The plan today is multi-focal. The Chief Vann house near Chatsworth. Chickamauga National Military Park. Chattanooga National Cemetery. Lookout Mountain Park. Then a brief raid into Alabama to score another state pin. We had homemade breakfast burritos. Mmmmmmmm good. The weather is cool and cloudy. Nice, but a chance of rain here and there.
Blairsville, GA. 9:51, mileage 51,531 - Fuel up for the day. The Smoky Mountain Ride In starts this weekend so we hope to see more Goldwings out and about. We'll take the 4-lane to Ellijay, then head west on US76.
As we came into Blue Ridge we felt the pitter patter of little raindrops, which got progressively more abundant. We pulled into Taco Bell to put on raingear. As is customary the raingear caused the rain to disappear.
I often complain about slowpokes and left lane bandits. Here is a guy who deserves some credit. The hills were slowing him down, but when he came to a pulloff the truckdriver took it and allowed traffic to pass. Courtesy...pass it on.
We followed those two trikes for the majority of our trip over. John was getting LED lighting ideas...he's been wanting to add some LEDs to the lower rear of his trike.
This sign in Chatsworth, combined with the mountains in the background, beckon motorcycles to come play. You need a second week of vacation to explore all the things you find in the first week.
From parking lot I could see a site only a nerd could love...a radio tower on top of a mountain. The temperature never broke 80*. It was a short ride to pick up the interstate and our next destination.
The ride from Chatsworth to Chattanooga was nice. The last few miles of city streets and stoplights were bland, but we didn't have a problem finding the Chickamauga Battlefield National Military Park. Our first stop was the visitor center...and pins!
After perusing the visitor center it was time to take the battlefield tour. John & Debby would lead and the rest of us would follow. It was nice to follow for once. They tried to listen to the guided tour on their Iphone but the audio quality was poor. So we followed the tour markers and guided ourselves.
The tour is really interesting and doing it on the bikes made it even more fun. A couple times I didn't wear my helmet since it was low speed. The trike was the vehicle of choice. A lot of the pulloffs were off-camber and the two wheelers might have fallen over. Little scooter trikes would have been perfect. The bike tour is about eight miles long.
We stopped at the tower and walked to the top. We were huffing by the time we got there. Going down was much easier. We started wondering how many steps there were. John offered a couple girls $1 each to count the steps. There are 133. I'm glad the young girls were as out of breath as we were. Ha!
I think this is my first Civil War battlefield visitation and I really enjoyed it. The weather was great. You could stand and look across a field and imagine the battle, or look through the woods and envision the small skirmishes. We spent an hour on the battlefield tour but you could easily spend all day. Makes me want to go to other battlefields.
We finished the battlefied tour at 4:15. The visitor center closed at 5:00 although the outdoor areas were open until dusk. There wasn't much need in going anywhere else we had planned as their hours would be the same. We decided to find some fast food to tide us over to supper. We're having stuffed peppers tonight. My first time for those.
We ate at Arbys. It filled the void nicely. As we got ready to leave a few sprinkles taunted us. On the way back over to I-75 we stopped and fueled up. We headed north on I-75 and at Cleveland exited east on US64.
For several miles the highway was pretty urban. As we rounded a curve a dam appeared so we pulled over to investigate. This was Occee Dam #1, part of the TVA system. I love the technical side of the hydroelectric dams. It would be fun to be able to explore them. We took in views of the dam and the lake, then headed down US64.
From here US64 became curvier. It followed the river which lent a scenic touch to the ride. We pulled off at a power station area, but there wasn't much room and the place didn't seem visitor friendly. We took a few pictures and left.
About five miles further down the road we came to Occee Dam #2. There is a neat concept behind this small thirty foot dam. Water travels down a sluice for five miles to the generating station we stopped at earlier. By the time the water has gotten there the elevation has dropped 250 feet, so the water has more energy to turn the electrical turbines. It's a lot cheaper than building a 250 dam. That five mile sluice would make a hell of a fun log plume ride.
The dam itself was interesting to look at. There is a suspension bridge to access the dam...off limits to us folks...damnit. We explored for 10 minutes or so. This area is beautiful...high walled mountains...river. It was close to 7pm when we headed out.
The curves didn't last much longer. We stopped for a few minutes at a bridge construction site until the traffic signal let us go. Near Ducktown the road became 4-lane so we cranked it up. There was a mileage sign that said "Manteo 563". That would be a cool drive on US64 to the North Carolina coast. I've ridden various parts of US64 and it's a classic two lane highway. It goes through some nice places and runs from the North Carolina coast to the Arizona border. When I hit the lottery it'll be one of the many roads I ride end-to-end.
At US129 we took our now familiar route home. Cloud cover and mild temps made for a great day.
The stuffed peppers were great. I even had a second one. We spent the rest of the night relaxing. Tomorrow was planned as a non-riding day, but we've decided to go to Brasstown Bald. It's a short trip.
Click here for our next day's adventure.