Camp-n-Ride ’18 June 15-16 2018

in 2018 Articles

Friday afternoon the 15th, Mel, Dave and Larry played hooky and set off for an overnight adventure in the N Ga mountains.  Though recent weather had been very wet, our forecast looked hopeful for a great trip.   We enjoyed old favorites like Burnt Mountain, Sunrise Ridge and Doublehead Gap as we wound our way northward.  After a well-earned break at the always-enjoyable Van Zandt’s in Dial, Mel decided to forego the “off-road” trip through the forest to our campsite in Suches.  His brand new knees were beginning to feel the strain (and that turned out to be a good call).
Mel headed down twisty 60 to Suches and warmed up a porch rocker at our night’s destination, Two Wheels of Suches – the Southeast’s original motorcycle campground and lodge.  Larry and Dave began their trek thru the forest and were quickly surprised.  Immediately upon turning right onto FS 58 (Noontootla Creek), they encountered freshly-dumped, foot-thick, baseball-sized gravel – a real handful on their loaded bikes.  Thankfully there weren’t too many rocky sections to negotiate, but… the road grader had been in heavy use and, combined with all the recent rain, created long stretches of soft, rutted mud to negotiate.  By the time they made it to the top of the mountain they were pooped!  Fortunately, the remaining trip across FS 42 and down Gaddistown Road and Hwy 60 were superb - and quick, since the afternoon popups were starting to pop.

As we (quickly) set up our tents at TWO, Richard surprised us and camped as well.  Richard just barely got his tent up before the skies opened up!  Oh well, porch-rocker-time for all!  Dinner at the lodge was great (mmm, ribeyes).  Our next surprise was some unusually noisy camp neighbors, but that was solved with the foam earplugs we all carry. 
Saturday’s breakfast was hot and hearty, as always.  With no other riders joining us, we were soon packed and on the road for our next surprise… zero traffic!  We enjoyed Wolf Pen Gap (Ga’s Dragon’s Tail) all the way to 75 with nary a car in sight.  Our trip down 75 to Helen was almost as clear.  Since it was too early for lunch in Helen, we continued up the Richard Russell Scenic Hwy like we owned it, then down through Blood Mtn likewise.  We couldn’t have asked for a better day in the mountains! 
During lunch at Turner’s Corner General Store… surprise, the afternoon pop ups were ahead of schedule.  Mel was able to skirt around them as he headed home in Athens, staying mostly dry.  Larry and Dave, not so much.  Their pop up exploded in size, causing them to stop and take cover, then play dodge ‘em the rest of the way home.  They decided it was a worthwhile price to pay for such a great day’s riding some of the best motorcycling roads E of the Mississippi. 
Total mileage was 250.  Hope to see you on the next one.