Riding the Silver Comet Trail – Georgia

Spring Break

 Teachers everywhere live for the time when they can pack the books away and take a break from the rigors of preparing for state mandated assessments.  At least this is true for  two teachers I know of, myself and Jim.  We were just discussing what the “So, what did YOU do over the break?” feedback will be when we return to school tomorrow. (Yes break is over!)  Will most say they  painted the house, did spring cleaning, planted the garden?  NOT US !  No we Rode the Silver Comet!

Silver Comet Trail

http://www.silvercometga.com/

The Silver Comet Trail is 13 miles northwest of Atlanta, Georgia. It meanders through three counties:  Cobb, Paulding, and Polk. The Silver Comet Trail is over 61 miles long of paved rail-trail perfect for walkers, rollerbladers, bicyclists and even recumbant riders like Jim, Kaelin and I.   However, surprisingly, we only saw 2 other recumbent riders.

Although the trail starts in Smyrna, Georgia that’s where we ended our trip. It ends at the Georgia/Alabama state line, but we did not make it that far over.   We went as far as Rockmart, Georgia.  We started in the middle and went west on the first day and east on the second day.  We plan on going back and starting at the Alabama border and heading east from there.  Cedartown looks like fun.

The Silver Comet Trail was built over an abandoned rail line in northwest Georgia.  The rail line used to carry passengers and freight throughout the south and southeastern United States.  The trail was named after the Silver Comet passenger train.  Just like the travelers of yore we found the rail-trail a very scenic route.  It cuts through small quaint towns such as Rockmart and Powder SpringsCedartown was near the Alabama state line and we did not get over that way, but understand that it is a neat stop on the trail.  Bigger cities that offered more conveniences were Dallas, Hiram and Smyrna.  But the best views were hills, rocks (shale and some granite), forests and open farmlands.

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Getting There

We live in Central Florida and traveled to see Jim’s daughter, Alex, at Flagler College in St. Augustine.  We spent the night there and then the following day.  First of all, as our luck would have it, it was right in the middle of St. Patrick’s day celebrations and festivals.  Traffic!  Oh my goodness; it was a nightmare.  And hotel?  Everyone was booked.  After several tries and being told everyone in town was booked we stopped at the Knight’s Inn and they had a room.  Jim went in to look at it first and came out shaking his head.  He said it was disgusting and that they wanted $140 but the manager said he’d knock off $20.  Jim said we’d be better off sleeping in the truck.  Using the GPS on my phone I called the first place on the list, Country Inn and Suites.  Luck had changed.  They had just recieved a cancellation and we got a room.  It cost all together $160, but it was worth it after the first alternative.  Very nice hotel and staff.  Kudos to you guys.

We had a lovely time with Alex and her friend Rachel, exploring parts of the town, visiting the beautiful playground near the downtown visitor’s parking garage and checking out St. George Street shops.  And then it was on to our main destination.  Most of our trip is on I75, a long trip, and with me and a 3 year old, lots of stops.  However, uneventful until we decided to try the GPS to get us to Rockmart.  We ended up winding our way around and through some town, (River… something, I think) on I85.  Very frustrating!  But we prevailed and ended up in Rockmart, a quaint town with a downtown area that looks like it stepped out of the past.  Their chamber of commerce was very helpful in pointing us in the right direction – The Rock Campground.  After walking around the downtown area and seeing our first glimpse of the Silver Comet Trail, we headed to The Rock.

The Rock Campground

The Rock Campground is really the only campground on the Silver Comet Trail.  It was a pretty campground.  However, we were very frustrated when we arrived as there was no office to speak of.  No one greeted us.  We called the number on the “office” (a tiny outhouse looking building.  No one answered.  As there were not any other camping choices near Jim decided to drive through.  It was basically deserted.  Of course it was in the middle of the week, but at least someone being there or answering the phone would have been helpful.  Jim did finally get someone on the phone, a man on a tracter on the property.  He curtly told Jim it would be $10 to camp and to put his money in an envelope in the “outhouse office.”  This was rather disconcernting but we did it anyway.  No one told us where to set up camp.  There was a brief paper, attached to a clipboard, outlining basic rules for camping but it stqated nothing about where to go.  So…. we found a spot in the field side of the campground and set up.  There were a few RV’s on a hill above us and around the corner but we really saw noone until the end of our visit.

The park did have water hook-ups, electrical hook-ups (which we didn’t need), very nice clean picnic tables, front porch type swing, clean bathrooms (very close too!), and 2 private showers with very hot water.  We were glad we chose the spot we did for camping as at night the entrance side of the camp was well lit up.  It wasn’t so bad on the side we were at.  We also built a nice fire both nights, drank some beer and chatted for hours.  Very nice.  Kaelin, of course, seems to sleep like a log when we camp.

Overall the camping was okay.  We realized that we might be getting too old for some of our ideas.  We were difinitely glad that we brought the truck instead of trying to bike camp.  (We did do that once before at Fanning Springs, Florida.)  I like the camping, but Jim is not crazy about setting up and breaking down.  Not sure if we will try it again.  If we do we do know we will bring the truck.  Now the riding however, was fantastical!  And that I’m going to save for a separate entry.

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WiFi Connected and ready to go

Thank you Best Buy. Our connectivity issue for this summer has been solved. This past summer I had very limited use of internet access because my Nook color only uses wifi. At this time I dont want to purchase a new tablet and even they dont all use 3G / sattelite, so we bought a Verizon Mobile Hotspot. This should allow us to use my Nook and Jim’s new ASUS Tablet on the boat this summer. This will be great as I can keep up with our blogs and facebook. As long as we are in an area that we can get cell phone service we can get internet. There is a monthly fee, but we are considering switching back to our old prepaid phones as neither of us use them that much. So I am very excited about this summer’s trip to the Keys andthis makes it that much better.
This post by the way was done using my Nook and the new hotspot!

New Trike

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I did it!  Jim has brought me over to the dark side.  It has taken a year, but I finally had to agree that a recumbent trike is much more fun to ride than my regular bike (and even it wasn’t so regular.)  I went to Hampton’s Edge Bike Shop in Floral City and bought a beautiful red Greenspeed Anura.  It is a delta trike, two wheels in the back and one in the front.  It rides so smoothly, turns on a dime and Jim thinks I’m riding faster than on my Comfort Day 6.  He thinks it’s because I’m more confident.  It’s true; I don’t have that feeling that I could fall at any given moment.

I’m coming home almost every night and riding in the circle.  We live on a cul-de-sac and it makes for easy, quick rides before supper.  It’s also safer for Kaelin to ride without the worry of traffic.  Of course, I made the mistake of allowing him to hitch a ride  with me.  He sits on my lap as I go around the circle.  I have to nip that in the bud quick or he won’t want to ride his bicycle.

We did take him back to the Greenway and had him ride his bicycle around a couple loops.  It was so much nicer on the Anura because I could ride right along side of him and encourage him to ride on the right side of the road.  Jim grabs hold of him and tandems him down the slight declines.  I tried it once and caused him to fall.  Poor baby, he cried a little but got right back on his bike and kept on going.  Lance Armstrong watch out, Kaelin is on his way!