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10/21/2003 Archived Entry: "Chief Ladiga Trai Skate - October 18, 2003"

Our Chief Ladiga Trail Skate
On Saturday Afternoon Ė October 18, 2003
By Jim C.

Interested in skating somewhere different, but worried that some of your skater companions will chastise you if you bother to fly all the way across the country; or for gads sake, head to a foreign country for that matter Ė just to skate?

Tired of fighting traffic in the Atlanta streets, but donít want to fight the teaming masses on the Silver Comet (kids on trikes, walkers six abreast, dogs on long leashes)??

Looking for a place to skate 50 miles or more on decent asphalt, unencumbered by mountainous hills, traffic, stop lights, people, etc., etc.???

This past Saturday, three hearty skaters piled into the car for a trip to Alabama (donít worry, we all had the appropriate visas, and didnít have much problems crossing the border and into Alabama Ė being permitted back into Georgia was far more difficult though). We skated on the Chief Ladiga Trail, which runs from the northerly portion of Anniston to the bustling metropolis of Piedmont, Alabama. The asphalt-paved portion of the trail is almost 25 miles long (after that, the rest of the trail is just like the rest of Alabama). In terms of road crossings though, there were a bunch of them. However, I think I can count on three fingers the number of times we actually had to stop for traffic, while on the trail.

Along the way, we were treated to all sorts of beautiful scenery (cotton fields, fields with rolls of hay, cotton fields, incredibly clear spring fed ponds, abandoned buildings, cotton fields, trailers, etc.). There were friendly people, about 10 bicyclists, and maybe Ĺ dozen walkers. But we saw no dogs on 12-foot leashes and no skaters Ė let alone anyone (intelligent or otherwise) in a skinsuit. We did come across a skater-friendly convenience store, but the clerk looked at me quite strangely (I donít think that she knew what to do, about someone on skates in her store Ė the rules in Alabama arenít that extensive). But what a wonderful afternoon it was for us to be on skates in Alabama.

Sorry that I didnít take any pictures: my photographic memory works wonderfully well Ė until it becomes time to make copies. One of my favorite signs I saw while skating there was on a pen containing several hunting dogs. It said: ďPlease Donít Throw Rocks at the Dogs.Ē This made me wonder about the guyís neighbors.

If you havenít been to the CLT, and are looking for a change of pace, I wholeheartedly recommend grabbing your passport and going. Itís about a 2-hour drive from Atlanta. The nice folks at the Piedmont Civic Center (circa 1930-something) allow free use of their showers and facilities (open on Saturday from 8 AM to 4 PM). Additionally, thereís a plethora of eating establishments on the way back to I-20. So here, the post-skate meal (why else would anyone skate 50 miles?) can be most anything you might want.

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