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The Fort Mountain Special--June 13, 2015

 Saturday morning, June13th, our largest group in recent memory (11) met at the Ball Ground Chevron for a leisurely tour toward Ellijay and the beautiful Fort Mountain overlook. We were seen off by Richard who was still jet-lagged from his Turkey trip (thanks for the photo and video, Richard).

We left shortly after 9 in perfect short sleeve temperatures – and with a clear forecast no less! Our route was a “Bob S Special” guaranteed to include peaceful, lightly-traveled backroads. We meandered toward Ellijay on the beautiful combination of Pleasant Arbor / Salacoa / Jerusalem Church/ Swan Bridge, then took a brief “seat break” before heading thru Ellijay.

Traveling west out of Ellijay on 52, we headed into, and up, the mountains, then stopped at the Cohutta Overlook to enjoy the view

. There we discussed the Fort Mountain stop ahead and its awesome westerly overlook. We strategized how we might sweet-talk the ranger into letting us by without paying the state’s $5/vehicle fee (not motorcycle friendly). No dice! Seven of us opted for the park and four decided to rest in the shade. It’s a few tenths mile hike out to the overlook but well worth the effort, but take the unmarked “left fork” in the trail to shave off about a 100’ of up, then down, elevation. The “lucky seven” weren’t disappointed. First-time visitors thought the 1800’ drop-off view was one of the best they’d seen.

 Just outside the Ft. Mtn. park is a turn-out with a southerly view, but Dennis reminded us not to take it in as it sits on the most pronounced decreasing radius turn in our area (we all negotiated it well). From there, it was a highlight-reel ride down the mountain to Chatsworth and lunch at Edna’s.

We weren't expecting a table that could seat our large group, but Edna’s delivered with a large table in a separate room all to ourselves (perhaps to keep us away from the good folk of Chatsworth?). Lunch and service were great and  recommended if you’re in the area.

 After lunch, Mike had to hustle back to a family gathering and Paul and the “West Paulding” gang decided to stay on 411 to Cartersville as their best way home. The rest of the group, being a little weary in the midday heat, decided to save the “Old Federal” backroads for another time and stayed on the faster 411 south to 136, then leisurely traveled eastward on 136 to Jasper, then south on Burnt Mountain and 53 down thru Tate to Ball Ground where we started.

Total mileage was an easy 125 miles – although the “West Paulding” gang added another 150 miles to join us! And we’re glad they did. Hope to see you next time!









Camp-N-Ride...May 15-16, 2015

 Despite worrisome weather forecasts (30% - 70% rain), Larry, Scott and Dennis hoped for the best for their overnight to TWO Wheels Only of Suches, Ga. They met at 3:15 in Ball Ground and promptly headed North before an advancing shower caught them. To their surprise, the skies cleared and they enjoyed a beautiful ride to Jasper, then across the Burnt Mt area (136) and past Amicalola Falls (52).

 Larry required a “seat break” so he took the opportunity to show the others the Nimblewill Church area off 52, a favorite jumping-off spot to enter the Chattahoochee Forest; then onward to Dahlonega. Following Bob S’ advice, they routed around Dahlonega to avoid Friday afternoon congestion - and they weren’t disappointed. First was the beautiful Clay Creek Falls, then the serene and vacant backroads all the way to the “Stone Pile”. From there it was up “twisty 60” to Woody Gap and Suches – a beautiful precursor of Saturday’s plan.

 They found the facilities at TWO in tip top shape and couldn’t believe they were the only ones not scared off by the weather! As they set up tents next to the babbling brook, they marveled at their good fortune (and good cell service) to fire off a few “your bike should be here” pics – and wondered if they could get as lucky tomorrow. After a hearty dinner in the lodge, they tried their best to wear out the porch gliders while enjoying the mountain views – can’t be done. Nighttime temps were only about 60 and they slept well.


                              (campsite...TWO Main House in Background)

Dennis’ hall pass expired in the morning, so after breakfast he headed home while Tad rode up from Duluth to meet them Like a replay of the previous day, forecast models were wildly different causing them to question the sanity of venturing outside. But they kept the faith and pressed on.


                                 ( Tad and The Meeting Place)

First up was Wolf Pen Gap (180); never disappointing. Their good fortune continued for while a large bicycle ride was in progress, it was routed in the opposite direction, so not an obstacle. Whew! Then the sun broke thru as they enjoyed a run up and over Unicoi (75) heading to Helen for lunch at the Meeting Place. In Helen, they enjoyed watching more VW’s (of all types and vintages) than they ever remembered and learned they were holding a national rally there that weekend (but their activities seemed mostly in town and not on the roads). After Helen, the beautiful weather continued as they traveled up the scenic Richard Russell (348) and down 129 to get up and over Blood Mt. After a break at Neels Gap they headed down thru Dahlonega toward home.

                                               (Dennis and Scott)

Friday mileage 100, Saturday mileage 150, and home by 3:00. It was an awesome trip and we hope to see you on the next one!




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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Little River Canyon Ride...April 11, 2015

We took off, heading for Alabama, at 9 am, right on time. Wonder-of-wonders. Five of us (Steve D. and his brother-in law Jim, Richard, Larry and Bob S.) rode west on Ga 140 and Ga 27 hoping to meet Paul and his friend Mike in Gore Georgia, just shy of Summerville. Like clock work we converged at the Kangaroo station at the agreed-to 10:15. More wonders.

After passing through Summerville we headed up Ga 48 into Alabama and at Mentone turned south on Al 89, closing in on our first scenic stop- DeSoto Falls. Recent rains delivered a spectacular water show at the falls, much more so than on prior visits.

Leaving DeSoto Falls we passed through DeSoto State Park heading for Little River Canyon. But first, a stop for lunch at the best (and only) restaurant serving the immediate area- Ralph's. It has always been a good stop.

Then over the Little River to the eastern side of the canyon, to walk down to the viewing platform and a look at Little River Falls in all its glory.

From there we headed down Canyon Rim Parkway on the western side of the canyon, making a first stop at Mushroom Rock, which sits in the middle of the parkway. Then on to Canyon View Overlook. At that point we decided to head down from the rim and take off in the direction of Georgia. However we had to decide which road to take-the recommended route on Al 176, or the county road clearly marked as hazardous because of its steep grades, sharp turns an broken pavement. We chose the latter as it promised to be more fun. We were not disappointed.

Once down from the canyon rim we headed for Georgia, foregoing a rest stop in Cave Spring, instead opting for a straight run home.

It was a great day. Good weather, no incidents and fine fellowship.

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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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