The Weatherman said it was 37 degrees at 10:30 a.m. and promised a high of 50 degrees by the afternoon. Taking advantage of the heat waver, Bob K. and Bob S. (the elder) took to the hills today for a round about ride to Amicalola Lodge for a buffet lunch. For the most part the roads were OK, though on really back, back-roads patches of melting snow were still in the roadway.
Up in the hills the snow line in many places came to road side and the hills all had a few inches of a white blanket. Quite nice. Sand and gravel strips paralleled tire tracks, occasionally causing a tire to step out and remind you that the surface was not ideal for continuous traction. Other than causing us to slow down to sub-normal speeds on wet looking curves, the conditions were really OK, except in the Lodge's parking lot.
In spite of Kirk Mellish's promise of sunny skies and mid-sixties our guys braved overcast skies and forty-someting temperatures to ride to our rescheduled monthly meeting at Timothy, on Saturday the 20th of November. After warming up we got down to discussing plans for the coming year.
It was general agreed that rides during the coldest months, with their shorter days and varying temperatures day to day, would be hard to plan in advance, so we opted for ad hoc short notice rides, announced through e-mails, when it looks as if we are in for a day or two of Native American Summer.
Once more temperate times are back, the consensus was to plan rides to a specific destination, that is, riding to a location, having some activity there, then riding home, preferably on a different route, still keeping to the 300 mile or so r/t limit we kept to this year(think Little White House or Chickamauga battlefield). There was also quite a bit of interest in going further, but with an overnight stop. For example if we wanted to go to Wheels-In-Time in Maggie Valley we could plan a Friday after work departure, an overnight stop in say Blue Ridge, Blairsville, or Tellico Plains , then a ride up to Maggie Valley in the early morning, a tour (2-4 hrs), then a ride home.
We also decided to cancel the December meeting because of the Holidays and start up again next year on January 29th. That will mark the anniversary of one year as a club. Where does time fly?
After the meeting nine of us rode up to Dahlonega for lunch at the Yahoola Creek Grill (nice place0. By then it had warmed up so most of us rode up to Stone Pile Gap. http://roadsidegeorgia.com/site/stonepile.html Avoiding any disturbance to Trahlyta's grave we hung a left into R-Ranch property then took a series of Sullivan's Secret Back-roads (SSB's) to emerge on SR 52 on its way to Amicalola Falls. However we soon opted to take Bailey Waters Road south, then more SSB's to our usual stop off at the Chevron at Steve Tate and SR 53. Soon after, we took our seperate ways home.
A nice ride, good food and, as always, great fellowship.
Brisk 40 degree temperatures greeted the six of us the Saturday morning of our ride. Those that had eletric liners had them on, the others bundled up. To avoid the wind chill of 70 mph on I 575/515 we opted to take slower, more picturesque (and warmer) back roads up to Ellijay, where we stopped for coffee. Bob (the elder), always eager to improve his education, was soon given five minutes of free lecture by the local Dairy Queen parking lot philosopher on how God never intended for two objects to occupy the same space. Don't ask. Lesson learned.
From Ellijay we worked our way up SR 52 to Fort Mountain State Park where , due to prior arrangement, we were waived through the gate like royalty. Our purposes were pit stop, picnic pavilion inspection (for club picnic), taking in the majestic view from the observation deck and solving the mystery of the rock walls. Well three out of four is not too bad.
About noon we descended the mountain, leaned through a few 280 degree turns, and came upon downtown Chatsworth, our destination for lunch, then the Chief Vann House. At lunch our waiter, Trey Starnes, a local TV pastor, said the blessing when our food arrived; a nice touch. At the Vann House we looked over their museum, followed by a guided tour of the residence, and a short film, all nicely done.
Tad once again wins the title for hardcore biker. In spite of his missing both of our later-than-planned starts, he somehow caught up to us, on his Silver Wing, before we reached Blue Ridge. Not saying how (he took the 5th) but to our delight he joined us.
Nine of us, on eight bikes, made our way through Murphy and Andrews, North Carolina, to the cool gorge of the Nantahala River, arriving a little after 11 a.m. We worked our way to a parking spot near the Lesser Wesser Class 3 drop to see the action. But there was little action. The "man' had spoiled our plans. It seems that even though the TVA releases water early in the day, the raft concessions are not allowed to move to the put-ins until 10 a.m., meaning the river folks wouldn't make it down to our lookout until well after noon. We took it in stride though, and headed up river a ways to have a barbecue lunch, riverside. Very nice.