26th May 2016 Newnan, Ga to Conyers, Ga 95.8 kms - 59.5 miles Up = 845m - Down = 934m
26th May 2016 - Newnan, Georgia to Conyers, Georgia.
Our 5th rest day (and last) is done and dusted! While I enjoyed the day off immensely, and love that we get the chance to relax a bit, and catch up on the chores – I always find the first 20 kms of the day back on the bike pretty difficult. I will also admit to being a bit “uptight” this morning, hoping that we could successfully get from one side of Atlanta to the other. I think I have said often enough that getting through big cities is not my favourite thing - give me the country roads any day!! My experiences in the past getting through big cities has more bad days than good – hence the anxiety!
Atlanta metropolitan district is also the largest since we left Los Angeles. It ranks 11th in the USA with a population of around 6,000,000. It felt like there was that many when we came through Oklahoma City - but I have just checked it as well and it is only ranked 47 with 1,500,000 people. That is a HUGE difference - even scarier!!
I’d plotted the route the night before to stay as far south of Atlanta as possible, yet heading east across to Conyers. It wasn't a long ride - but expected to be slowish due to traffic. We would end the day about as far to the east of Atlanta as we were west of it at the start of the day. Both Newnan and Conyers are nice size towns in their own right with many people commuting into Atlanta each day for work etc.
I had my “notes” already to go. I wanted to check one little detail in the morning – and what did I find – but googlemaps threw up almost a completely different version from what I was looking at last night!! Why does it do that – does it happen to anyone else? With no time to muck around with it – off went the laptop and I decided to run with last night’s plan - and if any adjustments were needed I'd check on my phone as we went along..
All, I can say – is that while it took a fair bit of concentration through the day looking for the correct roads, I was so relieved and happy that the plan worked. The first 25 kms was through lovely wooded Georgia countryside with very little traffic. There were beautiful homes and it is very attractive and lush land. So green!! Sure there were "commuters" leaving these places to go to work - but they would head for the major roads leading north to the city and we really couldn't have hoped for a better run heading east.
Then came a segment alongside a railway line – I always like it when I see a road next to a railway line - they are always pretty flat or with only a slight, gradual rise!! After a few deliberate zig-zags that saw us avoid a couple of major intersections the next road we were looking for was the “138” which we would stay on for quite a while until we turned off for our warmshowers stay near Conyers. I kept thinking this would be a busy road, and while it was busier than anything we had been on so far – luckily for us – everything seemed to be heading towards Atlanta and not in our direction. Where we joined it was a 2 land road in each direction, and with a good shoulder. It was quite an industrial area with many businesses, so we had to watch for traffic turning in and out - but compared to what I was expecting - it was a breeze.
Feeling a bit more relaxed that we had made it through the complicated part of the day, the search started for a place to stop for a latish morning tea - a coffee would go down great!! Strangely, we didn’t see any fast food places for over 10 miles!!! As Annie says – everything happens for a reason – we came across a service station and what appeared to be a pretty new "Ingles" supermarket just west of Stockbridge.
What a wonderful salad bar and fabulous meals this place had on offer. The salad bar sold itself with a sign that said over 70 dishes to choose from!! They had a super sitting area, unbelievably nice staff – and was one of the best lunch stops of the whole trip. I even snuck a look through the wine section and there were some nice New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc’s for sale – sadly no Toi Toi – but nearly as good!!!
We had actually made very good time this morning and were a lot further on than I thought we would be, so with all the great food on offer, we decided to have an early, and leisurely lunch.
After a wonderful break we headed off on the final section of the ride at a leisurely pace. We crossed the busy Interstate 20 road – which was an absolute "car-park" in the direction we were travelling so something must have happened!! As we headed further away from Atlanta the traffic seemed to thin. The "138" like most roads had parts with good shoulders and parts with no shoulder - sometimes 2 lanes each way, sometimes 1 - but the traffic was very good and there were certainly no "incidents".
So I can write down getting through (or I guess really by-passing) Atlanta as the best experience I have had at getting through a large metropolitan area!!! So much so that we arrived at our destination an hour earlier than I expected!!
Jeff was home at our warmshowers stay when we arrived as Charlotte was out getting supplies for the big weekend they had coming up. They very generously housed us all inside so we had no need to put up the tent or set up the van!! They are both very involved in animal rescue in their area and have 3 very cute and very lucky “rescue” dogs. Tomorrow, while we cycle off, they are driving 5 hours north to Kentucky where they will be cycling in the “Horsey Hundred”. They are very keen cyclists and also have kayaks - so keen "out-doorsy" people!
Charlotte's house is set in a beautiful wooded area and it was very relaxing sitting out on the large verandah's watching a variety of birds, frogs, lizards etc happily going about their business. They also had an outdoor cat house and I think 6 rescue cats that they had had de-sexed and now provided a home for. Only one was friendly with the others coming close, but not quite game enough to be friends.
So all in all – a great day on the bike today in the state of Georgia, a huge relief to me that it went well, and another special place to stay!!