Thursday, October 19, 2006

WERA Races in Atlanta, Deals Gap

This past weekend I rode my VFR to the Atlanta area for the WERA Grand National Finals and Suzuki Cup motorcycle roadracing event at Road Atlanta. My friend Hanna rode with me, and we went via Clarkesville, GA, where we ate at Chuck's Barbecue, which is right off of Highway 17 on the west end of town; we ate Pig on a Stick, which is shank smoked on the bone and then fried; it was quite tasty! We continued on 17 through Helen to 348 up to Choestoe, then Wolfpen Gap Road down to Suches, where we met Daryl, Rob, Jaymee, Tom, and Tim (KnightWhoSaysNi from the N250RC). A fellow noticed the Ninja 250s and came over to speak, telling us that his son rides one; he then proceeded to tell us about a fellow he recently met at Deals Gap who'd just ridden a Ninja 250 from California to Florida in two days; I asked, "Evan Yeager?" to which he replied, "Yeah! That's him!" I had lunch with Evan as he passed through Columbia after completing that feat. Small world.

After visiting and looking at bikes for a while, we headed down Highway 60 toward Gainesville, where our hotel was. Tim peeled off at some point and headed home. When we got to Gainesville we stopped by our buddy Phil's Hickory Pig barbecue shack. We first ate there last year; it was so good, and Phil is such a fun guy, we knew we had to go again. He was delighted to see us and remembered us from last year. Once again, we ate some fantastic barbecue and sides, all the while being entertained by Phil's anecdotes. Along the way Duke and his friend Greg joined us.

We stayed the night at the Motel 6 in Gainesville, then headed to the track Sunday morning. The races were great as usual. The SV races were really fun to watch; hearing the V-engines boom by is a treat! Tom and I swapped bikes on the ride over, as he's interested in possibly getting a VFR in the future. I enjoyed riding his Ninja 250, which was actually the first one other than mine that I've ridden. There was little difference in the behavior of his and mine. That's good to know, considering my engine has 40,000 miles more than his.

Monday Duke and Greg headed back toward Nashville (Tom and Jaymee had already headed home on Sunday), so Daryl, Rob, Hanna, and I rode over Blood Mountain and Neal's Gap to Blairsville, where we ate at the "World Famous Blairsville Restaurant." Though it's surely not world famous, it's no doubt good, and our server was one of the best I've ever met. She was like our mom. :-) Following a hearty breakfast we headed up US129 to Deals Gap. Unfortunately there was a light rain all day; not enough to make it miserable to ride in, but enough to keep the roads plenty wet, plus leaves were all over the roads, so we had to keep the pace down, but it was still a lot of fun. We rode the Dragon out to the overlook, where Hanna and I parted with Daryl and Rob, as the continued on their ride back to Cincinnati; Hanna and I rode back through the Dragon, stopped at the store for a bit, and then rode Highway 28 over to Franklin and then 64 over to Hendersonville, where we got on I26 and slabbed it home. We stopped for a nice break and some photography at Dry Falls just north of Franklin. What a fantastic trip! Great friends, great food, great racing action, great roads, great scenery.

The gang at T.W.O.:

At the Hickory Pig:

Racing Action:

Cool Paint Job:

Another Cool Paint Job:

At the Deals Gap overlook:

Deals Gap:

Infamous Tree of Shame at Deals Gap:

Dry Falls:


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