Upcoming Trip, NC, SC, GA, and FL roads and camping tips

Discussion in 'Southeast, The Lair of the Dragon - The Blue Ridge' started by ridetwistyroads, Dec 5, 2004.

  1. ridetwistyroads

    ridetwistyroads tailwind please

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    Here's the deal. I have two weeks of early in January. Yaaaaaa, gonna be a ride involved. :ricky I am of course a local of Asheville, and my eventuall destination is way down in the flat :bluduh lands of FL, Sarasota to be specific. Am in no real hurry to get there, two, or three days to get there's fine. Anybody between here and there have any road/camping recomendations? My only prereq's are simple. Two lanes prefered, um, duh, :deal and the first night camping would need to be fairly south (mid GA) for temperatures sake I suppose. Though, I could camp alright down into the 40's, so it shouldn't be a big deal. Just getting out of the elevations here should gain me that.


    So, road tips? :ear Great, unmissable camping sights? :ear Looking at map SR 441 in GA looks pretty good for productivity's sake. But that's about all I have to go on so far. Been caging it for YEARS and YEARS on I75, and if I never see that slab again it'll be too soon. Looks like for parts i may not have a choice though. Don't wanna get caught in bad traffic situations in larger towns, as some SR's will get ya, but smaller towns are fine (as there's FOOD there! )
    All info welcome! I'm open to ideas, having been down through there so many times I really wanna do something different. Having never rode all the way, I can't wait. This is gonna be a loooooong month (of waiting!) at work......

    Chris
    #1
  2. BeemerChef

    BeemerChef Wandering Homeless

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    I am in Naples, Florida... are you going as far as the Keys? Flamingo State Park is good that month (no mosquitoes!).
    I'' write some more soon... actually getting ready to head up to Dahlonega, GA, with... cage+trailer to close a storage... and yes... will be driving 75 all the way up... Many side roads for the bike however... nothing as esciting as in your neck of the woods... but at least it is riding!
    PM me to remind me... will be back here on friday...
    Be well...
    Ara


    [​IMG]
    #2
  3. wxwax

    wxwax Excited Member

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    You can take really nice roads from Asheville, through the mountains, into the north Georgia mountains. The ones I've taken eventually took me (on purpose) to state route 400, which is a highway leading to Atlanta. So I might be able to help you to Dahlonega, but from there someone else would have to pick it up.

    Two Wheels Only is a nice camp site in Suches and a stone's throw from Dahlonega, but that's less than a day's ride from Asheville, IIRC. Also, might be closed for the season. I've seen a couple of other camp sites in the North GA mountains along the route, but again, they might be seasonal. :dunno

    One last thought: I've done the above ride in January, but it was a bit touch and go, as some snow did fall during the trip. Fortunately the temps stayed above freezing for me, so no ice. I'd watch for ice and shady spots if it's really cold during your ride.
    #3
  4. ridetwistyroads

    ridetwistyroads tailwind please

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    Was hoping to stay in T.W.O. but they are in fact closed for season. Sucks, would have been a trip highlight for me. Course it will be in January, so I can't blame them. Can't imagine enough people would be crazy (stoopid) enough to give them much buisness. I think I've got GA licked (not literally, thank god), looks like I'll spend the early part of my day waking up on a slab, run 25 to greenville and pickup I85, and jump off at Commerce, pick up 441. That cuts Atlanta out, and that's fine by me. 441 Runs all the way down to Lake City, FL, which is a fair bit more then half way, which I probably wont make in the first day. (any state park camping?) So I'd probably camp in, on, or around that generall area, somewhere in the length of 441. My dread is having to slab from Lake City south, as it's a terribly boring and generally sucky stretch of mindless road. So I guess there in FL's where I need the help!

    As far as the weather, I'm simply keeping an open mind. Once I get a bit south I'm not concerned as much with it in generall, as it should be warm enough to ward off the ice/snow. As far as geographclly do you get any icing in Atlanta? If the winter weather rears its ugly head Id prolly just head for the interstate, as they're always cleared to some degree. I am quite familier how ice patches will hide in shaded spots, most the time through the inside of a turn (how wonderfull, "ice found at full tilt...."), but that's part of why I was thinking of using 85 to gain some southern distance.

    At least I'm not heading north. :D
    #4
  5. andy29847

    andy29847 Dirt Road Rider

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    You could go south out of Asheville on 25 into South Carolina, west on SC 11 to US 178, south on 178 through Anderson to SR 81, south on SR 81 to McCormick, SC, then take US 221 around Augusta, GA to Valdosta, GA. The SC routes, 11 & 81 are scenic highways. I am not sure about campgrounds along the way. However, there should be plenty of cheap motel rooms along the way.
    #5
  6. HarveyMushman

    HarveyMushman Tire Squarerer

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    You are bypassing all of the North Georgia goodness. Is this by design? 441 is not a fun route.
    #6
  7. ridetwistyroads

    ridetwistyroads tailwind please

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    Really? I had no idea. Looked like a good A-B road, and it wasn't an interstate.

    Gimmie the goods, mang.
    #7
  8. HarveyMushman

    HarveyMushman Tire Squarerer

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    You need to roll SW from Asheville, into north Georgia, not S to Greenville. Stay in the hills, assuming the weather cooperates. That portion of NC (and eastern TN) is packed with good roads, which I assume you know already since you are in Asheville. Take your pick of the lot and wiggle down into Georgia. Look at your GA map: For fun stuff stay north of Dawsonville. 76, 60, 129, 348, and 180 are some of the easy highlights, but the locals could give you a better idea.

    If you bypass Atlanta to the east Athens is a good stopping point, for a quick lunch or an overnight. From there just connect the dots to FL--the twisty bits are behind you.
    #8
  9. Ogre_fl

    Ogre_fl Long timer

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    The last time I was in N. Ga I stayed at Vogel St. park. I had the wife & kids and stayed in one of the cabins they rent there. Very nice. The cabins have fire places. It is just south of Blairsville on 19.

    Wolf pen gap rd (GA's verson of the Dragon) is right behind Vogel and leads down to Suches. 60 from Suches back to 19 is real fun too.

    In Florida I have camped at O'leno St park south west of Lake City http://www.floridastateparks.org/oleno/ I have only stayed in the summer time for tubing/Snorking on the near by Ichetucknee river. Very pretty areas, nice facilities.

    I have also camped at Ginney springs - this is a private camp groud that caters to the Scuba Diving set. If you have a wet suit (Shorty will do, or very cold tollerant) snorkling here is quite fun. The spring is 75 deg's year round. I have stayed here in the winter time. I think they rent gear too.
    7300 NE Ginnie Springs Rd, High Springs, FL 32643

    Tel: (904) 454-2202

    Furthur south check out Crystal River (Off 19), sorry its been years since I have been there so I cant remember the camping info. They rent john boats where you can get out on the river and check out the Mantees that winter there. Again 75 deg spring fed water, fun snorkling. The place I rented the boat had all the gear (wet suits, snorkling) for rent too.

    I know Florida sucks for riding, but take in the waterways if you can. It can ease the pain.
    #9
  10. HarveyMushman

    HarveyMushman Tire Squarerer

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    FYI, Wolf Pen Gap Rd. is the 180 I mentioned above.
    #10
  11. hooligan

    hooligan Been here awhile

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    I have family in Asheville and Dahlonega, have made the trip countless times avoiding the interstates.
    My favorite so far is, from Gainesville, GA.; hwy. 11 south to Gray, Ga. Then hwy. 18 south to 57 to 441 into Dublin. From Dublin 441 south to McRea. P/U 23 south all the way to Folkston. P/U 23/121 south, 301 to 225 to Camp Blanding on the 14th and attend the BMWNEF Winter Rally, it's the "coolest" rally in Florida and lot's of fellow campers. :thumb
    #11
  12. norton73

    norton73 drinkin'

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    And is gonna be a toboggen run in January :D
    #12
  13. HarveyMushman

    HarveyMushman Tire Squarerer

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    Quite possibly. :D
    #13
  14. RAW

    RAW stamen in the sniffer

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    If you come down 441 through Georgia, there's a campground at Sandy Creek Park. Don't know if it closes for the season. It's just outside of Athens.
    If you like bars, you'll enjoy making a stop in Athens.

    I live in Hull, just northeast of Athens, but I don't care for the herpes-fest that is downtown.
    #14
  15. Krautbikeman

    Krautbikeman Failed Anger Mgt #$%@#$%^

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    My 2 cents...

    I just did this ride again, and highly recommend it.

    Take Peaches advice and do the fun stuff from Asheville to North GA and down to Athens. In Athens, find 15 (I think County Road) and stay on 15 until you get to Baxley, at which time you'll want to head south on US1 / 23 to Waycross. Laura S. Walker State Park south of Waycross is one of my favorite campgrounds. Take CR 122 to CR 187 to US 129, and take that south.

    From there, you'll have to get advice from someone more local...
    #15
  16. HTSRocker

    HTSRocker odd one

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    If you like music, you should like Athens.
    #16
  17. driller

    driller Twist and Go

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    Look at the Fla. map South and West of Lake City where Oger was suggesting.
    Good "blue highways" in that area. Cedar Keys on the Gulf is a neat place. You can sit on the dock and watch the sunset, drink a frosty one and enjoy some fine seafood. Then head East over to Ocala National Forest for some interesting riding. Some off road riding back in the forest on "sugar sand" awaits the brave ADVRider. Good camping there.
    A suggestion to really confuse you. Boom Southeast on the back roads through Athens, Ga and on down to Savannah. Camp at Skidaway Island SP. Check out Tybee (another funky beach town) then cruise down coastal hwy 17 and see St. Simons/Jekel Island, then cut across into Fla above Folkston and work your way on back roads towards Suwannee and you are back to the Lake City area. I may be doing some of the Fla. route the week after Easter.
    Now, I'm going to be in Saluda the second week after Easter. Think about some riding for me to do other than BRP and "the Dragon". :nod
    Lucky scoundrel, snow on the ground here and I'm not crazy enough to put spikes on the tires to go riding. :cry
    Driller
    #17
  18. ridetwistyroads

    ridetwistyroads tailwind please

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    Thank you to all for the input. I am now charged with compiling the suggestions and doing some sort of, um, er, planning. Planning. How'd that work again? Oh ya, make a bunch of confining paramaters and then break them later.....:lol3

    So any other FL riders lurking? It's looking kinda like I might have to (after some northern FL detours :evil ) put my head down and run I75 the latter few hours. Seems to be that the smaller roads either go no where or run through to many towns. The previous preferable to the latter, but I'm trying to make this trip (Asheville, NC to Sarasota, FL) in two days. Some fairly *important* obligations down there:wink: . Two days pushing it? Should I fall back to three? All opinions, were it me's, and in your shoes accepted. :ear

    Gawd, I hate working the few weeks before a great ride. :marc
    Will it ever come? :patch :pep
    #18
  19. HarveyMushman

    HarveyMushman Tire Squarerer

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    You are making this much too difficult. :lol3

    You have 2 days for the trip south? Perfect. Spend all day the first day having fun. Make it as far south as you desire, which doesn't have to be very far because Asheville to Sarasota is not far. Whatever you don't get done on the first day you can do on the second day. The latter half of the trip south will be across some fairly boring territory so it really doesn't matter which way you go--the backroads are every bit as straight as the slab, and nearly as fast.
    #19
  20. ridetwistyroads

    ridetwistyroads tailwind please

    Joined:
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    I guess you're right, I haven't done a long distance trip on two wheels yet, so I'm way over planning and am overly uptight about the whole ordeal. I have only been riding since march this year, but have (between two bikes) clocked about 15k. Distance is no problem. But I've never done *this* sort of thing before, so I'm not wanting to push it. My nature is to overly plan and stress out for no reason, so my thought is talking about it a month in advance should help.
    :cromag

    The more I think about it, I've caged this trip in a hair less then 10 hours, two days should be e-a-s-y. Why am I making this so hard? Just ride the damn thing. Start, ride till eveving, camp, repeat, be done. :nod
    #20