In some parts of the country you’re forced to put your motorcycle away for the winter. In others we’re not and can still manage to ride in the winter. Here in Georgia, we are in that lucky part where at times it can get quite cold but we still have quite a number of days when we can get out and ride.
A day this week in January was one of those days for me. As Donna and I know as well as other motorcyclists, riding a motorcycle can immerse you in the scenery much more than a car can. You tend to notice more things along the roadside and more of the scenery. Riding in the winter can reveal scenery along the side of the road that can be well hidden from view later on into the spring and summer. There are things that can be covered in kudzu and other vines making them invisible! Trees and other greenery along the road can put up a wall hiding what’s behind them. Lately I’ve been noticing some of these roadside gems that “Old Man Winter” has let us see for a short time before spring and summer hide them again. Then there are things that you find when you stop to look at another spot.
So yesterday, I headed out solo while temperatures hovered around 50 degrees, with cameras to photograph some of the recently revealed scenery. I’m glad I did it yesterday because as I write this now during mid afternoon it’s sunny and 38 degrees, our highest temperature of the day so far. Kudzu vine is rampant here in the south, covering anything that gets in its way. But in the winter, the leaves die off while vines remain dormant until spring warms them. I had a mission to stop at spots I had been noticing lately. I made a stop at a 2 story brick building that appeared to have been an old office building across from one of the marble quarries in Tate along Georgia HWY 53. The building is hidden by trees and vines during the rest of the year. I had an unplanned stop at a small waterfall that is along HWY 53 literally right at the Pickens and Dawson county lines. Again, the creek and waterfall is hidden the rest of the year. I continued to Dawsonville where I had seen old, and I mean really old abandoned cars that the dormant kudzu had revealed along Georgia Highway 9 between Dawsonville and Dahlonega. I’m glad I had stopped there because one car had been pulled from the vines and it looked like they were in the beginning stages of construction and all the cars would be removed. I wanted to stop at what looked like an old, abandoned gas station and general store along US Highway 19 near Suches. The building is nearly invisible in the summer when heading from Suches to Turner’s Corner but is plainly visible when heading from Turner’s Corner to Suches! It was at the old gas station that I had my real surprise of the day. While there, I noticed stone steps, covered in vines, going up the hill to a vine-covered house. Between the steps and the gas station was a vine-covered driveway that looked like it went around to the house on the hill. I would’ve never found the steps and house had I not stopped at the gas station. There was a barbed wire fence with dire “No Trespassing” signs on it so I didn’t venture up the stairs. After the gas station it was onto Cleveland for an old Shell station that isn’t hidden in the summer but I wanted to take a few pictures of the old style sign and gas pumps. While I was taking my pictures there the old man came out of his store (he no longer sells gas) and started talking with me. He was telling me about the pumps and the antique pump he had purchased but never used. Then he told me that he usually gets “a tip or something” for letting people take pictures of the area!
I had taken a Nikon Coolpix digital camera with me (5.1 megapixel snapshot style), the BlackBerry Playbook with the camera and my Windows Phone and used all 3 to take pictures to put in the album. No one camera excelled more than the other. It depended on the light or subject as to which camera took the best picture. The little Nikon however always excelled at distance.
Some of the pictures are thumbnailed below. You can see the entire album, including the ones I converted to black and white by clicking here.
Until next time, keep your eyes open and enjoy your ride!