Out of Darkness and into The Dark

I really only had one thing to look forward to this summer.  The Eclipse.  It seemed that that would be an easy thing to pull off, as for the last 2 years I have been traveling the lower 48, at-will, whenever the mood struck I would move towards the next adventure.  So my intent was to move into N. Georgia in July, explore an area I was unfamiliar with, hang out with a BR member that invited me to his place, and maybe even get some of his TourGuidance.  All that changed when the rig broke down.  Oh well, shit happens…apparently a LOT?  So I had given up on my summer dreams of adventure, being penniless and defeated.  Until I started reading more about the eclipse.

As I realized I had two other running vehicles, I felt it was a no-brainer.  If I rode up on my bike I could have 3 full days of riding as consolation even if it rained all day Monday.  So I was off.

Saturday morning was simply a pinned throttle to Ellijay and on up into the Chattahoochee NF.  As I pulled thru the cool mountains I decided to do some exploring, to find nice curvy roads and a place to string my hammock.  As the sun started going down I found a nice mountaintop perch in Woody Gap – a trailhead for the AT.  Lots of cars and hikers out for the day.  Quite a few cyclists also, as this appears to be a mecca for downhill guys?

After a chilly evening swinging from my nylon cooling-sock, I gathered my senses and gear to ride north into NC state.  I was familiar with Andrews, and picked the town as my observation destination, and figured local camping and riding would be easy from my experience.  After a nice trip north on forest twisties, I arrived in Andrews and realized my Nav-maps were gone and stopped to re-download – to no-avail.  Oh well, time to explore some dirt.  I asked a local where the highest “bald” was in the area, and he pointed towards Snow Bird Mountain

After a day of exploring the dirt of The Nantahala, and an obligatory run on The Dragon, I headed south back to the isolation of Snow Bird.  I did find some outstanding camping behind a gate on Tatham Gap.  The cell towers and fire lookout made an obvious indicator of location, but it is really hard to see the ridge trail that I found myself camped on for the night.

I could not seem to capture any of the magnificence of spending the night on the ridge, but it was spectacular, as you can see from the smile on my face in the video below (please pardon my first attempt at a “musical score” – I have no talent at all)

The next morning I searched for the optimum observation point, and wanted to get closer to the known Max-Totality in Andrews – believe it or not it was at the Hardees?  So across the street the advertised free parking, while everyone else was charging $20 – the owner even came by and gave us all free bottled water, and mentioned something about Jesus, as his motivation.

After 2 hours, the event began, I hope you got a chance to see it, it was memorable.  Shortly after I packed up and headed south back into the woods in an attempt to avoid most of the Chaos – unsuccessfully.  Only 4 hours up, and 7 hours to get back home – how do explain that?

3 full days of awesome riding, with a free celestial show at the end – how can you beat it?

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