Reidsville, GA to Nahunta, GA
Last night I finally got to test out the watertight integrity of my tent. A thunderstorm rolled in just as I was laying down to read for for the evening and it was incredibly relaxing. The gentle pitter patter of rain against my rainfly and the sound of thunder in the distance lulled me right to sleep. When I woke up this morning it was still raining so I got to sleep in for a bit. My legs were feeling particularly tired and I almost convinced myself to just sleep till 11 and camp there another night. As much as my body wanted me to do it I just couldn’t muster up the mental strength to stay in the same place again. A quick Google search yielded a campsite about 40 miles down the road that promised hot showers and beautiful lake to lay by. My original plan last night, before this morning’s rain put a damper on it, was to have a long day and stay in a motel for the evening but I figured a short day is what my body needed.
I got out of my tent at 830, ate an apple, packed up my camp and was on the road by 930. I stopped in at a convenience store a few miles down the road and downed 2 breakfast sandwiched and an energy drink to get my tired body in motion. This was the exact morning cocktail I needed and I was flying the first 15 miles. I stopped at another convenience store to pick up a Mountain Dew, my new leg fuel, and got to talking to the clerk. She was as southern as southern can get and I could only barely make out what she was saying through her thick, Appalachian accent. She had moved here from Kentucky, where her entire extended family still lives, a few years back. She got a bit misty eyed describing the place where her families cemetery was and how there were 4 generations of kin buried there. It was “smack dab on the top of the tallest mountain in the area and you can see the sunset over the hills every night.” I’ve met the most incredible people in the most unexpected places, it’s been amazing. She let me get ice from the soda machine and top off my water bottles and I hit the road again.
The next 20 or so miles were a bit rough. The wind had picked up and was blowing right at me, it’s enough to suck the life right out of you. Thankfully I made a sharp left turn and the headwind turned into a beautiful tailwind. I’m pedaling along, feeling excellent when I spot something coming my direction in the distance. Could it be? After all these miles, could it really be?! It was. Another touring cyclist! HIs name was Evan and he was heading north on the same trail as me. We chatted for a bit, he’s traveling up to Virginia and then across the US on the TransAm to Portland. Good luck, brother!
So, like all good things, the tailwind came to an abrupt end when I had to make a sharp right. Grrrrr. I get to the town of Odum where I’m supposed to be stopping for the day but, maybe it’s all the Mountain Dew I drank, I felt like my legs had a lot of T-Juice left in them. I check my map and calculate that I have 53 miles to the town of Nahunta. Hmmmmm. I can do this. Right? Right. So without hesitation I roll past the Odum and pedal on. I feel like if I would have stopped at the store there I would have convinced myself to call it quits for the day. Not today, James. Rest when you’re dead 🙂
From Odum it was about 15 or 20 miles to the next store listed on my map and after the first few I was really regretting my decision not to stop for some refreshments earlier. I had a bitching side wind that kept blowing me into the road and generally just messing up my day. It was pretty rough. Lo and behold, though, I spot a little country store in the distance that wasn’t on the map. I pop in for an MD, a sandwich and a pickle (because of course) and I meet Cliff. Like me, he’s a former Navy man and we got to talking. I told him I was heading to Key West and he said that they’d widened the bridges down there from the death trap that they used to be. Score! He was really keen on following my trip so I gave him my web address and hit the road. Thanks for the chat, friend. 🙂
So after struggling with the demon Lizard Breath wind for another hour and a half I reach the town of Hortense. From there I take a sharp left and the miserable side wind turns into a sick tail wind. You know what that means. T-T-T-TURTLE POWERUP!!! I was cruising along at about 22 MPH for the next hour or so and it was magnificent. My darling sister Jessica, called me while I was speeding along and it really made the time fly. Thanks, sis!
After the the long day of triumph and misery I finally reach the town of Nahunta and pedal up to the Knox Hotel and this is where I get a final delicious icing on my cake of a day. Her name was Miss Blanch and she was the proprietor of this lovely establishment. Picture in your head the most darling, sweet, grandmotherly figure you can. Add a warm smile, bright, intelligent eyes, and just a pinch of sugar. Got it? That’s her. A true Southern Bell if I’ve ever seen one and she was exactly what I needed after a long day. She showed me to my room and even offered to wash up my clothes for me as well! I felt right at home.
Another mile, another adventure, another day of new and amazing people. This is the life 🙂
Stay tuned for the next edition of James and his Bike.