Based on the mild weather and the invitation of fellow forum member jbez to "come down south," I decided a journey was in order. Actually, a riding group to which I belong was holding a get together in Helen GA. Unfortunately, the hotel they were staying at was booked so the wife and I decided to go it alone.
Due to a plugged tire, I decided not to take the Cross Roads. On a positive note, I did see several Victories out and about. This was especially surprising as the season is still so young. Last year I was down that way during the peak of the season and only saw two excluding the one I was riding.
The ride down saw a few minor showers, but we were lucky. The next morning, storms that ripped through Franklin Tennesee had made national news.
The next day, we played around at the Gap awhile in the morning before heading down to the peach state. While there, I met this rather well dressed rider:
Also met some hikers. One guy and his wife in Georgia told me about how they were in town to pick up their food. They send an 8 day supply to various cities off the Apalacian trail. They told me they were a couple of days behind. Apparently, they had enough food for such situations. They had only been out about a week. This next young fellow and his friend had hiked the trail all the way down from Connecticut. They had been out since February and were just ending their trip. Unlike the first old guy, he didn't have any provisions to get back home. He said he and his friend would probably walk into Marysville or Gatlinburg and try and hop a bus to a major city where they could get a bus home:
Anyway, the riding was suberb as always. From Deal's Gap, we took NC 28 to NC 64. 28 is very well paved and twisty from the Gap down to where it merges with a 4 lane highway (19 IIRC). It is typical superslab until it then veers off to the right and picks back up its tight and twisty ways through the mountains. On the section, the pavement is less than ideal. It has a gravel texture at first that gets a little slick at bigger lean angles. It then gets to a section that has a lot of tar snakes. Fortunately, they were thin and didn't upset the bike much.
Turning onto 64 west was a gorgeous treat. The road was big fast sweepers cutting through some of the most beautiful mountain country in the east. A few roads later landed us on GA 17 into Helen which was about as good a sportbike road as one could ask for.
Finally, pics of the lovely town of Helen can be seen here: