Georgia offers us both some of our nicest stays, most lovely biking, and most harrowing biking. We’re not in Georgia for long at all, but we do enjoy it. I’ll start with our first night, spent in the town of Waverly.
Leaving behind the (closed) St. Mary’s bridge, we stop for lunch at Steffan’s, a restaurant recommended to us during the bridge episode (by Jesse). From the moment we walk in, it’s clear that Steffan’s doesn’t get a lot of cyclists. It’s not the spandex. It’s the rain gear. We are head to toe in sopping wet plastic. There’s no ignoring the puddles pooling at our feet, and on the bench seats at our booth.
At the next table, four men eat lunch. One wears a t-shirt for a landscaping company. Under the name and logo, the shirt reads “In God We STILL Trust.” (Okay.) They mutter to one another as we walk by, and then break into hearty guffaws. Maybe something about us; maybe not. It doesn’t matter to us. We’re starving, cold, wet, and still enjoying the buzz from having been given such a gift at the bridge.
We order, among other things, fried green tomatoes. These will be our first fried green tomatoes of the trip, and they are amazing. We will order more. When we leave Steffan’s, a patron (from the table of four) follows us outside. He asks about our bike trip, then encourages us to check out a website he finds fascinating, about a cave in Siberia in which Paleolithic remains were found. (Okay.)
We keep biking and it keeps raining. We’ve reserved a room in an inn called the Horse Stamp Inn. The owners are actually out of town, but one of them, Tom, agreed to let us stay when I pled my case a couple days before: we’ll be coming through on bikes; our maps are taking us through areas with few or no services, his inn looks so nice. In the end, he says that the woman who’s due to stay at the inn in his (and his wife’s) absence will happily accommodate us and cook us something for dinner, since there’s not much around that’s easy to get to without a car.
We find the inn without any problems (if you don’t count the forty-eight mile ride in the rain). It is lovely.
The woman in charge is Katie. Katie is wonderful. She does everything short of give us big hugs to bring us in out of the rain, dry us off, and prop us in front of a fire in the main living room. I can not tell you how amazing it is to be so well cared for after a day in the elements. She opens wine; she makes pizza. She opens more wine. She makes more pizza. Katie works in health care management, and she and Jerry talk animatedly for some time about some of the issues she has come up against in her other job. (Managing the inn this week is something she’s doing to help out her friends, the owners, because she’s considering this line of work if she ever manages to get out of health care management.) It’s kind of fun to see Jerry being able to participate in this conversation without still being so involved in health care.
I eat pizza. I drink wine. I do laundry. I sit by the fire. Talk medicine, talk billing – whatever – I’m blissfully dry and warm. The next morning, Tom has returned, and he makes us an amazing breakfast before we hit the road. We’re off to another lovely inn, another excellent evening. But … that’s a blog entry for another day.