The thing you have to understand about these kinds of adventures is how ridiculously fun they are. Part of the reason I blog about them and take so many pictures is to try to share that intangible sense of adventure with other people and encourage them to get out there and try something new. Shortly after sunrise in Randolph County having already ridden 120 miles from my house, I had one of those moments where I was just grinning from ear to ear when I saw my turn onto a dirt road into the middle of the woods as the epic scale went off the charts with still more than half the ride left to go.
My fascination with the walking dead started this year during the kids’ spring break. Kristine had taken them up to Indiana to visit family because their spring break was not the same week as mine at Samford. I stayed home and saw a link to watch The Walking Dead on Netflix. I was hooked after the first episode and ended up watching the entire series while they were gone that week. On Tuesday after just starting Season 3, I decided to do a long training ride east of Cheaha to the Georgia border since I knew that the Walking Dead was supposed to be in Georgia.
During the ride I noticed how the landscape, terrain, and woods resembled that of the TV series. When I got home, I discovered that I was within about 50 miles of where the series was being filmed. I resolved to go back some time and explore the area more. My wife was dropping a friend visiting us off at the Atlanta airport Saturday afternoon, so I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to ride farther into Georgia without having to ride all the way back home to Birmingham. The tricky part was leaving early enough to make it to Atlanta to meet her at a reasonable time without leaving too early and getting caught in traffic of people coming home from a late night out (dangerous).
Despite having ridden the roads between my house and Cheaha numerous times now, I managed to put together a new combination of roads I’ve never used before making for an interesting elevation profile – Vestavia Dr, Hugh Daniel, and Vandiver – as well as six new counties in Georgia – Troup, Coweta, Merriwether, Pike, Spalding, and Fayette. See the annotated map and elevation profile below –
County elevation map of The Walking Dead Bike Tour (click to enlarge)
My introduction to the Walking Dead world on this bike ride was Franklin, Georgia on GA-100 (mentioned several times in the show) where some sort of event was happening at the County Arena. There were lots of horses tied to posts along the outside of the arena, and as GA-100 merged with GA-34 right in Franklin I saw a cowgirl riding a horse right down the road heading towards the arena! Awesome. About 10 miles later, I turned on Coweta Heard and immediately recognized the steep rolling hills from Season 3, Episode 12 where Rick, Michonne, and Carl pass a hitchhiker on the road and get their car stuck.
By this point in the ride, it was starting to get hot. Just a few miles later, I made it to Grantville where the scenes with Crazy Morgan were filmed. I recognized the rooftop of the building where Morgan was shooting at Rick’s group. Also, even more prominent was the place at the end of that episode where Morgan was burning some of the zombies killed by his traps. See bottom left picture below.
Afterwards, I headed over towards Senoia and passed by a few of the scenes from Season 2 (see pics below) as well as one scene from Season 4 (first pic below).
The waterfall campsite pic (middle instagram pic above) with its many, many no trespassing and video surveillance warning signs clued me in about what I would find the rest of my trip. Since my main interest in this trip was the bike ride, anyway, it wasn’t disappointing at all. If anything, it made it easier to pick out certain locations that must have been used in the show because of all the “No Trespassing” signs. I wasn’t interested in trespassing at all, just seeing what things looked like from the road as I biked by. Many of the pictures in this post, I took while riding without even stopping.
After the waterfall, I headed down to the church shown below where the group rushes when they hear the church bells ringing (from a speaker).
Following the church, I headed to probably the most well known of the filming locations – Senoia, Georgia – site of both Woodbury (Season 3) and Alexandria (Season 5 and the upcoming Season 6). There were many tourists in the town as I arrive right around lunch, and I even saw a “movie tour” group making its way along the side of the road. I had mapped out a route through the Alexandria safe zone thinking that I would just ride through as discretely as possible, but discovered that it was well protected and well off-limits to any non-residents so I just got this one picture below from the outside.
By this point in the day, it had gotten really hot so I stopped in the Woodbury Coffee shop shown below to get an ice coffee and post some instagram pics.
Leaving the coffee shop, I headed south towards Haralson, Georgia, which was the site of the parlay scene between Rick and the governor from Season 3, Episode 13. This was probably one of the most easily recognizable filming locations from the TV series. Check it out below.
After Haralson, the terrain got much flatter and the trees started to thin out so I got hot really quickly. Also, I ran out of water a long ways from anywhere. By the time I made it to Griffin, I was hot and very thirsty. After cooling off and getting something to drink and eat at a Blimpie sub shop just outside of town, I headed through town to the abandoned factory where some of the Season 4 police scenes were filmed. Also, I found a building that looked like the one used for Terminus, but I’m pretty sure that was filmed somewhere else. See pics below –
After leaving Griffin, I worked my way back through Brooks and Peachtree City to meet my wife and daughter at the Newnan, Applebee’s. Out of water and out of battery, I was happy for dinner and to catch a ride back home with them to Birmingham.
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