The weather is gorgeous again today. Almost too sunny for my tastes but Donna is thrilled. The plan today is to ride the 3 State, 3 Mountain tour. This ride will be a 166-mile loop that includes the states of Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama and the Suck Creek, Sand, and Lookout mountains. Alabama will be a new state for us which means a new pin.
This will be another GPS led trip so last night I recalculated the route using the same maps that are in the GPS. I had previously mapped and installed the trip routes in my GPS months ago. A few days before the trip I downloaded the newest maps from Garmin. This caused a minor issue since the two map versions didn't match. At the start of the trip when I told it to navigate the route to Chattanooga it told me the maps didn't match and it recalculated the route. I don't like it when it does this. The recalculated route was all interstate and when we took the 2-lanes at Cave City the GPS started nagging. It's not a huge deal, but when we are going on a ride in a new place I want the GPS to go where I expect.
At 8:28 kickstands were up and were heading down the roller coaster driveway for a nice day of riding. At Straight Gut Road we take a right for the first time. Soon we pass the Walker State Prison. When we saw the glow from this place the first night we thought it was a nearby town.
Here is the typical type of road we'll be on today. Decent quality, sweeping two-lanes. North of Lafayette we turn west on GA-136.
Oops. The bridge is out and that's the way we are supposed to go. Time to pull over, smoke, and ponder.
The detour was well marked and added several miles to the scenic drive. It was a bummer to see the closed Barwick-Archer plant. The railroad tracks by it looked rusty and abandoned. At Copper Heights we rejoined GA-136 after crossing the abandoned rail line a couple more times.
From here the road starts up Suck Creek mountain and gets fun and curvy. The route takes us past Cloudland Canyon State Park, down the other side of Suck Creek mountain, through Trenton and across I-59, and up Sand Mountain. Yee haw! More curvy roads. At the top of the mountain we head southwest on GA-301.
Between the houses you can see the valley below. We pulled over at Kathy's convenience store to take some pictures of the valley. A few miles down the road we cross the Alabama state line and add another state to our ride list. GA-301 becomes AL-75. We take this road to Henagar where we turn west on AL-40.
A mile or so into Henagar we passed a little thrift store. I radioed John to see if he thought it was worth stopping at since that is what the girls like to do. Sure. We turned around in a church parking lot and on the way out I drove under a low-hanging bushy tree. I ducked to miss a limb. Donna didn't and got a good whack. I thought it was funny. Donna didn't. I still laugh at the sound of her getting whacked over the intercom. Sorry Sweetheart.
The store was kind of mediocre. The people inside mentioned the owners lived next door and were from Indiana. When we got back to the bikes their little weiner dog was there wanting some attention. It got a lot.
Soon one of the owners from Indiana (lady on the left) came out and started talking to us about our trip. She mentioned her husband had a golf cart customized to look like a hotrod.
One thing led to another and soon her husband was showing us his hotrod golf cart.
They told us since we were in the area we should visit the Alabama museum in Fort Payne and then make the scenic ride to DeSoto Falls. She also said there were craft shops at Mentone. That sounded good to us. We headed back to AL-75 and plotted a new course to Fort Payne.
The road south was arrow straight but unfortunately we got behind this guy driving deathly slow. At Rainsville we turned east and he didn't. Thank goodness. Road hogs aggravate me.
When we got to Fort Payne I was paying more attention to the road and didn't see the museum. Luckily Donna did. There was only one problem. It was closed today. We milled around here for awhile taking pictures, smoking, and stretching. I was here in 1992 for the Alabama June Jam but I really didn't recognize anything.
Fort Payne, AL. 11:46, mileage 65,740 - Donna needed to use the bathroom so we stopped down the road for fuel. The gas station had a single outside restroom with questionable plumbing. Donna couldn't get the toilet to flush so she left Debby a...ummmm...present. Debby was able to get the toilet to flush so all was good. There was a train station behind the gas station with a caboose on display.
DeSoto Falls was a nice 14 mile drive from Fort Payne. Once we got into the state park there was a lot of tree coverage which I liked. I'm glad there was good signage because the GPS maps showed DeSoto Falls being west of where it actually was.
When we arrived at the falls there were a couple Goldwings already there. One was from Indiana.
They've got some captain in them.
DeSoto Falls consists of a small dam, some small falls...
...then a larger water fall.
There were some guys swimming in the pool below. It reminded us of the scene from 'Wild Hogs'.
Our next stop was Mentone a few miles up the road. This place was supposed to have some craft shops and we thought we'd get some lunch.
There was only one problem. Everything was closed. There was a real estate office open so John spoke to the lady inside. She said the season didn't start for a couple more days so everything was closed. She also said there was a restaurant down the road named Lucky's where we could eat.
'Down the road' ended up being 11 miles away back in Georgia and Lucky's turned out to be a grocery store with a deli. We pushed on to Summerville. We spotted a Huddle House only to find it out of business, so we went across the street to Jim's Family Resturant.
Jim's had good food and pretty waitresses. One of the waitresses had her little boy there. Later I went to the restroom. The waitress and another girl were plunging the women's toilet and the little boy proudly told me "I stopped up the toilet". It was funny.
John and Debby ordered livers and they got a huge mound of them, and they were good. Donna doesn't like livers but she liked those. I got pork chops. They were good but not as thick as I had hoped they would be.
We needed some supplies so we decided to stop at the Walmart in Lafayette. We headed east from Summerville then turned north for a scenic ride through the Chattahoochee National Forest. At GA-136 we turned west towards Lafayette. On this road I saw a couple dead snakes, one of which was either a copperhead or small rattlesnake.
We bought our Walmart supplies then Mike and I went to Radio Shack and he bought a 4GB SD card. John is going to update the GPS maps on his bike.
Supper that night was grilled chicken salad. Mmmmmmmmmm good. Debby also made strawberry pie.
There was plenty of relaxing on the porch.
Mike and John washed their bikes. Since there was no spigot to be found they connected the water hose to a washer outlet and ran the hose out of their bedroom window. There was no nozzle so I got to hold the hose shut between washings.
Later John updated Mike's GPS maps. He found out how to do this on the trike forums. John copied his mapping information onto the new SD card. Then he copied Mike's information file to the new card. He put it back in Mike's bike, fired up the naviagation, and ta da...Mike has 2013 maps. John also set up Mike's display so it said "Hello Mike".
That evening when I was downloading our track for the day I found that our deviated route was 166 miles long. How long was our planned route? 166 miles.
Tomorrow we will be visiting some of Chattanooga's more known sites.
Click here for our next day's adventure.