We continued our trek towards the mountains and the cool air on Rt 129 and north of Cleveland, GA we got on Rt 19 south through Porter Springs and picked up Rt 60 north. Rt 60 leads to Suches, home of the Two Wheels Only (T.W.O.) motorcycle campground. I had been there 3 years ago and want to show it to Courtney. Rt 60 is a great motorcycling road, lots of twisties and a significant rise in elevation heading up to Suches. Very challenging and lots of fun, but we took it slowly and Courtney did great. After a long day yesterday on mostly flat, straight roads, she was getting her first taste of technically challenging roads. We stopped at T.W.O. for a break, got gas at the corner gas station and then continued up 60 to Rt 76. The northern half of Rt 60 is an equally satisying ride combining elevation changes, twisties and grand sweepers.
We backtracked east to Blairsville on GA 76 where we ate lunch at a fun place called the Aviator Cafe. It had a fun airplane/flying motif and great sandwiches. Then it was back onto 129 north, into North Carolina and Robbinsville where we were going to ride the Dragon.
I showed her the Tree of Shame and we spent a few minutes eyeing myriad of motorcycle parts. The Tree of Shame holds parts that have come off of motorcycles after they wrecked on the Dragon. If Courtney was nervous, she didn’t show it at all. We rode from the NC side through to TN, keeping to the speed limit. 129 was closed to through traffic on the TN side due to a rock slide, so we turned around and headed back. We stopped at the Calderwood Dam overlook and then continued back towards Robbinsville and the entrance to the Cherahala Skyway.
It was late afternoon when we rode the Cherohala. The shadows from the mountains were lengthening, the road was smooth and nearly free of traffic and Courtney was beginning to hit her groove. Successfully riding the Dragon really boosted her confidence.
There are a series of sweepers at the western end and we had a blast riding together – me leading and she playing follow the leader. I constantly checked on her in my mirrors and she was perfectly positioned, head turned and looking ahead to the next curve. Her instructors would be proud. We stopped in Tellico Plains for cold drinks and bought some t-shirts, and then went motel hunting. We finally found one on Rt 68 a few miles past I-75.