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Trail Riding School...March 21st, 2015

The weatherman gave the six riders that enrolled in Honda's Trail Riding School a break. Sandwiched between two rainy days, they enjoyed a dry sunny Saturday at Honda's  facility in Alpharetta.

The six, Melinda, Dennis, Dan, Paul, Bob S. (the younger) and long time-no-see friend Tad, arrived at the training facility at 7:30 a.m., to complete the necessary paperwork and get decked out in approved safety gear supplied by Honda. While they suited-up, the instructors warmed up the 150cc and 240cc dirt bikes the six would get to know and appreciate as the training progressed.

After a brief orientation meeting they mounted the bikes and did warm up exercises in the dirt field used by all dirt bike and ATV classes. Then it was out to the trail where they tackled progressively more difficult terrain and obstacles

A sampling of what they encountered and how they used their new skills to address them, is captured in the video below. While it was relatively easy to video their activities while they were 'captive" in the dirt field, their near constant moving on the trails only allowed capturing brief scenes here and there. Never-the-less you can see how their abilities, and confidence, improved over the day.

(click on YouTube's logo for a larger version)

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3 Park Plus Ride...March 14, 2015

Melish said rain. We said maybe not, so five of us (Larry, Dennis, Dan, Steve D. and Bob S.) took a chance and rode off on the twice canceled Three Park Plus Ride.

The ride included visits to Red Top Mountain State Park, Etowah Mounds State Historic Site, Allatoona Pass Battlefield, Coopers Furnace C.O.E. Park and an aborted visit to the C.O.E. Visitor's Center, that surprisingly is closed on weekends.

We chose to stop at Doug's Place in Emerson for lunch. Doug's is a "meat-plus-two" local favorite that's a good place to park for a while and shoot the breeze (which we do well)

This was one of our shorter rides (less than 100 miles) and really intended for winter conditions, but we had fun, in spite of cloudy skies and occasional light showers.

Here's a very short video. Click on the YouTube logo (bottom right of video) for a larger view.The GoPro gave up the ghost during the ride as the wrong waterproof back door was installed allowing the camera body to rattle around in the closure. It recovered later.

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Fall '14 Camp 'n Ride--October 17-18, 2014

 On the prettiest Friday afternoon of the year, LarryK, BobK, and ScottT met in Ball Ground for an overnight ride to the North Ga mountains.  After gassing up and marveling at how much gear we managed to strap to our mounts, we then rode a leisurely pace to Jasper and thru the beautiful Burnt Mtn area on 136.  We then took 52 toward Dahlonega and headed up the ever-twisty 60 to Suches.  We arrived with plenty of light to pitch tents near the babbling brook at Two Wheels of Suches' (TWO) beautiful property.  We thought there would be just a handful of bikers camping Friday night, but final tally was closer to 40 with at least a half dozen states represented!  Dinner was nice and the campfire even nicer. A perfect night for camping. 

Saturday morning we enjoyed hearty breakfasts, then packed up while TadS rode up at first light to meet us for the day's riding.  First stop was Brasstown Bald via the newly-paved Wolf Pen gap.  The view from the observation deck was impressive, but somehow seemed cooler and windier than on the bikes!  Next we headed up and over Unicoi gap to lunch in Helen.  Brats were the order of the day all.
After lunch we rode N on the Richard Russel Scenic Byway (348?), then back south on 129.  Fall color was very nice throughout the day, but all agreed the Richard Russell had the best views and riding of the day. We stopped at the stone building at Neels Gap and admired the hearty souls backpacking the Appalachian Trail which passes thru the store (only place the AT passes thru a building in 2000 miles).  From Neels Gap we headed home down 129 and via Cleveland to avoid the festival traffic in Dahlonega.  Total mileage was about 230. 
A great time was had by all. Everyone seemed impressed with TWO's facilities and we hope to do something similar in the spring.  Don't miss it!

Zip-Lining In Lula--September 13, 2014

This month we decided to do something different, combine a motorcycle ride with a destination activity, in this case zip-lining at North Georgia Canopy Tours near Lula.

Five riders, Bob K., Steve, Dennis, Richard and Bob S. took advantage of special September-only pricing and signed up for the 9:40 a.m. Saturday tour. The weather forecast for the Gainesville area had deteriorated in the week running up to the event, from good to iffy, leaving to Saturday morning the decision to ride or drive (tickets were non-refundable rain or shine). As it turned out four chose to ride, one drive.

They left Hickory Flat soon after dawn heading up the boring, but most direct route, SR 369. After a brief stop in Gainesville they arrived at the tour site at 9:30. Once safety gear was fitted they got brief instruction in the basics of zip-lining, then off to the wires. The runs started short and easy but progressively got longer and faster culminating in a two wire race track over a pond.Two guides were shepherded the nine person group providing safety tips and humorous zip-lining banter. At the finish they awarded the five their Certificates Of Completion.

 A look around the horizon was not to promising, as thunderheads were building up to the south and west. They took off down the dirt road and picked up Old Cornelia highway into Gainesville where they stopped for lunch at the 2 Dog restaurant, a small place on Spring Street. No hot dogs here but a full menu and good food. After lunch they saddled up and headed toward Dahlonega on Thompson Bridge Road. They didn't get far before rain drops started pinging on their face shields. They were lucky though as it never got bad enough to warrant putting on rain gear. This was not the case for Richard however. He was following the bikes at a distance and reported later that he ran through a deluge from the same clouds that sprinkled the riders.

The riders pulled off of Thompson Bridge Road (SR60) onto Price Road (SR136) and cut a path westerly into Dawson then Pickens counties. After a short stop at the Foothills Chevron they road home by various routes.

By all accounts it was a great day and a harbinger of combo rides to come.

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Fort Mountain and Edna's--August 16, 2014

The ride roster was at four, then dwindled to three, then two and finally one, but thankfully, at the last minute, it filled out to the three musketeers, Dan, Dennis and Bob S. The day was clear and for August, cool. Fine riding weather for the jaunt up to the Cohutta Overlook at Fort Mountain.

They planned on riding backroads as much as possible. No dirt or gravel but interesting rural roads, not boring four lane highways. So it was. First across Cherokee county then up through Pickens into Gilmer finding the back way into Ellijay. After a stop at the Dairy Queen (of saddle bag bumping fame) they headed through Ellijay's square to pick up SR 52 on its way to the mountains. A few minutes out of Ellijay they spotted some movement on the side of the road. It was deer, a doe with a still spotted fawn scampering behind across the road. Lucky for them and the riders there was plenty of time for avoidance.That's not always the case.

The plan was to stop at the Cohutta Overlook and take the short hike to the viewing platform; almost didn't happen. The lead missed the turn-off sign as it was hidden by high weeds and low leaning branches. Maintenance is needed. However, they slowed in time to catch the cut-in for the exit, and took that onto the narrow road. The view on top is great, almost as good as from the platform in the state park and a lot more accessible.

From the overlook it was down the mountain, past the state park to Chatsworth and lunch at Edna's. The parking lot was full of cars with local Murray county license tags, always a good sign for a restaurant. After lunch they headed south on the old highway 411 until it ran into the new, and boring highway 411. They took this south but soon after passing through Fairmount turned east on Salocoa Road, a favorite motorcycle road for many.

From Salocoa the ride to back the start point of the Chevron south of Ball Ground passed quickly, too quickly.

All agreed, a very good ride and great fellowship.



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