North Georgia Tour (4/2012)

Next Day #2

On April 19, 2012 it was finally time to depart Jupiter for a two-week trip to Helen, Georgia, where I attended two motorcycle rallies on consecutive weekends. The first rally, called Run With The Wolf, was sponsored by the Concours Owners Group and took place at the new Wildcat Lodge and Campground, located on Hwy 60, just north of Suches, Georgia. On the following weekend, the MSTA North Georgia Classic rally was hosted at the Country Inn & Suites hotel in Helen, Georgia.

Once I had decided to attend both rallies and to stay over during the intervening week, I chose to take a room for the entire time at the Riverbend Motel and Cabins in Helen, where I had previously stayed in April 2011 for that year’s MSTA rally. Rain had been forecast for the first weekend and therefore I was not particularly keen on camping out at the Wildcat Campground.

Although Helen is located about 50 minutes away from the Wildcat Campground, the distance did not prevent me from attending the gatherings there. However, since I did have to return to Helen at night twice over some very twisty roads, I did not join the others in emptying a keg (or two) of beer. Fortunately no problems arose during those rides.

My lengthy stay allowed me to explore the area extensively, which included portions of northern Georgia, southeastern Tennessee and southwestern North Carolina. Although most rides were solo, I did meet and ride with others on occasion.

Day #1

My route from Jupiter, Florida to Dublin, Georgia

As shown in the adjacent map, the trip to Georgia started just after 9 AM on Thursday, April 19, with a trip up the Florida Turnpike and I-75 to just past Lake City, where a thunderstorm was just passing over the highway. Fortunately the rain only lasted a few minutes and I was back under clear skies very soon.

At the exit to US-129 and Jasper, I exited and continued north on US-129 to Pearson, Georgia, where the highway merged with US-441. I continued along this highway until I reached Dublin just after 5 PM, where I had planned to stop over at the EconoLodge motel there.

Although I could have proceeded on to Helen or another city further north, I was getting tired after 8 hours and 475 miles on the road, particularly due to the warm weather. During my Summer Tour in 2011, I had generally stopped for the day at around 8 hours or 500 miles, whichever came first, and decided to keep to that schedule on this trip.

Day #2

My route from Dublin to Helen, Georgia

The next morning just before 9 AM, I resumed the trip to Helen. As shown in the adjacent map, I had carefully planned my route to avoid the two large cities of Atlanta and Athens by following roads between them. This plan worked reasonably well, although I did ride through two other cities with some congestion, Monroe and Winder. For the return trip, I made note to plan an alternative route to avoid those two cities.

I arrived at the Riverbend Motel in Helen around 1 PM, checked in and unloaded my luggage in the room. After freshening up a bit, I decided to visit the Wildcat Campground and sign in for the Concours Owners Group rally.

The following map shows my route from Helen to the campground and also the subsequent ride to Blairsville. At the rally I met two others and, since there were no open restaurants nearby, we decided to ride together to Blairsville to have dinner. We stopped at the Armadillo Grill after seeing numerous local pickup trucks parked at the restaurant. Following dinner, we returned to the campground and joined other attendees.

My route from Helen to Wildcat Campground and then to Blairsville

Just before 9 PM and already dark, I started back to Helen on the same route I had taken earlier, and riding very carefully on the very twisty roads, with an eye out for any deer or other wildlife on the road. Fortunately I did not encounter any problems and arrived back at the motel around 9:40.

Please continue reading Day #3 on this page.