Just a short note to acknowledge the great ride that was hosted by Roger Strauss & Eve Kofsky this past Saturday “down” in Hampton, Georgia… home of the Atlanta Motor Speedway, which sits right next to the Clayton County Airport’s “Tara Field”.
Note, for those not familiar with Southern Folklore, the famous plantation called Tara in Gone With The Wind was a fictional place located in Clayton County. Back in 1969, the Georgia State Legislature saw fit to make Clayton County the official “Home of Gone With The Wind.” So, you’ll find all kinds of references to Tara in Clayton County.
Anyway, setting aside trivia for the moment, downtown Hampton was an easy 1hr drive from our home up on the Northwest side of the Atlanta Metro area. Downtown Hampton, despite being a mere mile from Georgia’s only Super Speedway, doesn’t seem to enjoy much of an economic benefit from that close proximity. I suspect the Atlanta Motor Speedway is pretty much a city unto itself when NASCAR comes to town, doing it’s best to capture and hold all of the commerce/revenue it can… which is what NASCAR is really all about anyway. Nevertheless, it looked like Main Street in Hampton recently underwent a major renovation and rejuvenation, installing pedestrian friendly, brick-covered sidewalks, wonderful hard and landscape and generally giving the place a much-needed facelift, just judging by the drive-by Google camera images taken while the renovation was underway.
We were about the last to arrive and found five other couples waiting for us: Roger & Eve, Randy & Claudia R., Michael & Nancy VonN, Carl & Missy G., and Bob & Kay O. We made sure to leave enough time to ogle and drool all over Carl & Missy’s new Paketa V2r tandem and marvel at its svelte 23lb weight before the brief riders meeting. Here’s the obligatory photo of their beautiful bike which captured the “Best Alternate Materials award” at this year’s North American Handmade Bicycle Show. BTW, if you want one of those nifty wheel stands for your pride & joy, Carl has a source! Just let me know and I’ll put you in touch.As I said, after a brief rider’s meeting we headed on our way for what would end up being about a 47-mile ride that took us out to very familiar-looking places in Fayetteville and Woosly, as these are popular riding areas for many of the local cycling clubs metric and full-century rides. The terrain was a nice mix of relatively flat to rolling road in good to excellent condition, noting what seemed like nearly 10-miles of which had recently been repaved. There were a couple of not too long and not too steep grades that allowed to get our heart rates up a bit, but overall it was a relatively sedate loop with low traffic. I think we hit three or perhaps four “store stops” along the way which are always a mixed blessing. In some respects, I’d rather just go non-stop so that my legs don’t cramp up from being off the bike. But, then again, these are social rides not races and the hallmark of a social ride is socializing. So, stopping to take bio-breaks, grab a Coke and investigating what some of these rural “country store / gas stations” have to offer can be interesting.
We rolled back into Hampton around 12:30 and all of us made our way over to the Wing Ranch for lunch. Pretty much the quaint, locally owned and operated cafe that you’d expect but with a sports bar flavor to it and beer for those who were interested. For some reason, I always find these places have the best Rib Eye sandwiches — Big Daddy’s over in Sylacauga, Alabama certainly did — so that’s what I ordered while Debbie went for a burger, with an eye on getting some iron back into her diet. While it wasn’t fancy, our food tasted good and was reasonably priced so we’d give it a 1 on a scale of 2 where 1=we’d go back. By the time we finished lunch it was nearly 2:00pm and while we’d planned to walk over to the Jailhouse Brewery — yes, the little town even has its own micro-brewery — and sample some of their product, we were both pretty tired and still had a few more ‘events’ ahead of us that afternoon and evening.
From all accounts, the brewery visit went very well and kept some of our fellow riders there longer than they originally planned. So, I think it’s fair to say that we’re looking forward to a future return to Hampton for a repeat of this ride at a time when we can hang around to enjoy the brewery after our lunch. Fall would be a good time of year for this ride!
Again, our thanks to Roger and Eve for sharing this great ride with us.