Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mike Ride 2013- To Helen Back- Part 2

Getting ready to roll on a frosty morning.
I woke up just after 6 on Sunday morning.  Mike was still sleeping so I snuck out of the room and down to start drinking coffee.  Mike slept in a little longer, we had breakfast and were on the road before 8am. 
The Nacoochee Valley, a special place.
I was excited about riding through one of my favorite places, the Nacoochee Valley.  Native Americans inhabited this area long ago, and I can see why.  You'll have to visit there to understand.  We could see Mt Yonah in the distance.  I spent many days and nights up there rock climbing. 

Indian Mound in the pasture.

Mike drafting and grinning.
The miles went by quickly.  There was not a lot of traffic, and although is was  cold,  the scenery was amazing.  Cows in the pasture, deer, turkey. 
A quick stop at a familiar place.
We were hoping the coffee shop would be open, but it was not.  I spent many evenings here, listening to locals play Celtic music and drinking coffee.

Onward towards Toccoa, I wasn't sure how I would feel.  It has been 16 years since I was last in this town, and I have a lot of memories good and bad.   After the past couple of year of dealing with issues in my past, I was excited about revisiting an area that had brought me so much joy, sadness, success and confusion.
Oatmeal Cream Pies are the junk.
A quick stop at the gas station across from the lake (Toccoa's water source) where I used to catch 2 ft long catfish, and we were heading down the hill and onto the campus of Toccoa Falls College. 
186ft high Toccoa Falls.

After riding around campus, we headed into town to see if one of the houses that I rented a room in was still there.  Sure enough it was, and I asked the seemingly kind man if I could take his picture.  I told him that I used to live there, and he seemed mildly impressed.   The place looked about the same.  I payed $50 per month, sharing a room with Andy Defranza.  Fun times.
My old pad.
Time was ticking so we headed through town and out Prather Bridge Rd, down to South Carolina. Eventually we got on Hwy 76 to take us back to Clemson.  Stopping for lunch in Westminster we came across an old friend and his family: Chip Rouse.
Somewhere on the outskirts of Seneca, we were flagged down by Jamie.  He greeted us, and said that he read my blog, then offered to pay for dinner.   Thanks Jamie!! 
We made it back to Clemson, took a tour of the campus, headed to our cars and parted ways.  160 miles of riding for the weekend, and lots of memories, new and revisited.  It was nice to ride in an area of the country that is slower in pace and has lots of open spaces.

Spring has sprung, get out and enjoy it!

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