Silver Comet Memorial Day Weekend

28 May

For the long Memorial Day weekend, the Wuzzles went down to Georgia, looking for a trail to ride. We spent Saturday morning driving from Oak Ridge (TN) to Cedartown, Georgia. The Silver Comet Trail passes through Cedartown on its way from Atlanta to where it joins the Chief Ladiga Trail at the Georgia/Alabama state line. Here’s a map where you can follow along if you want.

On Saturday afternoon, after getting to Cedartown and checking into our hotel, we took our HPVs (human power vehicles) down to the Cedartown Depot where the trail crosses the town’s main north-south thoroughfare.

We started out riding toward Rockmart (to the east) because our recollection was that there were a few flat miles east of Cedartown. The trail runs about 13 miles between Cedartown and Rockmart and we knew that about six of those are very hilly and not to our taste. We thought those six miles were close to Rockmart and we could get some flat miles in just to the east of Cedartown but that segment turned out to be hillier than we had remembered. So after just a mile and a quarter in that direction, we turned around and headed back the other way — west.

The trail runs about 10 miles from Cedartown to the state line and that part is pretty flat so it was no problem.

During the ride, my bicycle reached a milestone. Its odometer clicked over 6000 miles that I’ve ridden on this bike.

On the cusp — 5999.9

Over the cusp — 6000.0

We stopped and ate our Clif bars to celebrate. Woohoo!

We saw lots of squirrels, a few cardinals, lots of rabbits that went bounding away when they saw us, and one odd bird that ran across the trail in front of us. When we first saw it, Karen asked if it was a quail. I thought it might be a grouse. Later that evening we looked at pictures of grouse and quail on Google images and Karen decided it must’ve been a grouse because she remembered its long neck while I thought the quail pictures better matched my memory of the markings. Here are a couple of pictures from Google images that kinda sorta match what we saw. We don’t remember it having a tuft, but Karen thinks the picture of the grouse matches what we saw better for shape and coloring. You decide:

Bobwhite Quail

Ruffed Grouse

Finally, at the State Line park, we saw (and smelled!) a herd of cows.

We also determined with some precision the exact length of the Silver Comet Trail in Georgia. Various places on line put it at “over 61 miles”, “61.5 miles”, 60.37, 60, etc. I rode my bike from the state line marker back to the nearby Esom Hill Road trailhead and measured 0.45 miles distance. The mileage marker at the trailhead shows 61.25. So 61.25 plus 0.45 makes the total length of the trail 61.7 miles. Our total mileage for the day was 22.51 miles.

Sunday we drove from the hotel to the Esom Hill trailhead and parked there to continue our ride. We got going about 15 minutes before 9:00 am and headed over the state line from Georgia into Alabama. Approaching Piedmont, we passed the place where I had a flat the first time we rode that segment of the trail, a couple of years ago. Thankfully, I did not have a flat this time.

In Alabama, the mile markers count from the state line up going west. Very near mile marker 7, we saw signs and blazes where the Pinhoti hiking trail joins the paved path for a mile or so.

At mile marker 16.5, just past Piedmont, we decided we had used up half our energy and it was time to head back. On the way back, we stopped in Piedmont and ate lunch sitting in a porch swing on the front porch of the Eubanks Welcome Center, a very nice facility that the town of Piedmont provides for trail users. While there, we visited with a couple of other cyclists (they were riding uprights) from Birmingham.

Passing through Piedmont, we saw a couple of upright tandem (two person) bikes go by and a couple of recumbent tandems. Tandems are relatively unusual and recumbent tandems even more so, so I thought it was quite remarkable that we saw two of them so close together.

We got back to Esom Hill Road around 3:00 pm, so we were gone for about six hours. My bike computer said we had been actually riding about 4.5 of those hours. Our total mileage for the day was just shy of 34 miles — 33.97.

Back at the hotel Sunday evening, we noticed a recumbent tandem bicycle sitting in the lobby! It turned out that one of the couples we had seen riding on Sunday had spent the night in the same hotel as us there in Cedartown. Apparently, they were riding from hotel to hotel along the trail because as we were packing up and leaving this morning (Monday), they were getting back on their bike to ride back toward Atlanta where their vehicle and trailer were parked. We had a good time talking with them and learning a little about what riding a tandem is like. Thanks, Dwight and Julie!

Driving around Cedartown and Rome (both in Georgia), and Piedmont (Alabama), we saw some interesting street signs.

Possum Trot Road, between Piedmont and Jacksonville, Alabama

Booger Hollow Road, between Cedartown and Rome, Georgia

Booze Mountain Road, between Cedartown and Rome, Georgia

We also saw “Jug Hollow Road” in Piedmont but didn’t stop to get a picture. I figured somebody would have taken a picture of the street sign and posted it online where I’d be able to find it, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. If we ever go back, I’ll have to get a picture of that street sign as well.

This morning we started just before 9:00 from Germania Springs Park and rode back toward Piedmont. We saw a chipmunk, hawks circling overhead, and more cyclists and runners on the trail. We reached mile marker 16.5 (our stopping point from yesterday) about 10:00 and turned around, arriving back at the park at about 11:00 to eat lunch at a shady picnic table. Our total mileage for today was 15.30 miles.

Now we’re back at home, ready for a four day week and another weekend.

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Posted by on 2012/05/28 in cycling, delightful oddities


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