Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Georgia Covered Bridges

Today I began a quest to visit the fourteen covered bridges in Georgia. My plan was to visit three, but alas, only two were in the cards. Both bridges I visited today are open to traffic, so it was a neat experience riding across them.

I left home around 10:30 and rode US378W into GA, and then got on US78W in Washington. In Lexington I got on GA22N and rode into Watson Mill Bridge state park, where I visited my first bridge. This is a pretty neat park with several hiking trails and camp sites, so I'll have to return sometime and camp.

I then tried my best to find Howard's Bridge, just across GA22. I found what I thought to be the right road and rode up and down a couple of times, as well as explored both directions of where this road ended at a T; one way took me back to the main road, and the other ended in soupy red clay. I wanted no part of that, so I u-turned, which proved to be rather difficult since I was facing downhill, and the road was narrow with deep ditches on both sides, but I finally managed. I then encountered a lady out walking, so I stopped to enquire, and she said that I had gone the right way, toward the dirt road, but that I should see it before the dirt. So, I went down that way again, and once again, performed the difficult u-turn, but never did find the bridge. When I got home and researched further, it turns out you do have to go down the dirt. I don't mind dirt, but soupy red clay is something I don't want to mess with, so I'll have to try for this one again later in my car, or perhaps park my bike and walk the rest of the way.

So I then headed back down GA22 to US78W to Wolfskin Road, which leads to Watkinsville; this was a fun road with some nice sweepers. In Watkinsville I got on GA15S, and after about 4 miles I came to the road leading to Elder Mill Bridge. There were a couple of houses in the vicinity, and I guess one of them is where a beautiful German Shepherd lives; he provided company as I explored this bridge.

Just up GA15 from the bridge I encounted a newly-opened Ducati dealership, N.P.R. Ducati www.nprducati.com I chatted with the owner, Paul, and two employees, as well as a couple of customers; they were all very friendly folks. One of the customers is on his second VFR, as well as a Ducati 748, and one of the employees is currently riding an SV650 but wants to get a VFR. The shop was laid out very nicely, and even had a capucino machine! Those crazy Italians. :-) They had one of the new 1098's, as well as a prototype of the new Hypermotard! Beautiful machines! They're having a grand opening the weekend of March 16, that I hope to make it back for. They plan some good partying Friday night, and demo rides on 19 machines on Saturday.

It was about 5:00 by then, so I just headed south to I-20 and slabbed it back home, arriving around 7:30. I covered about 400 miles in all. Great day! Couldn't have asked for better weather.

One final pic of a highway sign that I thought was pretty funny; it indicated severely bumpy terrain that I guess the DOT thought motorcyclists needed to be especially warned of.


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