Today, a Sunday in February was forecast to be sunny and 70 degrees (F). My friend Sean and I took advantage of it and went out to burn some gas in our motorcycles. We each rode solo today, but normally have our wives sitting right behind us. Since we didn’t meet until 12:30 pm my only request was that we stop somewhere along the way for lunch! We met in Woodstock, GA and headed up through Canton, to US Highway 411 to Chatsworth which was our lunch stop. After lunch we took Georgia HWY 2 & 52 (actually the same road) up and over Fort Mountain and past Fort Mountain State Park. HWY 2/52 is a VERY curvy and nice road! I can’t believe the portions of it that are posted with speed limits of 55 mph. I didn’t notice any gravel on the road from the recent snows and that made the ride even more enjoyable. But on the way back down, headed for Ellijay, there were a number of trees down right along the road and some even in part of the right side of the road. How would you like to be on a motorcycle or in a car and smack into one of those trees as you come out of a curve or are in the middle of the curve? I noticed that parts of them had been cut and had fluorescent plastic ribbons tied to the protruding ends in an effort to make them more visible. For the life of me I can’t figure out why GDOT just didn’t cut the trees up and clear the whole road. I don’t know if the trees were downed by the recent snows or the severe thunderstorms we had earlier this week. Because of changes in altitude on this ride our temperatures ranged from the low 70′s to the low 60′s and back to the 70′s. I was quite content in a mesh jacket with the wind/rain liner in it (and a long-sleeved shirt underneath). Once reaching Ellijay it was out to GA HWY 515 until it became I-575 to head for home. It was a fun day to get out and ride on a warm winter’s day. From driveway to driveway I put just over 160 on the odometer today.
We finally got out for a ride of about 125 miles today. It may have been cloudy and about 60 degrees (F) but it was well worth it. We even rode through a few very light rain showers. We headed up to Dawsonville, Georgia on Georgia HWY 53 and took a local road right before getting to the town square. That nice road was going to take us back out to GA HWY 183 but first we were going to go past a street named “Hillbilly Drive”! That’s right a real street in Dawsonville named Hillbilly DR. If you think I’m joking take a look at the map image below on the right and in the circled area. I meant to stop and take a picture of the sign but forgot to do that. From HWY 183 we took GA HWY 136 up and over Burnt Mountain and on into Talking Rock, GA. It’s always a few degrees cooler up on Burnt Mountain and today was no different with a temperature difference of about 8 degrees as we reached the top. We also noticed that there was quite a bit of last week’s snow still along the side of he road. There was no snow on the roadway, just along the side. However, in the road at times there was still a bit of the gravel that had been spread during the snow, but we were expecting that. It was getting foggier as we approached the top of the mountain. As we rode along we noticed the fog was actually forming on top of the snow! The temperature rose and the snow disappeared as we approached Talking Rock for lunch at Bigun’s BBQ before heading back home. A few more good rain showers should get rid of the gravel left on the mountain roads.
My Blue Knights Chapter usually holds out first meeting of the year on January 1st and members try to also ride to the meeting. It’s just a cool tradition to ride on the first day of the year, if you can do so safely. Although it was a short ride to lunch and a meeting (I had bangers and mash), it was still a ride nonetheless. So today, on the first day of the new year we also got in our first ride of the new year!
Today was the BMW Motorcycle Club of Georgia’s annual Toy Ride to the Towns County Georgia Sheriff’s Office. The club holds its Georgia Mountain Rally every spring in Hiawassee, GA which is located in Towns County. The county and the area are extremely hospitable to the visiting motorcyclists and this one of the club’s ways of thanking the community. The Sheriff’s Office is the dropping off location and distribution center for toys that will be distributed throughout the county from several sources or from deputies who have found children or families in need of some help during Christmas. Toys can be picked up at the sheriff’s office or even delivered. In some cases toys are even left secretly by deputies. The club asks motorcyclists to drop off unwrapped toys at the two Atlanta area BMW Motorcycle dealers. Then on the day before the ride Blue Moon Cycle’s toys are brought to BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta, where the ride to deliver the toys leaves the next morning. Any motorcycle is welcome to ride and help spread some holiday cheer. This year we filled the sprinter van up! There were even 5 bicycles loaded into the van.
This year, my friend Sean joined me on the ride on his Victory Cross Country Tour. As I was riding to meet Sean for the ride to the dealer it was 40 degrees (F) and there were a few snow flurries floating around. Perfect weather to help out Santa Claus! We got to the dealer where the riders were treated to hot drinks and breakfast before we all helped load the van. There were about 30 -35 motorcycles riding up this year. As we headed up north the temperature was dropping and the sky was still overcast. The heated grips and heated seat were put to use. Every year we have a scheduled stop in Blue Ridge, GA. In Blue Ridge we were greeted with snowflakes falling from the sky and a temperature of 34 degrees (F). Again, perfect for Christmas! I looked at my phone and was greeted with a weather advisory for freezing mist and freezing fog for the Blue Ridge area. After our pit stop we were back on our way to Hiawassee to deliver the toys. As we rode on, we could see snow at the higher elevations. The sheriff and his staff were there to greet us with coffee, hot chocolate and Christmas cookies while we unloaded our toys to be added to what had already been collected. I don’t know how anyone was able to get any work done at the Sheriff’s Office as the offices were all filled with donated toys. Their goal is that no child in the county should not go without a Christmas toy.
After dropping off the toys our group started splitting up to head for lunch and home. Sean and I took a ride up and over Blood Mountain on US HWY 129, looking at some snow-covered mountain tops. On most of our ride to lunch the temperature had dropped to 31 degrees (F) and we could even see some of the freezing fog at the higher elevations above us and at Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia. We stopped in for a leisurely lunch at Turner’s Corner Café before continuing on for home. Sean had made an observation today too. As most motorcycles were BMWs (there was Sean’s Victory, a Triumph Tiger and Suzuki V-Strom also) he noticed that most riders were wearing armored, fabric riding gear and full faced helmets, including him, instead of jeans and leather jackets. He also noted there wasn’t a “beanie” helmet in the bunch.
It was fun to help out Santa Claus. I also tried out a feature on my phone that’s called “BlackBerry Storymaker” that can make a “story” from pictures or video and that attempt is right below here.
Today was a good day to get out to ride and see the fall colors one more time before the rest of the leaves fall of the trees. Our friend Sean had planned today’s route so we’d be following him and his wife Christine on their Victory Cross Country Tour. Today we’d be riding on the west side of I-575 and its farm lands before crossing over to the east side and the mountain roads. Georgia HWY 108 (Fincher RD) south of Waleska, GA should really be renamed “Tar Snake Highway”. The black caulking used to fill cracks, referred to as “tar snakes” were all over the place. It almost seemed in some spots that there was more caulk than asphalt! It was a good day to ride as there were few if any clouds and the temperatures warmed in the upper 60′s (F) along the way. Sean planned a good route that did take us along some nice roads, through some nice farmland and then on some curvy mountain roads before we had lunch and headed for home. But I swear that on one small road I heard banjo music playing!
Now about the title of this post. It seems we rode past way more chicken ranches or farms than usual. If you’re not familiar with chicken farms there’s only two words to describe them: THEY STINK. No make that three words: THEY REALLY STINK. They are putrid smelling places, even driving past them. When people ask you to eat strange foods and tell you “It tastes like chicken.” it’s a whole lot better than telling you “It smells like chicken.” Now in fairness to Sean, he probably had no idea we’d be riding past those kinds of farms.
But it was still a great day to ride!
This past weekend we rode with my Blue Knights Chapter up to the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge & Campground in Stecoah, NC. It’s turned into an annual overnight ride up there on the last operating weekend of the lodge for the season. Donna and I led our group up there again on a route that got us up there about 2:00 in the afternoon, right at check in time.
We met our group in Jasper on Saturday morning where it was a crisp 30 degrees (F) under a cloudless blue sky. The group had opted for a combination of scenic roads and faster major roads. In the past we took our time and arrived later in the afternoon. Our route took us up Georgia HWY 515 to Young Harris where we took GA HWY 66 into North Carolina and eventually came out on US129 in Murphy, NC before heading for our lunch stop in Robbinsville, NC. After lunch it was just a quick 20 minute ride to the Iron Horse. Along the way I had built in a “pit stop” in Blairsville, GA and it was a good thing I did. One of our members was having problems with her heated gloves and needed a quick repair. The problem was a blown fuse, which she had extras of and one member even had a multi tester in his motorcycle! The leaves on the way up are just about peaking in their colors. When we arrived at the Iron Horse it had warmed into the mid 50′s for temperatures and actually felt nice. It’s always fun to gather on the porch, have a few drinks and talk about the ride. We also noticed that there were a few hearty souls who were tent camping! We say hearty as the temperature had gone down to 25 degrees (F) the night before. We were glad we were staying in cabin rooms with heat! On Saturday’s the dinner choices at the lodge are either prime rib or salmon, so this is no rustic campground! After dinner the group outside had formed a tight circle around the campfire so we opted to stay in the lodge to chat and have drinks.
Although the forecast was for 35 degrees (F) overnight it only got down to 40 but there had been an overnight shower. We never noticed it as we were tucked in our bed in the cabin with the heat on. It was time to head down for our “Biker’s Breakfast” before packing up and heading for home. For the trip back I had planned for us to ride through the Nantahala Gorge along the Nantahala River, one of the venues for the 1996 Sumer Olympics. From there it was down US 64 through western North Carolina and into Tennessee. We rode through such exotic places as Copperhill and rode past McCaysville Drug and Gun Store in McCaysville, Georgia before coming back out on GA HWY 515 in Blue Ridge and heading south for home.
Even thought it was cold in the beginning of the first day, it was still a great weekend to ride and spend time with friends. And after all, that’s what’s all about.
That’s right, last week we got a new front tire on the Magic Carpet and Donna wanted to try it out today. What a great day to do it! There wasn’t a cloud in the sky! We went on a short ride for lunch, riding though Canton, Ball Ground, Nelson, Tate, Marble Hill and stopping for lunch in Talking Rock. The barbeque restaurant we stopped in was celebrating their 5th anniversary and was serving pink pig cupcakes! The leaves are definitely getting their fall colors too. On the way home after lunch we even stopped to look at campers.
A while back, I helped a friend do the 12,000 mile service on his BMW K1200LT. When I got home I found that I had his 14mm allen socket in with my tools. I needed to get it to him. What a great excuse to meet him and go for a ride! And since it was Wednesday why not call it a Hump Day ride?
Mike and I met this morning at the Dunkin Donuts in Woodstock, GA to have a ride to lunch. We rode under a cloudless, blue sky with temperatures in the mid sixties (F). It did cool to the upper fifties (F) as we rode over Burnt Mountain on GA HWY 136 but it’s always cooler up there. Here in northern Georgia we’re seeing the leaves beginning to change to brown and red and even yellow in some areas. At times leaves were falling like they were snowflakes. For lunch we stopped in at Bigun’s Barbeque in Talking Rock, GA before we headed for home.
I was supposed to go to a Blue Knights meeting today but I played hooky. It was too good a day to ride just a few exits on the interstate to go to lunch meeting and then go home. Since I’m not a Chapter Officer anymore it was easy to do.
Donna said she wanted to go for a “long ride” today. It was our first fall ride of 2013. The leaves are already changing and dropping (or is that FALLing) here in north Georgia and it’s only the last weekend in September! Maybe all the rain we had this summer has something to do with it. We had no plan, just a direction and a couple of lunch ideas in our heads. It was a beautiful, cloudless blue sky and the forecast was for a high temperature of 77F. Actually for most of the day’s ride it was in the upper 60′s for temperatures and was great. We were on Georgia HWY 53 headed for Dawsonville when Donna asked “What about that road past Big Canoe?” I told her it would take us straight out to GA HWY 136 and we could take that on up to GA HWY 52 and then take HWY 9 right on into Dahlonega. “Yeah. Do that.” came through the headset. So we took Steve Tate HWY passed Big Canoe and then with its tree covered hills and curves. When we made it over to HWY 52 we were passing some pumpkin fields. It was really feeling like fall now. We passed a “pumpkin patch and corn maze” where traffic slowed just a bit. It was odd that we didn’t see any other motorcycles along our route until we got to HWY 9 and headed for Dahlonega. Donna wanted to stop in at Rider’s Hill for a short break after I told her that our lunch stop would Turner’s Corner Café, to which I got an excited “Yippee!” through the intercom. We left Rider’s Hill behind us taking GA HWY 9/60 to the Rock Pile was it was US 19 though the hills and curves until Turner’s Corner Café where we had lunch out on the deck overlooking the intersection and the river. A couple of sport bikes made the left and headed up US 129 and up Blood Mountain. When one revved his engine out of site, Donna said “Let’s go that way! How long will it take to get home?” Even though home was to the south and that route would take us north, a little math from a sign for Blairsville told me we could there in 30 minutes. So I told Donna that Blairsville was about 30 minutes away and I knew home was an hour and a half from Blairsville so I’d get us home about 5:00 pm. “Let’s go.” Going up Blood Mountain wasn’t a special ride for us, we’ve ridden it numerous times. But it’s a nice fun, curvy road with a good surface and good visibility. We were passed by bikes going the other direction in the curves that looked like they were on a race track! Not just the leaning but the speed! Local resident’s have been “venting” in a the Atlanta paper’s column “The Vent” about the speeds of motorcycles this summer. They know motorcycles have always been on the road but they’re now complaining about the speeds and I see why. It’s only a matter time before the Georgia State Patrol begins a dedicated enforcement action. I don’t care how a good a rider you think you are, it’s a public roadway and not a personal raceway.
It was a good day and fall is in the air!
Today was a gorgeous day in northern Georgia to ride. Temperatures were in the mid 70′s with some white, puffy clouds against a blue sky. Fall started today and some of the leaves are already starting to change. So we rode.
Sean, a friend of ours, and I had gone to Lowe’s this morning so I could get some lumber for a project. I can fit 8 foot lumber in the PT Cruiser but there’s no way I can get the 4′ X 8′ foot pieces of plywood in it! That’s where Sean and his pick up truck came in. It was morning when we got back and unloaded the lumber. Donna came outside and the next thing we knew she was calling Sean’s wife, Christine, to see about riding today. A ride to lunch was their plan. You see, Sean and I are both blessed with wives that love to ride on the back of the motorcycle and enjoy the scenery. Sometimes they plan rides. But they don’t really plan the ride, they plan to ride or give us the destination and we get them there. Sometimes they even get us out of chores that they planned for us! So I guess it really is a family affair. We just headed up to Davis BBQ in Jasper, GA using back roads and then headed back home doing the same thing. This was your typical RTE (Ride To Eat). This is some good BBQ and Sean and Christine had not been there yet.
Today was also a good day to test out the new LED bulbs in the Motolights since it was a nice bright and sunny day. I rode behind Sean for a while and he said the lights were a nice very bright white and they made for the triangle that would catch his eye in the mirror. That’s just the plan I was looking for. I want the lights more to be seen by oncoming traffic than for lighting the road up at night. My headlight already does a real good job of lighting up the road in the dark. So the LED bulbs are a success.