The AdvRydr's southeastern tristate excursion
Over the long weekend, we took a nice ride through northwestern Georgia, northeastern Alabama, and a days' dip into Tennessee to visit the lovely town of Chattanooga.
We started out by heading across the north end of the north Atlanta suburbs, culminating in a late lunch at Two Brothers Pit Barbecue,
then westward towards our initial destination, Scottsboro AL's Sauta Cave, also known as Blowing Wind cave.
Sauta Cave is known for being a bat colony; every evening, about 300,000 gray bats exit the cave en masse in order to feast on mosquitoes on nearby lake Guntersville. In the morning they return in a shower of guano, and spend the daytime napping in the depths of the cave. This is a maternity cave, where these endagered bats raise their young each year. This is what we came to see:
Around 8:30 or so, as it was getting dark, we saw a few bats, then several more, and soon there was a flood of bats coming over the top of the grate covering the mouth of the cave:
The most amazing thing about this bat exodus is the sound they make, a great and neverending whooshing as though you were standing next to a river, and the breeze from the rush of the bats' bodies is eerie. Although it is very dark in the cave and there are thousands of bats traveling at a high rate of speed within inches of eachother, the bats manage to avoid the midair collisions you'd expect under the circumstances.
After spending the night in Scottsboro, we woke Sunday morning to discover that in rural Alabama, everything is closed on Sunday mornings. After a goodly search for breakfast, we headed to our next destination, Cloudland Canyon in the very northwest corner of Georgia.
On the way, while traveling some 'interesting' back roads courtesy of a Zumo on its maiden voyage, we were apprached bythis little guy:
I say 'we' were approached, but in reality, this little goat was especially entranced with the little green bike and its rider. He approached so quickly and with such determination that we initially thought we were being charged. Instead, the little guy just seemed to want a pat and a treat.
We tried to feed him a piece of gum, but he wasn't interested. :dunno
At Cloudland Canyon, we walked down to both falls, a total of about 600 steps, and boy howdy, I'm still feeling that in my calves! Beautiful scenery, although there was a lot of smoke and haze all weekend from the fires in south Georgia and northern Florida.
Going downhill is the easy part, it's coming back up that kills you:
You can always take a breather under the huge hanging rock:
Finally, you get to the falls, where it's very peaceful, if there aren't too many other tourists sharing the falls with you.
That afternoon/evening, as we headed up into Chattanooga, we came across this neat place, a hang-gliding launch point:
(the big clearing you see at the end of the ramp is the airpark, where these gliders would land at the end of their flights.)
I wonder how they constructed this ramp. I don't think I'd want to be the guy hanging off a rope with a bucket of concrete.
There were several people queued up, waiting their chance to launch. We stayed until nearly nightfall, but the winds were never favorable for our mountaintop-launching friends, who needed a headwind but instead faced a consistent 5+ knot tailwind, not at all conducive to jumping off a ramp looking for lift :cry
However, from the airpark below, there were two or three ultralights running a towing circuit, towing paragliders from the ground aloft, and then, once the glider released the rope, the ultralight would chop power and spiral down to the airpark quickly in order to pick up the next fare.
As night began to fall, we were treated to a beautiful sunset, enhanced of course by all that smoke.
I guess I'm the only one who didn't know Chattanooga has quite the thriving nightlife. We spent a late evening at the Pickle Barrel, where the hoi polloi know to order the fried pickle wedges:
The next day, we headed for the town of Rock City, and in particular Point Park, which overlooks downtown Chattanooga. The park is a monument for and history lesson about the War Between The States, and as such is a fitting place to spend Memorial Day afternoon.
Translation of this sign: 'If you can read this, you're probably falling head over ass down this cliff.'
Several mature sassafras trees in the park:
Some really pretty walking and views in this little park, the smaller cousin to the famous Rock City park.
It was also in Rock City that we saw the only other BMW bike on this trip; we saw an older couple leaving a gated community on one. Otherwise, all we saw were Harleys, Harleys, and more Harleys. I didn't see any other Triumphs either, but I expect this :dunno
An interesting side note to the trip: in a few places, pictured at Cloudland Canyon and at Point Park, we saw these bent-over trees.
I've been told by a not-always-reliable family source that these trees were bent by Indians when they were saplings, in the direction of the nearest water, in order to serve as a marker for the locations of fresh water for future passersby. I wonder if this is true...
By Monday evening we were back in the Atlanta area, recovering from the walking portions of our trip. The weather for the duration of the ride was clear, free of rain, very warm (90 degrees very day), and quite hazy from the smoke. In our hometown, we could smell the smoke, but didn't have to go far west before the smell was no longer noticeable, only the somewhat poor visibility.
Nice report. Thanks for sharing our town with the ADV community. If you want a really nice view, try a tandem hang glider flight at Lookout Mtn Flight Park. We got up to 4200 AGL last summer. I think you'd like it, being a pilot.
Nice comments about our town,....Thanks! Next time through, PM me and we'll get a few ADVriders up and meet downtown at the Big River Grill for some nice Home Brews! :slurp :nod
If your up this way on a Friday afternoon/evening, we have the "Nightfall Music Series" downtown. They block off a block downtown for Mototcycles, and there's an outdoor music stage where we have 2 bands and a couple of Beer Trucks :wink: with assorted beers. Motorcycle parking starts @ 6pm with the first band starting around 7pm or so, and the last band around 8:15.
It's 90% Hardley Ablesons, but we make our BMW showing with 3-5 Beemers, and a KLR or two:lol3 Nice Ride Report and pics! :clap
fullmonte, boojum, we love that area.
Nicely done!! Beautiful places to ride :thumb
nice :clap I love the little goat!
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