I first noticed it with Rock Eagle. I went there on my first long distance solo ride (which I hadn't seen fit to write about since I didn't have this blog up yet). Then took Mr. Oilburner there the following weekend when he came home because it was just so cool and he had to go. And the a couple weeks later took a friend out there for the same basic reasons.
Standard staging area photo.
It has happened a couple more times throughout the last two years, so it wasn't surprising when our Meetup (.com) group came up with the Bridal Veil Falls ride. Mr. Oilburner enjoyed last weekend so much that he was dragging me out to this one. (Hard drag.)
It was the standard meet at IHOP, eat breakfast if so inclined, introductions to the new faces and oogling over each others rides. But hop on the interstate, get started and we are a fluid group of 11 bikes weaving along the roadway. (No photos...sorry. Just not a good vantage from halfway through the pack.)
We slab it up to Helen to make time for the fun spots later in the day. Helen's stop is again the gas station, with a little more mud buildup from the heavy rains over the last couple of days.
Taking a last minute look over on the bike I notice the rear shaft seal is a little loose (as usual on this baby) and much sand seems to have accumulated. Just what I get for the rain and dirt riding I have been putting her through lately.
Just a little bit of sand accumulation.
I grabbed some paper towels and wiped it away as best I could, then tucked the seal back in. The shaft appeard pretty good under all that gunk.
We hit the road and roared through a country curving highway. It was repaved last year and in excellent condition. I could have done without the excessive speeding, and ultimately slowed down from the pack. But the road was gorgeous!
We met back up into the pack, but were missing two members. It seems they missed the turn onto this road. While the leader backtracked to find them, a new leader was appointed to take us up to Clayton. Thankfully the new leader missed a right hand turn and lead us up the twisties past Lake Burton. Compared to Hwy 75, this is my next favorite. And I was mightily pleased with myself and the speeds I ran it! I managed to keep up with Jerrold! (Saying a lot since Jerrold is extremely experienced, talented and on an automatic scooter!) I smiled internally thinking that I couldn't wait to see the video. Alas...one of those huge drawbacks to the GoPro when you can't tell which mode you are in or if the camera is recording or not. While I thought I had been recording this journey, I wasn't. Argh!! I don't know if I will have the guts to run it at that speed again any time soon.
Literally, the end of the road.
We reached the end of the road in no time and pulled over to wait for the remaining pack. Of the 9 riders in this group it was just 5 of us waiting. We kinda think something might be up when 5 minutes have passed and the only bikes that have come up are not part of our group. A couple more minutes and a 6th person has joined us, only to inform us that one of the group went down. The rider was okay, the bike was upright, two of our group were with him and a passing truck had stopped.
We debated about turning around, but were discouraged from it due to limited stopping places and fragmenting our group even more. All the while, two of us were trying to reach the leader, but mountains and cell coverage are sketchy at best. With one person successful at reaching him, we are told to stay put and he will be here in about 5 minutes.
Five minutes pass and still no leader. We give it another five. Then another. Turns out the leader was a little farther away then any of us expected, having found the two lost riders and just taking them up Hwy 75. Our little group is now down to just two fragments. Phone calls pass back and forth with the two helpers down at the spill site. The downed bike is upright, the rider is fine, no scratches on him, the bike appears rideable except for the bent shift lever. (Not cluthc lever.) In an attempt to bend it back into a useable position the aluminum broke, The McGyvers of the group, along with the good samaratins passing by zip-tied an allen wrench in place. It would have worked, except the bike wouldn't start. We of the lead group didn't know this until hours later.
Thinking that the situation was handled and the riders didn't want us back there, we looked forward and continued on with the journey.
Looking towards the road we would be taking.
We make good time to the falls again. This time I am in a better mood and grab the camera.
This is for Bobskoot to show you just how close the road is to the fall.
I may have been in the mood to take time and pictures, but the group definitely was it and wanted to high-tail it into town for some overdue lunch. It was a pizza joint, but the salads were extremely fresh. Yes, we did have pizza too, but way to good to remember to take pictures of.
After lunch we scrambled towards home through more twisties, of course. We headed from NC, cut across the corner of NE Georgia and ran into South Carolina. Three states within 20 minutes. Cool. We made a last pit stop in South Carolina to try and cool off before merging onto I-85 and heading home.
I've posted a few more pictures over at Flickr. I'll get the hang of riding and pictures soon. Maybe. While I didn't manage to take any video for the beginning of the ride Mr. Oilburner affixed the camera to his bike and managed to catch some video of me in the twisties. Unfortunately the location was subjected to wind buffeting. I will try to clean it up and post a few minutes. I'm not sure if it is salvageable. :-)
3 states and 1 waterfall
Abundant twisties and completely proud of myself in them. I wasn't the slowest of the group!
Unfortunately one rider down that we learned had to be towed home. One really good rider that volunteered to stay with him until the tow truck came. (Wish we had known. We would have gone home to bring the trailer back for him.)
Again, good friends, old and new