2011 Georgia motorcycle trip

June 14

The plan for today was to ride the Southern Highroads Trail. It is a 364 mile scenic loop through Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Last night, while I was downloading the GPS tracks, I started looking at the route for today. A couple things became obvious:

- Judging by what we've ridden around here so far 364 miles would take us forever to cover. I don't think we'll have the time.
- We are planning to go to Chattanooga later in the week and the western part of the Highroads Trail covers the same roads. What if...

I modified today's route by eliminating the western loop. This brought the ride mileage down to 194. Then I noticed it would be trivial to drop down and pick up Traveler's Rest and Toccoa Falls we had missed the other day. This new route would be a much more reasonable 218 miles. I presented the route change at breakfast and it was agreed.

We had a couple new members today. Some neighborhood dogs paid us a visit.

After breakfast we cleaned the windshields, turned the bikes to leave, then stood on the porch for awhile enjoying the cool, sunny morning. The weather forecast is for the same.

At 8:59 we headed out on the day's adventure.

Haysville, NC. 9:43, mileage 50,805 - The GPS routed us down Old US64 to US64. When we turned onto US64 a nice looking silver Charger that had been following us gave us a friendly wave, then turned the other way. Oh...it was a Georgia State Trooper. Good thing we weren't speeding.

As we started gaining elevation the temperature went from nice to chilly in just a few minutes. The CB requested a pullover to put on jackets.

As we sat there several UPS trucks went by. There must be a distribution center around here somewhere.

After our jacket break we headed up and over the mountains. Coming down the other side we spied a scenic pulloff and pulled in.

It had a nice view of the area near Franklin.

We heard the sound of running water so we took off down a path to investigate. There is a small stream about a hundred feet inside the woods.

When we came out of the woods two more bikes had pulled in. My favorite two motorcycles...a Goldwing and what appeared to be a new Road Glide Ultra. The Goldwing looks just like my brother's. I checked out the Road Glide.

It was just several miles until Franklin. Given our late start and several breaks it was getting close to lunch time.

I saw a Huddle House sign down the road. The CB agreed.

As we were stowing things in preparation for lunch a couple came over and started talking trikes with John. John's trike got a lot of attention on this trip...even more when people found out we had assembled it ourselves.

I felt the need to try to eat a little bit healthy so I ordered a grilled chicken salad and a not-so-healthy strawberry shortcake. The menu said "eat your dessert first"...so I did.

After lunch we ventured back onto US64. A few miles out of town you start seeing the 'warning to truckers' signs and you know something good is coming.

After several miles of curvy roads and scenic views we came to Bridal Veil Falls. Another group of bikes were there taking pictures so we waited our turn. When they had finished we rode our bikes in one at a time for a picture. Mike & Jerri John & Debby Me

As we were finishing up another group pulled in. We offered to take their pictures and in turn they took a group picture of us.

A bathroom break was requested so we rode a few miles back west to a viewing area for Dry Falls. After about 12 minutes (a short break by our standards) we were headed eastward to continue our journey.

As we passed Bridal Veil Falls again there were more bikes waiting to take pictures.

A creek runs next to the highway for quite a ways. There are lots of rocks and boulders and waterfalls and it's a nice creek to look at and take pictures of. There is the occasional pulloff but by the time you see them you're passed, and most are so off-camber a bike would fall over.

There are a few curves left but soon you reach a small dam and then the town of Highlands. It's a clean, touristy little town. The next town is Cashiers, then Sapphire. The roads between them have a few curves but are mostly straight or sweepy. There are businesses and traffic and housing additions and country clubs here and there and you never feel like you're totally in the country, but not in town either...a kind of rural suburbia.

Sapphire, NC. 14:00, mileage 50,882 - Fuel stop. The store had a bunch of shirts and we got a few of them. Some of the shirts advertised Whitewater Falls. I'd never heard of it, but it seemed like it was somewhere in the area. We rode south on NC281 headed for South Carolina.

Just north of the state line we came to Whitewater Falls park, so we pulled in. It was a nice, small park. There were quite a few people here. More than you'd think would stop in a small park. Some park workers (kids to me) were reroofing an informational sign. The view of the falls requires a half mile walk, but it seemed like a short half mile. Midway to the falls is a bench and an opening in the trees that allows a scenic view of Lake Jocassee to the south. Whitewater Falls is on one of the feeder streams to this lake.

After viewing the falls we plopped down and enjoyed the great weather, wonderful temperature, and being on vacation.

Down the road I enter South Carolina for the first time.

A few miles later we turned southwest onto the Oscar Wigington Scenic Byway and came upon another scenic pulloff with a view of one of the many lakes in the area.

The byway was an okay road. Scenic? I guess in spots. At first the canopy covered the road which was cool. But then it gave way to a normal highway going through little communities. Occasionally you'd pop around the edge of a mountain and be presented with a great view. Eventually we came to Westminster where we picked up US123 west and headed to our next stop.

Traveler's Rest. We had planned to visit here Saturday but ran short of time. It's only open on Saturday and the odd Friday, but it's open to walk around in daylight hours...so we did. There was a nice breeze under the cloudy skies.

We rode back to the main highway to fuel up. I was brazen and didn't wear a helmet, despite Georgia law. Ha! I had some problems fueling the bike. The pump accepted my credit card but wouldn't give me any gas. I reset it and tried again. "See attendant". I tried a different card. Same answer. I didn't need gas so it wasn't that big of a deal. But I guess it triggered something on my credit card because half the time I tried to use it for the remainder of the trip it wasn't accepted. That's annoying. I'd even called and given a travel notification. When I got home (the real one in Indiana) I found they had called my house several times in reference to the questioned charges. They had notated my account that I was on travel, so calling my house wasn't gonna do any good. I was 450 miles away!

Toccoa Falls is about 9 miles down the road. As we neared Toccoa the skies had darkened and it sprinkled some. The neat thing about Toccoa Falls is it is situated on college property. Between the GPS and signs we didn't have any problems finding the falls. There were quite a few speed bumps on the campus which are annoying on a bike.

You enter through their bookstore to get to the falls. We took the opportunity to browse the store and stretch, but there were no pins to be found. Students were playing volleyball and swimming in the lake. Seemed to be a nice place.

At 5:37 we left Toccoa Falls College enroute back to the cabin. The GPS wanted us to leave the college on a road that might have led somewhere if we had dirt bikes, so we backtracked to the highway. We headed northwest on GA17 Alternate which linked up with US441 and eventually we were back in Tallulah Falls. We returned via the same route we had taken Saturday, but this time we turned at Brasstown Gap instead of looping through Blairsville.

At one point the GPS told me to turn on Gumlog Road, but the turnoff was about a quarter mile back. Another time it wanted us to go down a little gravel road. Not happening. We just drove a little farther to the road we were familiar with. Apparently the map data company needs to do some updating out here in the north Georgia boonies.

We got home at 7:14. I'm glad we shortened our route. If we'd rode the full route we'd probably been three hours later.

Supper consisted of lots of wonderful leftovers. There were still leftovers after eating the leftovers. A good situation to be in. We piddled with the bikes for awhile. John took off his backrest to see how it feels. Their Ipod had some static/hum in it so we checked the wiring. We found some poo we suspected might have come from a bear...at least that's what we told the girls. Then we headed inside to do our nightly routines. Tomorrow we go south...

218 miles.

Click here for our next day's adventure.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10

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