May 7, 2001 - Thomasville 89.1m***

For those of you following on a map, today was Marianna, Sneads, Chattahoochee, End (covering Bainbridge), Climax (not even a good sign), Cairo to just off to the right side of this map, Thomasville in Thomas County.

Left Bob Lee in Marianna and headed east on the 90. Rolling hills, nothing exciting. Northern Florida (and southern Georgia, so far) are not rife with photo opportunities. Rural people trying to make a buck

Tiggers dream job. Then, a river, a dam, and a lock that both the tug/barge and I waited for, that didnt open.

Bummer crossed a county line and entered a new time zone thougheasy.

Thats the old bridge (these four shots taken from the same location) in the background. New stuff is always bigger and higher. This is all on US90 just west of Chattahoochee, FL. At this point, the hills turned serious for the first time since west Texas, maybe 10 days of riding ago.

I started the day 45 miles behind plan, and ended about 60 behind. The excuses: slightly late start (8A CDST), loss of an hour (CDST->EDST), slightly early end (6:30P EDST), stong, steady winds from the east – and something new – hills, some big hills.

US90 has been my friend, on and off, since Van Horn, TX. At GA97, I had to leave it and head north to Faceville (an independent Baptist church and a downtrodden general store) and Bainbridge. GA97 had some really big hills.

Hills have downhills. (On a bike I prefer short steep uphills, followed by long, slow downhills, vs. something like the above). At the bottom of one, when I wasnt paying attention to where I was, at 25 mph, I glanced right and noticed

Had to stop, go back and photo this. Its my last state (California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida – Georgia). πŸ™ πŸ™‚

Bainbridge, where I was supposed to be last night, was that 45 miles into the day. US84 passed south of it, so I never saw much of it other than Hendersons Grocery. I just slogged east on US84 at about 10mph. Dull. So I thought I would try to combine two semi-interesting things in one photo.

Thats a trailer of logs – big industry around here (the sign says trees = jobs) next to US84. Much busier than most of US90. Poor shoulders, until I got to Cairo where they started deliberately sabotaging the shoulders.

At first I thought these ripples right down the shoulder on US84 east of Cairo (pronounced Kay-row around here) were just for close to town but they continued for most of the next 15 miles, until I took the cut-off for Thomasville. When combined with the wind and the hills, these ripples forcing me into traffic, make for very difficult riding.

The day was just disappearing, and it became clear that given the conditions I wouldnt make Quitman (maybe no hotels there anyway) much less Valdosta.. but Thomasville looked interesting.

Especially the part about Historic Inns. Im sick of chain motels and dive joint motels. If I was going to quit a little early, might as well find someplace nice. So I took the cut off into town (the US highways bypass most towns, so I miss many of them).

Thats historic downtown Thomasville. Thats a brick road. Other signs on the way into town referred to it as the City of Wonders. They also refer to themselves as Tree City USA (and they do have tall ones here in a place where they mow forests like most of us mow lawns). Thomasville also has a Historical Museum, a Science Museum and a Cultural Center. In 1897 (according to literature in my room) Harpers Magazine said it was The best winter resort on three continents. (I dont know which three.) Everything seemed promising.

Yet you guessed it, the downtown was dead. 80% of those stores are empty. There were no historic inns in town to stay in. I had to ride back north to the interstate, and the usual strip-mall land of homogenized ubiquity that defines much of America, and stay in the usual chain hotel. A fitting end to the day.

Lets see.. did I miss any good pictures? No. But if you go up to the one with the ripples on US90 and read the billboard script, it says they have the lowest cost homes in America here too.

I hope US84 gets better tomorrow

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