It all started with two...two guys...two bikes...too many days not spent on said two bikes...then it went down to one...one trailer...one truck...one blistering jump on one Friday to get to one starting point...then it went to many...many twisty roads...many other riders...many stops...many hours of fab saddle time with many miles covered at the speed in need indeed...and best of all, many reasons to go back...!...

but to start with, here speaketh John McKinnon on the travels and travails...
"When we pulled into Helen, Friday night, after driving as if shot from a cannon from an old fort in Savannah, the temp was frigid and we began to question our sanity! Under usual circumstances, we would be up and out early the next morn. Butttt, this trip, we decided to let the ole thermometer dictate our start. Arising around 8ish, sauntering around Helen for a good hearty mountain breakfast and giving the sun a chance to do its thing, we were ready to roll about 9ish. Thermals, glove liners, neck wrap, heat generated from digesting aforementioned vittles and we were gone...

We first ignited on to the Richard Russell Parkway, a.k.a. the Richard Russell Raceway ( Scott Russell's former stomping grounds). What started as a brisk pace, became a cautious pace, as morning shadows and gravel in some corners had the sphincter muscles getting a workout!

Off the Parkway, we headed west on highway 180 , A.K.A. Wolfpen Gap Road, towards Suches, home of T.W.O.. You know the road ahead is like that big ole sinful triple dip sundae with all the trimmings, when the sign reads: Warning: extreme curves next 5 miles! Your pulse quickens, pupils constrict, thigh muscles draw legs tight againsn't metal monster beneath you and right wrist gets mind of its own. After 1st few curves, you regain that distinctive feeling you last had on such roads: >>I am on my on personal roller coaster ! ! !<< Next thing you know, we're in the ZONE and oblivious to anything and everything in our world except maintaining our rubber patch on our roller coasters guides.

Half way through this journey, whilst still in the ZONE, our ZONE was disturbed: a caravan of approximately 20 plus Toyota Spyders ( apparently a club activity ) with tops down heading in the opposite direction, caused the ole sphincter muscles to remind us they still could control our entire being. I radioed to Craig my concern which he shared: I hope none of their entourage drifts over yellow on one of the blind, decreasing, off-camber 180 degree road patches called a turn! Later in the day, we also encountered a BMW Z3 rally of some 30+ participants in Helen proper, and an entourage of some 15+ Morgans ( What a Sight ! ) on 180 on our pass back through towards Richard Russell Parkway.

At T.W.O. we spied the 999s as we pulled in and immediately parked next to it, as there were 2 spaces available, obviously meant for two yellow family members. The gent riding the 999s was in the process of still breaking in and wasn't able to give a lot of feedback, except that it was way different from his Monster 900.

Leaving T.W.O. we headed towards Dahlonega on 60 and hung a left on 19 towards Turners Corner. This months American Motorcyclist highlighted the cafe know as Turners Cafe located at Turners Corner. We were too anxious to keep riding to stop at that time and eat, so we just let the yellow beasts keep eating instead!! We blasted back around to Brasstown Bald mountain top, turned around at parking lot at top and blasted back to Helen for lunch at an Alpine style restaurant that has ONLY motorcycle parking spaces marked off in front. One man band playing outside, while we're sitting under umbrella covered table, sipping ice-cold sweet tea, stretching our legs, admiring the scenery, temperature as perfect as it gets, What A Day !!

One more quick loop around aforementioned roads, passing all the Appalachian Trail gaps crossing the road, Blood Mountain, Vogel State Park, rapid creeks running alongside the roads, trout ponds in valley vistas, roadside stands hawking apple cider, boiled peanuts, etc, etc, etc..... Hard to pull back to trailer and load up, but family and duties called. At least for a short blip in time, we had once again allowed ourselves to escape from all the intrusive thoughts and interruptions we encounter in our daily existence, to totally submerse ourselves in an activity with one primary focus: Stay Upright on The Roller Coaster !! Craig and I have enjoyed countless trips such as this over the last several years and each one leaves us begging for more and planning the next one.....

So till the next one.......

John"...

right then indeed, next fab slides please...

photographer: John McKinnon
in view

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