We finally found some contour to the ground, both vertical and horizontal. After
2 months and 4,000 miles we have climbed above 200 feet in elevation. In fact our
campsite in the Unicoi State Park near the Bavarian looking town of Helen is at 1,750
feet. We stayed off the freeways and took two-lane roads from Augusta to Helen. The
countryside was farming and small towns scattered along the road. Interspersing
this were lakes and patches of hardwood forest. The feeling this gives us is wonderful. The
beaches and shorelines, swamps and cities were interesting but we're mountain and
We have come to ride the twisties, those roads with interest and built-in fun. But
we don't want to just run the roads, we will take the scenic route and go see some
of the sights.
The first of which was the "Bear in the Park" music festival in Dahlonega, about
15 miles away that took us 30 to get there. There was music and mountain dancing
by guys and gals. I'm not sure what the strips of rag and the sticks symbolize but
they were very enthusiastic.
The gals were just as enthusiastic but were not as strange. As well as this performance
area outside there was a large tent with named groups in it. Lastly, all around
the courthouse square were groups of musicians jamming. These groups seemed to be
made of people who played but not as part of a named band. There were dozens of
them and as one walked around there was a constant flow of mountain music all around
There were examples of crafts from the early days of mountain living. And even the
kids got into it building bird houses and games.
We spent several hours there, had lunch, listened to the music and then got on the
We were having a lot of fun just riding the kinkiest roads I could find on the map. We
rode in a large loop waving at other bikers, including the ones without an engine
who were also enjoying the sun and winding roads. We only put about 120 miles on
that day but we had a great time at it!
Our campground is in a small valley with a steep road leading between the campsites. It
is tucked away from any form of civilization and very, very quiet and dark at night. That
is just great after all the campgrounds we have been in that were near railroads
and highways. After a great night's sleep we again rode out to conquer some more
of Georgia's mountain roads.
Today we are taking a different loop. Not everything is mountainous, there are fields
and lakes and farms too. We also met lots more bikers and even a BMW club out for
a ride. We stopped at TWoS for an iced tea. This is a famous motorcycle only campground. We
are not here because I had been told it was closed. But it has obviously reopened. It
is very nice looking with a small creek and nice campsites along the shore.
We also did a couple strenuous things today, off the bike. We stopped at Tallulah
Gorge and looked over the edge. Then we decided to go down to the suspension bridge. It
was only 322 steps down! On the right we are almost there. You can see the bridge
in the center of the picture.
And once we were there it was only 221 more steps to the bottom and a nice look at
one of the falls.
Of course it was also 543 steps back up!
But we were not done for the day.
The "Brasstown Bald" is the highest point in Georgia. It is topped with a visitor's
center and lookout tower. The parking lot is 6/10's of a mile and 600 feet elevation
below the top. There is an extra cost shuttle bus but we walked it
through tall Rhododendron bushes which unfortunately for us don't bloom until late
May. Although the afternoon haze was coming in the view was still great. Better
than it shows in the picture. (That is the parking lot down there.)
The third day we are kind of stiff from all the walking and climbing of the previous
day so we decide to do a just riding day. But that does not mean that we didn't
stop to enjoy the view from a vista turnout where we could chat with other bikers. The
views from these turnouts were just as good as from the top of the bald. There is
a lot of scenery in this part of the country.
We have ridden about 450 miles in these mountains in our three days with half of
that on the third day. We have had a good time riding the curves, over the gaps
and through the hollows.
The mountains are not quite done for yet. Tomorrow we are headed to "Stone Mountain"
near Atlanta. But this is a tourist trap not a scenic mountain. After that it is
on to Birmingham, Alabama to visit the Barber Motor Sports Museum.