Friday, June 22, 2012

My trip to Georgia and North Carolina

A Bicycle's Point of View  From Georgia and North Carolina
Local Art from a festival in Asheville, North Carolina

I normally write articles based in my own area of North Texas. Sometimes you need a broader perspective on things, or just a vacation. This is exactly what I did on my trip to Georgia and North Carolina. Although I can't lump sum the two states together I can surely say that both possess a wonderful variety of natural terrain and wonderful people. 

My trip to Georgia covered the north part of the state around the Atlanta Area and south of the state on Tybee Island, which nears the city of Savannah. I left behind my ten speed conversion at home this time in favor of a more off road friendly Mongoose Otero. I do both mountain biking and road biking, and saw this trip as an opportunity to get out into the trails of Georgia and the mountains of North Carolina.

One of the stops that I made along the way, on my trip to Georgia, was the Big Creek Park trail and Greenway in the cities of Roswell and Alpharetta. This gave me a chance to try out my brand new Go Pro Hero 2 helmet camera.  Here's some video of the trail that I rode during my time there.

The surrounding cities of Atlanta, such as Roswell, Cumming and Alpharetta, are full of wide open spaces more so than you will find in north Texas. There are not as many construction projects or deforestation as where I currently reside. The roads are more narrow and wind through hills at fast speeds, yet I saw an array of cyclists safely riding in the area. It's a beautiful place to visit, dotted with tall pine trees and a mix of the rural and the urban combined. 

In the latter part of my trip to Georgia, I visited Tybee Island, off the coast of the city of Savannah. Tybee Island is known more as a tourist destination yet the whole island has bike routes and the cruiser culture is very much alive on the island.

This Truett's Diner is one of the first diners owned by the maker of Chick Fil'A

Showing off for the Camera: Popping a wheelie at Tybee Island.

One can relax at the beach, rent an old beach cruiser and peruse around, fish at the pier, or wait until the evening tides bring in good swells for surfing. I stayed on the island for two days, and on the second day swam to one of the neighboring isles close by. It wasn't until later that I discovered that they were catching black tipped reef sharks at the pier. Oh well, I survived to tell my story at least!

In contrast to the ocean and urban scenery of north and south Georgia, North Carolina was its own animal to say the least. The mountains, although not as tall as the Rockies, were still mountains indeed. The scenery was breathtaking. Mountains would descend into valleys and picturesque views of cattle staggered up a mountainside were common in this area. On my stay in North Carolina, I visited the towns of Waynesville, Canton and Asheville. Waynesville is a quiet little town with a classic city center in the middle of it. Galleries exhibited some local artist's crafts and the restaurants made a point of serving good, healthy food. Waynesville is definitely not a food desert; I can't even recall seeing one fast food chain nearby. Everything is local, fresh and organic. They even have a local farmer's market in Asheville where fresh produce is readily available.

On my second day on my visit to North Carolina I visited the towns of Canton and Asheville. There I checked out the Rough Creek Watershed historical trail and caught a glimpse of a black bear about 40 yards away from me. Riding in the real mountains is a unique experience. For one thing, going uphill is more walking the bike than anything else, also something I am not used to coming from Texas. Natural spring water pours out along crevasses on the mountainside and the water looked good enough to drink. 

A view from my Go Pro in Canton, North Carolina

 Asheville got me. It understood me down to the core. From a bicyclist's, a photographer's, and an artist's point of view- it's heaven. A small city with everything in it, Asheville boasts miles of bike lanes, coffee shops and is known for its summer art festivals as well as for the hundreds of miles of forest and mountain bike trails that surround it. It's the kind of place where new ideas are welcome and creativity is encouraged. Here's a couple of shots of interesting things in Asheville.

Like I said, this place gets me. Point of view authors like Bike Snob NYC are available at their shops

True, very true

Some wacky art at the art festival

All dogs go  to heaven?  No, all dogs go to Asheville.

Electric bikes are available for cruising around the city

Laid back: This is the typical Asheville resident artist

Mural art is seen everywhere in Asheville.
What I didn't see in North Carolina is what will bring me back someday soon. This area is known for having at least five waterfalls, canoeing and kayaking and hundreds of miles of bike trails and routes throughout. Two days weren't enough to see everything this wonderful place has to offer. Who knows, I may end up pitching my tent there one of these days! Yes, I liked it that much.

Places like Georgia and North Carolina are evidence that bicycle culture is not waning, it's growing everywhere in the country. Sometimes it is necessary to get out of your local area to realize this. We can get stuck in our own microcosms and lose sight of the greater picture; the world is a big place, and there is much left to talk about. Places like Asheville and Tybee Island help me focus on the can-dos and forget about the can-nots. Stay tuned for more articles like this, because like I said, there is much more to talk about.

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