Today was our first good, long ride of 2015. It was a day that totaled 226 miles for us. The weather was looking good to ride next week and we planned to head up to north Georgia and ride the state’s only United States Department of Transportation’s designated scenic byway, The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway. As luck would have it, a friend of mine, Buddy (yes it’s kind of ironic isn’t) brought up a few days ago that Saturday (today) was supposed to be sunny and near 60° (F) and wanted to know if we wanted to go riding. You see, Buddy bought a Harley Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic last summer and was out-of-town on business a lot. He and his girlfriend Rhonda wanted to ride, even if was going to be cool. “Cold we can deal with.” is what they’ve said in the past. Buddy wanted me show them some nice roads and I was game to do so. We met up in the morning and it was still 40° (F) after the sun had come up good. It was only 24° two hours earlier in the morning. The highest temperature we saw all day was 56° and that was while on the way home!
The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway is a 40 mile loop that begins on Georgia HWY 17 just north of Helen. The Appalachian Trail crosses this scenic byway twice. Yes the loop is only 40 miles but we got our other miles getting there and then also riding in the area. Oh and of course we had to ride to lunch too! But back to the byway. GA HWY 17 is a very well maintained road heading up (or down) the mountains and has some really great curves in it. If you open up the map image you’ll get an idea of them. You’ll make a left turn onto Georgia HWY 180 (which later becomes Wolf Pen Gap RD) where you’ll pass the entrance to Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia. Before getting to US HWY 129, you’ll make a left turn onto Georgia HWY 348, The Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway. Highway 348 only runs between HWY 180 and HWY 75 Alt. and doesn’t meander anywhere else. There are some great curves and switchbacks on the Richard B. Russell too. It’s winter so as we approached the top of the mountain the temperature quickly dropped from 55° to 40°. Near the peak there are sheer rock walls lining the road and on a winter’s day like today they are covered in feet of ice. I know, we should’ve taken a picture but when we stopped it was too cold and we didn’t want to get off the motorcycles but wanted to keep going (and get back to the warmer temperatures). There’s also quite a number of pull-offs and scenic overlooks on the Richard B. Russell. GA HWY 348 will end at Georgia 75 Alt. where you’ll turn left and head back to GA HWY 17 and the beginning.
Today was Donna’s second ride with the new floorboards and actually her first ride of any length on them. The jury is in and she gives them 2 thumbs up. She says they’re much more comfortable than the stock foot pegs they replaced. It was good to get out and put the R1200RT to work. Wow this engine wants to run! Our old K1200LT was an inline four-cylinder engine and was actually pretty quiet. But the boxer style twin on the R1200RT hums loudly beneath you, producing an audible and muscular exhaust note. Plus the R1200RT averaged over 50 MPG today, since its fill-up when we started this morning! It was really good to get out in the sun and ride after a week of cold, overcast and fog. It did all six of us good! And by six I mean the four humans and the two motorcycles.