Five of us took advantage of the first sunny day in a while to ride up to Two Wheels of Suches (aka TWO) for a day of their 2-Stroke and Vintage Weekend. Dan, Dave, Larry and Bob S. rode up from Hickory Flat via Clay Creek and Black Mountain while Mel rode in from Athens.
TWO's parking area was loaded with motorcycles of every description, many that were true classics of the seventies and eighties, others rare pristine models many of us have read about but never saw up close. Rather than try to describe bikes the turbocharged six cylinder Honda or the three cylinder 2-stroke Yamaha I'll let the videos tell the story.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_gIT4SvG0w
Rust – a strange theme, but… Despite the long string of rainy weather, we lucked into the only “below 50%” day in what seemed like weeks for our August ride. Eight riders met Saturday morning for a run to the Foxfire Museum and Appalachian Heritage Center in far NE Ga (Larry, Dave, Garrett, Richard, Dennis, Bob K, Mike, and Dan). It was great to ride with a few who hadn’t joined us in some time.
( l to r) Garrett, Mike, Bob K, Dennis, Dave, Richard, Larry
We plowed thru 90% tropical humidity as we worked our way toward Cleveland where we met our 9th rider, Mel. Thankfully we didn’t stop long or the oppressive humidity would have rusted us in place. We continued on back roads thru Clarkesville, Tallulah Falls, then up 441 through Clayton. After a handful of missed turns (I’m rusty with my GPS!), we had to shake the rust off our off-camber stops and turns on tight mountain roads as we worked our way to the heritage center in Mountain City.
t was interesting envisioning Appalachian life as we toured the old log cabins and viewed the rusty farm relics so vital to them. As I was learning about “hog scalding”, I was amazed to hear stories from two of our riders who grew up helping their families with that activity around the holidays. Although we thoroughly enjoyed the chapel UP the hill, the humidity was taking its toll – time to roll.
We headed back south to Clayton for lunch at The Rusty Bike Café, a new stop for everyone. Food and service were excellent and we’ll certainly be back (maybe in Nov when we visit Tallulah Gorge for the water release?) My plan was to head SW by 1 PM to avoid the certain afternoon storms, but… As we left a little late, we could see the clouds building and begin to smell rain.
Rather than taking the busier 76 hwy toward the N end of Lake Burton, we tried a new route thru Tiger which took us on some gorgeous, lightly-traveled, curvy country roads skirting Lake Rabun and Lake Burton. Very pleasant and I’m sure we’ll add those to our redo list as well. One minute we were headed toward a dark storm, then we’d curve toward beautiful skies, only to curve toward rain again – both beautiful and nerve-wracking at the same time! After Lake Burton, Mel peeled off toward his home in Athens (and taking a dousing in the process). The rest of us managed to skirt all the storms as we worked our way to a well-earned ice cream break in Dahlonega. By this point we’d passed the most active storms and enjoyed a clear (and warm!) trip home via the back roads.
Here are a few clips from Dave's video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lZm_vfA3H4
Mileage was 220. Join us next time.
All week long we watched the weather forecast for the Cloudland Canyon area for signs that the prediction for dawn-to-dusk thunder storms on Saturday would improve. It didn't. So the Friday before Saturday's ride out there, we decided to call in off and instead stick closer to home and manage around the afternoon storms called for here.
Thus the Consolation Ride (as in second place)
Our plan was to ride up to Dial in the early morning, assess the weather and if okay take the twisty sixty up to Suches and T.W.O and when there see the whereto next.
The ride up to Dial was enjoyable, as it usually is. We planned to take a rest stop at Van Zandt's Store, a remote, peaceful place where you could get a cup of coffee, sit on the porch on the rocker, and look over the fields and hills across the road. No more! When we arrived the parking area was filled with cars, trucks and raft carrying trailers. We shoe horned our bikes in to any available space and went inside: wall-to-wall folks waiting for breakfast or the restroom. Definitely not like it used to be. On the positive side the new owners may be able to keep the place open, Prior operators never seemed to last too long and the place was often locked up for extended periods.
Well the threatened thunderstorms never materialized. We had sunshine all day, and added a run over Wolf Pen Gap and down the Richard Russell to the route. Not a drop of rain fell on us.
Speaking of dropping, on the way home Bob's V-Strom,that has a family history of narcolepsy, succumbed to the heat and humidity and decided to lay down and rest under the Adair's Mill stop sign. Not unusual or a big deal, but it did manage to snap off the right peg. With a helping hand from the other riders (Dave, Mark, Garrett and Larry) a make-do peg was fashioned from a pillion peg and attached via bent wires and numerous zip ties. It did the trick and got us home.
While it was disappointing that we had to cancel the Cloudland Canyon ride the Consolation Ride turned out pretty good.
Dave, Steve, Dan and I (Bob S.)were about ready to take off to the north country when, much to our surprise two scooters pulled up next to us at the Chevron station in Ball Ground. Once their helmets were off we were delighted to see that Al and Richard had decided, at the last minute, to join us at least part way on the ride.
The first leg of the ride took us by back roads over to Jerusalem, Ludville and Hinton before heading to Blaine and an almost straight shot north on Round Top Road to Ellijay. We stopped at the Dairy Queen in south Ellijay for refreshments and a chance to discuss what stops we'd make in the mountains. We briefly discussed taking a "short cut" to Ga 52 by way of Tail Creek Church Road but decided against it as the surface of a few of the connecting back roads are gravel/stone and not really suitable for scooters. We'll save that route for another day.
After the DQ stop we continued north, through the square, and on to Ga 52 heading west toward Chatsworth. Our first stop was at the National Forest Service's Cohutta Overlook, a stone circular platform on the top of a hill that affords a great view of the Cohutta Wilderness area and the distant mountains. It was also a place were Dan could launch his drone and show us what it is capable of. Amazing!
Al and Richard had to head back home at this point while the rest of us went on to Fort Mountain State Park. At the park we hiked over to the overlook platform and enjoyed the 180 degree view and the breeze (it was getting warm).
Then it was down the mountain to Chatsworth and Edna's. Edna's is a meat and three restaurant that rarely disappoints. This day was no exception, the food was top notch.
After lunch we rode over to the Old Federal Road but, as it was getting late and some folks had to get home by 4 pm, we jumped back on US 411 north of Conistan. Further south we got on Johnson Mountain Road, then Salacoa and headed home.
We had good weather and a great time. My mileage home-to-home was 163 miles.
Photos and video will be added as they become available.
Five of us (Larry, Dave, Garrett, Joann, Bob S.) took off from Hardees in Canton at 8:30 heading for Alabama's De Soto Falls and Little River Canyon. Paul and his friend Bob joined us on the way.
The ride out through Waleska, Adairsville, Summerville and Mentone provided a few sprinkles, and numerous dark clouds, but we remained dry all morning. The stop at De Soto Falls, an extension of Alabama's DeSoto State Park, is always a delight and this day it did not disappoint. The west fork of the Little River topped the dam and rushed down the cascades to the 104' drop at the falls. This is especially impressive as you can approach very near the rushing water and hear the roar and feel the mist.
After all the photos were taken we headed south through the main section of DeSoto park to have lunch at Ralph's, a smallish country store and restaurant a short distance from Little River Falls and the canyon, and still the best place around for a great hamburger.
After lunch we rode past the river to the viewing deck that the National Park Service has constructed on the cliffs overlooking the Little River Falls. The sun was now out and a few hearty souls were sunning and swimming off the rocks a bit down river from the falls.
After a while we rode back over the river to pick up 176 the well paved road that follows the canyon rim and offers a number of canyon viewing pull-outs. After the last pull-out we had a choice of continuing on 176 or taking the less traveled and poorly maintained county 275 down to the canyon's mouth, We chose 275 with it's roller coaster whoops and steep downhill sections. One downhill at Johnnies Creek bridge always gets your heart pumping a bit faster.
Once out of the canyon we headed for a fuel stop in Centre Alabama and then rode the 80 miles home.