I was able to go on a nice ride with my son this past Saturday. 18.6 miles from the house down to Indian Springs State Park in Flovilla, GA and back. I have been rather amazed over the last couple of weeks how places that once seemed so far away are suddenly so much "closer". Hitting the 40 mile ride mark just seemed to turn something on inside me and I want to ride farther and farther away with rewarding destinations and views. This trip was a go on both those counts and more. I neglected to stop and use the camera on my phone, a mistake that a couple of guys who will remain un-named (cough) have shown me to be crucial in making a ride report.
We ate a good breakfast with some grits and fresh fruits, along with some eggs, bacon, and a bagel. I didn't want to bonk halfway back with no one to come bail us out. We checked pressures, got our water bottles together and headed out a bit after lunchtime. The temps out were in the high 70's and climbed into the low 80's as we rode. There were partly sunny skies, and a mild wind. Perfect day to go for a ride.
We actually started out with the intention of riding a local loop, but my son suggested that he wanted to go to the park. I had already scouted a path by Google Maps, and knew everything was paved the way I wanted to go. Traffic was light, and we made great time. The roads all the way were really good, except a few miles at the end of one of the roads. I found the error in not scouting the ride, if possible, beforehand.
We made good time down to the park in a bit over an hour. We both felt great, just wanted to find a place to refill bottles and get a drink and a candy bar for the ride home. We immediately filled our bottles from a spigot we were directed to, more on this in a minute. As we were looking around we were sidetracked a couple of times by passers-by asking questions and making comments, which were welcomed, of course. Funny enough that the hill we went up to get to the Ranger Station in order to find a drink was steeper than anything we climbed on the way there. Got up to the station and they had quit selling anything but ice cream. They did inform us that there was a general store right up the road outside the park. Incidentally, they did not charge us a parking or entry fee, which I thought was nice.
My son and I rode up to the store, picked up a couple of bottles of Gatorade, a couple of candy bars, and we coasted back down to the entrance to the park. We found a table down near the entrance rather than choosing to go back up that darned hill past the aforementioned station. The view was great. There was a lot of activity in the park that day. The table we picked was under the shade and it felt really nice to sit down and relax for a few minutes. We talked with a few other people while we sat there, and really enjoyed taking the time to relish in our efforts prize.
Now, I had mentioned the water. Yeah, so when we got there our first bottles were empty. I inquired at the gate about some water to fill the bottles, and was asked if I wanted the spring water (Indian Springs), or if I wanted it from a spigot? I have had the spring water. It is not a really pleasant thing in my mind. I am sure there are people that like it. It is rumored to be of medicinal value for various reasons. It is full of minerals and has an odor that is, well...not minty fresh. I was inclined to think I wanted the spigot. HA! Apparently the spigot must me tied into the spring, cause the same funk-nasty water came out of it as well with the added bonus of being yellow. It was, in fact, drinking water, cause you can be sure we asked. Ho boy! This was not going to be fun. The nearest store on our actual trip back was well up the road. We decided to tough it out, deal with the water, and we headed out.
The trip down was mostly downhill, rolling, but overall going down. The wind had been at our backs, now it was sort of a cross wind. It didn't seem to be worthy of considering at the time. My immediate concern was the hill leading up out of the park. It is a pretty long hill in my meager opinion and has a couple of steep sections. I was very glad to have my compact, and was pleasantly suprized at the top. We made pretty good headway and it was a blast riding along two abreast, talking to one another and taking in the beautiful pastoral setting. That all lasted about eight of the miles back. A bit less than that we reached the first store. The one we thought we were going to be able to get some good water in. Well, no water for you! Yup. Actually refused us water without purchasing some. I was a bit shocked, but we went on up the road another couple of miles to the next store. They did allow us to fill, but at that point our finiky ways with the water we had already caused the dehydration that we needed to avoid.
The last 10 miles were pretty rough. It is all a gradual uphill from down next to Lake Jackson up the road to our neighborhood. It was getting later in the afternoon and there was quite a bit more traffic. We had to ride single file and at this point we were both pretty spent. That mild wind had turned in our perception into the Devil's breath. We were spinning the heck out of some low gears just trying to make it in. We stopped a couple of times to relieve some cramping my son had making the last five miles in. Seeing the neighborhood sure was nice, but shortly after we got home we were both sitting around talking and daydreaming of what a nice ride it had overall been.
Thanks for the report. It sounds like a good time.
The water.... was it treated? I know some places, like the C & O Canal in Maryland or the Pine Creek Rail Trail in PA have cistern pumps at the campsites. Since there's no potable running water the pumps draw on an underground chamber filled with water treated with iodine. The iodine gives an off taste and an odd color.