January 2023 - New Year, New Rides

in 2023 Articles

Jan 7th, four riders (BobK, Dave, Larry and Mel) met in Ball Ground to take advantage of a nice (for January) day. But with a start in the upper-30’s, electrics were the order of the day (jacket liners, gloves, grips and, for one lucky rider, even seat!) We made a large loop heading E on 53, then NW on 183, then W on 136 thru the Burnt Mtn area, then across 515 and down thru the Henderson Mtn area back toward our lunch in Ball Ground. The day warmed quickly and layers came off (or at least came unplugged).

One unusual event… we helped another rider (and his friend) pull his downed Indian Scout up an embankment off Hwy 136 between the scenic lookout area (which views Sharptop Mtn) and the upper area (near the lake and the Monument Rd / Sunrise Rd turnoffs). The rider was very fortunate because the shoulder area on the outside of this curve was very wide (12’ or so) and comprised of deep, loamy soil and thick grass, all nicely softened by recent heavy rains. The bike had just started down a sharp embankment (rear first) leaving just the front wheel at the top edge when it stopped. After righting it, pulling it up and removing the dirt it collected, it fired right up. With some minor tweaks, the uninjured rider was able to ride it home. God is good!

Lunch was at Choate’s BBQ just N of Ball Ground. Their menu is extensive and it took a long time to narrow down the many good choices. Very good and worth a stop.

We were able to spread some maps across a large table and discuss some trips for the upcoming year. Nothing is set in stone yet, but rides being considered include…

A multi-day camp-n-ride in the late spring (roughly in the first 2 weeks of June) to reach farther up the Blue Ridge Parkway than we typically ride. The format would be road-based and likely include a “quick trip it” to Asheville, then stay in lodging there. The next day we’d head N on the Blue Ridge Parkway and see how far we could get, camping several nights along the way. The last day would likely use faster roads to get home.

An off-roader ride on the Mid Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route (google “MABDR”, the non-profit puts together a top notch film for each BDR offering). This will be an ambitious undertaking of roughly 1000 miles of mostly unpaved backcountry riding and will require a full week plus bookend weekends. Anticipated timeframe is late Aug, early September.

We’ll have a traditional one-nighter in the mountains (possibly TWO in Suches) around the latter Oct timeframe.

It's going to be an exciting year!