07 August 2011

Ride Report: Last minute get together

31 July 11:  Anywhere as long as we include Wayah RD
323 Miles

On Saturday evening I was reading the FZ1OA forum and thinking about riding some of the roads I missed from the last ride.  eflyguy posted something about finally getting his baffle removed and mentioned that for the first time in weeks he felt like riding.  We were essentially exchanging posts real time over a couple of threads and I started think about asking him if he wanted to join me on Sunday.  As I switched over to my email application, I got a mail notice.  It was from efly, asking if I wanted to ride on Sunday!

We must have been on the Gemini wavelength that day (his birthday is about a week after mine).  I responded as quickly as the message appeared that I was about to ask him the same thing.  A few emails later, we'd only decided that we would not be doing a "marathon" ride like the kind I usually due with Cruzman and that' we'd meet in Cleveland to decide where we were going.  His last message was "Bring your maps."

I had maps!  When I was planning the Alaska Trip that didn't happen, I'd signed up for maps from all over the country, especially the states bordering GA.  (Which reminds me I need to look for my Arkansas and Missouri maps or get some before a future trip.)  I located them and put them on the bike so I wouldn't forget them along with the mounts for the cams.  I figured I'd put them on before heading out in the morning.

But I overslept and then had to wait for efly to tell me where he meant for us to meet because where he said wasn't in Cleveland.  All that waiting meant that by the time he told me where I was going to be late.  So instead of mounting the cams, I just headed that way and hoped I had enough gas to wait until after we met to fuel up.

I think we arrived about the same time.  He was already there, maybe taking off his helmet.  I hadn't wasted all my time waiting.  I came up with a route and loaded it on my GPS.  Over breakfast we decided on a route that included Wayah RD since I really wanted to ride it the week before.  After my first breakfast at Huddle House since the new century came in, we got ready to go.

I struggled to get the new high mount in position and steady before giving up.  I still had to gas up and figured I'd fiddle with it more at lunch.  Instead I tried one of the new low mount positions the super clamp allowed me to use.  I gassed up at the Ingles across the street and we took 129 to 348 over to 17/75, sort of bypassing the town of Helen.

Once on 17/75, efly noticed the new low mount was getting dangerously extended so I pulled over to move the thing once again.  This was getting to be more trouble than it was worth espcially since the cams weren't even on yet!

Turns out, I picked a scenic spot!  Just off of 17/75.  The Chattahoochee River when it's nice and clean!

efly wishing we'd get on the road already (though he never said it!)

No sense wasting this photogenic spot
We got back on the road with me determined not to slow us up any more.  17/75 out of Helen is a nice road that I don't ride often enough.  The last time was earlier this year on the big FZ1 group ride.  It's nice and twisty ride over to Us76.  We took that over to HWY 64 where I was in for a surprise.

I'd never been on that stretch of 64 before and was expecting it to be 4-lane highway type like it is where 129 meets it.  It's not.  It's two lane and well paved that winds between mountains and farms.  There wasn't that much traffic either which was a bonus.  We enjoyed the beautiful morning as we made our way over to Wayah RD.

I could see that cam in my mirror and knew why it wasn't acting like it had when I tested it.
I really like it when I'm not the only fool trying to ride and take pics!  I just wished I'd realized what he was doing so I could have got a pic of him taking a pic of me.  Next time, I guess.
Note to self:  don't use the heavy tripod head on a light monopod.
At the scenic overlook, I took the time to correct my mistake of using the adjustable head on the light monopod and put my homemade dv cam tripod attachment on.  That solved the problem of the moving monopod head!

At the scenic pullout on 64
 See, I got pics of efly.  Just none on the move!

From here, It's about 10 miles to Wayah RD.  Wayah is one of those infamous roads that I've heard about.  They say it's a nice road but there's often gravel and in some places iffy road surface that keeps you on your toes.  As usual in motorcycle circles, it's got it's own nickname:  Thunder Road.  It's not one of the roads that's on our usual list of roads so I was looking forward to the challenge.  We would be riding it backwards from what's listed on the website.

Starting from the marker and ending at 19/74.
I want to do that stretch of road that leads to Tellico too someday.  When I put this in the gps, I first thought to take that then do 28 up to 19 and turn round to take it into Franklin.  Instead I opted for a more loopy solution.  Fitting for me I guess!

Thunder Road kind of fell flat of it's name.  There was no thunder as we were the only bikes on the road, unless you count the lowing emanating from efly's baffleless Suono!  I knew to be careful because this was the road I'd read a forum member wrecked on because of the road surface.  After the long straight stretch at the beginning, the roads gets sweepy then tight as you ride by farms on the left.  I should have a video to post here but I accidently deleted the cards.  I guess I was feeling lupie after I finished the ride.  Keep reading and you'll see why.

Anyway, once you get past the sweepy portion into the twisty bits, there's an orange sign that warns of fresh tar on the road.  Yes, tar.  Did I mention it was hot?  Getting hotter as the morning progress, actually, and by the time we got to that point it was half past 11 so that means nearing whatever the day's high would be.  I was already on alert put this one sign put me on high alert and made me slow even more.  I crept through the turns like I was riding a cruiser and afraid to scrape my chrome!

I managed to miss the fresh tar most of the time.  I could feel my eyes dancing in my head as I scanned the road like they taught us in the MSF class.  I know I do this all the time but on this road, with a fresh tar reminder, I couldn't help but double check what I'd seen.  The good news is that in the twisty bits, there aren't many driveways for you to worry about side traffic.

Once we cleared that, there were more residences than I guessed would be there.  In fact it looked as if they are developing the area so if you're looking for some mountain real estate, I know where you can go.  To me this really takes away from the road.  Add that to the appearance of gravel and I was beginning to wonder when we would get to 19!

Then I saw a beautiful rock formation alongside the road and motioned to efly that I was turning around.  My bluetooth comm and his bluetooth comm won't talk to each other.  That's kind of dumb though, they should all talk to each other!

Didn't get the right angle for the bike that I wanted.
efly took a much better pic than I did!
We were here for a bit sharing our thoughts about the road and deciding that we weren't hungry enough to stop for lunch.  Instead we'd go straight to Highlands.

We were riding alongside this for a while but I was so concentrating on the road I never noticed it!  This formation is only a couple of miles from 19/74.  efly took the lead from here and I experienced another first by riding 19 though the Nantahala section where all the outfitters are.  Traffic was probably the heaviest that we'd seen all day long.  It's very scenic so I didn't mind (for once) being stuck behind a line of cars as I drank in the scenery.

In fact, it was a nice respite from the intensity it took to ride Wayah RD.  We gassed up at our usual spot on 28 before taking my favorite section of 28 into Franklin.  It was better than the week before because it was dry! 

I did get a new experience though.  Just when I was getting into the groove of the road, a guy on a tractor appeared!  There were two cruisers stuck behind him as well but fortunately it was after the twistiest bits so we were able to pass them all on a straight section.

And one more first:  efly's Suono drowned the potatoes of the Harley riders' bikes while we were waiting on the light to turn and continue on 28 in Franklin!  I didn't know those bikes could be out-louded.

While we were waiting for the light, I told efly that I wanted to stop at Dry Falls.  I've never stopped there before and this seemed like a good a time as any.  I was surprised when there wasn't a ton of traffic on 28/64 leading to Dry Falls, only a lot.

For the curious, Dry Falls ain't dry!  Neither was the parking lot when we got ready to leave.  No sooner than we'd decided to continue on 28 to Warwoman RD despite the showers in the area did big drops of rain begin to fall.  I had time to put the rain cover on the tank bag before it got too wet.

As we continued on into Highlands, the rain intensified.  By the time we reached 106, we decided it would be more prudent to take it and high tail it home.  I don't think I've ever had so much fun in the rain!  We took 441 all the way back to town and ran in and out of showers until we reached Gainesville.

With the showers gone, the heat intensified!  Fortunately I was already wet so it only served to dry me off before I got home.  It was the first time I'd ridden straight from Dry Falls to the house without stopping!

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

The Day's Route

No comments:

Post a Comment

Search This Blog