North Georgia Tour – Day #11

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On Sunday, April 29th, I chose to explore some of the roads reasonably close to Helen. After breakfast I departed Helen around 9:15 AM and headed through the Unicoi State Park on Hwy-356 and along the west side of Lake Burton. Reaching US-76W I turned east toward Clayton. The following map shows the route I followed. (Click on the map to enlarge.)

My route from Helen first towards Clayton for lunch and then on the Russell Scenic Skyway again

Upon arriving there just a few minutes after noon, I discovered that Main Street had been given over to an art festival, with numerous local artisans displaying their creations in individual booths. Near the corner of Main and Savannah Streets, I parked in a temporary motorcycle zone. As my primary goal was to visit the historic Old Clayton Inn, I walked south along Main Street for about a block until I reach the Inn, visiting a few of the booths as I went. Above the door of the Old Clayton Inn was a sign advertising their lunch buffet. What perfect timing!

After lunch I visited a few more of the artisan booths as I made my way back to where I had parked. The street at this location is significantly slanted downward away from Main Street. Unfortunately, as I was starting out from there, I lost my balance and my motorcycle tipped onto its right side. Once again I was very glad that I had installed the frame sliders to protect the bodywork from damage. A similar spill had happened during my visit to San Francisco during my 2011 Summer Tour. Other than my being embarrassed by the mishap, the bike was not seriously damaged beyond scratches on the saddlebag.

After recovering from the mishap, I resumed my tour of the area and headed south through Tiger and along Bridge Creek Road to the southeast corner of Lake Burton. I continued onto Seed Lake Road which runs first along the north side of Seed Lake, followed by Lake Rabun, where numerous very nice homes can be seen. Upon reaching US-441/US-23, I turned south and passed along the western edge of the Tallulah Gorge State Park.

When I reached the turnoff onto Hwy-385, I headed towards Clarksville and turned north onto Hwy-197. When it came to Hwy-255, I turned south and rode through an area east of Helen called Sautee Nacoochee.

Upon my return to Helen, it was only 3:30 in the afternoon, much too early to stop for the day. Thus I decided to ride the Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway again. I finally returned to Helen just after 4:30 PM and, since I felt that I had ridden enough on that day, I just parked the motorcycle for the night.

Since the other MSTA attendees had already left town by this time, I went alone to the Bavarian Inn and enjoyed some good German cooking and an Erdinger Hefe Weizen beer.

During the day’s outing, I didn’t take very many photos until I reached Clayton. The first several photos highlight the artisan festival. The remaining photos show scenery along my ride after leaving Clayton. I did not take any photos of my motorcycle lying in the street after tipping over.


The next day I started my return trip to Florida. Please continue reading Day #12 on this page.