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

The next morning we got up early and headed out for Wolf Pen Gap and Blood Mountain. We rode west on US 76 to Highway 17. US 76 is a great ride. There are lots of sweeping curves and elevation changes. I was really starting to get into the turns. Most of them had a line of sight sufficient to maintain some speed, yet they weren't so tight that you couldn't look around a little and enjoy the scenery.

We turned south on Highway 17, then west on 180. This road runs past Brasstown Bald, the highest mountain in Georgia. There's an observation deck on the top of the bald with a 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains. It's a steep ride up, but well worth it.

We stopped at the Sunshine Country Store for some boiled peanuts to fortify us before we began the ride up Blood Mountain. Highways 180, 60 and US 19 make a complete circle around Blood Mountain. It's a very popular run and on weekends you'll see plenty of bikes. The road starts out narrow with many very tight turns. It goes uphill almost all the way until it intersects with Highway 60 at the little town of Suches. Suches is home to the famous Two Wheels Only (TWO). TWO is a campground, restaurant and gathering spot for motorcycles. They take their name seriously; no cars are allowed unless they're pulling motorcycle trailers. They have a spacious deck overlooking a creek, which is a great spot to hang out and meet other riders. The restaurant reminds me of a dining hall at summer camp. Don't pass TWO up; stop and stick a pin in the map.

The rest of the ride is mostly down hill, with nothing but turns. We were getting better at the turns but were definitely not going fast enough for the guys on the crotch rockets. We got passed once by a rider going so fast, I thought my bike was stopped. We saw one guy that passed us, came back the other way and passed us again in the space of about 5 miles. These riders obviously have skills but sometimes I wonder if they have brains

We stopped at the old WPA building at Neel's Gap. It's now a hostel for hikers on the Appalachian Trail and sells all kinds of high end hiking gear. Before we leave, we decide to take Highway 348 over to Helen. This is the Richard Russell Scenic highway. It runs along the crest of the mountains for about 10 miles and the views are spectacular. Don't miss this road; it's probably the most scenic road in Georgia.

Our next stop was the fake Alpine town of Helen for lunch. About thirty years ago, someone in Helen decided to transform the town into a Bavarian village. Even if you know nothing about Germany, Helen can't be mistaken for the real thing. We stopped at a "German" restaurant for lunch. I had a German cheeseburger and Bill had German nachos. We washed it all down with that famous German beer, Busch Bavarian. An hour later, I was hungry for power. It wasn't all bad though; it had an outdoor dining area that fronted on the Chattahoochee River.

We headed back to Dillard by way of Lake Burton. This is an extremely tight and twisting road that winds past some of the most expensive homes in Georgia. Even a shack on Lake Burton costs in the millions.

We messed around so long that by the time we got back to Dillard, all the restaurants were closed except for the same crummy barbeque joint we ate at the night before. It didn't get any better. We ate and rode back up to Sky Valley just as the sun went down.

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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