I just recently discovered ADV. I've been riding for close to 40 years. And, grew up just north of you in Garden City. Back in the 70's, when I was a teen (And in Alabama they allowed MC Licenses at age 14 back then) I had a group of friends that all rode DP bikes. And, one friend had a WW2 era Jeep. We spent a LOT of time riding the Blount Springs / Bangor area.
I absolutely love your threads - they bring back a lot of memories. I'm a bit surprised at what it seems like you've missed though. Have you made it to Bangor Cave? Also, there was a place high on a mountain with no roads that had a small grave yard along with a decayed house with beautiful views. And, there was an old mill with a small waterfall. Both were on the right side of HWY 31 if you were headed away from Garden City. There was a really great abandoned rock quarry we used to all swim at - and do stupid cliff dives from (sadly one of my high school classmates didn't survive one dive - RIP Tony S.). Also, on top of the hill over Garden City there is an old abandoned water tower that's kinda cool to ride to.
My friends and I used to hang out with a bunch of old timers at the general store in Garden City (I think it was called Shaffers). We would drink cokes with peanuts while they drank god only knows what. They gave us great tips on places to go visit on our bikes or in the jeep. That was 30-35 years ago so I guess they're probably all gone now. I left the area in 1983 but still have several friends in the area.
Is the Top Hat still around? They had great BBQ.
I really envy your ability to ride the area. I miss it a lot. As well as being an immortal carefree teenager with absolutely no regard for trespassing laws and being willing to ride on active RR tracks.