Bicycling – Martin Goodman Trail / Silver Comet Trail

I really enjoy bicycling. Not epic 100+ mile cycles but more modest cycles. Lately on the order of around 30 miles or so.

Martin Goodman Commute to Work

Martin Goodman Commute to Work

I *used* to commute into work, back when I lived in Toronto. My house was located just four houses up from lake Ontario on Sixth street. I was able to cycle along Lakeshore Blvd for about 3 miles until I picked up the Martin Goodman Trail.  I was then able to follow the Lake Ontario shoreline until just South of where I worked downtown. A quick jaunt through city rush hour traffic and I was there. My company offered convenient  bicycle parking.  I would work out at the company gym and shower to get to work for about 8:30 every morning. It was about a 9 mile commute each way and it was glorious from about April through October.

Unfortunately, the prospect of commuting in and around Atlanta seems pretty laughable between the rather narrower roads and complete lack of awareness or care on the part of car drivers for anything smaller than another SUV on the road. So I cycle on weekends or early evening on very sparsely populated roads or – my favorite – Rails to Trails paths.

I’ve only explored a small part of the Silver Comet Trail (SCT) so far. I used to always begin at mile-marker zero (near Nickjack Elementary school) but have recently been making my way out to Hiram, GA to cycle the portion between there (mile marker 14.7) and the Historic Brushy Mountain Tunnel (mile marker 30.9). This trip *seems* to me to be just mildly uphill all the way out and mildly downhill all the way back with the tunnel representing some kind of watershed. It may just be my perception but I really do look forward to the return cycle.

There are multiple trailheads along the the SCT. The one at the zero mile marker is pretty good. It’s got a good bathroom facility and overflow parking at the elementary school if necessary. The downside is that it’s usually VERY busy and you’ll find yourself dodging pedestrians and other trail traffic for the first couple of miles of your trip.

I read an article that gushed about how attractive the segment of the SCT is between Hiram and Rockmart. I tried it several months back and I have to admit that it *is* a super attractive and pleasant ride. There is a great little cycling support place just off the Hiram trailhead (beyond the Sheriff’s caboose) that has washrooms big enough to just bring your bike in with you so you don’t need to worry about it. Also, it’s MUCH less crowded, even during peak times. Also, there are far fewer street crossings here than at the Zero mile marker trailhead. There are about 3 that you hit in fairly short order and then only the occasional slow-down-and-whiz-across one from then on.

Going beyond the Brushy Mountain Tunnel the trail starts to get much more hilly, especially for a rails-to-trails ride. I’ve been told that after Rockmart the trail really can be challenging (especially if you’re already bonking :)).

Posted under Sports

This post was written by Marc
on September 8, 2009 at 7:21 am

The Dreaming Void

The Dreaming Void“The Dreaming Void” by Peter F. Hamilton starts off a lot slower than his other works that I’ve read thus far. So slow that I was considering putting it down even after 50 or so pages. The pastoral environment that he was crafting, as it turned out for just one of his many subplots, was more reminiscent of the fantastical creations of Poul Anderson than the technologically futuristic offerings (Barsoomians notwithstanding) of Mr. Hamilton.

But after not much longer I was drawn back into his universe, set meny hundreds of years later than his last offering and including some characters (yes, they live that long) that were both interesting and, in some cases, rather under-explored. The Dreaming Void is setting itself up to be as rich and satisfying a story as any of Mr. Hamilton’s other works.

Just a warning, this is NOT a standalone book. In order to come to a satisfying conclusion you will need to read the entire series. I got into this book a *little* too soon and find myself eagerly anticipating the next book (I prefer softcover to hardcover – easier to read in bed).

Posted under Books

This post was written by Marc
on September 5, 2009 at 9:19 am

WallyPark – Can’t really figure out their Points

I was reviewing my recent WallyPark receipt from my trip up to Toronto at the end August and could not at all figure out why I didn’t have enough points to cover this trip’s stay.

So I’ve sent them this email. I’m posting this in case anybody else uses them. Take a close look at your receipts. If you’re a member of their “WallyClub” (I know, I know – sounds like a Chevy Chase movie) you have access to every receipt that you’ve paid for their services. Check them out and see if you can make heads or tails of it.

Hi,

My name is Marc Bourassa, I travel only occasionally and have been using your services since you acquired the Atlanta location from Airpark.

Recently, after a 5 day stay I was surprised that I had only 10 points available to me to apply against my balance. So they applied 7 points and I paid the rest.

In reviewing my receipts I can see that, for some reason I *always* seem to have 10 points available to me, no more ever seem to get applied to my balance regardless of my stays.

I’m also having trouble determining why my 3 day & 3 hr stay on 5/4/09 cost me $43.

Why I’m writing:

What I’d like is a review of my charges and point accruals / debits to date – this shouldn’t be that difficult as I have only a dozen transactions.

I’d also recommend that your site be updated to maintain a proper running balance of points. As it is it’s not very user friendly.

Overall I’m pretty satisfied with WallyPark’s services. The shuttles are always available when I’m headed to the airport and I have seldom had to wait for a shuttle when returning from the airport. But I also like to understand what I am going to pay and like to feel that I’m being treated fairly even with incentive plans. Please help me understand where I may be in error or work with me to correct any mistakes that may have been made.

Thanks for looking into this,

Marc

Posted under Retail Experiences

This post was written by Marc
on September 3, 2009 at 10:12 am

Gmail in trouble today?

I’m on and off of Gmail all day and have very seldom encountered issues. Today, probably around 2’ish pm EDT I noticed that it was getting sluggish. For the past couple of hours Gmail has been simply unreachable. Anybody else encountering this issue? Google Voice and Google proper seem just fine.

Posted under Tech Stuff

This post was written by Marc
on September 1, 2009 at 5:02 pm