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!

New Bikes?

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Oh what a quandry we are in!  I currently have a Day 6 Comfort bike.  Wonderful bike, smooth, very comfortable.  HOWEVER, because it is a two wheel bike and I am not as smooth as I once was, the bike swerves too much when I have to ride slow.  This is especially true when loaded down with groceries or camping gear (that’s another story).

So, the love of my life suggests that I get a trike.  He has a Performer Action Bent trike.  He has had it for over a year and loves it.  Last weekend we took Little Man to the Greenway to allow him to ride his bicycle to the park.  Unfortunately, being that he’s three, he is very slow.  I cannot ride my bike that slow and watch him.  I ended up walking my bike the mile to the park.  On the way back Jim offered to let me ride his trike.  I fell in love with the comfort and ease.  I don’t know what I was afraid of.  (I was previously very nervous about riding a trike so I bought the Comfort bike instead.)

We took a trip to Inverness the next day.  We went back to the shop I bought my bike from, Sun Coast Bikes.  I rode two there, the Rover and the Sun USX.  The Rover, TerraTrike, is no way my favorite.  Did not like it at all.  The Sun, a delta (2 wheels in back and 1 in front) was nice but it did pull a little to the side as I rode.  We then went to Hampton’s Edge Trailside in Floral City.  The gentleman there introduced me to my new love, the Greenspeed Anura, also a delta.   He let me ride it down the trail a ways.  (Both shops are located right next to the Withlacoochee Trail. )  The Anura was very, very smooth and extremely comfortable.  The seat sets up higher than most trikes so I don’t feel like I’m going to be missed by a car.  The seatback also sits up more upright than most trikes.  I was in heaven.  And to think I thought my bike was Comfort!  I didn’t buy the Anura because I wanted to research it first.

My research into the Anura and to many other trikes only frustrated me.  Everything I read about Greenspeed was very positive.  Apparently their products are top notch.  What I did find, however, is that the Anura is probably only one of about two trikes that has a differential rear-end.  Some Anura’s come with a Shumpff speed-drive.  That drives the price up.  That I don’t have to have.  However, almost all Anura’s have only 16 inch wheels.  Jim wants me to get the one that has 20 inch wheels.  Only Hostel Shoppe has them.  So do I pay for that one which would cost me more for shipping or get the one from Hampton’s Edge?  I have to find out what wheel size that one is.  If it’s 16 inches, Jim swears it’s 20, then he has to do laundry and the lawn for a month!  Either way I win.

And now Jim wants a Rans Trizard.  He says that if I get a Delta trike then he needs one.  The cool thing about it we can get a tandem hitch and hook the two bikes together.  You can’t do that with a tadpole (2 wheels in front and 1 in back.)

We have spent the past week browsing the internet until we are blue in the face.  I think we have checked all possible avenues and are back to square one.  SOOOOOOOOOOO, the answer remains to be seen.  Do we spend the money and buy these wonderful bikes or bank it and wait?

We’ll see.

Blogging Education

I am really working hard at getting a blogging education.  Pressing buttons is the best way to really get to “know” your computer and it’s capabilities, so that’s what I did.  I scrolled, typed, pasted, you name it.  I think I’m starting to get a handle on how to set our blog page up.  I added our Flickr account as a link on the side bar.  This way if interested parties, and I’m hoping that’s you, want to check out our adventures visually, you can visit the site.  Simply click on the link and it will take you to the Flickr site.  Jim does a pretty good job of updating pictures on there.  Enjoy.

Now since this only took 3 hours to accomplish and work is just around the corner, I’m going to bed.  Until the next time.

Perhaps this weekend I’ll finally tell the tale of 3 reluctant bicycle campers and their adventure to Fanning Springs State Park.

Fanning Springs to Cross City Ride

Suwanee River Bridge Nature Coast Trail
Suwanee River Bridge Nature Coast Trail
[slideshow]On the spur of the moment we decided to take a ride to the Fanning Springs Nature Coast Trail. 
We missed the trailhead in Chiefland but found parking near Fanning Springs.  We found out we could go one direction toward Trenton or the other direction toward Cross City.  The decision was easy since going toward Cross City allowed us to cross the Suwannee River.  This was one of the prettiest rides we have taken.  To Cross City and back it was 26 miles.  The ride was completely level, no inclines, very smooth.  Most of the ride was under cover of trees.  There were benches about every 3 miles, however it wasn’t until we reached Cross City that we were able to use a restroom at a local gas station.  Of course KB was able to go on the side of the road, being three years old and all.  That was rather funny in itself.

One thing we learned, I learned, was that I really need to bring my jacket and long pants whether  it’s warm at the moment or not.  It got rather chilly  the last leg of the journey. Jim, my knight in shining armor, loaned me his jacket so I wouldn’t freeze.  Overall though it was a really nice ride, with the view from the Suwanee River bridge being superb.

To top off the evening we stopped in Chiefland for a well deserved dinner.  We randomly chose a resteraunt that turned out to have the best pizza we have ever eaten.  The place was called ABC Mediteranean.  Excellent food and service.

I also included pictures in my slide show of when we went camping on our bikes to Fanning Springs.  That was about 2 weeks later and it was a blast.  Met a guy there that was traveling across America on his bike.  Realized camping is hard work but fun.  Kaelin is a born camper.  I can’t wait to go again.  Soon.

New Year New Adventures

It’s a new year and many adventures await us.  Jim and I are two teachers that like to ride bikes and spend time on our sailboat, Hot Dot, when we are not teaching or working around the house.  We do all of this with our little guy, a sweet, precocious three-year old, KB.  KB, by the way, learned how to ride his new bicycle this weekend.  It’s all a lot of fun, great exercise, and a wonderful way to see the world, especially for KB. 

I’m fairly new to sailing so it’s a learning experience that has proven to be quite exciting. Jim, an old hat at sailing, took me and KB down the Gulf Coast this past summer and we passed with flying colors.  He plans on taking us down the Atlantic Coast this summer, hopefully to the Keys.  I’m quite excited.  I’m not as new at biking, however, I’ve never ridden as many miles as I have since riding with Jim.  We are working towards taking short tours with our bikes, a Comfort Day 6 and a Action Bent recumbent trike.  We even plan on camping!  See, camping is not new to us, but neither of us has done it on a bike!  Nothing like carrying your whole campsite on a bike.  What a challenge. 

Though Jim and I both have some experience one way or the other with bikes and boats, we do not have experience with blogging.  We wanted a way to share our experiences with friends and family and anyone interested in bikes and sailboats.  There are blog sites for boats, blog sites for bikes, but not for both.  We hope that this becomes a fun way to share our experiences, pictures and maybe spark some interest in both enterprises.

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