…………… so I went.
Destination: Two Wheels of Suches, as in Suches, Georgia in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains. It has been two years since we last rode through North Georgia, a very favorite area of mine and Roo’s. This trip however, was to be a solo journey, a one nighter, hastily put together so I could “get out of Dodge” and clear my head of life’s nasties. Roo chose to stay home, chillin’ and snugglin’ with The Beagles.
“All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go ……………”
North Georgia has always been a favorite riding destination. The journey is wonderful as well, not so much for road curvature (very little), but for the beautiful scenery and the serenity we experience as we cross the state line from South Carolina into Georgia.
My first rest stop is at 110 miles, in an old mill town; Toccoa, Georgia. The city fathers here are now making an effort to restore the downtown area after many years. Late starters I guess. Besides being an old mill town, Toccoa is noted for two significant historical facts. First, the city is the birthplace of Paul Anderson, U.S. Olympic Weightlifting Champion from the 1950’s. How do I know this? Used to be a gym rat and weightlifting history buff way back.
Taking a break in Toccoa. I feel insignificant……..
Second, and on a more personal note, just outside Toccoa stands Currahee Mountain, made famous in the HBO mini-series Band of Brothers. At the base of Currahee Mountain (Cherokee for “stands alone”) was Camp Toccoa, a WWII U.S. Army Paratrooper training site.
Currahee Mountain: Toccoa, Georgia
The 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Company E, was formed at Camp Toccoa. They adopted the Currahee name as their battle cry and namesake. As made famous in Band of Brothers, part of their rigorous daily training was to run “3 miles up and 3 miles down” on the steep mountain slopes. Six thousand paratroopers trained here. Current members of the 506th still refer to themselves as the Currahees, and the name is emblazoned on their patches as well.
The personal note? As far as we know, at least in 1942, Camp Toccoa was the only paratrooper training site on the east coast. Roo’s dad, long sinced passed, was a paratrooper in WWII. Since Camp Toccoa was the only training site for paratroopers at that time, it stand’s to reason that her dad trained there. A pilgrimage is planned over this Labor Day weekend to Toccoa, to visit the site and begin scouring records to see if her dad did indeed train there. Downtown Toccoa also houses the Currahee Military Museum in the old railroad depot. We will begin our fact finding mission there.
Currahee Military Museum
Toccoa sits at the base of the North Georgia Mountains. As you leave town, the grade begins a long, steady, climb to the quaint city of Clarkesville. The road levels out, passing through the town of Cleveland amid beautiful rural landscapes and horse ranches. Twenty miles of straight, flat road turns into roller coaster, twisty tarmac, with an uphill finish in the city of Dahlonega, home of the first, but lesser known, gold rush in the U.S.
In 1828, gold was discovered outside Dahlonega, Georgia, and quickly became known as the North Georgia Gold Rush. By the early 1840’s, the gold petered out, and prospectors started heading west. The shiny rock was then discovered lying about in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in 1848, and the much more famous and romanticized California Gold Rush had begun.
Prospecting for gold in Dahlonega
Today the Dahlonega Gold Museum and Visitor Center sits right in the heart of the Town Square, and gives a great history of the North Georgia gold Rush Days.
Downtown Dahlonega, Georgia
Sweet little town. Roo’s and my favorite place to eat is the Crimson Moon Cafe. Good food, good coffee, good beer. Recommended.
Well, lookey here what I found!
Damn, that’s gorgeous! I know, this is a motorcycle blog, but hey, I’m a car guy too (motorcycle first though). Besides, really, that is a stunning machine!
Leaving Dahlonega, Georgia Highway 60 heads north to the unincorporated spot in the road called Suches. The road becomes very twisty, with tight switchbacks as I come through Woody Gap. Just before cresting the Gap, the Appalachian Trail crosses the road. Need to be careful here, as it sometimes gets crowded with AT day hikers parking and milling about on the road. The Tour de Georgia bicycle race used to come through here (no longer) on it’s way south to Dahlonega. In years past, I have actually seen bicyclists drafting motorcycles coming down the mountain! What a rush!
Heading down into the valley, my destination is in sight, and thankfully, just last year, they paved their formerly gravel downward sloping drive and parking area. Sweet!
Two Wheels of Suches Motorcycle Campground
This is a great destination moto campground. The grounds are beautiful. Tent sites and cabins are available. Restaurant is on site, which is very convenient, as the nearest decent choice of eateries is fifteen miles back down the hill to Dahlonega. If you enjoy an adult beverage or two with dinner, riding back from Dahlonega is a very risky proposition!
The riding here in this area is superb. Wolfpen Gap Road, which is right across the street, is the infamous stretch of Georgia Highway 180. Numerous bikes & cars have been pulled out of the woods for drivers not heeding the 10 MPH signs on the switchbacks here. But if you ride smooth with moderate speed, this is a super fun road!
Georgia Highway 60 is fun, twisty, tarmac that will take you to the towns of Blue Ridge and the Ellijays, close to the Tennessee state line. All the roads here are a blast that can take you to numerous state parks, historical sites and small towns.
Scenes from the front porch
A couple of older Hondas: a CX500 and a CX 650 Turbo!
Honda CX650 Turbo
Dinner in the lodge, a few glasses of wine bought from the store across the street, meeting other motorcyclists and checking out bikes. Just what I needed for my thirty hour chill-out. Can’t wait to be back here for a few nights stay.