26 November 2010

Ride Report: Backyard Romp

31 October 2010 -- The ReRun Ride
This is another Dual Ride Report.  (My words will look like this.  Cruzman's words will look like this.)
The discussion about this ride started before we even finished the last one.  David wanted to meet up with EricR and FZ1_Vadar who were talking about doing a Cherohala run.  With the seasons changing and the daylight waning, I advised Cruzman that going back to the Cherohala or riding Hwy 28 South this time of year might not be a wise decision.  I reminded him that there was no telling what the weather will be like on the top of the Cherohala.  When you combine that with riding three hours to get to one road passing all the really good ones that are in our relative backyard, the idea is crazy.

Another point, that I didn't make but he understood, was his penchant to prefer more backroads than interstate style roads.  This always leads to longer routes and getting home long after dark.  I don't have a problem with that during the long daylight hours of the summer because it is likely you'll get to ride most of those roads in the daylight, leaving the boring stuff for the slog home.  But in October, like the Ambitious Ride a few weeks before, you can run out of daylight and still have good roads left on the route ending up with an even longer slog home doing what you didn't want to do in the first place, ride interstate styled roads!

Cruzman took my suggestions to heart, and came up with this route:

Explaining the name:
The Rerun ride was born out of a need to get to good roads quickly and named because so many of these roads are top quality and well worth riding in both directions or more than once.    
The group meets and separates:
We met at the Cumming BP we wanted to get an early start so that we could take a leisurely lunch in Helen, Ga. 

I arrived at 5 minutes before 7:00 and at exactly 7:00 FZ1_Vadar (formerly KYFA25)  showed up.  He rolled up as I was starting to remove gear and head towards the Waffle House for a quick cup of hot chocolate.  He was determined to not to take all his gear off but with the exception of feeling like the Stay Puff Marshmallow man was happy to be so warm after his 15 minute commute in the low 40s  A big improvement since his last ride where I think the cold almost got the best of him.    I started asking about all the gear he brought and somehow it dawned on him that he failed to bring his money for the day.  Since we were so close to his home he opted to ride back to his house.  theWolfTamer showed up just before he left and began to fuel up for the ride. She quickly joined me in the Waffle house and we proceeded to take advantage of the warmth, their hot beverages and breakfast.  Before we completed eating our meal FZ1_Vader shows up and sits in the parking lot waiting for us to pay our check.  After several words of caution and suggesting we had no problem waiting and that he should ride at reasonable speeds he arrived much more quickly than either of us anticipated.

Getting Started:
Once outside FZ1_Vader tells the story of his GPS making an unexpected exit from his motorcycle on one of the local roads near his home.  It has a few scratches but is still operational.  He’s miffed, but happy he realized it fell off and that it was recovered in working condition.    So with the sun just beginning to come up we gear up and head out.  Before making a block I get a shout over the radio that heWolfTamer has a gear issue and wants to stop.   The stop is made the issue corrected and I get the call to hit the road.  

The gear issue was a glove issue.  I still hadn't gotten in the replacement for my heated clothing controller and was using just my normal winter gloves + some chenile liners.  The winter gloves didn't like the liners very well and I couldn't get my hand comfortable in them so before we got on the road good, I wanted to pull them out and just bare the cold.  At this point, I decided I would invest in some hand guards for winter use.
Raider handgaurds:  Because I needed an excuse to buy something else for the bike!
I pull out on the main road and take the entrance for the freeway.  The road is cold, the tires are cold, but I smack the throttle and power towards the North Bound lane of Ga 400 (AKA GA. Autobahn )   Later in the day I hear that FZ1_Vadar had his rear tire step out on him on the curved onramp, so perhaps I was a bit too eager.  I must admit I was plum giddy to be out and about heading towards some of the best roads in Georgia.  So much so that I think when I looked down I was doing the ton (actual reading) which puts me at about 93 gps.   I slowed down several times but each time I looked down I was once again going faster.  I finally just gave up and prayed that law enforcement was not yet patrolling the 4 or 5 miles of interstate that we had to endure. 

Smells like Hwy 9 to me:
Each time we head out for parts North I take GA Hwy 9.  It is a nice little road that takes you from Cumming, Ga over to Dawsonville, Ga.  As I get my first glimpses of the countryside I am once again reminded of why I love riding a bike.  As we pass a few farms I smell the chicken farms, the hay in the fields and I swear I even smelled biscuits being baked at someone’s house.  Somewhere in this little stretch of road I top a hill just to see to the top of the next hill about a half mile in the distance that there are no cars and the decision is made to grab a gear and let the FZ1 show what it is made of.  I select third and before I can blink the engine looses a little power as it bounces of the rev limiter,  I select forth and again take it to the limit.  A glance at the speedo and I see the needle sweep just past 140 so I back off the throttle.  I glance in my mirror and I see the rest of our group all offering their licenses up for the taking had local law enforcement show up.   This is going to be a fun day. 

He got me on the GA 400 ramp and again on this one.  It was all I could do to keep up with these speed demons.  It's a good thing I had bulky gloves on and pics were impossible or else I'd've lost a camera in the process!  FZ1_Vadar on the other hand was eager to see what the top speed of his Gen2 was.  I'll be looking for these opportunities in the future.  Heck, the sun was barely up and I must've still been sleeping.

Hwy 129 is so fine:
We pass the Stonepile Gap on 60 and I can feel Stella getting even more frisky than before.  You can tell she knows Hwy 129 is just up ahead and she is looking to break in that new back tire and wear out the front.   I check my mirrors and the group is holding together nice and tight. The road is wide and way is clean.  I begin to wonder if there would be a way to close this section of road for a road race someday.   I pray that the Leos are nowhere along our path and I drop two gears and let her loose.  With the new rear tire she feels planted and sure of herself.  She is encouraging me to go faster. I enter a tight turn and instead of just sitting off the edge of the seat just a little I get way off and lean way into the handle bars.  I’ve never taken this corner this fast before.  I practice this technique on a few more corners as the speed builds.  If I had pucks on my knees I am sure I could put one down on the road surface.  It is like having a little kid on the merry go round and he keeps saying.  “Go faster”   In truth I know that the little kid I keep hearing is me.    I check back in my mirrors to see that FZ1_Vadar is breathing down my neck, and keeping a cautious distance is TheWolfTamer.   I start to worry about missing the turn to get on Wolf Pen Gap and all to quickly I ride past it.  Well the road is fun for the next few miles, were running ahead of schedule so Stella keeps revving and I keep smiling.  I soon find a place to make a U-turn and we head back to WPG.

Wolf PenGap -  Who’s is afraid of the big bad wolf?
As I make the corner onto WPG I think to myself.  I got to exercise some more restraint on this road.  The road surface gets dirty, and there are some rough spots and a couple of really tight turns that sneak up on you.  But again Stella is feeling frisky.  She is begging and pleading to let me give her the reigns and she straightens this road out.  We soon climb into the treeline and the leaves and pine needles start to build, I am keeping to the tracks that have been cleared by cars, but even these are a bit narrow so I shut her down to a more cautious pace.  As I cross the bridge I hold back the urge to wheelie across, but I know one day I will.  And as I exit the bridge the abrupt bump at the end reassures me that I have made the correct decision.  Well, perhaps on the way back.   After the bridge there are only a few good corners left and several driveways that, if ill timed with a car backing out, could result in a ride in an ambulance so once again I maintain my resolve to keep a safe pace. 

Is 60 sexy?:
WPG ends onto HWY 60 where we take a right.  The rode is mostly sweepers and there are a few driveways.  The pace is brisk, but in all honesty nothing compared to the two roads before it.   I use 60 as a much needed break.   The lat 5 miles I begin to second guess my GPS,  I trigger the radio and ask theWolfTamer if she is sure were supposed to go this far.  She radios back that all is well and she will recognize the place to turnaround.  I switch back over to MP3 player and sit back to enjoy the ride.  About a half a mile later I get a WTF moment.  A bike slams past me and I am caught in the jet-wash of it’s exhaust.  I think to myself, (no I may have said it out loud) “Who’s that idiot and where did he come from” but before I complete the sentence I realize that it’s theWolfTamer.  The sad part is that I use to like the sound of that pipe, but now I am frightened of it!  We ride to Skeenah Gap Road and then head back in the direction that we came.  FZ1_Vadar is stating he needs fuel.  I am thinking a good restroom break wouldn’t be a bad idea, and a soda would really hit the spot.   We’re hitting a bunch more traffic heading back this way.  I end up behind an elderly lady in a Mercury Marquee that has a handicap plate and just can’t bring myself to pass her as I have so many cars earlier in the day. She reminds me of my late grandmother and I just can’t.   After about a mile there are 3 other cars stacked up in front of us so the pace slows to one where I can lookout and take in my surroundings and let my attention drift.  We pass a few bikes that are heading in the opposite direction including a couple of pocket racers.  They sounded like there were 250cc engines and were about the size of a kids bike.  However the people riding them were clearly adults, wearing full gear, and looked to be having the time of their lives.  I just briefly consider turning around and chasing them down to see what kind of pace they can ride in the corners and see if they mind if I take a turn, but I’m not the kind of guy that would ask to take a turn on another’s bike so I continue on after making my decision, all be it a little reluctantly.  Sure looked like some sick fun.  I wonder I if I could have kept up?

That slow down on 60 going Southbound from Morganton was the ideal time to whip out the camera and pop off a few pics but with the bulky gloves, I was stuck wondering when we passed the Church that dumped these pious drivers in front of us.  It was all right though, in the summer, the LEOs were out in mass on this part of 60 so I was being conscious of my speed anyway.  No pics, but I got's video.

We stopped at the gas station across from TWO where we got gas, drinks, and shot the shit with a guy on a KLR from Sylvester GA.  He had hand guards and I was seriously considering beginning my career as a criminal by bashing him over the head and stealing his farkle!  But I showed some restraint.  I had a bid in on eBay so I could wait.  Actually seeing him reminded me I'd bidded on the wrong set and spurred me to cancel the bid to get the ones you see pictured above.  After that brief break, we got back on WPG for the Re-Run.

I got no pics, but plenty of video!!!

Cruzman mentioned worrying about his GPS route.  After we got back on 129, I thought we would continue to 180 then take Richard Russell into Helen.  Apparently, Cruzman's GPS had other ideas.  There's a little road on the right that goes through a mobile park type place then turns to gravel.  He took it!  At the time, I didn't know about the gravel part but was suggesting we ride through the mobile homes and back to 129 but he couldn't hear me over his music.

The Motocomms are not working out when combined with their Aux Music Cable and a Boostaroo.  My old tech one handled this fine, but not the newest generation.  I keep saying I'm going to email them a complaint but I haven't yet.  I still have my old one that i think has a short in it so I will try to send it in for repair.

As soon as we hit the gravel, I expected FZ1_Vadar to stop in protest, but he soldiered onward through the maybe mile or so until we got to Richard Russell.  RR was a lot cleaner this time than it had been when Cruzman and I rode it in August not too long after they re-opened it.  The road had been maintained, grass cut and it was a blast!!  Keeping up with our morning pattern, we all tested our bikes' abilities.  Me more than the guys because I kind of know the road.  It felt good to be playing in my own yard.

It seems I spent a lot of time this summer on roads I didn't even think I'd ride when the year started.  Some of those roads motivated me to do the Twisty Butt!  Before long, we were rolling into Helen and I saw Cruzman signal another ill-advised turn off of 75.  I didn't even bother to follow and the guys caught up to me before I could get to the stop sign for the right that takes you into Helen.

Traffic was exceptionally light as we rolled through town a little before noon.  It was Halloween and Helen is a popular October destination but you couldn't tell it by the amount of traffic on the Road.  Our lunch destination was the International Cafe where we were serenaded by a guitarist singing Rock songs from the 90's and 80's.  We didn't get to sit next to the river but I could see the spot where I flipped my tube this summer when I took my nephew and niece tubing.  All the restaurants were packed to the gills and I'm sure there were a lot of people that got a good laugh out of my fall.

There were no tubers in October though but lunch was great.  As usual, I forgot to take a pic of my food.  I think because I only think about it after it's all gone!  We listened to the singer for a while and had a great conversation before finally hitting the road again.  Most of the traffic we missed coming in town had arrived as we left.  Once Cruzman got his GPS oriented, we were off toward Lake Burton.

Much clearer video than the morning because I used a different lens.  In putting the new lens on one of my cams, I got super glue on it and didn't realize I'd messed it up until I was editing the vid.  FZ1_Vadar has some vid too but has been so busy he hasn't had time to post it or send it to me.  Maybe one day I'll get to add that here too!

After 197, we made our way toward Blood Mountain,

taking the opportunity to ride to the top of Brasstown Bald since the weather hadn't been bad in the week leading up to our ride.  I hoped the road would be more or less gravel free and it was, with gravel in only one corner on the way down back to 180.  From there we made our way back to Blood Mountain where we split up at the gas station so Cruzman could get home a little early from a ride for once.

FZ1_Vadar and I rode back down Blood Mountain, more or less together.  He passed a few cars that I didn't but soon we were reunited as we made our way into Dahlonega.  We took HWY 9 back towards Dawsonville and said our goodbyes at Hwy 400.

It was another great day with great friends but I was a little saddened by the loss of daylight so soon.  I pulled into my garage in dying daylight after leaving it in morning indigo before sunrise.

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer
David aka Cruzman

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