Saturday morning started off early. We had planned to leave early so we could beat the afternoon rain on the way back. Jeff had come up with a route to take us through North Georgia and another riding buddy decided to join. Normally, you would see me talk about Stretch on my dual sport blog entries, but today Stretch was joining us for a street ride. Since his bike is geared low and a single cylinder thumper I let him try out the FJR. I think he liked getting back on a street bike after riding the dual sport everywhere.
Stretch and I left the house around 8:00 AM to head down to Anderson to meet up with Jeff. Stretch had cooked up a route in his head and we decided to let him be the moto-sherpa on this trip. Stretch has more miles in the southeast than anybody else I know of and for the most part I think he remembers them. Personally, I have no sense of direction. GPS devices were created for people like me.
The traffic was thin for most of the day. Unless we were close to a town we were just about the only things on the road. Our first stop for gas was right outside Helen, GA. This little town was busy! This was the first Saturday in weeks the forecast was not calling for rain. Everybody wanted to get out of the house I think. As we rode further into the hills away from Helen we saw hundreds of people floating on tubes going down the river. I have to say, it looked pretty relaxing and I do believe that I will need to return and try that out. If you want to go try it for yourself check out Cool River Tubing, they seemed to have a lot of customers floating as we went by.
As we headed out of Helen we were met with some great roads! We ripped through the mountains dragging toes, kickstands, and floorboards until we ran into rain. At first it was just a little drizzle, but as we kept going it got heavier. It got so heavy that it was getting pretty sketchy to ride in. Stretch was trying to get us to the restaurant, but then he saw a bicyclist parked under some covered parking so we whipped in there too. It was well timed and quite fortuitous that Stretch saw it. We piled our bikes in to wait out the rain and then we realized that we were parked right beside a restaurant. What luck! As it turns out the Mountainview Trading Post Restaurant was a pretty good place to eat. You can find them on waypoint “F” on the map. Their service was great and everyone was very friendly. They just opened for business and asked us to put the word out that they are biker friendly.
We weren't sure about our parking after we walked over there. We asked the ladies that worked there if it was OK to park under the shelter. She shrugged and said “I don’t think they are home.” Apparently, we were parked in somebody’s carport! With this information we decided to eat and get back on the road before they got back home. By the time we finished eating the rain had subsided and we went to get back on the road. As we walked back we all noticed the “No Trespassing” sign attached to the structure. Whoops!
When we pulled in we had to cross some grass, which meant we had to get back out across wet grass. We almost made it without incident and then the FJR slipped in the grass. Stretch managed to catch it and we helped him get it back upright.
When we got back on the road we ended up heading back towards the rain to get to our next road. We got right back in the downpour and this time we really got wet. The next stop for shelter was the Byron Herbert Reece Heritage Center. We had no idea what this place was, but it had a porch. We parked our bikes and the three of us got under the porch to wait the rain out once again. After a few minutes a couple of ladies came out to offer us some bottled water. Then they came out with paper towels, fresh dish towels to dry off with, and they even put down paper towels to create stepping stones to the bathroom across their floors!
After the rain past we made some pretty significant changes to our original route to try and dodge the rain and get back home without getting wet. These changes nearly doubled our previously planned mileage. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.
We did have one close call. We were on a stretch of road that was covered in tar snakes and the heat of the day had these things feeling greasy. Jeff was rolling into a curve when his bike literally slid across them. When he rolled on the throttle and leaned a little further to keep himself in his lane his frame feeler touched down and bounced him! This put him almost to the other white line. We all got a little worried, but Jeff said he was still removing the seat from his backside miles down the road. Thank the Lord we managed to finish our trip unscathed.
By the time we rode back home we were dry from our previous encounter with the rain and we finally had our motorcycle fix after so many weeks of rain.
What I Learned:
- Helen, GA seems like a great place to take a weekend trip.
- The people we encountered in North Georgia were some of the most hospitable people I have encountered on my adventures.
Leviticus 19:33-34 NIV “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”
Twice on this trip we were in a situation where we were trying to get out of the elements. Twice on this trip we could have been asked to leave, but instead we received friendly hospitality. We were welcomed and treated like friends instead of strangers.
In this modern world it is almost strange to receive so much hospitality. It certainly was unexpected for us, but we were grateful. When the opportunity arrives, will you have hospitality in your heart?