2018 Articles

Finally No Rain, Ride--February 9, 2019

in 2018 Articles


After rain canceled three consecutive planned  rides we finally had a dry Saturday for six of us (Dennis, Larry, Dave, Mel, Richard and me) to get on the backroads of Cherokee, Pickens, and Dawson counties. It was cold, no sun until after noon, but no rain either.

We planned a stop at the model airplane flying field on Old Federal Road but upon arrival were disappointed to see the place emptied of people and benches and. the gate locked. Perhaps they don't do any flying in the winter but sadly, it had a more abandoned look. We'll take another look in the Spring. From Old Federal we took Mt. Tabor etc. to Kelly Bridge and stopped at the Foothill Chevron for a warm up break.

After the break we took SR 53 down to Sweetwater- Juno then headed west, over the mountain, on SR 136 taking a jog up Whitestone Road to Carns Mill and Biguns BBQ. The place was packed but we were able to find a table for six and enjoyed a meal, and fellowship, while gradually doffing our cold weather gear. The afternoon temperatures were pleasant (low 50's) so, after lunch we rode down to Talking Rock,  then west again to Blaine and Hinton before turning south on Jerusalem to Salacoa Road. Little Refuge Road  brought us past Lake Arrowhead and on to Fincher Road (aka 108). After a quick stop at the Gulf station on SR 20 we headed home

 It was one our shortest rides, but it was fun. Everyone seemed to enjoy getting out on the road together again, after a too long hiatus.

Home-to home mileage was 191 km  (119 miles) for me, but others, especially Mel, did more.



Fort Mountain Special--July 28, 2018

in 2018 Articles

Saturday the 28th, six riders (Larry, Dave, SteveD, Mel, BobK, and Don) met in Ball Ground for a leisurely ramble north toward Ellijay and the Cohutta’s.  We didn’t realize it, but we would soon ride thru the “Shine Peddler’s Metric Century” bicycle ride in the Jasper area.  On peaceful backroads like Grandview and Burnt Mountain, it really wasn’t any trouble for either us or the hundred or so cyclists we encountered.  “It’s all good” when you’re on two wheels.  

Our first stop was www.Apex Cycle Shop.com located deep in the woods outside of Ellijay (no one will ever stumble across this place by accident – GPS required!)  Apex is an award-winning custom bike builder converting old BMW’s and Ducati’s into cool works of art.  The owner Wes gave us an awesome tour of his shop, custom bikes, and a lounge worthy of HGTV.  At the risk of overstating it, this place just oozes cool – check ‘em out for yourself. 

Next stop was to be the awesome overlook at Fort Mountain State Park (W of beginning to rumble.  So… we took the “quicker and easier” option of stopping at the Cohutta Overlook on 52 outside the park.  A great view and quicker to lunch.  But before lunch was the wonderful ride down the mountain to Chatsworth on a true first-class motorcycle road!  Lunch at Edna’s was delicious

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Return To Bell Mountain--September 15, 2018

in 2018 Articles

In March 2017, several hardy souls rode to Bell Mountain (just outside Hiawassee) and experienced rain, wind and snow – yet still talked about what a great ride it was?!  With that praise bouncing in our brains, we decided to try it again, this time without the snow, but maybe still the rain and wind as Hurricane Florence was just over the line in SC.  As Larry, Steve and Dave fueled up to start, another V-Strom pulled in, gassed up and decided our plan beat his and joined us!  Welcome, Robert (from Holly Springs)!  It was a pleasure to ride with you and hope to see you again.

The riders took favorite backroads like Matt Hwy, Bannister and 115 to Cleveland to their morning chicken biscuit with the folks that invented chicken biscuits.  Although those roads were efficient, they weren’t nearly as pleasing as 75 N to Helen, then Sautee Nacoochee and 197 along the west shores of Lake Burton and Moccasin Creek State Park – very enjoyable and very deserted on a Saturday morning.  From there, 76 (Georgia’s Mtn Hwy) led to Hiawassee and Bell Mtn. 

The road up Bell Mtn is a steep, former Jeep trail now nicely paved, albeit narrow and with the same tight switchbacks.   About a quarter is one-car-wide and the rest is a car-and-a-half.  But your reward is a 5 star view (on a 4 star scale)!  The 360 view overlooking the Hiawassee mountains and Lake Chatuge is spectacular – the best overlook we’ve seen.  And as the commercial says… “We’ve seen a thing or two!”  Don’t worry about the trip up… there were 10:1 bikes to the cars at the top!

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Really Back Backroad Ride-November 10, 2018

in 2018 Articles

Some say it was 29 degrees, others 30 or 32. but all agreed it was cold when five of us started out at 9:30 am to explore some back roads in Cherokee, Bartow, Gordon, Pickens and Dawson counties. To accommodate the cold nearly all of us had brought along some heat in the form of heated vests and gloves. All except our hearty Englishman who relied on his thick leather jacket.

We started out from Ball Ground but soon turned on to Mineral Springs road and headed West with the sun on our backs. We explored many different roads, some paved, some gravel and some wash-boarded dirt, really enjoying some new mountain vistas and passing through some farms and "ranches'  that kindled thoughts of earlier days in north Georgia. I won't name all of the roads but there is a map at  

Route Map November 10, 2018

We got to Jasper around noon and headed for 61 Main for lunch, and warmth. After a longer wait than usual (there was some sort of celebration in the back) we were seated an had a great lunch.

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