew we were close when we passed through the valley below Trey Mt.  Lots of good  memories started coming back from when I lived in Toccoa. 
We stopped by Woody's,  getting there at 5:03pm,  only to find they close at 5pm.  There was a sign out saying he was running shuttle, so we must have just missed him.  Next time!
At the end of a good day of riding, we reached our destination (Mike hooked us up with a hotel room, he preferred not to camp! I didn't complain).  After getting showered and resting for a few minutes, we walked down to eat some pizza, followed by a "real German " biergarden experience.  For dessert, we walked to Betty's, an awesome little grocery store that had homemade bakery products.  We settled for a giant brownie and some local milk. 

Lights out by 9pm.

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