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!

For lunch, Robert had a suggestion from his previous travels and guided us to Brothers at Willow Ranch in Young Harris, a great place with a large antique store next door.  (Guys, take your wife to Hiawassee / Young Harris and you’ll surely earn some Brownie points!)   After lunch, Robert guided the group down thru the gorgeous Trackrocks (Gap, Church) and Town Creek School area as we worked our way toward 19 and down thru Blood Mtn – thanks, Robert!  From there Robert peeled off and we continued to Dahlonega, Dawsonville, and home via the usual suspects.  However, Florence was beginning to make her presence known with increasing cloud cover and some occasional spitting rain.  But it was welcomed and kept the day comfortable. 

Overall, our mileage was about 225 and the fellowship was great!  We’ll certainly ride this again.