My mission this weekend was to ride the twisty fun that is Wolf Pen Gap (aka GA 180), put a few hundred more miles on the SV, and take some photos of the scenery up here in N. Georgia. Not really wanting to ride this weekend alone, I called up my riding buddy Shaun. We set a launch time of 0800, which I kindly slept through, pushing our departure back to 0900. I was supposed to have come up with a clear route the night before, but I didn’t – so I let my GPS do the calculating. Not having the detailed map for N. Georgia loaded, I knew a lot of the roads I was headed for wouldn’t even be on the GPS.
Blue Ridge Lake seemed like a good place to stop, it’s close to great riding, and happens to be a real “city” so I knew we could find a room, and food. Anyway, we got here to Blue Ridge with little cause for excitement – one idiot did nearly run me over on I-75 in Atlanta, but that’s pretty much par for the course in ATL. Once we got settled in at our room in Blue Ridge, and stretched a bit, we headed for Wolf Pen Gap.
The trip there was pretty fun, taking GA 60 from Blue Ridge to Suches. The ride there proved that one need not break into triple digits to have tons of fun riding a motorcycle. In fact, on the vast majority of the two lane roads here, the only places you could dream to even see a triple digit speed are few and far between – they also tend to lead up to 15mph curves lacking runoff or guard rails. Just outside Suches, there was quite a lot of gravel in the road, but we both dealt with it quite well. Gravel would turn out to be a non-issue today.
The yellow line is what got Shaun, at least from my front row seat POV. He entered the turn fine, but saw something to the inside that he wanted to avoid. He ran wide and stood it up to scrub speed. His mistake was the point where he leaned it back over to roll on the throttle and power through the curve. His rear wheel was on the yellow line, right at the tar spot that used to hold a reflector. It slid, and before he could high side, the front end went down the side of the mountain. Shaun luckily recognized that gravity wins, and let go of the bike. He ended up sliding 3 to 5 meters down the side, while the bike went a good 30 meters down the side, before coming to “rest” against a tree.
Seeing all of this from just behind him, I let loose a series of blasts from my horn, and popped a u-turn. This road is really narrow, and my front wheel hit the edge of the road. I actually ended up getting off the saddle while holding my front brake to walk it back onto the solid ground, and took off before I was fully back in the seat. I found the one area of runout and parked, just as Shaun came climbing back up onto the road. For some reason, we went down the mountain to go to the bike, and that was probably my first mistake. Shaun’s exit path went right through a yellow jacket nest, and one of the flying devils stung me on the left hand. It hurt. A lot. I made my way up to the road with much quickness. Unfortunately, two more yellow jackets left their marks on my head in the process.
By some stroke of divine intervention, Shaun walked away without a scratch. His Kawasaki ZX6R on the other hand did not fare as well. In fact, I’d say it’s fairly well destroyed. See for yourself here.
Be careful out there.