The Joys of Winter riding

As seems to have been the case nearly every weekend lately, the Saturday after Christmas was a wash out. We have had record levels of rain this year in North Georgia, and darn it, it’s getting old! Our feet are webbed, our surroundings are saturated, and we want some SUN! OK, we do have the gear to deal with the rain, but we are TIRED of using it!

It’s Sunday morning. We get to sleep in. The house is quiet, and though we love it when family visits, it is nice to be back to just the two of us. And then, lo; what is that bright, shiny light coming in the bedroom window??? Could it be…the SUN? Yes, yes, I believe it IS the sun!

We scarf down some coffee and cereal, gear up, and out we go. The temp is cool, but did I mention that it’s SUNNY? And we have heated jacket liners and gloves, just in case they are needed. The bikes start up with a nice BMW growl. We map out a route, including as many curvy elements as we can muster, and a water-side destination for lunch. But no, it’s not about the destination or the lunch. It’s about the ride.

The temperature is in the 40s, so the heated gear is a nice touch. Why be cold if you don’t have to? We tour through our quaint little historic town on the way north. Dahlonega is beautiful any time of year, but it is magical during the Christmas season. That, however, is a topic for another day. The reason we live here is truly the splendor of the North Georgia Mountains, and the instant access we have to some of the best riding in the country. And you have to come try it before you can disagree with that assessment!

We head toward Helen, a faux-Alpine town famous for its Oktoberfest and a summer favorite of many Atlanta day-trippers. On the outskirts of Helen, we instead head up highway 17/75, also known as the Unicoi Turnpike, toward Hiawassee. This road starts out with a lovely meander along the Chattahoochee River, and becomes technical as you go over the mountain and pass the forest service road to the tiny trickle that is the headwaters of the mighty river which flows all the way to the Gulf. Sweeping through some curves, and scraping pegs through the hairpins, we revel in the gorgeous day and lack of traffic. As a matter of fact, we haven’t seen a single motorcycle, and only a few cars. The road is still wet in places, and I experience a pucker moment when my rear Heidenau slips a few inches on a downhill left turn. All’s well that ends well, right?

A few turns down the north side and we are back in the sun, the clouds having remained at the mountain top. We spot the cheeriest road side display we have seen in years…

The Grinch be darned!

The Grinch be darned!

Still smiling in our helmets, we make our way to Hiawassee and The Blue Otter, and enjoy a great lunch overlooking Lake Chatuge. We marvel over how lucky we are to experience the beauty of the day, and the joy we get from riding such technical roads, with so little traffic.

Clouds over Lake Chatuge

Clouds over Lake Chatuge

It has clouded over by the time we leave the restaurant. No matter…more great roads await. We start home via the Trackrock scenic area, and then work our way back down over Blood Mountain.  It is pure riding joy to smoothly corner left, right, and left again down 129, almost to Vogel State Park, before having to slow for a crawling cage. Within the hour, we are home.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Another fabulous day on the bikes is in the books…Ah, the joys of winter riding!

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31 thoughts on “The Joys of Winter riding

  1. Ah, this sounds lovely! Glad you finally got some sun. I’ve never been on a motorcycle! Unless you count those things they buzz about on in Asia but they’re more like scooters! Most of all though… I want one of these heated jackets! Do they work off of batteries?!

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  2. Hi there,
    I found your blog via your ADV Grrls comment. It’s great to read about other female motorcyclists! I’ll be sure to follow your adventures!
    Best wishes from England
    Kate

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  3. Hi, I don’t have a blog, yet, I’m thinking about it for later in the year when I’m hoping to have a month long trip. I am on twitter though @laminch

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  4. Nice to find your blog! Honestly I don’t miss winter riding, but then I lived in Minnesota where we put away our bikes in October and bust out the snow mobiles 😉
    I’m TonyBKK on Advrider; My son and I hope to hit the BMW MOA in St Paul, MN next summer. Perhaps we’ll see you there!

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  5. Hello, Tony, and thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting! I just visited and read your father-son tour blog…great stuff and GORGEOUS scenery! That area is definitely on our bucket list. This year we are planning a trip to Banff and Calgary, but the Pacific Northwest will be in the next few years. We probably will not make the St Paul rally, due to timing. We have to be in Virginia for my mother in law’s 90th birthday in July. But hopefully, our paths will cross at some point! I am TourinD&S on ADV…

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  6. Well I’d love to tell you things are better now dear neighbor, but we just finished a weather report on TWC & it would appear that our rainy day blues have turned to snowy white stew~ as we wait & watch on the verge of a massive winter storm. Matter of fact, I see the winter storm advisory flash across the screen, as I type & wonder how much snow we’ll get from this one! It’ll be the first for us. As for the rain, I’d much prefer the snow to the rain as I love winter, but not a good condition to go riding in so for that I’m sorry dear friend. Such free spirits you two are that it made our hearts light reading this. My husbands dream to do the same & I’m sure one day very soon, I’ll be surprising him with a birthday gift on two wheels. Here’s to a safe ending from this Storm called Leon to our Georgia neighbor. Coming from the North Carolina Smoky Mountains~ Inion N. Mathair~ ❤

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    • Thanks for dropping by to comment! Yes, isn’t this the strangest situation? We in the North Georgia mountains might get 1 to 3 inches, while below Atlanta they are bracing for 3 to 6! And the poor, poor folks on the coast, Charleston and Savannah, are expecting ICE! We were actually in Charleston a few years ago for a big Oyster Festival on the 28th of January, when a strange weather system rolled in. We had ridden our bikes to my brother-in-law’s home in Columbia, SC, then driven with them to Charleston for the festival. It was so brutally cold that we skipped the outdoor festival and celebrated with oysters at Shem Creek Bar & Grill, then headed back to Columbia. As we approached Columbia, all the cars coming toward us were covered in ice! We got to their house, and ended up iced in, with no power, for two days! There was no leaving on motorcycles, that was for sure! All was well that ended well, however. While iced in, we ended up planning a trip to Italy for that summer, with brother and sister in law, and their neighbors, that is one of the highlight trips of our lives together!

      Stay warm, and enjoy the snow! You are a Queen among wives to surprise your husband with a two wheel birthday gift!!!! I hope pictures and stories will be forthcoming! 🙂

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  7. Wow must be nice to do some winter riding. This winter up here in Canada has been the worst winter ever. I don’t think the roads are ever going to be clear. How long have you been riding? And posting your blog looks amazing! I am a newbie in both avenues but enjoying both. Ride safe, and take a ride for me 🙂

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    • Hi Ladierider, thank you for stopping by and commenting! yes, we are very fortunate here in North Georgia, to have seasons, but still have warmer periods even in the winter where we can ride. My husband and I particularly like the winter because the roads are much less crowded, and we have the heated jackets and gloves that makes it comfortable even in the 30s (farenheit). We actually began riding together the same year we married, in 1997. I am on my 9th bike since then. My bikes grew and changed with my experience level. This was an early post about my riding history: https://curvyroads.info/2013/10/22/curvyroads/ if you are interested.

      I am so glad to see another woman rider/blogger, and everyone starts somewhere, so keep on riding and blogging, and let’s keep in touch!

      We are actually riding to a mini-family reunion this weekend in Richmond, VA, so we will get a good 1200 mile ride right away! 🙂

      Cheers, Lynne

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      • That’s quite a while for riding. I am looking to upgrade to Harley purely because the are a little heavier. But I am waiting until I gain more experience on the Vulcan.
        Enjoy your family reunion and please ride a couple miles for me. 😉

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      • Yes, it has been awhile…hard to imagine till I really think about it. I had an 800 Vulcan, then a 1500 Vulcan, then a Nomad, so I put probably 40,000 miles on Vulcans over the years! Then i switched to a more upright seating position on a Honda Valkyrie, then moved to BMW in 2006. The cruiser position didn’t work for me; made my tail bone hurt too much on long rides. I much prefer the control of having my weight over my legs and feet.

        Thanks, and I will definitely dedicate some of our miles to you on this trip! 🙂

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