Sandersville to George L. Smith State Park

The Days Inn offered complimentary coffee, plain bagels, instant oatmeal and bananas.  We were hungry again shortly after our departure from the motel.  I was hoping to stop somewhere in Bartow for more food, but we ended up passing through it without seeing any indication of development or even residential occupancy.

Empty dirt roads in Georgia

We stopped to consult our maps, and it looked like next town on our route was Statesboro.  We didn’t think we could make it there by the end of the day, and both of us had run out of water, so Dallas decided it was best to divert our course south to Swainsboro in search of food and water.  The road we chose to ride down was newly paved (unlike many of the dirt roads that had been slowing us down recently), but provided no shade from the hot sun.  Along the way, we did pass by a small cluster of buildings, including a church where we were able to fill up our water bottles from the faucet outside.

When we arrived in Swainsboro, the only appealing restaurant/cafe was closed for the day, and we were once again left with only fast food options.  We stopped at a grocery store first and bought some juice and watermelon to share.  At the checkout, we asked where we could eat that was not fast food, and the cashier told us of a Mexican restaurant further down the main road.  The restaurant, El Valle, had horrible reviews on google, but was still better than fast food.  The slow service gave us an excuse to rest for quite a while.

A herd of cows run with Dallas

From Swainsboro, Dallas and I headed east about 15 miles to George L. Smith State Park. Just before turning down the road to the park, we stopped at a gas station that was about to close.  The woman reopened the doors so we could buy some ice-cream and candy bars, and another woman who was relaxing in a rocking chair on the porch told us to come back tomorrow.

Butterflies along the route

We arrived at the park after dark, and it was difficult to see much of anything.  We passed by an RV park and other various camping facilities to turn onto several dark and subsequently narrower roads, eventually working our way further from any sign of human existence.  The last road was blocked by a metal gate, and from there we turned onto a dirt path.  The site we chose to camp was damp but padded by pine needles.  It had been our longest day of riding since our practice ride from Mandeville, and we fell asleep quite easily.

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About Sarah

Sarah grew up in Cranston - just south of Providence, Rhode Island - and developed a love for travel, music, and outdoor sports at an early age. She had started bicycling long distances at age 12, as a participant of the MS150 bike tours to raise money for the MS Society. She didn't use her bike regularly until she built her own while studying in Montreal and found it an excellent way to get around the city. After graduating from McGill and moving back to Providence, Sarah started working at Brown University's office of Environmental Health & Safety as the Biological Safety Specialist. She was living 4 miles away at the time, and for the first few weeks was driving to work. She made the switch from driving to bicycling when she realized that she could get to work faster, avoid parking tickets, and integrate a few miles of training into her day. Bicycling was better for the environment and better for her own health and mood. She found that she had more energy and felt much happier once she started biking to work. When her car broke down several months later, she never bothered replacing it. After 4 years of working in Biosafety (and on her master's in Environmental Studies), Sarah left her job to pursue her passion. She has been working various jobs in the bicycle industry since June of 2011, including pedicab driver, bicycle tour guide, bike mechanic and traveling bicycle advocate. In between seasonal jobs, she has done a few long-distance bike tours, which is the main reason for this blog. Her dream is to eventually ride around the world and sail across the oceans.

Posted on 15 May 2012, in Bicycle Touring, New Orleans to Newport. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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