2018 Articles

Vintage Rally Ride--May 18, 2019

in 2018 Articles

Seven riders (Larry, Dave, Dennis, Richard, Steve, Barry, Bob) started out from Ball Ground heading for the north Georgia mountains, to attend the Vintage Rally at Two Wheels of Suches (TWoS). An eighth rider, Mel, joined the seven at Van Zantds in Dial Georgia. Mel had camped in Suches the night before.

From Dial the group divided in two, with Richard, Dennis and Steve opting to ride twisty Ga 60 to Suches, while the rest chose to take Forest Service roads through the Chattahoochee National Forest. The Vintage Rally itself was well attended though most of the many bikes parked throughout the grounds seemed kind of new to be considered "vintage". Never-the-less it was a fun, if crowded, event.

Our group left the rally in the early afternoon, heading south on Ga 60 to Stone Pile Gap (lots of construction going on at the 60/129 intersection) then turning on to R-Ranch road for a ride over to the  Black Mountain area, after Mel peeled, off heading home to Athens. The rest took familiar backroads ( 52, 136, Steve Tate, Yellow Creek  etc) home. Richard had a little trouble with his bike in Freehome so he got a chance to ride home in the Ural's sidecar.

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Big WNC Adventure-- June 2019

in 2018 Articles

Truth in advertising prevailed… Dave, Larry, and Mel had a big adventure enjoying the best roads and trails Western North Carolina has to offer!  Although the forecast for this 4 day, 3 night moto-camping extravaganza ranged from iffy to awful, they persisted and were rewarded, and are ready to do it again soon.

Larry and Dave left on a Wednesday morning and rode peaceful backroads to the N Ga mountains and met Mel at Neels Gap.  From there, they enjoyed a beautiful trip to WNC on mostly empty roads – weekday travel has its perks.  After a hearty lunch at Creekside Deli in Franklin, they headed to Wayah Rd (curviest in the land!) and the Nantahala gorge, but not without rain gear.  Was the ominous forecast true?  They encountered just enough light rain to tamp down speeds on the Dragon-like Wayah Rd.  But with the clouds trying to lift, they headed up the Forest Service to Wayah Bald and its fabulous lookout built by Roosevelt’s CCC – a must-see on any sunny day, but mostly socked in then.  On thru the gorge and a well-earned rest at the Nantahala Outdoor Center to watch the (chilly) rafters.  From there they took the needs-no-introduction Blue Ridge Parkway to their camp for the night – Mile High Campground about 20 miles outside of Cherokee.   Yes, that’s a couple of elk monitoring traffic on the road to camp.  Glad they didn’t charge at us - they were HUGE.  What Mile High lacks in services, they make up for in beauty.  After a full day of riding, the men used backpack stoves to make surprisingly good hot meals before enjoying a great evening campfire.        


 Although cloudy and crazy-cool (58), they were glad to break down camp in the dry.  First ride leg was a 25 mile, one-way FS down thru the Smokies to Cherokee… Heintooga Roundbottom Rd (can’t make that up).  Spectacular!   Then more BRP to Maggie Valley to tour the Wheels Thru Time motorcycle museum (a must see for all fans of vintage American motorcycles and of “What’s in the Barn” TV fame – check ‘em out).  The afternoon leg had them passing thru Waynesville so they lunched at Clyde’s – a diner with a well-earned reputation – and still packed at 2 pm!  Forecasts seemed to indicate they could get to their nightly destination, Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground, by late afternoon and mostly in the dry.  There they set up camp, starting with Mel’s large dining fly which goes up in a snap and really earned its “Blue Ribbon” equipment award of the trip.  With plenty of daylight left, they headed to Mills River S of Asheville to dine at Sierra Nevada’s eastern flagship brewery and taproom.  I’d like to say they classed the joint up a bit, but after a couple days on the road, they were just glad they let them in!  After dinner and iced teas (yep, they’re riding), they headed back to camp via the BRP and its numerous tunnels, rain gear optional.  BRMC is much like TWO, just more rustic, and no one complained about lack of a hot shower.  Each was thankful for good tents and even better rain flys as we awoke to a soaker – the forecast was coming true!  We took our time enjoying BRMC’s excellent breakfast while hanging out under their large outdoor shelter and listening to the stories of other campers avoiding a rainy start.   

  With the Friday forecast worsening and Saturday’s looking downright awful, we decided to position our 3rd night closer to home at TWO in Suches rather than far to the N at Iron Horse near Fontana.  It was a good call because we were still able to enjoy more BRP (although at 6000’ was thick as pea soup!), more Nantahala gorge, and more fast, sweeping NC 64 toward Blairsville, all without rain.  We arrived at TWO to quite a surprise as they readied for the annual GARTRA dual sport rally with its many dozens of colorful, hopped-up woods bikes and equally colorful characters to go with them.  Many were from all over the eastern US and we enjoyed their company as much as TWO’s great dinner.  Sleep was good that night as it rained heavily (flood warnings in N Ga!).  We packed up during a brief interlude, but hung out on the porch and watched the start of what had to have been the wettest Chattahoochee Dual Sport event ever!  Yep, it was good call not to head toward Fontana or we might still be there now.  The guys waited for a break (or at least something that kinda sorta resembled a break) and headed their separate ways – Mel to Athens, Larry to Roswell and Dave to an event in Dillard (yikes!).

Although we encountered some rain in our 4 days and 650 miles, the Lord blessed us with plenty of great riding, camping, fellowship and safety.  A BIG adventure it was!

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.

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Falling for Toccoa--April 13, 2019

in 2018 Articles

Saturday morning the 13th, Dave, Larry, and SteveD met in Hickory Flat for a trip to Toccoa, GA and all the beauty and history it offers.  Thanks, Richard, for seeing us off (and allowing us to fan his jealousy since he couldn’t make the trip).  Despite a somewhat iffy forecast, no rain gear was donned the entire day and we enjoyed beautiful riding in NE Georgia – an area we don’t often see.

The trip there followed standards like Matt Hwy, Bannister, 400 and 115.  Nothing special but efficient and enjoyable on a lightly-traveled Saturday morning.  After a chicken biscuit in Cleveland, the scenery intensified as we continued NE.  Toccoa is best known for Camp Toccoa which trained Easy Company of the 506th Paratrooper Regiment of WW2's “Band of Brothers” fame (an HBO miniseries, and worth revisiting). Our first stop was the Currahee Military Museum.  We enjoyed tales from a docent, who wasn’t much younger than those paratroopers still living, himself.  His insight added much to the museum’s offerings.  



Then, hunger took over and we headed to a local grill, the X-Factor, and enjoyed a great lunch.  After lunch, we traveled a few miles to the Toccoa Falls College to see… the Falls.  After a short hike, we rounded a curve on the well-groomed trail and our jaws dropped simultaneously – this is no ordinary waterfall!, having an 186 foot straight drop, and you can almost walk to the base as the large volume crashes into the pool.  A real 5-star waterfall and easy for all ages to see - we highly recommend it.

About then we realized we hadn’t left enough time for our 3rd attraction – the Traveler’s Rest State Historic Site, a large inn and plantation from the early 1800’s which welcomed many early visitors to Georgia.  Oh well, a good reason to return.  Our trip home mostly backtracked our route there and had us home by dinner (though not by much!).  About 200 miles total.  Now when can we get back out to Traveler’s Rest?

Dave's Ride Video (no sound)