09 February 2010

Ride Report: Relashing the Bindings, a Northern Leaf Tour

1 Nov 2009

For the first time since the first weekend in October, I got to go farther than 8 miles from the house on my bike.  Between the weather, shuttling Mom to the docs, and being broke I'd been housebound for a month and it was driving me crazy!!

Riding is my therapy and without it, the Wolf attacks and I am powerless to tame it.  Little rides kept the wolf in it's cage, but it was pacing, waiting for an opportunity.  I could see it clawing at the fresh bindings I'd applied a couple of days before when I took a wet ride to the pharmacy at dusk.  They wouldn't last long without some better action on my part.

I usually ride with a group and when the call came "Where're we goin'?", I was the first to reply, "Anywhere."  I really wanted to see the fall leaves before they were gone and that desire gave birth to the "Northern Leaf Tour".  I only knew the general direction:  North.  Good enough.

Five bikes met at Starbucks on Sunday 1 Nov 2009 underneath the pale blue morning skies.  There were a few puffy clouds but nothing that promised the torrential down pours we'd had in recent weeks.  In fact, the day promised to be beautiful.  We had 2 FJRs, an FZ1 (me), a Wing, and a VFR.  There used to be two identical FZ1, but Rich had an incident in August and ended up with a new FJR as a replacement.

We left Lawrenceville GA with Copperhill TN as a destination via scenic back roads lined first with the trappings of suburbia before gradually giving way to trees and farmland.

Our route traveled on great roads at a relaxed pace through Alpharetta, Free Home, Ball Ground, Talking Rock, Ellijay, Blue Ridge, finally ending at the doorstep of our Lunch destination:

3 of the 5 bikes:  06 FJR, my 05 FZ1 (Baby), and 08 (i think) Wing:

The other two had to park farther up the street because a guy in a truck was busy reading a map.  As soon as we got off our bikes, he left.  Go figure.

Not many twisties on the way up, but it was just lunch time.  I had the daily special:  A shrimp po boy.  It was the best damned po boy I ever had and the jalapeno romalade was good with just chips.  The spinach soup was the perfect opening for the po boy.  It was so good, I forgot to take a picture, so the sign will have to suffice:

Iron Horse Grill Daily specials:

(I talked to the owner/chef and he promised he'd make me another one when I take Momma up there.  It's not regularly on the menu and Momma needs to taste that romalade!)

After lunch, we decided our ride up was too sedate.  The bright skies and perfect weather demanded a perfect road.  We were compelled to oblige.  For the ride home we took TN Hwy 68/GA Hwy 60 through the Chattahochee National Forest to Riders Hill in Dahlonega, GA.  From there it was a quick (except for the roadblocking cars and trucks) jaunt home because the day was getting short:

We stopped to fill up at the intersection of Hwy 60 and US 76 and I snapped a couple more pics:

Tony on his VFR, facing west, "We've got plenty of daylight."

The view to the east:

My dirty bike, still wearing the grocery getters from my "beat back the Wolf" trips:

Once we left the Marathon Station, the slower riders ended up behind me, the fastest ones in front of me as we attacked the curvaceous Hwy 60 in Morganton.  I was only able to get one shot.

While waiting for the group to get back together:

I missed the "Steep Grades and Curves Next 33 miles" sign.  One of the drawbacks of riding with a group.  If the weather holds for the week, I'll get it!!  We didn't have time to tackle Hwy 180 and I really wanna do that.

My next photo op came when we drew closer to Dahlonega and joined the masses in cars and trucks clogging a perfectly good road.

Our ride leader (look to the left), gently urging a road clogging subaru onward:

Stuck on Hwy 60:

The reason for the ride:

Fastest bikes in front:

Faster bike in the middle:

And the rear guard:

Wait...Where ARE they?  Out of radio range.  We pulled into Riders Hill and waited, about 5 minutes later they appear.  We stop and rest.  I take two more Advil (why can't those things last all day like Aleve?) hoping to keep the Wolf from knawing on my knees.  It was then we realized the time had gone.

We fell back an hour the night before and it was costing us daylight.  Instead of a leisurely ride though the countryside home, we chose to follow the road clogging masses through Dahlonega and down the dreaded 400.  Once we left 400, it was backgrounds until our group diminished as the known suburbia swallowed us when we parted ways to go home.

When I get home, the Wolf so exhausted in it's cage, it can barely raise it's head to acknowledge my presence.  As punishment for leaving it alone all day, my knees are on fire.

Thank you for reading,

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