Monday, February 14, 2011

Warm Springs and SETI

What do you do when it is one of the best days of the year, so far, and want to go riding, but can't figure out where you want to go?

Let someone else plan and lead the ride!


One of our clubs had a "covered bridge" tour on the calendar, so we decided to tag along.  We were going to have to kick ourselves into high gear to make the meet time, though.

No fear. Some people can be counted on to always be a little fashionably late.  We arrived 3 minutes before the kickstand up time of 10 AM. But we (the group) hung around until 10:40 for some stragglers.  It was worthwhile for some of the conversations that came out of our time standing around.  I can't repeat some of them as they were raunchy!  But funny if you have that type of humor.

Everyone arrives and with some good natured ribbing we head for the road.  Turns out that this bridge tour is exactly that: a bridge.  As in one.  The leader had planned for two, until he discovered the other bridge was about 100 miles northeast of where we were headed.  Mr. Oilburner and I didn't mind as this was going to be another bridge in our belts that we hadn't visited before.

Red Oak Creek Covered Bridge is touted as being the longest covered bridge in Georgia.  But so is Watson Mill.  How can there be two?


We think Red Oak Creek bridge is considered the longest span at 391 feet, but the entire span isn't "covered".  Where as Watson Mill bridge is the longest/covered/full span at 229 feet.

Watson Mill Covered Bridge
Watson Mill Covered Bridge

Yes, we did ride through and across the bridge.  Only two others followed us.  Everyone else was chicken.  I can tell you that what I thought were abutting boards actually did have gaps between them.  I didn't see that until later since riding across them didn't give the appearance of any space.  I was a little glad I didn't know that beforehand.



This bridge is farther off the beaten track than others and sees its fair share of graffiti artists.  And I use the "artist" lightly.  A couple were cute or funny, but it was all the basic "Bubba and Jolene 4-ever" type of thing.



Then someone noticed a plaque high up the bridge wall noting the "high water mark" from flooding on July 7, 1994.  Wow!!  This was probably 18-20 feet above current water levels and mean that a large portion of this wide ravine was full of water.


You can make out the high water plaque in the upper left amid the black spray paint.

Once the sightseeing and speculation was done we headed over to Warm Springs for lunch.  Most people were interested in the BBQ place for lunch.  Since Mr. Oilburner and I had eaten there a couple of weeks ago, we opted to split and have lunch at the little cafe that serves diner fare.  Service was slow, but the food was good.  BLT was piled high with crispy bacon.  mmmmm......



After lunch saw people sightseeing and lounging around the ice cream shop.  But most of us just sat on the steps outside, soaking up the sun and camaraderie.  Now came decision time, continue south and west a little to hit some twisties at Pine Mtn? Or begin heading northeast towards Atlanta and see some large satellite dishes?




1948 Moto Guzzi

1924 Military Harley Davidson


As much as I didn't want the day to end, it was nearing 3 PM and heading away from Atlanta was going to give us a long ride time home.  Besides, I have seen (but not ridden) Pine Mtn.  I wanted to see these dishes in the middle of nowhere.

Today's roads were great.  Once out of the urban areas we stuck to the less traveled lanes that DOT (Department of Transportation) was letting slide.  The lanes were narrow and bumpy as the asphalt was beginning to break apart a little.  You know those lanes where you can feel the "sport" suspension on your bike.  :)  I loved the tour on these back roads where even farms and houses were few.  I would rather have enjoyed them at the posted speed limits.  But some people see these small roads as perfect opportunites to get a little wild.  I don't know if my inner-daredevil is a little bit chicken (could be), I am a girl (most definitely) or I don't want to have my motorbike impounded for reckless riding.  But I usually like to look around as I tour.  And I just can't be a tourist when I am worried about calculations and reaction times traveling down the lane.  Outside of that, the roads were fun and exciting.  It has been awhile since we have been on completely new road.

The dishes did not disappoint.  These are actual SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) dishes that  were originally an AT&T satellite relay station.  One dish has been refurbished for SETI use.  Currently parts for one dish are being cannibalized for the other dish since AT&T managed to damage both of them when they abandoned this site.  Georgia Tech University has reclaimed them.


We spent a few minutes chatting and speculating, wishing for tin foil to make hats to prevent our brain wavelengths from being read.  But it was now time to head home.  It was a great day with all the exciting and entertaining food, companions and destinations.  The temperatures started at a 42F (5.5C), necessitating heated gear.  But the end of the ride was a basking 64F (18C).  it is so nice when you can remove a layer of clothing during the ride!!  Out little jaunt came to 227 miles (365 km) of some great pavement.  More images available on Flickr.


  1. Looks like you had an awesome day. Great pictures too. Thanks for sharing.

    We have a lot of covered bridges in our area too and one of these days we'll have to do a tour. It is amazing how much history is out there to be discovered on two wheels.

  2. NIce write up Lori, I am a bit hungry now though, pictures of food tend to do that to me. Interesting pic of the Tiki, very similar to our Maoris and there tikis. Strange to see one in america. Riding back roads that you have not done before is one of the best things about being a biker. Seeing stuff that the average car driver never does. The destination is not's the journey! Summer on it's is our winter.

  3. I've enjoyed every group ride I've gone on, and . . . I haven't enjoyed any group ride I've gone on. I think you put your finger on it for me: "But I usually like to look around as I tour." This is much easier when riding alone. That said, it is really good to be with others who like to ride.

    Another great post. Thank you.

  4. Nice outing, and up to 18C. For Canadians that's summer! Your detailed pictures of the bridge are intriguing. Too bad that there is so much bad graffiti on it.

  5. Sounds like a nice group ride. And the covered bridge pictures are great. I like the one showing the wooden deck. It sounds like Spring is just around the corner for you. We are still a long way from there with today's high back home of -29°F.


  6. Great ride report and wow, perfect weather! Love seeing the old bridge, and it's structure. And the dishes are very cool.

    I love exploring and gawking at the scenery. I'm often rolling along rather slowly just to take in the view.

    Good post! :)

  7. Dear Steel Cupcake:

    What a pleasant mid-winter run! I have a thing for covered bridges. There are three with a 25-mile radius of the house here, but only two are fully functional. I have never hesitated to cross them, but the wood planks are slippery on damp rainy days.

    It doesn't seem like I am going to get out much before April, which may be just as well. I am having problems with my legs and they are going to take some conditioning.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  8. OH BeemerGirl:

    What a nice day for a ride ! such a nice write up UNTIL . . . I saw the hot dog where someone bit the end off. Those fries also looked perfect. Now I am hungry.

    If your bike can't handle the frost heaves then trade it for the Super Tenere, or V-Strom. When I see bad roads I usually go faster. GeorgeF knows all about the Tenere.

    We hardly get to 18c even during the heat of summer. You are so lucky. We are losing heat every day and by Friday we may have snow flurries.

    I went back to drool over the BLT. Now I want one

    Wet Coast Scootin

  9. I love covered bridges too, nice little trip. I tend to get a little wild when I know cops are not around too, I'm a boy that just turned 50 :-)
    Isn't technology amazing? AT&T probably now has one little satellite dish that does the same or more than all three giants combined ;-)

  10. Hi Trobairitz!

    Thank You! It was a good day.

    I'm looking forward to seeing some of your bridges. Wonder if they are along the same designs?

    Actually had a conversation today with the service manager at my dealership. He kept mentioning places that he had heard of on the history channel and didn't realize existed in Georgia. I was happy to realize that I had actually been to all of these places! They got mad at me for actually having a life.

    Thanks for riding along!


  11. Hey Raftnn!

    The world revolves around food, don't it?? I think one might be hard pressed to find some bad food when on the bike and with friends. :)

    America is the hodge-podge of everything. I would be surprised to see saloons in NZ. Are you going to find one for me??

    And I'm not sympathetic to your said it is mild and you can still ride. You will still be having some great trips!


  12. Hi Keith/Circle Blue,

    You are exactly right. It seems all compromises and makes me wonder if everyone is happy. But when the people are good, it helps all around. And these people today were good.

    I want to be more like you and Scooter in the Sticks and slow down and actually get off the bike and take more pictures. Sigh... You can teach me. :)


  13. Hi SonjaM,

    18C is summer?? I guess that beats 35.5C and 98% humidity any day. I just loved taking off the heated jacket in the afternoon! Free movement! :)

    As for the graffiti, at least it wasn't all curse words.

    Thank you for sharing in the ride!


  14. Hi RichardM,

    Ouch!! -29F. I'm so sorry! When does the season actually begin to turn around?

    Spring was definitely here this week. But that could change. The last two years we have had snow in April. Then no spring.

    I hope your temps start hiking back up soon!


  15. Hi Bluekat!

    See? I need riding partners like you out here. The guys are only interested in speed! I want scenery.

    Thanks for posting in and giving me hope!


  16. Hi Jack!

    How can someone not have a thing for covered bridges? They just weren't born here or something. Usually such unique engineering and the fact that they have been standing here for a century.

    Are you going to take us to your bridges soon? Ours are about half and half for functionality. Many of the bridges on side roads are closed to motorized traffic because they just aren't maintained anymore. Soon some of them won't even be able to handle pedestrian traffic. Such a shame.

    I'm sorry to hear that your legs our bound, literally and figuratively. But there is hope with only a month and a half distant. What types of exercises are you doing to condition those legs. Cuz I highly doubt that sitting cross-legged on the frozen concrete floor is doing them any favors. ;)

    Can I copyright "Steel Cupcake"? hehe

    -Steel Cupcake/Lori

  17. Hi Bobskoot!

    Food porn! Wonderful, glorious pictures of juicy, tasty, crunchy sustenance. hehe.

    Don't even get me started on the Super Tenere! Wait to you read my next post. Did you know that the Rider actually test rode one...and had nothing but good things to say about it. Argh.

    As for that V-strom...I can't flat foot. Otherwise...

    Hope the snow flurries are light and go away quickly.

    What did you have for dinner? ;)

    -Steel Cupcake/Lori

  18. Hi George F!

    I believe the little boy in all men creeps out when mischief can be roused. I guess I should stop snarking about it and be happy that they aren't slowing down for me. Thought...unless they are! Gasp!

    Doesn't it just make you wonder where technology will take is in another 10 years? And here IBM's thinking computer "Watson" just won it's second night on Jeopardy...

    We need a covered bridge tour of the USA!


  19. Nice post, I covered bridges, I can't think of any in hand anyway. I'm a gawker/picture taker too..usually. For me a ride has three sections, planning, doing, and going through the pics after. It just seems to make the motorcycle feeling last so much longer! :)

  20. Hey Lori, I don't think I ever saw the Red Oak Creek Bridge. We have a bunch of covered bridges here in Oregon in case you ever get your bikes out this way -
    Wow, SETI in GA; who would've thought it.