Sunday, April 15, 2014
Start Odo: 695
End Odo: 927
Miles Covered: 232
Destination: Stumphouse Tunnel, Walhalla, SC
Weather Outlook: High: 80°F, 27°C | Low: 59°F, 15°C & Partly Cloudy
Origin: Alpharetta, GA – Exit 12, GA400
Destination: #4: Stumphouse Tunnel, Walhalla, SC
The previous evening I had decided to go for a double tag check in. Head up to Stumphouse Tunnel, Walhalla, SC and then drop down South to Elberton and The Little Duchy. Fortunately, I scanned the GTGA Facebook group to see if anyone else was riding on Sunday. The various posts related Elberton led me to check the opening times of the Museum since this tag/location required a photo of The Little Duchy which is situated inside the Museum. Sadly, it was closed on Sundays. Good thing I checked. Saved a wasted ride out. But sad that I wasn’t able to go for the double. Another reason. Another ride!
I had planned to set out around 8am. But, as things usually go, by the time I was fueled up and ready to ride out, it was 9:30am! This didn’t put me in any kind of pressure since I had nothing planned after the ride. But I did want to get back sooner than later to spend some down time on Sunday evening with the family and get ready for the work week ahead.
Since I don’t have a standalone GPS, I had to rely on Google Maps on the iPhone with voice navigation fed through Bluetooth to my Scala G9 headset. I had planned on the longer ‘scenic’ route going up and then across and then dropping down into Stumphouse Tunnel. But Google unilaterally thought it better to keep pushing me to a relatively boring route across, through Gainesville into Toccoa and up to the Tunnel. I kept fighting it, but ultimately gave in and followed Google. It was a decent ride. Up GA400 / SR19 then onto SR115 to Cartersville across to Toccoa. The lightly overcast skies and warm temperature was perfect for the ride. With my Shoei Neotec, I now had the added advantage of being able to flip the lid and enjoying the rushing air as I zipped along. Cage-free! And when it got a bit much, down came the lid. Just as I was riding through Toccoa, Google Maps Lady went silent on me. Not being familiar with the roads around this area, I pulled over into an empty car park to troubleshoot the techie bits. I had the iPhone set in the clear plastic window at the top of the Tank Bag. With the hot sun, and no air circulation in the plastic pocket, it must have been a crucible for the iPhone which overheated and shut itself down. I blew on it, waved it around, placed it inside the Bag, waved it some more, blew on it some more. It finally cooled down and fired up. This time I placed it inside the bag, with the zipper just open to allow for the air to keep the phone cool. I still had the same issue just one more time. But a good enough experience to help me decide to buy a stand along GPS unit and not rely on the iPhone for important functions such as GPS Navigation.
North of Toccoa, I ended up riding along SR184 which crossed the Tugalo River – which happens to be the State Line between Georgia and South Carolina – and then turned into the SR 37-90. Then left on the SR76, right into SR 37-196 (This was the first time I’ve come across a State Road with a dash in the number!) up to the intersection with SR28. Right on 28 and Stumphouse Tunnel Entrance pops up on the left. I particularly enjoyed the ride on 37-90 and 37-196. I rode 120miles non-stop. What a blast!
A Slideshow some snapshots of the ride:
It was nice to park up the Speedmaster and stretch the legs. I quickly completed the required photos to record my visit. Another tag done. 3 done. “Just 17 to go”; he says optimistically.
I did a quick walkabout. Nothing really much to see. GTGA folks do suggest taking a stroll out to the Falls. But, I didn’t have the inclination as I wanted to get back in the saddle and head home. Just as I was getting setup to start off, I heard a Harley thump down the winding road. Single rider. Stumphouse Tunnel. Nothing else much to do. This can only be a GTGA Rider. Sure enough, it was. Pleasure to bump into a GTGA Rider for the 1st time. The Rider was Debra. She had decided to do a solo ride seeing that the weather was so nice. We had a quick chat. Nice looking Harley, I have to say. I’m sure my path will cross those of other GTGA Riders.
I had originally planned to take the scenic route back. But with the issues I had with iPhone and the GPS navigation, I opted for the safe but boring ride back down South on the 85. The ride was fairly decent up to the 85 entry ramp. Then it was plain boring but still a good ride. I maintained a steady 70mph pace. At that speed, some of the characteristics of riding a Cruiser without a big windshield / fairing were highlighted. Good buzz to ride with the wind coming at you. But extended stretches can get a bit much. Perhaps a tweak to the Screen positioning may help. A little, though. Not much.
Around Jefferson, the fuel light came on and I pulled into the nearest exit and QuikTrip for a quick fuel stop. The bike ran 205miles on a tank. Fairly pleased with that.
Then head home and end of a good half day ride.