28th May 2016 Lake Oconee, Ga to Augusta, Ga 137.8 kms - 85.6 miles Up = 891m - Down = 957m
28th May 2016 - Lake Oconee, Georgia to Augusta, Georgia.
So with not a lot of sleep we woke early, had breakfast and hit the road by 7:30. The route we had to take was different from the one I intended for today as you can’t ride on Interstates in Georgia. The elevation profile for the Interstate had us a bit scared, and they are usually flatter than the alternate roads. I had spent quite a bit of computer time last night finding an alternative route from several that were given - and I wanted to be as kind as possible to my legs and find the one that wasn’t too hilly. To do this I combined parts of 2 routes that google had given – and then hoped like hell we could find the signs!! It would be about 8 kms further than other options but have a heap less climbs!
First off we headed for Greensboro – only to find the bridge was closed on the road we were to take. Luckily an alternative route didn’t add much to the journey. From there we went through Union Point to Crawfordville – 40 kms done - 100 to go! It was time for a toilet stop – but everything in the town was closed. I saw some signs of life in a little hall – and discovered that a breakfast was being held for War Veterans!! Thankfully they let us use the loo - and seemed keen to keep chatting to us all day!!
Somehow, despite 4 sets of eyes looking for the “41” turn off – we missed it so another couple of extra kms added as we went through Warrenton. Thankfully, from then on – we progressed as planned – through Thomson and eventually into Augusta.
Again, the countryside is very productive and fertile, and I really do enjoy riding through such areas. Georgia seems to be a State that is growing population wise, but even so, people must be moving to the larger cities as there were many small towns we rode through that looked rather sad with many deserted buildings.
Augusta metropolitan population is around 500,000, so no wonder the traffic thickened up as we neared the city. For some miles of new roading nearing the city they have put in dedicated bike lanes - not something we have seen much of I have to say - but they were very welcome!!
We reached our destination in central Augusta with yet another wonderful warmshowers family – Todd and Anne Rhiems - just as it started to rain. They made us very welcome and gave us a lot of information, not only about Augusta, but also about the new sporting craze "Pickleball"!! We went out for a fabulous dinner at Jason’s Deli (a chain that sells "healthy" fresh food) – after a ride around the famed Augusta Golf Course where the Masters is played. I was intrigued just what that event does for the city and how it is "managed" so that income from TV rights is maximised. It is extremely exclusive and certainly does not allow ready access to anyone at anytime. They have bought whole subdivisions so that no "Joe Public" prying eyes can peep through and see any of the action - amazing! I've loved watching the event on TV and would love to have had a look - but it seems the only way I can do this is buy a ticket and go along to the tournament ....... that's if I could even get a ticket!!
At least I have driven right around the outside of the course - and have crossed the bridge where the famed "Rae's Creek" exits the course. Where it winds through the course it is stunning - and has caused heartache for many a good golfer!! The "organisation" has copped a bit of criticism through its time, but defends its right to make its own rules. There were no African-American members until 1990, and the first 2 women members were accepted in 2012 - one being Condoleeza Rice!! But - it hosts the Masters Tournament which is the only tournament played on the same course every year!
Another great thing – is finding warmshowers hosts with similar interests – besides “biking” that helped make the first connection!! Don and Todd have been talking snakes all evening, and we are delighted to be in a very dog-friendly home with the company of a cute little black labbie girl and a large Boxer cross!! Anne had done a scout around Augusta National earlier in the day for us on her bike (and got a puncture for her trouble) - but says she enjoys the social side of biking. She participates in BRAG - Bike Ride Across Georgia - a multi-day event in a few weeks time.