Thanks to Scott, I made record time in getting to Gainesville. After a quick handshake we went our separate ways. He on to Dawsonville and me towards Gainesville. But on the way I had to stop and harrass the folks at Lanier Hills Church. I had met them a couple years ago on my first trip through. Needing a spiritual home while on the journey, I joined LHC. My name is still on the books as a member — and I kinda like that.
I barged in on a church meeting they were having and Randall promised if I left quietly they wouldn’t call the cops AND he’d buy me a cup of coffee. So…I waited patiently. It was good to see him again and we had a great visit over several cups of coffee and the smallest large order of fries I’ve ever seen.
All too soon he had to head back to church for some church work, so we shook hands and I headed on out to find Dave. He and the folks at VVA 772 had made arrangements for me to put the tent up at Sportsman’s Club. So for the night, my front door was a peninsula into Lake Lanier in the pine trees.
Getting up the next morning and rolling on, I tracked down Thomas at Good News Mission. I met Thomas a couple years back and it was good to see him again. He told me that everynight since my last visit, they would all have a group prayer for me — I was touched and it takes a lot to touch this ol’ boys heart. Grabbing a loaf of break from the pile of donated bread (with Thomas’ blessings), we shook hands and I was off — for the ride from hell.
Gainesville to Decatur is not flat. It’s hilly — damn hilly. On top of that, I lost low gear on the bike and picked up some trash in the freewheel. So the hilly terrain, the lost gear and the trash in the freewheel all conspired to give me the ride from hell. But it got worse.
As I rolled onto Clairmont in Decatur, the traffic was backed up BAD. No sidewalk to ride on. No shoulder. And the cars kept pushing me to the right against the curb. I pulled up into someone’s driveway to smoke one and figure out a gameplan. I figured that if all the drivers wanted my side of the road — I’d take the middle. And that’s what I did. Rode the back down the middle of the road between all the cars for a couple of miles. Then I saw Stephen, my host for the night ridiing towards me.
We chatted a minute and then headed out for his apartment. I asked him how far it was to his place and he said, “One more mile”. I told him that was good — and if it were an inch over one more mile, I’d kill him and they’d never find the body.
As we passed the town square, I told Stephen that would be a great place to come back and get some shots. He couldn’t figure out why a cross-country biker like me would be drinking, so I pointed out that I meant PHOTOGRAPHS. We got to his place and he and his girlfriend Stacey, fixed me up a great vegetarian meal — and I had two helpings.
While I was checking email and relaxing, Stephen and Stacey rolled my bike into their kitchen and fixed it all up. Adjusted the derailers, oiled the chain and gave it some general loving.
The next morning when I rolled out, Stephen slid me a few dollars — boy was that appreciated as I’m still waiting on my “ground guy” in Asheville to put the money on the card.
The bike? The bike ran great. I got to thinking though. It’s almost as if the bike and I were married now and we had a little fight and just needed a little “alone” time away from each other. Yah, I know that sounds kinda weird — but hey, people name their cars, right? And how about those folks that put cute little sweaters on their dogs in winters. But that’s another story for another day.