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Author Topic: Guntersville and Little River Canyon overnight ride  (Read 235 times)

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Offline Guidedawg

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Guntersville and Little River Canyon overnight ride
« on: May 18, 2021, 11:04:54 AM »
It has been a year since I’ve met with any of the Santas in our state-wide organization, so when they planned a cookout in Guntersville, Mrs. Guidedawg and I planned to go and grab a hotel in Huntsville to visit her family before returning home Sunday.

However, she is still weak from her COVID recovery and not up to the ride.  She was fine at home, so it became a solo trip instead.  For me, solo trip means motorcycle and my hotel moved from Huntsville to Rainsville to give me more of an opportunity for some roads I wanted to ride.

But first I was past due for an oil change so this was my Friday evening

I left around 7 on Saturday morning for my trip up

Normally I avoid Interstate travel so I can see a bit more, but I decided to take I-65 most of the way so that I could
a)   Get there quicker
b)   Visit more counties

I planned a route which would help maximize that because I wanted to get some more entries in our new section encouraging Motorcycle Alabama members to visit more counties and post a pic.

https://www.motorcyclealabama.com/rides/index.php?board=71.0 (Click to visit the new county game)

And with that in mind, I grabbed pics while going north through Chilton County

And Shelby County

I didn’t really want to have to leave the interstate in Birmingham, so I exited Walker Chapel Road in Fultondale to top off the tank and get a quick break

But then I thought about this oft-spotted sight in Gardendale and got off the interstate to find my way to it

I left the Interstate just after crossing into Blount County so I took a pick of this sign at the exit. I like the idea of showcasing at attraction

But then I decided to also stop in one of the towns to get a picture with a structure clearly showing being in the county

Then I made my way into Guntersville and rode along a walking trail and passed my destination just long enough to go to City Harbor where I grabbed the photo tag left by JRobinson.

We used to have fairly lively competition here to snatch it from different regions. I’d love to see more active participation with this and the Theme Tag games, though both are moving at a respectable rate.

https://www.motorcyclealabama.com/rides/index.php?board=26.0 (Visit the link to see the Photo Tag section)

Once that task was accomplished, I backtracked across 431 and joined a few other rotund and bearded jolly men though I did look like a really inept spy sent to infiltrate

We had a good luncheon and I spent some money with one of the vendors, but by the time everyone was leaving (it ended well before the 6PM time slot) I realized I would have still had plenty of time to drive home.

And lose that hotel cost? I think not!  So, it was time to begin the 2nd riding section of the day

Just in case enough people wouldn’t recognize City Harbor as being a location in Marshall County, I pulled over at an overlook in Grant and took pictures there and of the Kate Duncan Smith DAR school across the street.

I once read a magazine article about the incredible work involved in getting the school there and how the community came together and how much it meant to the kids on the mountain who had no school at the time.  Cool stuff.

As I continued, I made another stop to highlight an area attraction

I’ve never been to the park but would like to someday.  We used to go through this way to visit family when I was a kid and it was closed down at that time.  When it reopened several years ago, I always said I’d drop in but have never found the time.
Interestingly enough, I also took another photo while at the sign

I play a photo tag game on a VTX related forum and the current photo there was for anything livestock related including the animals, barn, hauler, etc. so this qualified.  You’ll see another later.

My plan was to make a loop I had done just over a year ago, but in the reverse order.  I had particularly enjoyed Hwy 65 through Paint Rock Valley last time so it would be fun to start with it.  I had just gone a few miles when I realized I had failed to fill up while in Guntersville.  I tend to keep index cards taped to my fuel tank with mileage posted on directions, so my trip odometer is normally focused on that rather than my last fill up.

Since I had over 100 miles on the tank and no reserve, I pulled out my phone and decided it was better to double back and detour to Gurley rather than go ahead to the next station about 30 miles away.

The silver lining is that I would not have gotten into Madison County otherwise, so another one off my list

And I got to ride some of the curves and hills going north on 65 a second time, so win/win.
My route turned east onto 146 and then back south again on Hwy 79 passing through Skyline before turning off onto County Road 17.

The already enjoyable ride got even better when turning onto County Road 8.  I went through the lovely residential area of Pleasant Groves and then the more secluded and canopied road toward Woodville.  I stopped to visit some cousins who had saved me a plate from supper and thankfully enabled me to skip finding something near the hotel. 

After catching up with them, I returned to the road and made one other stop on county road 215 to visit the cemetery.  It isn’t that we have family there but that my uncle lives further out on the road and I used to walk from his house out here when we would visit years ago.  I always thought the view was magnificent from the edge of the mountain and you can hear the creek below.

There was a sweet smell in the air, reminding me of the vines of Confederate Jasmine I had passed throughout the day.  I notice the mountain Laurel was in bloom so it may have been from that.

The area of marked graves was quite overgrown and the patch to the edge even more so

So, when in the next two days I discovered two ticks that had hitched a ride on me, I had no doubt where I picked them up.  Wear protectant in the woods, y’all.
I went down the mountain and into the town of Woodville where I stopped to document that I was in Jackson County

It was getting early evening and time to make my way to the hotel for the night.

Hwy 72 into Scottsboro is a quick and handy route.  I considered stopping at Sauta Cave since it was near sunset.  It’s a bit early for the peak season, but the cave is a bat nursery and it’s quite the show in the summer when they come out at dusk en masse.

However, I wanted to be checked in before dark so I continued into Rainsville where I had a good rate at the Super 8, grabbed a candy bar and Coke from the vending machine and settled down to rest for the ride home the next day.

Day 2

I was up showered and packed by 6 and checked out of the hotel.  I pulled out my final set of index cards and taped to the tank and headed into Fort Payne where I grabbed a fast food biscuit and finished it off with the coke left over from the night before.

And of course, this photo allowed me to document being in DeKalb County.  Fort Payne has a nice historic Main Street area and I drove through before heading to Little River Canyon.

The visitor’s center was not yet open, but I stopped at the bridge over the falls to document Cherokee County and then continued across it to visit the observation area and walk to the falls.

Be careful in this area; they’ll let anyone come down here!

Rebecca and I had visited this area for the first time about a year and a half ago and I thought then it would be nice to come back on the motorcycle.  As I went along the canyon on Hwy 176, I knew I was right.

I stopped for a pic at Mushroom Rock

And at a few of the several overlooks along the way (note the river below)

Even my bike enjoyed the views

Was I scraping pegs? Nah, but I also wasn’t braking in curves so it was some good practice.

And then things got interesting

I did not ride this in the car last time so it was all new to me.  The DeKalb side of 143 is pretty rough, but the Cherokee County side is a little better.

I think I met one other vehicle the entire time I was on these roads, but was surprised at the number of cabins and houses.  It was far more common for me to come across squirrels, turkey, and one bob-tailed racoon that all seemed surprised to see me out there.

Nothing was particularly steep until I turned onto 43.  There was not a sign there like there was other areas but that was probably the roughest incline for me even more so than the area just before the picnic area at the bottom.  David Haynes in Motorcycling Alabama refers to the final .7 mile as one of the steepest inclines in Alabama

While that may be true it did not bother me (probably because I was expecting it) nearly as much as that turn onto 43.  It's probably because I stopped directly across from 43 and turning my bike (while on the hill) to point down it was my only staying on the brakes moment.

I really enjoyed the ride and made it to the bottom, but did not pay to enter the picnic area


Now that my exploring was over it was time to make my way back home

You may recall that I said earlier I would mention another motorcycle game.  I am involved in motorcycle photo tag games on two VTX sites along with MotorcycleAlabama.  I had gotten a photo with livestock for one of them while in Grant, and I made this stop for the other

The tag was for a grain silo.

And that brought me to another game.  I’ve not been an active geocacher for some time but Cherokee County was the only county on the east side of the state where I had no finds.  It is difficult for me to cache from a motorcycle so I didn’t have my hand held GPS.  I struck out at two searches using the phone app and when I crossed into Etowah County, I made a U-turn, pulled out the app and went to the nearest.  In this case there were two in close proximity on a narrow county road.

I made the find, crossed that county off my geocaching list, and prepared to cross a few more off my motorcycling list.  Which means I made stops in Etowah County

Calhoun County

Talladega County

Because if you are anywhere in the area, there will be signs directing you to Childersburg

And Coosa County

I had already documented Elmore County, but I went into downtown Wetumpka anyway due to all the hype from HGTV’s Hometown Takeover.  I’ve been watching the show as well, so I stopped at the mural

This is also what I chose as the new site for the MotorcycleAlabama photo tag so y’all come get it!

From there, I was still back home in Montgomery in time for lunch.  It was a very enjoyable weekend of group fellowship and solo riding!
« Last Edit: May 18, 2021, 01:36:24 PM by Guidedawg »

Offline Chuck & Susan

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Re: Guntersville and Little River Canyon overnight ride
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2021, 01:07:20 PM »
Awesome ride report there @Guidedawg !! I don't have the picture taking skills that you people have on the site. That or the fact that I have a tendency to not stop long enough to take pics. Until my gas gets low it's hard to get me to stop. Maybe one day I'll learn. I think Sunday afternoon we might have been in the same areas. After leaving The Garage Party I rode into Guntersville for the night. I'll post a Ride report on my weekend run. But it won't be as nicely done.

It's a beautiful day, let's go somewhere....
2016 Goldwing....let's ride.

Offline lazeebum

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Re: Guntersville and Little River Canyon overnight ride
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2021, 09:27:19 PM »
Great ride report, and pictures.

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Offline polarissalesman

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Re: Guntersville and Little River Canyon overnight ride
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2021, 09:51:35 PM »
great job... keep it up....
"keep the rubber side down"

Offline Guidedawg

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Re: Guntersville and Little River Canyon overnight ride
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2021, 07:17:30 AM »
I don't have the picture taking skills that you people have on the site. That or the fact that I have a tendency to not stop long enough to take pics. Until my gas gets low it's hard to get me to stop. Maybe one day I'll learn.

And yet I see you made several stops documenting counties you crossed along the way, so don't sell yourself short!  Thanks for that, btw.
You are among the group who take more epic rides, so I just try to make my shorter rides seem more epic  ;)

Offline Nice Goat

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Re: Guntersville and Little River Canyon overnight ride
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2021, 07:21:42 AM »
I'm so jealous of you guys who are out riding right now!  Great ride report!
IBA #63019 - 1996 DR350SE - Deep thought: "Pie and coffee are as important as gasoline."