The morning wake up ritual continues: groggy, coffee, "When we going riding??"
Mr. Oilburner and I managed a slightly earlier kickstands up time today. But Brother was doing exceptionally well given his time zone change. I think Brother would have been happier to get moving earlier, but Mr. Oilburner and I still have the classic problem of slow feet sometimes.
This day was threatening rain. We took it with a grain of salt and headed towards the mountains. Brother wanted twisties!! He insisted that he could handle it. Mr. Oilburner and I would look at each other with that knowing look. He might think he knows twisties...but he hasn't seen anything with our roads out here. Fine. Brother wants twisties, we were gonna give him twisties.
We headed towards Suches and planned to take Hwy 180 over to Helen. One of the twistier roads in the area. We were hoping to have lunch at Two Wheels Only (TWO). That would give Brother a break between Hwy 60 from Dahlonega, before hitting 180.
Hwy 60 north of Dahlonega is a fun little road that has to be shared by motorcycles, bicycles and sports cars during the summer. We had it to ourselves on a rainy Monday! Allowing us to go whatever speed we were interested in. Brother was confident enough to go the speed he was most comfortable with. So saying, he was obeying the speed limit instead of attempting to keep up with Mr. Oilburner. Like yesterday, he looked extremely comfortable.
We stopped at the top of the pass to show Brother the Appalachian Trail. Tis the season and many hikers were milling about. It was so eventful that we didn't even dismount the bikes. Just a quick discussion and we headed on our way. TWO was only a couple miles down the road. As my luck would have it, TWO was closed. We stopped to take a few pictures and gawk at some of the demolition scenarios they had on display.
We weren't terribly hungry and didn't have any issues with continuing on our route. Our luck held and the rain started just as we turned onto Hwy 180. Hey, I never said it was good luck. Figuring that it wasn't going to let up we let Brother suit up in the Frog Togs. Mr. Oilburner and I were wearing our waterproof gear already. I enjoyed watching Brother taste real twisties with winter gravel still sitting in some curves and the rain coming down pretty hard. And since Mr. Oilburner and I are connected I was able to give updates on Brothers learning progression. I couldn't fault his caution on those hairpin turns. 180 is a stupendously fun and curvy road if you know it. Encountering it for the first time in the rain is daunting and he did well.
Hwy 76 was a different story. The rain was still obscuring visibility and coming down hard enough to sheet across the road. Brother's speed slowed down to 20 mph. Which isn't completely unreasonable considering that is the posted/recommended speed limit around some of those turns. I chuckled down through the wireless. It took Mr. Oilburner asking me if he was leaning into the corners for me to notice that Brother was starting to manhandle the bike a little more and that bike was barely leaning around any of those curves. :-)
I was anticipating the hairpin turn marking the last of the tight curves to see how Brother would handle it. I wasn't anticipating how I would handle the sheer embankment encroaching the edge of the pavement. It was a little disconcerting executing my perfect lean, trying not to wobble as I realize I am looking directly down the washout. Hiccup... Wish I could have gotten a picture of that, but I wasn't about to take my hands off the wheel.
Yeah! Our luck held out a little longer and the rain stopped just as we came out of the mountains. Of course... We stopped at the first place we spotted for lunch and shrugged out of the gear. My jacket weighed about 10 pounds more then it did when I first put it on. And my shorts were wet and sticky all the way up to my derriere. Damn waterproof gear ain't so waterproof.
Helen, GA is also known as Alpine Helen and revels in all things Germanic. It is a little on the tasteless/tacky side and a huge tourist trap, to me. But visiting in the off-season provides plenty of parking spaces, easy access to eateries and actually walking space on the sidewalks. So we laughed about our luck and antics over delicious bratwurst and sauerkraut. We tripped through a few stores looking for souvenirs for Brothers family. I lucked across a place selling Haribo Raspberries. Brother bought homemade fudge and divinity and I buy packaged candies. :-) We let Brother sightsee, being his first time. He takes all the pictures, I merely tag along. Nothing exciting.
By the time we gathered our gear and ourselves the clouds were clearing away, letting the sun shine through.
My luck... :-)
Brother's first treat of GA twisties...and he even had to do it in the rain
Rain in all the twisties, clear skies coming home on the highway...
Maybe even our first time actually eating German food in Helen, not just funnel cake. ;-)