Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Last Day/ First Day

Well, the old year has passed, and a new year is upon us.  Did you get a chance to get out on the roads or trails yesterday or today? 

The weather cooperated, and I was able to get out for a short time both days.  It was cool: about 41 degrees to start on both days, and a little windy today, but were certainly rideable conditions.

Both days, I meandered around near the intersection of US-178 and SC-11.  That is where the Holly Springs Country Store is located, a favorite place for bikers of all variety to gather, plan rides, and chew the fat.

Alas, not one biker was there either day, and I passed by there four times. 

I continued west on US-178 to visit Sassafras Mountain, the highest point in South Carolina.  I have been there many times, but this time, the gate was open that leads to the actual highest point.

A closer view:

Naturally, I had to go up there.  They have placed a plaque that shows where the highest point is, and a bench to rest on.  Trails lead off in at least two directions for the hardy ones who hike the mountains.  A maintenance worker was busy on the cell tower that is located here. 

The road, however, was covered with wet leaves, and was quite slippery. 
I gingerly used my back brake to edge back down the slippery slope that is surprisingly steep under those conditions. 

The gravel parking lot is the place to park to walk out on the overlook platform whose design I have been critical of.

The platform is still ugly, and is rusting and rotting away despite the designer's claim that it is a long-lived structure.  They have already had to brace it so it doesn't wobble. 

For some reason, vandals have attacked the sign leading to the overlook.  This is about the third one that I know of.

Someone has beat it up pretty badly, but look at the back:
They used a chain saw to cut through all of the lumber holding the sign to the post.  Nevertheless, they still couldn't get it to come off.  Why would somebody want it that badly?

After a look from the platform, I mount up again and make my way back down toward Rocky Bottom on US-178.

Before I reach 178, I meander onto Glady Fork and East Fork Roads, then to just south of Rosman, NC.  I hit US-178 again and turn east and go down the slope, heading again for Rocky Bottom and to the Holly Springs Store beyond.  That means that I pass through the place where the photographer Patrick Welsh takes pictures of passing traffic. 

On these curves: 

I suppose I am faster through here today than I was back in 2009 when he snapped my picture, but I don't watch the speedo when I am negotiating curves, so I don't know for certain!

I get home after only around 100 miles, but it has been fun to be out on the last day of the year. 

Today, the first day of January, I was fortunate to slip out for a few more hours of seat time.  I went up to SC-11 again, but this time to Table Rock State Park, another place I have been many times before. 

I get glimpses of it from the roads on my way there.  Like this:

A little closer:

And as close as you can get, while still on the road.

You can hike to the top of Table Rock, but it is an elevation change of over 2400 feet in 3-1/2 miles, so your pacemaker had better be in good shape to make it. 

After I leave the park, I return to Pickens South Carolina, a small town that you go through to get to the mountains.  I run the Perfect Curve again, maybe a few miles per hour faster than the time I wrote about it. 

Neither today nor yesterday do I see many others out on two wheels.  Only two yesterday and one today, not counting the single lone bicyclists I saw, one each day. 

I do a little low speed practice on a cul-de-sac near home, then put the bike away for the new years day dinner my wife has prepared.  Today, I only went about 79 miles, but it is great to start off the year this way. 

Have a good and prosperous new year. 

Ride with you again soon.


No comments: