We left Helen, Georgia as the sun was coming up on August 18th, it was a beautiful day for a smooth and relaxing 303 mile ride through the mountains of Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee… or so we thought.
Our first leg of the day took us through Chattahoochee National Forest to an unexpected stop in Hiawassee, Georgia. Towns County Veterans Memorial Park is situated right off of I-76, between the town’s schools and a gas station. We only intended to stop for gas and then saw an old World War II Howitzer, which is basically a large piece of auxiliary equipment that can be towed and resembles something of a cross between a “gun” and a “mortar.” Jake was quite impressed… and I was impressed that it was taller than Jake. (Howitzer pictured below)
We spent about 20 minutes walking around the memorial. It was a beautiful morning, and the sun had just come up, so it was very peaceful.
And then onward we traveled in to North Carolina and through the Nantahala National Forest to the Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap. For those of you who have never heard of the Tail of the Dragon, also known as US-129, it is an 11 mile long road through the mountains that has 318 turns; it is the number one motorcycle and sports car road in the U.S. So naturally, we had to drive it, ya know, since it was
kind of on our way to Nashville and we were riding a motorcycle and all.
At the intersection of Route 28 and Route 129 in North Carolina, is the beginning of the ride. The Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort sits at this intersection to welcome bikes from around the world. At this resort there is a tree called the “Tree of Shame,” where bikers and motorists have nailed a piece of their ride to the tree if they crashed on the route. Of course we had to see this tree before we rode the Tail of the Dragon.
But it was fun! All the turns were excellent, and we got some awesome pictures taken of us riding too. Three or four photography companies (KillBoy, US129PHOTOS, MoonShinePhoto, and 129 Slayer to name some) set up along the route and take pictures of every car and bike that drive the route. We were able to purchase some of the pictures once they were posted. Check out that lean!!!
I was also able to take a few videos.
When we reached the bottom, we stopped at the U.S. 129 Harley Davidson, where we bought some souvenirs, grabbed a snack, then hopped on the bike…
…right into a storm. It wasn’t until months later that we realized we could see the storm while riding down the Tail of the Dragon; I captured the storm in one of the videos. We left the Harley Davidson and made it about five miles down the road when we noticed some dark clouds. They got closer and darker. We thought maybe we could out run it, but no. We drove right into the storm and got soaked. Thankfully, a Marathon gas station appeared and we were able to park under the roof, but we were soaked!!!
(screen shots from a video I shot while on the Tail of the Dragon, I apologize for the blurriness)
We changed into dry clothes once we were inside. They had some tables and chairs set up inside for customers to eat the food you could order from their little country store and grill. There was another couple on a bike in the store escaping the storm as well, they didn’t get soaked though. We ended up sitting there playing Rummy for about an hour and a half before we felt safe enough to the hit the road again.
We were free and clear for about two hours, then we hit a rain storm on I-40, between Knoxville and Nashville. Luckily we were able to get the bike under an overpass before the rain started, where we waited it out for about 30 minutes.
And then FINALLLLLLLYYYY we were back on the bike and on our way to Nashville. We arrived two hours later than we had anticipated, checked into our hotel, Home2 Suites by Hilton, right on Music Row. We still had plenty of time to explore, so we headed down to lower Broadway and set our sights on…
Slideshow of additional pictures of our trip from Helen to Nashville.