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Plan B: A Motorcycle Trip from Florida to the Smokies (almost)

We left on a cool Sunday morning in April. I packed all the cold weather gear I owned because I was sure it was going to be cold once we got some altitude. We decided to stick to the two lane roads as much as possible and stay well east of Atlanta. We left Tallahassee going north on US 319. We bypassed Thomasville, Georgia on a good two-lane road that took us all the way to Camilla. We decided earlier to ride hard in the morning and do at least two hundred miles before we stopped for a real rest.

We gassed up and got some home made beef jerky at the Salt Lick in Warwick, Georgia and left the four-lane road at Cordele. We rode through a dozen small towns until we got to Eatonton, Georgia, where we gassed up again and had breakfast. We did 230 miles with only one stop and were feeling pretty proud of ourselves.

From Eatonton we rode northeast on 44 to 77, then threaded our way north on Highway 22. This part of the ride was better then I expected. We rode through dozen of little towns with great old courthouses and nostalgic looking main streets. My favorites were Maxeys, Lexington and Danielsville. We finally got to US 441, near Taccoa, and headed north into the mountains.

Never ride up 441 without stopping at the old overlook at Tallulah Gorge. This is one of the deepest gorges in the east and a great spot to take a break. When the new four-lane US 441 was built, it bypassed the overlook, so you need to watch for the turnoff to Old Historic 441. The overlook is an old building hanging over the gorge, with a nice view of the gorge and a great gift shop. They sell lots of old tourist crap you can't find anywhere else. I bought a Moon Pie T-shirt and a Peach Nehi. They also have an interesting selection of books about the region, including a couple of books about motorcycle roads in the area. It's also a good place to get local maps.

After a couple more Nehi's, we got back on 441 and continued north to Dillard, Georgia, where we planned to spend the night. We arrived late Sunday afternoon and the only open place we could find to eat was a barbeque joint that I will not name or recommend. Furthermore, you can't get a beer in Dillard on a Sunday so I had to wash my barbeque sandwich down with ice tea.

After dinner we got our first taste of riding twisting mountain roads. The house we were going to stay at was in Sky Valley, which is a lot higher then Dillard. The road was fairly straight for a time, then started to climb dramatically and switched back on itself about six times. Not knowing the road, we were pretty conservative and didn't drag floorboards or make any sparks. I was feeling pretty good about it until we got to Sky Valley. The grades there are far steeper than the county roads and the house sat at almost 4000 feet. This was a totally new experience for us and I have to admit, we grannied our way up. The night ended by watching the sun set over the mountains while polishing off a few cool ones.

Travel Pictures


wcd1960 says:

bad gas
Tue Jun 14, 2016 at 9:06 AM

farmboy555 says:

Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 12:13 PM

BikerB50 says:

Great story, hope your next trip is a good one!!!!
Sun May 26, 2013 at 10:01 AM

DonJ says:

Being from around your area of the country I would guess carb adjustment from atmosphere pressure change.
Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 2:55 PM

TequilaJohn says:

Yep, sometimes those little out of the way places have some pretty old tanks. Had a friend fill up with diesel on the way out to Sturgis last year. Suffered similar symptoms. We had to drain his tank on the side of the road, and siphon enough from another bike to get him to the next exit. He finished 4500 miles of our 5500 mile ride with no ill effects from it. Needless to say, he earned a new nickname that day. hehheh
Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 7:38 AM

roadstar says:

Close enough. Bad gas in Ducktown. My riding buddy filled up at the same place and had no problems. Go figure.
Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 5:17 AM

TequilaJohn says:

Filled up with Diesel in Ducktown?
Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 9:18 AM

roadstar says:

No wiring short. Try again
Fri Aug 17, 2007 at 1:07 PM

prnc81 says:

Short in your wiring (probably caused from the rain). This resulted in your regulator/rectifier getting fried and your battery getting weaker leading to your misfires - which ultimately left you stranded. You might have noticed your gauges starting to go haywire while you were riding (not sure if you have a tachometer or not)...
Thu Aug 16, 2007 at 11:51 AM

roadstar says:

No it wasn't. Try again.
Tue Aug 7, 2007 at 12:51 PM

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