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.
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.
Four of us, Melinda, Scott, Larry and Bob (the elder), after careful analysis of the pending weather situation, took off from our exit 27 Chevron to visit King Of Kings and attend their 10:30 a.m. Service. We made it there (Jasper) just in time to visit with old friends and congregants prior to the Service. It was good to see some of the founders again, including both Keiths (Sadler and Bell), John and Carol Scheder, Gary and Jan Engel, and Dan and Marcia Rubin. Marcia was organist and did a great job.
Of course Pastor Knoche and Donna were their, as were others that have helped the church prosper and grow. It's truly a blessing from God.
After the Service we took a chance that we could ride over to T.W.O. for lunch before the weather closed in. We had some doubts as we climbed into and through clouds on Sassafras Mountain, but they soon gave way before we turned on to GA 52. After passing through Dahlonega we stayed left at Stone Pile Gap and hit a few more low clouds, though not as thick as on Sassafras, as we made our way to Suches and T.W.O.
The new owners of T.W.O.. have made a lot of improvements and the place has a nice ambiance. While we would have preferred to eat on the veranda and keep track of the ins and outs of other motorcycles, it was just too cold, so we headed indoors close to the fireplace (it wasn't lit, after all it is mid July).
We had a good lunch, then headed home non stop (well almost, Scott was on his Street Rod and you know the drill ;)
The visit was a real plus. If you get the chance join us next time, maybe in the Fall.
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.
We tried something new this time. Instead of heading north to the mountains of Georgia, Tennessee or North Carolina for a full day of riding, we decided to shorten the day and mileage to accommodate busy schedules and more sizes of motorcycles.
It sort of worked. Nine of us, on eight motorcycles, took off at 8 a.m.heading west to ride the Ridge and Valley Scenic Byway, stop at Villanow and Carters Lake on what was thought to be, a leisurely 4 hour loop, with an end-of-ride stop around noon at a restaurant in Jasper. Mileage was guessed to be around 150. The mileage was off a bit, more like 165, but the time was missed by 25 percent, 5 hours to lunch, instead of 4. But there were reasons.
Our first stop at a traffic light in Canton was a harbinger of things to come. The light just wouldn't turn green for us. After a long wait Sally K. leaped off Bob K's pillion, made a dash to the pedestrian signal button, and got back just as the stoplight turned to green. Bravo Sally
Finally on the move, we made our way through Canton and Waleska enjoying the ride in the cool countryside when... the dreaded "Flagman Ahead" sign came into view. Sure enough there he was. He advised us to relax "it will be 8 to ten minutes, relax". So off went the ignitions and everyone dismounted and had a good chat. Finally the follow-me truck returned and we were on our way again past the workers. Then, a few miles farther in Rydal we stalled again, this time for a long,long freight train carrying coal south. After this the ride went as planned.
We stopped briefly in Adairsville then on toward Armuchee, turning north just short of the town on to Floyd Springs Road, close to the southern most point on the Scenic Byway. Once on the Byway we rode into the valley between Johns and Horn mountains. We passed through numerous "green tunnels" as we road along Johns Creek, stopping for a while at The Pocket, a camping spot that 76 years ago was the site of one of the last C.C.C. camps.
From The Pocket we headed north to Villanow to see the general store that has been in operation since 1840. After a short stop for photos we headed southeast, avoiding Calhoun traffic by branching east, passing through Resaca instead, on our way to Carters Lake. The road up the hill to the Visitor's Center at Carters Lake was reminiscent of some mountain roads. At the top the views of the lake were stunning and the center itself packed with information and exhibits about the lake and its inhabitants.
At Carters Lake we called ahead to our chosen spot for lunch to confirm we were on our way albeit an hour late. We pulled into Jasper around 1 p.m. and quickly headed to the restaurant, 61 Main. The food was excellent, if unusual, and all seemed pleased with the choice.
Too soon we headed out into the mid day sun and heat to ride south and take our various ways home. While this was a shorter ride than usual we still managed to ride in 7 of Georgia's 159 counties and we had a good time doing it.
Very few videos but a some photos