A little black and tan chihuahua sprints flat out down the hillside.
“Ahrahrahrah!” he yells at us. We’re on a nice quiet road outside of Athens, Georgia.
“Look at this little guy,” I say. He keeps coming, hits the raised shoulder of the road with those tiny little legs, trips, plants his face in the asphalt, and slides on his belly across the road.
“Oh no!” Colleen says. We both start cracking up. “That was so sad,” she says laughing.
The little dog gets up, shakes his head. “Ahrahrahrah!” Starts to chase again, but we’re already too far down the road.
In Athens we head my brother and sister in-law John and Steffi’s house. We do a drive-by tour of all the gigantic University of Georgia athletic facilities.
And that football stadium, holy cats- seats 92,700 people (Heinz Field where the Steelers play only seats 68,000). I was aware that people cared about college football, but I had no idea it was that big of a thing. But I do live in a van down by the river without an internet connection. So maybe I’m out of touch.
More exciting to me was John’s 3D printer. We printed a frog from space.
All the printing possibilities. It’s so cool and futurey. There are file sharing sites where people upload their 3D designs- things like key hooks that look like slime. Everybody should be able to print slime hooks.
After a few days, lots of good restaurants (being in a town like that always makes Colleen and I miss living somewhere that has nice things), we get packed up again.
John and I make solid plans for a Honda Rukus tour of Southeast Asia (plans that I think will make my mother-in-law very happy), then Colleen and I get back on the dusty trail.
10 miles outside of town, we hit a sweet dirt road. I’m surprised by how easy it’s been too stay off pavement down here.
“I am the master of the routes!” I proclaim.
Five more miles, then the road disappears into the weeds. Doh. Looks like it would have been ridable 20 years ago, but not now.
“Yes, a true route master,” Colleen says. I concentrate on the Gaia GPS app so that I don’t have to see the eye roll that always accompanies that sarcastic tone of voice.
I plot a new course, and we’re off again.
We make 60 miles to Greensboro that day (shouldn’t have been that far, but there was some backtracking), and grab a room in a $40 dollar a night murder hotel. Which had a realy good review on Google. “5-stars. A nice place to go and relax.”
We walk down to the gas station to grab a beer (24oz big size Highlife for $1.70 is my go to, a real steal). I set my beer on the counter to pay.
The cashier says something unintelligible.
“Sorry?” I say. She responds with something else I can’t understand. “Uh…” I’m kind of embarrassed now, so I just hand her two dollars and smile. She kinda throws my change at me.
We walk to the Family Dollar to get a snack, and the same thing happens to Colleen.
“What did she say?” I ask Colleen as we’re leaving.
“I honestly have no idea,” Colleen says.
I guess we’ve never talked to someone with a legitimately thick southern accent before. I’ve had less trouble understanding people speaking Spanish, and I don’t speak Spanish. I can’t imagine linguistic conditions will improve in Louisiana and Mississippi.
The next day we ride to the Waffle House for breakfast. We’re talking a little about our trip to the couple in the booth next to us, and as they’re leaving the guy snags our check from our table.
“Now y’all have a good rest your drive,” he says.
Day after that at the Huddle House, we walk up to the counter
“Folks that were at the booth behind already paid your’s,” says the waitress.
We’ve never had random non-bike people buy us meals on a tour. I don’t know if people in Georgia are extra kind, or people who like places like Waffle House and Huddle House are extra kind, or if we just look that raggedy, or it’s a combination of the three. But it sure was nice of them.
In Barnesville we check into another murder hotel for a Christmas treat, then walk over to the gas station. The lady there doesn’t care about Georgia’s blue laws, and is selling alcohol even on this holy day, thank god. We buy a three-dollar bottle of wine and retire to our room.
About 10:00 someone jiggles the door handle trying to get in. Maybe had the wrong room, maybe wanted to play the murder game with us. Good old murder hotel.
Two miles from the Alabama border.
“Get the fuck off the road you dumb piece of shit!” an ignorant bitch yells out her car window. Alabama plates. Boy, I hope that’s not a sign of things to come. All the way through South Carolina and Georgia, we haven’t had any problems with drivers.
Then we cross the Chattahoochee (which I learn later is hotter than a hoochie coochie).