Our research revealed that civil twilight would be around 5:53 AM, with actual sunrise at 6:23. So we made our provisions to rise early and get out the door before 3 AM. We calculated that it would take us about 3 1/2 hours to reach a suitable location and prepare to worship the rising sun. I won't mention that we took an extra half our to get suited up and out the door. Nor will I say much about riding freeways and twisty country roads in the dark. Our speed suffered a little with the darker roads since I was worried about poor woodland creatures jumping out and derailing the entire trip. And I won't mention how the temperatures continued to drop unexpectedly on some of the warmest days in the year. Of course, we weren't adequately prepared for those. And we were going to higher elevations?
We took our first rest stop about 90 minutes into the ride near Helen, GA. We needed to eat a little something for breakfast and warm up. Our break was a little longer then desired, but we had fueled and warmed ourselves well and had a little chance for a photo-op. Once we mounted the bikes again it would be to go through Helen and up the curvy pass of Hwy 76. I was in the lead to set the pace I desired. Still didn't want to hit any creatures, and my first time on this road, but we fared well and proved our theory correct of it being warmer on the other side of the mountain. It was a hop, skip and jump to get to Hiawassee where we gased the bikes up and picked up some drinks and snacks for later in the day. Rode through town and took a right, rode a couple miles and then turned left. Wow. We were in North Carolina already.
Made a few lefts and rights and we were soon able to see the road a little better beyond the scope of the headlights. We were cheered to see the road was rain wet and that we weren't in any of the rain. Yea! But a few more miles took us to Hwy 19 and larger puddles on the road. It had rained recently, and rained pretty hard. Hmmm.... We continued on and we rode into the rain, then out of the rain, then back into the rain. When the drops started making heavier sounds on the helmets we turned around and headed for breakfast at a Huddle House. Not our ideal, but the only thing around.
Hmmm...where to go now? We back tracked down 19 and hit the gas station in Murphy. And unbelieveably the weather was fabulous. The skies were nice in this direction. We just decided to hit the backroads and see where they took us. C remembered some interesting side roads that he had taken, so we set out in search of them.
These side roads brought us to the great Hiawassee Dam in TN. One of the multitude of the TVA projects.