Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Silver Comet Trail

The Trail in Rockmart.

Black Betty and I spent the weekend camping at The Rock Campground near Rockmart, Georgia. We specifically went there to ride on the The Silver Comet Trail. Black Betty hadn't been on her bicycle for a while, so I figured that if I could get her on a nice riding venue, I might get her enthusiastic about it again.
I think my plan was successful.

The Silver Comet Trail is a 61 mile long "Rails to Trails" path that runs from Smyrna on the outskirts of Atlanta, to the Georgia/Alabama state line.  It is named for the silver passenger train that ran the route between New York and Birmingham from 1947 until 1969. Believe it or not, the whole trail is paved with brushed concrete. And following generally the path an old railroad grade, most of  the trail does not exceed 2% grade. It's perfect for riding. We found the portion of the trail that we rode, to be in excellent shape.
At the Alabama state line the Comet joins the Chief Ladiga Trail to continue another 33 paved miles to Anniston.

Our little Gnometown camper at The Rock.
 We decided to use  The Rock Campground as our base camp. The campground is in a perfect location for this, it sits about 1000 feet off of the trail, between mile 34 and 35. The campground provided hot showers, flush toilets, and electricity. The manager, Starla, was very friendly and helpful, and she provided us with a great trail map. What more could you ask for?
Oh yeah, did I mention the weather? It was beautiful!

You better love trains if you camp. They seem to run all day and all night!

On Saturday, we rode west and explored the little town of Rockmart and scouted the trail through the farm lands and pastures beyond it. There is some hill climbing west of town, as the trail leaves the rail grade, so we did get a good work out. On our return to the quaint downtown of Rockmart we ate a delicious sandwich at Frankie's Italian Restaurant.

Black Betty tearing up the trail.

On Sunday, we rode east and through a beautiful section section of the trail. This path led us by Coot's Lake, through the extremely cool Brushy Mountain Tunnel, across the Pumpkinvine Creek Trestle, and through the Paulding Wildlife Management Area. Black Betty kept remarking about how beautiful it was. I have to agree with her. It was lovely. As we approached Paulding Chamber (where we turned to head back) there were lots more cyclists on the trail. At this point we were within twenty miles of the start of the trail in Smyrna.
I know if I lived around here, I think I would be on this trail every chance I had.

Unique bird houses on the trail.
We will definitely be back to the Silver Comet Trail. I want to do this with my grandchildren and I would also love to do this as a touring trip with Black Betty. We are already talking up a springtime trip, I can't wait.

Brushy Mountain tunnel. It is 800 feet long and 3 stories high. It was originally built in 1912 and expanded in 1968.

Go Black Betty, go!

The Pumpkinvine Creek Trestle. Built in 1903 by man and mule, it is more than 700 feet long and 100 feet above the creek.

Our wildlife spotting while in the WMA was pretty much limited to this armadillo.

On the road home, in Windingstair Gap.