Cheaha Mtn: Round Two

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by 15's Pop, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. 15's Pop

    15's Pop Been here awhile

    Sep 29, 2018
    Birmingham, AL
    Cheaha Mtn: Round Two

    opening to cheaha.jpg

    Yep! Down this little road, between them there trees down there, lies the Promise Land!
    Come on boys, let’s ride!

    Now, due to situations beyond my control, my best made plans for an amazing ride this past weekend were laid to rest without much fanfare.

    So, found myself looking at nothing more than the ingredients to make some more
    Lemonade, (bet y’all think I really like lemonade: I don’t really; actually wouldn’t think
    to order it at all on my own;…

    …one of those things that is usually given to me in disregard of any of my wishes)…

    …when it struck me! I had also been wanting to explore a different approach to a set
    of mountains near my me casa:

    so, why not do that today! ok, I thought: I’ll do that.

    Why yes! Of course, I’d Love some Lemonade!

    And without another moment of hesitation I began packing a lunch; then before I even
    got too far with that one thought, I decided to also tie in something else as well:
    Cheaha State Park.

    So, after getting all my stuff together for my outing, I hopped on the little lady and
    headed over to Leeds, AL, where some said mountains reside.

    moto ace cheaha.jpg

    Moto Ace, Leeds, AL

    This is the shop I used to replace the tires on this bike. Nice guys, Roger & Kenny.
    Professionals in my opinion. If your ever out at The Barber, or in Leeds, or
    Alabama for that matter, and need somebody to help out… I’d recommend
    them to start with.

    I bring them up, because just beyond their establishment on Highway (Hwy) 78,
    Parkway Drive, are some of those mountains in question above mentioned:
    how’s a good way to get over them, well, by way of a little Twister I’ve been
    dreaming of, Hwy 25, come to find out.

    From Hwy 78 to Whit's General Store, in Sterrett, AL, is a nice little bit of riding.

    whits cheaha.jpg

    Whit’s General Store, Sterrett, AL

    It confirmed my expectations that there had to be some good little rides across
    those mountains.

    Plans are now formulating in my head to rip back-and-forth over that range…
    but that’s cannon fodder for another day…

    I knew I was on pay-dirt though, because when I reached the top of the mountain
    on Hwy 25, I found the whole place packed out with other cycle enthusiast.

    I did stop to snap a shot for you-guys, but… I felt a little out of place… me on my
    “Japanese” and all them on those Big-Ole’ American types…

    But, not to show any more newbie intimidation than the green slim that was already
    oozing down on my jacket from behind my ears, I revved her up to spin some dirt
    as I sped off… stalling of-course;

    and whimpered off the mountain, hoping to not tip her over as well…

    (Not really,…

    …just felt that way as I drove off without that Picture-Perfect moment).

    Really, Hwy 25’s a pretty good little ride, the 18 miles I experienced, but that
    was only an appetizer for what I had in mind.

    Read on, my brothers, read on.

    I had a plan, I did.

    Remember, the Cheaha thing? Yeah, that’s where I’m headed.

    But! I just detest using a map… don’t even like writing stuff down, unless I have to;
    God forbid, GPS!

    I much prefer, examining my route options on my computer on the Google Map’s
    web site, then closing it, with only an idea in my head, jumping on/or in my
    vehicle of choice, and taking off. Throwing caution to the wind.

    first bump cheaha.jpg

    Today’s Vehicle of Choice: Yamaha FZ6.

    That’s it, parked there beside that “CAUTION” curve ahead sign.

    And if you can blow the picture up on your device you’re viewing this on, follow the
    left hand side of that road up to the horizon line and you’ll see a “bump.” Past that
    little bump in the landscape lies the biggest “Bump” in Alabama, Mount Cheaha.

    Like I mentioned, I didn’t really “know” how I was going to get there, but I had an idea.
    I headed over to Leeds, like I mentioned, then headed South, down Hwy 25, like I
    mentioned, then my plan was to catch Hwy 50 (which was actually, as I look now,
    way too far South) and head East.

    That would (I thought) run me right into the Talladega National Forest, where
    Cheaha is:
  2. 15's Pop

    15's Pop Been here awhile

    Sep 29, 2018
    Birmingham, AL
    map Capture.PNG
    Mount Cheaha notated by gold star.

    But because I was so pumped up after flying down the hill on Hwy 25, and then
    stopping to get gas (because I was running on fffffumes) at Whit’s, that when I got
    back on my little ride and fired off out of the gas station, reenergized, because I had
    a FULL tank of gas…

    …maybe, I might have been going a little to fast to be paying attention to those
    little State Road Markers that tell you the name of the roads that would be coming
    up at the next “junction.” ???

    I think one said Hwy “60”, which when your old, and slow, looks a lot like “50”,
    so, I hung a left (that’d be East if you’re following along) pretty-as-you-please,
    and went ripping down it like I was one of those bad ass Moto GP racers…

    But, I’m not stupid (in my educated opinion)… and it wasn’t before too long I saw
    another one of those little signs that clearly said “62”, (not anything like “50”).

    And then realized... maybe? Not sure, but maybe I should pay closer attention… ha!

    Nope; I decided, I wasn’t going to let a little issue like being lost get me down;
    I was having a blast, just a ripping up the pavement as I went along.

    I was headed East, I knew that, because I had the sun on my back; keeping me
    warm and toasty. It was about 1:30pm, plenty of sunlight still left in this day
    for a good long ride: unofficially; about seven hours.

    I also knew if I kept on riding, I’d run slap into the side of the Talladega Forest,
    which was actually my plan: and from there, I’d figure it out,…

    …But what I couldn’t figure out was where all the water was coming from?
    I mean, in the fields alongside the road I was traveling along. It was everywhere,
    and lots of it. It had been raining, but come on; really? I’m talking enough water
    you could go fishing in it if it weren’t in the middle of a cotton field… we do still
    grow some cotton here.


    coosa cheaha.jpg
    That’s what I came up to, to cross: at Gorman Park.

    Now I don’t care what kind of “Adventure Rider” you are, you ain’t crossing that!
    on a bike, unless you’re on a bridge! …or in a boat.

    Oh, Coosa River.
    So I was to find out.
    Fisherman, just out of camera shot told me.

    “Oh,” I said.

    “catching any thing good today?” I ask.

    “nope,” he replied, “been raining to much.”
    Then added, “don’t even really care if I do, actually…”

    And I finished the sentence for him by say’n, “Because you’d have to clean’m and
    all that mess it get’s into; right?”

    He just chuckled and grinned and said, “you know that’s right!” and now we both
    had big old grins on our faces.

    Then, after a few minutes more of silence, pay’n my respects, (you know you don’t
    wanna talk a lot while someone’s fishin’, don’t want to scare the fish away), I asked,
    “know where the closest bridge is around here, I can get across that water on…”
    me with my helmet still on: him, knowing I was on a bike.

    “Actually, No.” he said.

    Come to find out he had just moved to the area and this was his first chance to get out-
    of-the-house, since unpacking all the boxes for his wife. Also, came to find out he
    had recently moved to the area, from the Ft. Worth, TX…

    What? (I grew up in Ft. Worth, TX) we may have attended competitive
    High Schools, at the same time, because we were both about the same age…

    Needless to say, we had a good ole chat, but he had no idea where he was either,
    so, I had to break down and pull up Google Map on my phone.

    Saw, I had to get on the Hard Road, that’d be Hwy 280, and run down until it got to
    Hwy 235, before I could get across the Coosa, couple of miles, so I gave up looking
    for another rout and did that.

    bike with bigger bump.jpg
    Mountains are getting bigger.

    …and I was ridding.

    Cutting corners.

    Got me a big old hand full of caution and just through it in the air as far as I could, then…


    church cheaha.jpg
    God said, "Slow Down!"

    Ever been just ridding along, havin’ a great time, when the road veers left—but
    you keep going straight? Because somebody built a great big ole nice road,
    right up to their Church, that looked just like the road you ought to be taken,
    to only dead end there!

    Yep, stood straight up on the pigs so I could apply as much down force on the
    back break as possible, while also squeezing the front.

    Wouldn’t that have made a great headline:
    Crazy Old Biker, Finally Goes//Crashes Into Church
    klaviator likes this.
  3. 15's Pop

    15's Pop Been here awhile

    Sep 29, 2018
    Birmingham, AL
    cheaha sigh.jpg
    Oh, but Glory, awaits in them there trees…

    Cheaha State Park is nestled in the tail-end of the Appellation Mountain Range, in
    Talladega National Forest, in the state of Alabama, in the Southeast region of the
    “US of A” (as us Southerners are known to pronounce it occasionally). A quiet area
    (cause there ain’t many people... it’s in a National Forest), which I love. The park
    was established in the 30’s, so it has that 1930’s/40’s vibe to it; which I also,
    personally find, pretty cool.

    I say “Round # Two” in the title, because I briefly explored this Park, on my bike,
    almost to the day, a year ago under much different weather conditions. Cold!
    Last year. 30 degrees; and it’s the highest elevation in the state; 2,116 feet/
    645 meters. And there ain’t nothing around it but low lay’n flat farm land, so when
    the wind blows... you get the idea, Brrrrrr. And also, the two hourish drive back home...
    on the highway, doing highway speeds... it was bone-chillin-day, I tell-you-what!

    But yesterday; clear skies, 67 degrees, and I got much better winter duds to
    wear now, heck, every time I stopped during the daylight, I almost burst out
    in a sweat. Nice deal for January.

    back lit bike cheaha.jpg

    But Be Careful!

    Like I was say’n, this Park was cut out of the mountains by the Civilian Conservation
    Corps, a work relief program during the Great Depression, opened in 1933. So,
    the roads can be a little narrow. And just before snapping the above shot, a twisty
    got the better of an on-coming CAR, I found myself facing, and he had at least 2,
    maybe 3 of his tires in my lane… was trying to squeeze me up against a sheer
    rock face. I was being all fancy though, doing that counter-steering thing, and
    just squirted on through with ease… no problem on my part.

    But, I could hear that boys girly friend screaming at him for miles… “Slow-The-Hell-Down!!!”

    rocks with moss cheaha.jpg

    Rocks with eye catching Green Moss

    dinner on the cheaha rocks.jpg

    Pulled off and ate lunch sit’n on them rocks there. 4;30pm.
    EZMoney, bomose and klaviator like this.
  4. 15's Pop

    15's Pop Been here awhile

    Sep 29, 2018
    Birmingham, AL
    road to bunker tower cheaha.jpg

    Road that leads up to the Bunker Tower, and the camp store.

    deer cheaha.jpg
    Local trouble maker.

    Ah, what you looking at? Hungry? you ain’t get’n none-of My lunch!

    …Dern deer walked right out of the woods towards me!,
    ask for a bite of my sandwich!,
    guess she knew I couldn’t shoot, National Forest!
    Can’t shoot no deer in a National Forest,
    not in America anyway…
    ...everybody knows that.

    end gas cheaha.jpg

    To much fun. So, needed some more gas--just to get home.

    Hope Y’all enjoyed.

    See You on down the road.

  5. Reverend12

    Reverend12 Well there it is..

    Nov 21, 2008
    Great write up and sounds like a really fun day! Great roads and scenery out that direction!
    15's Pop likes this.
  6. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

    May 28, 2008
    Huntsville , Al
    It's been a long time since I rode Cheaha. I need to make it down that way. Thanks for the reminder.
    15's Pop likes this.
  7. bomose

    bomose Long timer

    Jul 22, 2007
    Great report. I could show you some great roads to get there from B'ham. Ride 'em all the time.
    15's Pop likes this.
  8. 15's Pop

    15's Pop Been here awhile

    Sep 29, 2018
    Birmingham, AL
    hey rev! awesome day! perfect weather, dry roads, and amazing scenery! can not wait until I can get back on the road... see you soon.
    Reverend12 likes this.
  9. 15's Pop

    15's Pop Been here awhile

    Sep 29, 2018
    Birmingham, AL
    come on down!
    thanks so much for the reply.
  10. 15's Pop

    15's Pop Been here awhile

    Sep 29, 2018
    Birmingham, AL
    thanks for the complement!
    i'm always up for a ride, you get some free time, give me a shout and i'll see if I can join you.
  11. vt700guy

    vt700guy Been here awhile

    Jun 25, 2017
    NW Oklahoma
    Looks like fun. It's cold and rainy here.
    15's Pop likes this.
  12. 15's Pop

    15's Pop Been here awhile

    Sep 29, 2018
    Birmingham, AL
    yeah, it was.
    I was trying to put something together for this weekend... but, expecting the same weather here.
    maybe next week.
    hope everything is well
  13. danh600

    danh600 Long timer Supporter

    Jan 23, 2011
    South Florida
    AL - 281 through there is one of my favorite roads.
    15's Pop likes this.
  14. bomose

    bomose Long timer

    Jul 22, 2007
    Doesn't look too good for this weekend. Rain then high in the 30s. May get out tomorrow for a short ride.
  15. 15's Pop

    15's Pop Been here awhile

    Sep 29, 2018
    Birmingham, AL
    yep, and cheaha rd. #96 is a fun little tide as well. i'll probably have to revisit that Park multiple times before I'm able to see all those backways...