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.
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.
It was shortly after dawn when we met at the Chevron, planning to head north at 7:15 (or so). The four riders, Bob K.,Mark, Dennis and Bob S. were surprised to see Richard (aka Edward) who rode over to meet on his Piaggio, not to ride the Cherohala with the rest of us, but to check us over and wish us safe riding. Thanks Richard.
We started out on I-575 a few minutes behind schedule under blue skies and cool temperatures. After breakfasting at Micky D's in Blue Ridge we headed north through McCaysville and Copperhill to pick up US 64 west going into the Ocoee gorge. Water was being released into the Ocoee and tubers, kayakers and canoeists were hurrying to the nearest put-in. The water at the power station dam was a sight to see as it cascaded down into the river.
Soon we were past the whitewater sections and picked up Tennessee 30 (Greasy Creek Trail) through banjo country to the little town of Reliance on the Hiwassee. Staying on a northerly course, through forest and farm land we rode into Tellico Plains from the north to check out the latest at the Visitor's Center and top up our fuel for the 100 mile gas-station-less round trip on the Cherohala Skyway. The sun was still shining in mostly blue skies but off in the distant west we could see signs of dark clouds building up.
Not to worry, we headed up the Cherohala, and soon turned down River Road to see if recent rains had added punch to the water drop at the falls on Bald River. It had. The falls were spectacular as hoped, as was the ride along the fast flowing Tellico River on our way to and from the falls.
The Skyway had less traffic than anticipated, only a few moving road blocks, but plenty cruisers and a few hooligans. The ride up to the mile high elevations is always a delight and this day was no exception. It was cool with not too much wind and the views in the high country are great.
Rather than head over to Robbinsville N.C. for lunch as most do, we followed our plan and took a return ride over the Skyway, stopping at the high point of Santeetlah to record our passing through. By the time we got back to Tellico Plains those dark clouds we had seen earlier were now upon us and as we stopped at Tellico Grains for lunch, the rain started. Not knowing how long it would last we dragged all our gear, rain gear included, into the restaurant. The folks in Tellico Grains are so used to the antics of motorcyclists they never raised an eyebrow.
At lunch Bob K. kept track of the size of the storm we were in and its direction on his handy cellphone app. It was not good news. The rain image stretched southward and promised to butt against another rain image closer to home territory. We ate slowly. Eventually got self conscious about hogging a table so we put on a floor show twisting, turning and bobbing as we put on our rain gear then headed outside. There were still a few thunder rolls off in the distance, but it looked as if the worst had past to the east.
Off we went at a greatly reduced pace down TN 68. Thankfully the traffic was light and the rain diminishing. By the time we got to Ducktown the rain had stopped, but off to the south we could see more dark clouds so the rain gear stayed on. But luck was with us and the ride down 515 and I-575 was mostly dry, as we skirted just to the west of the big rain.
I think all would agree that it was a great ride in spite of a little rain and we will probably go again in the fall when the leaves are in color.
Mileage Chevron to Chevron was about 303 miles though home to home more like 339 in my case, with home arrival about 5 p.m.
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
The promise of springtime temperatures brought ten TLCMC riders out for the ride up to Brasstown Bald on a route that took them up the Richard Russell Scenic Highway before going up the Bald, rather than the usual trip down, after the Bald (thus the "Reverse"). The ten riding were Melinda, Larry, Mike, Bob K., Dennis, Jack, Mark, Abby, Richard and Bob S.
The group took off from Ball Ground at 9:45 a.m., passed through Tate on SR 53 and then worked its way north to SR 52 on backroads. Rather than ride through Dahlonega they rode Clay Creek Road past the falls and up Black Mountain Road, past R-Ranch, to Stone Pile Gap. After a quick ride over to Turner's Corner they stopped at the General Store for a break and refreshments and a chance to look over (and hear) the Sport Bikes heading to Neal's Gap. In stead of following them the group turned east to pick up SR 75A and its connection to the bottom of the Richard Russell. As usual the road was a delight, hampered only by the flatlanders in cars that freaked at every turn. Unfortunately the no-passing double yellows are prevalent on this highway.
The ride up the Brasstown Bald spur road was a bit of a disappointment as again overtaking slower cars often broke the left/right cadence of the riders. The view potential was not enough to entice the majority to hike or take the shuttle to the peak observation post. Rather, they opted to ride down and over to Helen and have lunch at The Meeting Place on Helen's northside. They found a covered outdoor table that accommodated the group. Lots of banter and laughs accompanied the food (not bad) while the slow moving passing traffic, with horses, motorcycles and cars provided a constantly changing background.
The group passed through Helen (slowly) and headed down to Cleveland where they picked up SR 115 and headed west. Part of the group split off at SR 400 to get home the "fast way", to participate in activities that would start at 5 p.m. The rest worked their way through Dahlonega and over Sassafras Mountain on SR 136. From there they rode south through Jasper and back to the start point in Ball Ground (205 miles R/T).
There were a lot of "great ride" comments and this writer agrees. There's more to come next month.