13 July 2010

Ride Report: Northwest Georgia

11 July 2010
I don't know what we were thinking when we agreed to this route.  Going west in July is insane when there's a heat wave covering the Eastern part of the country.  Morning temps were in the comfortable mid 70s when I left the house a little after 7 to meet up with TopWop and the eFns at the eFn House.

The ride up to meet Cruzman off of Barrett PKWY was uneventful highway miles.  After greetings, gassing, and snacking we were on the road following Cruzman's detailed GPS route.

We missed his first waypoint after the gas station and had to pause to clear it before continuing on toward Red Top Mountain via Cartersville.  I kept telling David that my GPS had the route but I'm not sure if he heard because he was concentrating on his GPS.  As we entered Cartersville, the GPS was telling me that our turn was coming up.  Right turn in 1/2 mile.  I took my eye off of Cruzman for a second to be sure which right turn it was talking about.  When I looked back up, Cruzman was taking the wrong right turn!  Oh Shit!  I hit the brakes to avoid hitting him and the new Angels were still too new to stop without skidding.  I was skidding toward the curb and as I was raising my eyes so I wouldn't  be fixated by it, the handlbars turned left making me think high side.  I was still in the seat so I decided to bail on my own rather than flying over the handlebars.  TopWop and eFnJustRide were behind me and able to stop without hitting me as I scrambled to get up.

I don't know what Cruzman was doing, but I assume he completed the wrong right turn.  I hurried over to the bike to shut it off.  From previous experience I knew that when Baby falls left, the bike keeps running.  By the time I shut the bike off, the eFnWife was there to help.  I'd already turned the front wheel so that the handlebar was close to the tank and the front tire was pointed toward the pavement.  I told her to grab the dangling tank bag while I lifted the bike Skert style.  Thank God for her demonstration at the Twisty Sister Rally.  Guess I'll be going back this year!

By the time I got the bike up and tried to start it again, Cruzman was there.  When the bike wouldn't start, he helped me to push it into the square.  We assessed the damage and found hardly none!  The frame slider and pegs on the left side were scratched and so was the tip of my new lever but that was it.  While I gathered myself, Cruzman made sure the bars were straight and got Baby started again.  As soon as I heard him start, I was ready to go, but everyone else was sitting around so I got some water and took a few pics of the scene of the incident.

The scene of the "accident":

While I was trying to get the bike up, one of Cartersville's finest stopped to see if I needed any help.  When I said no, the thankfully kept on his way.  In the pic, you can see where I laid down rubber and the gas stain I left.  The curb also had tire marks on it from someone else jumping the curb when they miscalculated their turn.

The gang trying to figure out how it all happened:

I glanced down to be sure I was making the right turn.  After this, I deleted the route.  It didn't matter if I was making the right turn or not, I needed to pay more attention to what Cruzman was doing than what he should have been doing.  We didn't have any more incidents like that for the rest of the day.

The bikes catching their collective breaths, thankful it wasn't them:

Just a little bit of damage:

Later, I found a scratch on the back of my new Alpinestars Alloy glove.  I'm glad it was such a minor incident and not the catastrophe that would have been me t-boning Cruzman.

We got back on the bikes to resume our ride.  Our next destination was Red Top Mountain park.  As we rode away, I realized my clutch perch was a little too low and the lever had a little play that hadn't been there before.  Nothing that couldn't be fixed with the right tug or tightened with the right tool.  I told Cruzman he could fix it at our next stop.  A little ignoring the gps later, we arrived on the road to Red Top Mountain and then missed the turn for the marina road.  I was a little confused when eFn said he was turning around, but we did then headed toward Cloudland Canyon SP.

When Cruzman was planning the route, he'd mentioned reading about Hwy 136 and said that it was supposed to be a good road.  I was happy to see we were finally there after all of the mis turns and turning around of the morning.  The road is through scenic country side and was very beautiful on the clear summer morning.  The temps were rising, but nothing uncomfortable.  Not long after we passed the sign that designated that portion of 136 to be one of Georgia's Scenic Byways (the Ridge and Valley one), we saw another for a waterfall that had us retracing our steps for a slight detour.

We found the waterfall area off of Pocket Rd at the end of a deep gravel drive the dead ended into a shady pic nic area.  Once there, we discovered the walk to the falls was a mere 1.6 mile hike.  Yea, we didn't go see it.  Maybe another time.  Instead, we walked over to the creek and made use of the facilities.

While we were there, Cruzman pulled my clutch perch back into place.  I am grateful that he does things like that.  I was glad to hear Baby fire up back in the square and to know he was taking care of making sure everything was safe to ride.

When I got home I looked it up, Keown Falls is not always full and more often than not described as a trickle except in the Spring.  It was a good thing we chose not to make the difficult hike up Johns Mountain.  The falls are named for the surveyor who surveyed most of North West Georgia, Gordon Keown.  Here is a pic of what we might have seen courtesy Keith Luken:

After the short break, we retraced our route taking Pocket Rd back to 136 going to La Fayette where Lunch was calling.  We had a nice lunch at a Mexican Restarurant not far from the big church there.  This was what our actual Morning route looked like:

As you can see, we wasted a good bit of the morning trying to get on the right track.  After eating way too much, we left seeking Cloudland Canyon.  The GPS route failed us a little again as we struggled to get out of La Fayette taking the wrong back road to get back to the right highway.  Once one the right road, it was an increasingly hot journey through farms before we increased in elevation as we got closer to Cloudland Canyon State Park.  I thought we were going to stop there, but instead we took another road that ran parallel to the park and turned out to be the highest elevation in the area.

When TopWop saw the "Dead End" sign, he turned around.  So did eFn but I followed Cruzman up the road a bit and was rewarded with spectacular views of the area and a nice scenic lake.  I didn't follow him to the end of the road, instead I turned around in a circular driveway infront of the lake.  Cruzman returned with a flyer for some property for sale then we continued on eventually crossing the state line into Alabama on some back roads.

My gas hand was dropping dramatically and we were in the middle of no where.  The eFn wife was in need of a 5 hour energy drink too.  Instead of stopping in the middle of no where, TopWop led us to the nearest gas station, BJ's #2 that we'd stopped at last year when we went to DeSoto Falls.  That time, Bj's was out of 87 octane so I had to get the premium and was to the low gas light before I got home.  It was the worst gas mileage I've ever had on the FZ.

After checking the time, eFn and TopWop said they needed to be heading back so I decided to join them back to our side of town.  We chose to take HWY 140 all the way home and I got home right around 6:30.  A shorter than planned day and another Cruzman ride aborted half way through.

Here's our route since lunch in La Fayette:

One of the highlights on the way home, other than getting wet using a gas station hose, was passing a pack of cruisers heading toward Adairsville.  Does she look comfortable to you?

Not to me either, and the fat tire makes her rear end looks big.  I felt sorry for her watching her squirm around the short time we were behind them.  The farther east we went, the cooler (relatively) it got.  The temps didn't start rising until we got into suburban traffic and I was happy to be home and glad for the shower.  I wish our pool passes were already here because I think I would've walked right into the pool in all my gear by then.

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer


  1. I am taking great pains to see if I can straighten out the GPS for our next trip. I am going to do my best to figure this the hell out. Very relieved to see you were ok and that no damage happened to baby. BTW it was me that got your tank bag all gathered up. You and Teresa were in the middle of standing your bike up when I got to you.

  2. Oops, sorry. She asked what she could do I said "Grab my tank bag" then saw hands grabbing it. I was just excited the Skert pick up worked and that I didn't get hurt.


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