Rain, snow, sleet or ice, nothing was going to hold us back from going up to the Georgia Mountains yesterday. With a severe case of cabin fever it was checking the tires early morning, dress up Spirit with everything he has (2 coats), myself with all the heated gear that I owned, a quick look at the map, run the GPS on AA batteries since defunct after installing a new battery (who knows!) and there we went.
Actually the route from Marietta to 400 is wrong, we went through Sandy Springs, Roswell, I cannot force it to trace it on 92, who knows why that too! The mystery of some software will never cease to amaze me. Traffic was light, Saturday mornings are always good before the crowd decides to go shopping for the day and riding through towns was not as bad as I thought as the speed versus wind velocities are tolerable. We arrived in Dahlonega within the hour for out first stop at the square.
It is generally a rendez vous point for many riders, a few Restaurants looked familiar, the usual tourist traps where still trying to sell the gold nuggets so popular in the area, as usual some tourists that did not pass up the opportunity to take some pictures of Spirit, even pet him… I do want to be him in my next Life…
We met up for a brief moment with a couple riders out in these suddenly changed beautiful clear blue skies, they mentioned that their bikes had just been out of the shop for winter maintenance and what better grounds to test them than here, the start of some incredible roads. I did not realize that they were in such unison when taking off till I checked the pictures! Synchronized leg motions like a ballet on two wheels!!!
It was time also for us to take off, ride up to the "stone pile", then on to "Two Wheels Only" motorcycle campground (TWO), Dale’s, another gas station meeting point, up on 180, down on 129, a loop called the "cooler run". I think the story is riders coming up, leaving their cooler behind, riding the loop to get back to it… and start over… and over. About a 33 mile run.
TWO was my second home, sometimes my first home, for a very very long time, as far back as when I lived in Naples, Florida. Britt and GT are the owners, much tent space, many rooms and great food. Unfortunately they were closed for the winter as the main attraction is the dining room/pool hall/living room and missed the opportunity for many indoor pictures!… and of course a full blown kitchen. I even cooked there a couple times as I would spend weeks at the time camping and riding. I do remember one dinner being a Cornish game hen with a blueberry sauce, some form of rice and salad with a champagne vinaigrette dressing! Britt is into cooking and her specials for dinner are always a hit… GT?… well, he is the grill man… always.
So strange to see our rig parked as a lonely vehicle on a Saturday! There normally be hundreds of other bikes parked all the way to the road, some across the road, parking lot full, a show stopper on the weekend. We would just sit there, if you were lucky to get a comfortable chair on the Porch and just watch everyone come in and out. Free entertainment, many friends and always a great lunch.
When in Florida, this area was the first true curve we could ride! Quite often the 1400 mile round trip was nothing to think about when having a few days off! Those were the days of long distance riding when the stamina was stronger then today… I was part of those Mountains and yesterday for the first time I felt as an outsider, strange with the knowledge that we were just visiting. These were the first roads that the sidecar had ridden, these were the first curves that Spirit experienced once the rig was mounted on the two wheels that I rode alone for such a long time. After Florida and also living a bit in Arizona, I came back to the area and moved just 20 minutes away, in Dawsonville, and again established TWO as a second home.
Dale’s is another landmark right across the street. It is the "Home of the Wolf" which also gets a filled parking lot on the weekend and in season. They were a few riders yesterday, actually met a couple of them that we knew from as they say, "way before"… We had to fill them in with our Journey’s experiences. From Suches, TWO, starts the "cooler run" down 180, a narrow and twisty road. We all have our preferences. Some like to ride it Eastbound, some Westbound, the degree of difficulty is always the same!
The trees are bare right now, one can see through them the incoming road and traffic as sparse as it is right now, comes fall and the lush greens will take over, smells and sights will fill the air and so will hundreds of other motorcyclists and cars! Comes Spring, it will be the turn for the leaf lookers to come out of the woodwork… specially with four wineries in the area, the riding becomes a bit more "delicate" should I say!
We actually stopped riding on the weekend while living in Dawsonville and working as a Consultant for a Restaurant in Atlanta. We would come up early mornings on Saturday and Sunday, sit by the Porch and quickly go on to work. The serious riding was left for the weekdays when I would take my days off. You have to realize that Deal’s Gap is only a couple hours away, Cherahollah Parkway even less, it actually is riding heaven all the way to Upstate New York, through the Blue Ridge and Shenadoah Parkways, endless roads, hundreds of miles!
From the end of 180 it is a right hand turn on 129 south. The road widens, this is where the fast and daring do their thing on the weekend paying the high price of a speeding ticket or even worse, a meeting of the ditches. Roads can never be a racetrack… besides the legalities there are too many variants and surprises that suddenly expose themselves to a bike much too quick to react safely. Suches volunteer EMS team has always been busy on the weekend… wreckers have made some good money too!
One more turn and we end up at the bottom of the hill, called the "rock pile".
This was always my favorite 7 miles back to Suches. I knew, still do, every square inch of it, which gear to be in, where to engine brake, the cracks on the road and where the local Sheriff would hide! If it was not for having to meet my mother in Atlanta I don’t think we would have been back here so soon. A lot of thoughts yesterday while riding. It would be just a matter of a quick decision not to leave!… to stay and regain the momentum, or lack of it, of our past Life. I cannot!!! There is just no way for it… There has been too many changes in myself to change direction and again take roots here, or for that matter anywhere else yet. I am actually so eager to go that we are living as soon as this is published! We will be in Birmingham later on the day, visit the Barber Motorcycle Museum tomorrow and meet up with some friends that also have a Pit as a buddy… and another friend of theirs, a trainer with 30 years of experience… It should be interesting to hear what he has to say about Spirit!
I leave you with with the "falls" pictures right across from TWO… and the best wishes of a great weekend. We have to again… pack up and go.
Till next time…
We are always under deep appreciation toward the readers that have send in a contribution helping this website’s expenditures. For those who have not, continue enjoying the site, pictures, recipes, and if you feel it’s worth $1 a month, the contribution button is above, snail mail is below…
Ara Gureghian 853 Vanderbilt Beach Rd #245 Naples, Fl 34108
You be well and stay well…. Ara & Spirit