Best of Both Worlds
And then there were two. Mother’s Day weekend plans conflicted with all but two lucky riders. Since Dave and Larry both ride bikes suitable for Forest Service roads, they modified the “Short Loop Ride” (full of mountain twisties around the Chattahoochee Natl Forest) to take advantage of as much FS as possible – hence the two “worlds”.
The two left Ball Ground at 8:30 in glorious summer weather - perfect temps and dry enough to ensure a rain-free day. To get to the Dial area near Blue Ridge, they enjoyed backroad favorites like Burnt Mountain, Sunrise, Roy Rd and Doublehead Gap. But instead of breaking at Van Zandt’s and continuing around the forest, they dove right in and headed up beautiful Noontootla Creek (FS 58) – voted the “prettiest FS in the land” by the only two that count! While resting on the bridge at Three Forks, Dave realized he’d crossed here once before on a backpacking trip on the AT. Next stop was the elusive Hickory Flatts Cemetery (yep, two ts) deep in the forest where they met a few hikers resting at the wonderful church shelter open to AT hikers. From there it was up to the top of the mountain (3200’), then E on FS 42, then N down Rock Creek (FS 33) and by the Fish Hatchery – another beautiful creekside ride. They popped out of the forest at Hwy 60 S of Blairsville to enjoy Twisty 60 down to Suches. In the northern stretches, the ride is beautiful fast sweepers, then as you head south, they gradually tighten up to 20 MPH curves outside of Suches.
Here are a few video clips from the ride
Lunch with fellow bikers at TWO was pleasant and filling, as always. It’s great to see the new owner is doing very well and should be here for years. After a relaxing break on the porch rockers, the two decided to take FS 42 from Suches west to Doublehead Gap (a 24 mile stretch) and visit the Springer Mtn trailhead – official start of the AT. From there it was a beautiful trip down Doublehead Gap (turns into Roy, turns into Big Creek) to Hwy 52 and Ellijay. Since they spent so much time in the forest, a fast trip home down 515 was the ticket.
It was a great day of riding and we wished you were there. Total mileage was 175 (with about 50 off road) and home at 4:45. As it so often works with the best rides, we had too much fun to stop and take pictures!
Five of us got together on Saturday to discus plans for future rides and discussion of some new techniques for familiar maintenance and riding situations.
The meeting kicked-off with a selection from LHM Men's Network, that depicted some of the ways the gospel spread in the early church, even to the Samaritans, a then despised people that accepted the Pentateuch but held alien beliefs as well.
On moving to a discussion of possible routes for a May 12th ride it soon became apparent that most of those present felt there would be very few riders interested in riding on Mother's Day weekend. However, since there may be riders not at the meeting that would see the 12th okay, a ride was scheduled (called the Short Loop) that includes stops at VanZandts and TWO (aka TWoS). Addition details will be posted as the ride date nears.
Toward the end of the meeting Larry joined the five and spoke of a plan he has for an overnight camp/ride to TWO on the 18th-19th (or 19th-20th) of May. He will post additional details soon to see if there is interest and which days would be preferable.
MC Garage supplied a few maintenance videos (brake bleeding, hydraulic vs cable clutch actuation, cable lubrication) but the greatest interest centered on How To Mount A Loaded Bike and Three Great Ways To Pick Up A Dropped Bike. Don't miss these as they both have new approaches.
The meeting ended a little late (11:15) but there was still time on the beautiful day for three of us to ride up to Silvia's for hamburgers under the trees. Hard to beat!
Our next meeting will be on May 26th. Attend and let your experiences be heard.
After three months of weather-canceled rides we finally got lucky. Eight of us took off this Saturday morning, in spite of threatening skies, to The Pocket, a park on the far side of Johns Mountain in Floyd County.
The main route west would be Ga 136 but we took a diagonal route, cross country, to see how Henderson Mountain and the Jerusalem Church area made it though the winter. All was well except for the clear cutting here and there, to make room for more subdivisions I suppose.
We picked up Ga 136 in Blaine and soon passed Carters Lake, Petersburg and Nickelsville hoping to stop in Resaca for a break. The truck stop in Resaca filled the bill, once we learned how to get in (and out).
Soon after our Resaca rest stop we made our way over to Sugar Valley to head up Pocket Road to cross Johns Mountain. We soon learned what the squiggles on the map foretold: a series of left and right up hill and downhill turns, a motorcyclist's delight, except when things go wrong. Al's bike got a little to close to the pavement on a downhill ninety degree right hand turn and some metal parts hit, taking him down. Happily, the damage to both bike and rider was not great and Al saddled up and finished the ride with the rest of us, albeit minus a windshield.
Art Al Dave Larry
Once down the western side of Johns Mountain it was only a short distance to The Pocket. Surprisingly, with the exception of a couple campers and two dogs swimming in the creek, we had the place to ourselves. I guess the storm warnings for late Saturday and Sunday kept folks away.
Soon a few of the riders started thinking of lunch so we started out for Adairsville where we hoped to have lunch at the Adairsville Inn. Once we finally passed a couple of cruisers that insisted, for miles, to ride 20-30 mph in the mostly no-passing Everett Springs Road, we got on Ga 140 and were soon in Adairsville having lunch. The Inn's food and service were fine, the only drawback was the noise level that made conversation with anyone, other than the person next to you, near impossible. This was not something inherent to the Inn but rather came from a very large group celebrating something at the other end of the dinning room.
After lunch our group split with some heading for Cartersville, others Waleska and four turning north at Pine Log, to ride over Johnson's Mountain and take Salocoa road back to Ball Ground.
Here's some VIDEO from the ride: https://youtu.be/iTwqAjuy58Q
It was a good ride, and it was great to have the group together on the road again.
The meeting opened by viewing a five minute lesson from "What They Didn't Teach You In Sunday School" that gave us interesting background knowledge about Pentecost. We'll be tapping this resource more often at future meetings.
The first order of business was setting a plan for a ride on April 14th. A possible route to The Pocket was discussed and we settled on a route that includes a ride over the mountain on Lake Marvin Road https://www.plotaroute.com/route/586752
After The Pocket the route heads south then east to Adairsville where we'll have lunch at the Adairsville Inn. After lunch we'll continue east picking up some favorite backroads back to the starting point in Ball Ground (around 150 miles r/t)
The remainder of the meeting included discussion about riding in rain, and a look at a videoed accident that resulted from the rider being distracted.
After the meeting five of us rode up to Jasper following a round-about scenic route, for lunch at 61 Main.
Mellish promised chilly temps and lots of sun. We got the chilly but the sun, not so much.
Four of us (Dave, Al, Richard and Bob s.) left Hickory Flat promptly at 9 am on our way to meet Mel in Cleveland at 10:30. We arrived within minutes of each other and after a pit stop and warm up at the local Chick-Fil-A we were soon passing through Clarkesville, and Hollywood on our way to Tallulah Gorge State Park where we hoped to witness the gorge and falls as it used to be before Georgia Power dammed the river in 1913.
On selected weekends in the Spring and Fall Georgia power releases a very large quantity of water from behind the dam into the gorge and the rush of water at 700 cfs gives viewers a chance to see why Tallulah Falls was a major tourist attraction in the 1800's.
When we turned on to Jane Hurt Yarn Drive (park entrance) it was immediately apparent that we were not the only folks interested in the day's release. Cars were parked on the shoulders well before the entrance and the parking lot was full and then some. Four of our bikes crammed into one spot while another put the side stand down between a rock and a bush.
Crowded yes, but worth the effort to get around to the numerous overlooks and the 300 plus stairs down to the suspension bridge that crosses the gorge at Hurricane Falls. Rather than trying to describe what we saw at these points, take a look at this video; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdSKunrofDQ
After taking it all in we worked our way out of the park heading for the town of Tallulah Falls for lunch. Our first choice was a grill less than a mile away but on entering we were told the couldn't accommodate us as they were overextended serving the group they already had seated. Richard consulted his trusty smart phone and we headed on south on 441 again but never found the restaurant. A quick huddle and we decided we'd go to one we knew of, the Chick-Fil-A we visited in the morning. Luckily we found it, ate and relaxed for a good while reliving the day and solving the world's problems.
Leaving Cleveland we split up, with Mel heading toward Athens and the rest of us off to Dahlonega, then home before dark.
A good day riding, hiking and playing tourist. Round trip to/from Hickory Flat was around 190 miles.