Is there a better time than fall for riding and camping in the north Georgia mountains? - No! Friday afternoon 5 riders (BobK, Dave, Larry, Mel, and Scott) sneaked away from work and met for an overnight ride to Suches. Beautiful sunny weather and a forecasted cool down awaited us. We traveled old favorite backroads like Grandview and 136 though the Burnt Mountain area and then Sunrise and Doublehead Gap around the west side of the forest to a well-deserved break at Van Zandt’s in Dial. Although we were seeing more clouds than sun, surely it wouldn’t rain on our camping parade?
At Dial, Dave, Larry and Mel split off to take forest service roads to Suches while BobK and Scott traveled “twisty 60” to our overnight destination, Two Wheels Only of Suches, or TWO. Since Bob and Scott made better time, they arrived first, picked a nice grassy area next to the creek and set up their tents – just before the skies opened up! Oh well, typical for Suches in the summer (elevation 3000’ – there’s a reason everything is so green). Dave/Larry/Mel were just exiting the forest when it started raining and made a mad dash to TWO’s porch and rockers to wait out the shower before setting up tents, staying (mostly) dry.
TWO had a nice crowd of riders from all surrounding states as well as a good contingent of locals. Steaks were great and the fellowship even better. The cool evening was perfect for a hot fire and cold beverages.
In the morning we enjoyed TWO’s hot breakfast, then broke camp. With no Saturday day-trippers joining us, we headed out early for an entirely traffic-free trip (!!) across Wolf Pen Gap toward Brasstown Bald. We rode the twisty spur up and back, but didn’t take in the overlook since prime leaf-peeping was still several weeks out. We also enjoyed light traffic to 75, then S to Helen where we “touristed it up” at King Ludgwig’s Biergarten for lunch and people watching – we weren’t disappointed, with either.
Here's are video clips from the ride
After lunch, Mel departed toward home in Athens while the rest of us partook the Richard Russell Scenic Highway northward, then 19 southward to a break at Neel’s Gap (on the AT) then on to Dahlonega. From there it was backroads to Dawson, then East Cherokee and home. Mileage was 235 for the two days and home by 3 PM. It was a great time and I doubt I can wait another year for another camp-n-ride opportunity. Join us next time.