Woke up after the party last night a little tired. In fact, I was wondering whether to go out for a ride at all. I am glad I decided to soldier it on. “PoshGoonda” Rakesh Rao had planned a great route to a great destination. We landed up having lunch sitting by the river watching folks canoe and raft by on the Big Creek in a very small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains called Aska.
Avi was the steady sweep behind all the time to make sure nobody was left behind. Which in this case, means really me – since it was three of us who hit the mountain trails today.
I am most glad that I was able to do all those left and right turns in the mountains without making a single mistake.
All that said, the butts are really really sore 🙁
Rakesh, Avi and I rode independently to our favorite coffee spot – Barrel House Coffee in Ballground, Cherokee county. Rakesh, of course, took an hour and a half detour (via Burnt Mountain) for the 30-40 minute ride from his house! Avi came from home (around 45-50 minute ride). I went via E. Cherokee Rd to try out some twistys by myself before showing up at the coffee spot.
Ballground is all business now. The picnic benches are open. There is still social distancing going on and only some folks were wearing masks. But there were an incredible number – and I mean an incredible number of motorbikes there today!
Missed my ride with Rakesh and Avi today. Felt jealous that I could not join them on the long ride. But I have been really falling behind on my running miles. Had to give some time to running.
Took the bike out later in the evening. The idea was to go to Sawnee Mountain. On the way took two wrong turns. The first one brought me back in a loop after 10 minutes. For the second one, I had to take the help of Google Maps.
It was a nice warm 80 degree day. The motorbikers were out in droves.
Ominous clouds in the sky but you could see all the mountains around Atlanta – including downtown Atlanta from Burnt Mountains today. Stone Mountain is not visible that often from there. It is on the left end on the top picture. You can see the magnified picture in the bottom one. There was not much sunlight – but I suspect the lowering of pollution (shelter at home and the recent rains bringing pollen count down) had something to do with it.
It was windy and cold as heck. The views look great though!
After a long time, the three musketeers hit the road with the motorbikes. As always, Rakesh planned out the trip and led the caravan of three. And Avi stayed behind as the sweep to keep me safe. It was an absolutely enjoyable ride. Altogether, a little over 120 miles (200 km).
Of course, the serpentine roads up in the mountains kept me on my tenterhooks. Made a terrible mistake once of not relaxing my body and leaning the bike enough on a right turn. I had not slowed down enough, got scared and stiffened up and slipped over to the other lane for about 30 yards. Fortunately, there was no traffic from the other side.
When we stopped at Burnt Mountain look out point, while parking the bike on a steep climb, managed to earn my first distinction of “laying the bike down”. That is a euphemism for dropping the bike. Not sure what happened, but the motorbike leaned over while I was backing it in to park and I could not pull it up. Rakesh quickly came to help me. When he learnt that this was the first time I had laid my bike down, his only remark – after some 25 years of motorbiking was – “you have a lot of catching up to do”.
We started fairly warm in the sixties (I still had five layers on). But boy, it got real cold up in the mountains and the strong wind was making me wonder why I had not put another layer on. I think Avi bore the burnt of the cold temperatures – I believe he had less layers than me.
I am still bummed I made that mistake. Almost will make me go back there by myself and keep my speed under control this time (which is much lower than other motorbikers on the road) and make all those twists and turns once again without that mistake.
The view from Burnt Mountain Lookout Point was awesome. First time saw Stone Mountain and Kennesaw mountain. It was a cloudy day but perhaps the lack of pollution with all this shelter at home gave a clear line of sight to mountains that are 70 miles away from Burnt Mountain (as the crow flies).