Mellish promised chilly temps and lots of sun. We got the chilly but the sun, not so much.
Four of us (Dave, Al, Richard and Bob s.) left Hickory Flat promptly at 9 am on our way to meet Mel in Cleveland at 10:30. We arrived within minutes of each other and after a pit stop and warm up at the local Chick-Fil-A we were soon passing through Clarkesville, and Hollywood on our way to Tallulah Gorge State Park where we hoped to witness the gorge and falls as it used to be before Georgia Power dammed the river in 1913.
On selected weekends in the Spring and Fall Georgia power releases a very large quantity of water from behind the dam into the gorge and the rush of water at 700 cfs gives viewers a chance to see why Tallulah Falls was a major tourist attraction in the 1800's.
When we turned on to Jane Hurt Yarn Drive (park entrance) it was immediately apparent that we were not the only folks interested in the day's release. Cars were parked on the shoulders well before the entrance and the parking lot was full and then some. Four of our bikes crammed into one spot while another put the side stand down between a rock and a bush.
Crowded yes, but worth the effort to get around to the numerous overlooks and the 300 plus stairs down to the suspension bridge that crosses the gorge at Hurricane Falls. Rather than trying to describe what we saw at these points, take a look at this video; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdSKunrofDQ
After taking it all in we worked our way out of the park heading for the town of Tallulah Falls for lunch. Our first choice was a grill less than a mile away but on entering we were told the couldn't accommodate us as they were overextended serving the group they already had seated. Richard consulted his trusty smart phone and we headed on south on 441 again but never found the restaurant. A quick huddle and we decided we'd go to one we knew of, the Chick-Fil-A we visited in the morning. Luckily we found it, ate and relaxed for a good while reliving the day and solving the world's problems.
Leaving Cleveland we split up, with Mel heading toward Athens and the rest of us off to Dahlonega, then home before dark.
A good day riding, hiking and playing tourist. Round trip to/from Hickory Flat was around 190 miles.