October 2021 Fall Camp-n-Ride to Suches, GA

in 2021 Articles

On a brisk October morning, five riders (Larry, Dennis, BobK, Dave, and Richard) headed toward the North Ga mountains for a one-night outing. First stop was Cleveland where we picked up our sixth rider (Mel), then progressed up the Richard Russell Scenic Parkway – a real treat in the fall. There clouds broke, sunglasses came out, and temps rose. At Hogpen Gap (above), all were challenged with keeping their heavily loaded bikes upright at the very “slopey” scenic turnout. That slope, combined with our extra-compressed bike suspensions, makes even getting the kickstand out a real challenge. Then, with the kickstand down, dismounting an almost-vertical bike without a topple is difficult. But all survived.

The gang tried a new place for lunch – Wildcat BBQ (formerly the Wildcat General Store, about 5-ish miles N of TWO on Hwy 60). Reviews were great and we look forward to returning. To our surprise, TWO in Suches (our home for the evening) had a special event that day – the “True Grits 50cc Rally”. This rally (39th year!) is a timed race of very small bikes run on a 65-mile road course and attracts folks from all over the eastern US. As we ate lunch, we were treated to the “racers” flying by the Wildcat in all their glory (think blue smoke and a loud pack of angry hornets)! Small size does NOT mean small fun. It was a real treat watching them compete and reminiscing about which bike we used to have, or learned on, etc!

On the way back to TWO, Larry and Dave took an “alternate route” up Gaddistown and across FS 42 through the forest while the rest stayed on Hwy 60. Riding forest service in the fall is always superb – beautiful views and no one else around! All had plenty of time to set up camp and review the crazy assortment of little Hondas, Vespas, and just-plain “what is that” as they returned from the rally. A couple guys left to ride another mountain “loop” in perfect fall sunshine, but with the roads completely tourist-clogged, it was a wash.

Saturday night temps dropped to about 42 or so, but no one froze (to death, at least). However, I’m betting a few of the guys’ camping checklists may have a few adjustments going forward! Sunday warmed up even quicker than Saturday. Also, it was a nice change of pace for us to have access to TWO’s lodge and restaurant since we’ve been “camp cooking” for ourselves lately. Sunday morning we enjoyed TWO’s hearty breakfasts, then broke camp to ride more mountains. Unlike the previous afternoon, it seemed like just us on the roads and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Lunch was at Roadkill BBQ at the base of Blood Mtn, then it was Hwy 369 toward home.

310 miles of smiles for the two days.