Day 4 - Who Knew Germany Was In Northeast Georgia?

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May 28th 2017
Published: May 29th 2017
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Day 4 - Stone Mountain, GA to Helen, GA

Today was a nice, easy day. Since it was Sunday morning, and we were only traveling about 100 miles, we could afford to sleep in a little. Besides it was pouring rain, and we needed to wait a bit for it to subside. So by the time we finally got out of bed, it was about 7:30. After a quick breakfast at the hotel, I checked the tire pressure and it had only dropped to about 35psi. So a quick hookup with the air compressor, and we were up to 42psi in a few minutes. By 9:00 we were on the road. Since we were only going about 78 miles according to my MapQuest map, I decided to play it lazy and just leave it up to the Garmin lady. The Garmin lady path was a little different as it took more like 100 miles, but eventually it was down to routes US129, GA11 and GA75. Once we were outside of Atlanta, the improvement in scenery was dramatic. We left behind the endless strip malls in favor of forests, streams, lakes, and roads with twists and turns and even hills. As we approached Helen, there were even mountains!

We arrived around 11:30, too early for hotel check-in, so we decided to just park the bike in $5 parking and wander the town. First stop was a coffee shop, as the rain had cooled the temperature a bit and it was struggling to hit 68 degrees. We wandered around town, checking out the shops, and you could tell that some years ago, the shopping was probably pretty unique. Now it is mostly the same tourist stuff that most Americans want to buy, but still we did find a couple of good t-shirts - first ones of this trip. We also found a shop selling Navajo jewelry and there was a nice inlay piece that Jody liked. So even though it seemed a little odd to be buying Navajo jewelry in a German town in the heart of North Georgia, nevertheless, it was a nice piece and a good price.

After a couple of hours of shopping, we were pretty much done, and it was time to get back to our nature roots. While there isn't as much spectacular hiking in the eastern states as there is out west, a couple of miles north of town is a place called Anna Ruby Falls. This is different than the popular Ruby Falls TN which is a cave with a waterfall inside. Anna Ruby Falls GA is a more traditional waterfall to a stream with about a half mile paved footpath and some observation platforms. The road to the falls is also popular with motorcycles as it has lots of twists and turns and ups and downs. Since I knew the roads would be twisty, I went ahead and topped off the air pressure before we left.

The road was great! Except for a mile or so where I was stuck behind some timid driver in an SUV who was scared to get above 15mph and had to brake in every turn. But once I got past him it was smooth sailing and it was great to get back to a little spirited driving again. All was great until we got about a half mile from the Anna Ruby Falls parking lot. All of a sudden, traffic stopped completely and after a few minutes, people were getting out of the car and walking down the road. Not ones to miss out on adventure, Jody and I grabbed the camera and headed down the road with everyone else. It turns out that last nights rain had loosened up one of the trees, and about 10 cars before us, the tree just came crashing down. Fortunately it missed everyone, though technically we were only 10 cars from death, had we chosen to leave for Anna Ruby Falls a little earlier.

The Park Rangers were there with chainsaws, cutting up the tree that was blocking the roadway. As they cut off a log section, the people waiting would help roll the section off the road. We watched for a little while, and took some pictures. The Park Rangers made quick work of the tree and soon we were all on our way. Once we reached the parking lot , we were ready to do a little hiking. This is our favorite kind of short hike. About a half mile, paved, and very steep. It was quite a climb, with the waterfall at the top, and the stream below all along the pathway. We took some great pictures and even a couple of videos. While Anna Ruby Falls may not be the most spectacular waterfall that ever existed, it was very pretty, and mostly it was great to put the urban sprawl behind us and get back to nature for a while.

By the time we finished up at the falls, it was about 3:30 and time to check into the hotel. Not a great hotel, but at least it's clean and close to town. Since we're in a German town, it seemed obvious to both of us that we should try some German food. We went to a place called the Bodensee, and picked out some German fare. Jody had the garlic sausage with sauerkraut and German potato salad and I had the House Sampler which was Garlic Sausage, Knockwurst, and Pork Chop, with sauerkraut and German potato salad. We both liked everything we had except for the sauerkraut. Neither of us were big sauerkraut fans. It's probably an acquired taste. While Jody liked her Garlic Sausage, she really liked a piece of my pork chop. It was huge! and really tasted more like ham than pork. While Jody was totally full, I always seem to have room for a little ice cream, and I remembered a little homemade ice cream shop I saw during our earlier wanderings. I had a 2-scoop cone of Salted Caramel and it was delicious!

Tomorrow, we are off to Chattanooga with a quick stop on the way for a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. It's only 50 miles to the railway,a nd only 90 miles from the railway to Chattanooga. Hopefully, my little air compressor and rear tire hold out for 1 more day so we can make it to Chattanooga and get this straightened out so I don't have to talk about or worry about tire pressures for the rest of the trip.

127.0 Miles Today

750.0 Miles Total

4.425 Gallons Today

18.897 Gallons Total

Additional photos below
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