Notes on my Guntersville weekend.
Prior commitments meant that I could not join the group ride to Guntersville on Friday morning. Instead, I left mid-afternoon riding my 2001 R1150GS and followed the Ga 278 route that Rudy had planned for the main group to Cedartown (efficient rather than engaging) then Ga 100 (efficient but also engaging) to Cave Spring. Thereafter I deviated from Rudy’s group route by continuing on Ga 100 to Summerville for a 10-minute leg stretch and water stop; then Ga 48/Al 117 to Hammondville, Al 40 to Henagar, and Al 75 to Lakeville for a gas stop; and finally, Al 400/227 to the park. Threw my tent up and headed out to join up with Ian and Rudy at the campsite lodge and then on to meet the rest of the crew for dinner at Wintzell's Oyster House in Guntersville. Total 211 miles.
My Saturday also differed from the main group as I used the opportunity while in the area to catch up with a friend for lunch in South Pittsburg, Tenn. Basically rode a counterclockwise loop northeast into Tenn. to New Hope, then northwest to Winchester via South Pittsburg, then south back into Ala. at Scottsboro looping through Guntersville back to the campground. About 5 miles out of the campground I left Al 227 and took Cr 67 to Langston and then Langston Gap Rd Cr 38 to Cr 265/43 to pick up Al 35 in Section. At the Cr 67 turn onto Langston Gap Rd Cr 38 the latter was posted as closed. Continued on anyway out of curiosity. About 1.5 miles later the already poor road surface was broken down to rough gravel, then a further 0.2 miles the reason for the closure notice became clear as half the carriageway over a 100 ft length had disappeared down the hillside but the remainder was readily navigated. What I thought was going to be a quick lunch stop with my buddy turned into a family BBQ affair. Unexpected fun and way too much to eat! Two true gems on this loop. The 30 miles of Tn 156 from New Hope to Sewanee had attractive and entertaining with unchallenging curves and elevation changes which was a joy to ride. The 45 miles along Tn 56/Al 117 was wide and open (the Tenn. section more so) road that moved around gently yet allowed for a brisk pace. Total 200 miles. Had nap when I got back to camp and woke up in enough time to go to bed! Total 200 miles.
Lazy early Sunday spent birding around the campsite. No surprising sights, but lots of spring bird activity. Headed for home late morning along pretty much the reverse of the route that the main crew had ridden to the camp on Friday. Total 145 miles.
Topped up when I got near to home. Total trip was 556 miles and averaged 46 miles per gallon
Lessons from the trip. Was hot, bothered, and slow getting out of Atlanta on Friday with traffic snarls for the first 35 miles or so. Should have left earlier and/or picked a less congested route. Alabama sure knows how to build good straight roads. Means making time is easy, but at the expense of engagement. The Alabama country roads I rode were generally reasonably wide. For the most part they had decent chipseal type surfaces but, as always with treatment, there were some occasional short sections that did little to inspire confidence.
Biggest lesson. How much fun well organized (thanks to Rudy) club rides are.