Day Six - The Tail of the Dragon (210 miles)
Our day today was to be highlighted by our trip to Deal's Gap (KMZ) to ride the Dragon.  The whole area is one good road after another.  Imagine our disappointment after turning off of US 74 to head west on NC 28 when we discovered that some traffic engineer got the bright idea that making this once great motorcycle a four lane divided highway.  A better route would have been to stay on US 74 to US 129 north to Robbinsville then turn on Kilmer Road and run the south side of Santeelah Lake.  This would have put us back on NC 28 at Stecoah Gap, maybe 5 miles west of the town of Stecoah where NC 28 returns to normalcy and two lanes.  We caught glimpses of Lake Fontana through the tress on our right as we soaked up the miles on this tight and twisty road.  We turned right at the entrance to the dam (KMZ) and proceeded towards the west end of the lake where the dam is located.  We crossed over the dam and up the other side to a scenic overlook that provided a great view of the dam.  Riding back across as we looked right we could see the Little Tennessee River lapping at the dam below.  Back out on to NC 28 we continued west, rode through Fontana Village and continued while running along the Little Tennessee River.  Before we knew it we were at the Crossroads of Time in downtown Deal's Gap; population 6.  The Crossroads of Time complex has gas, food, and motel with an accompanying campground.  One of these times we'll have to stay there.  We stopped briefly for a quick check of our nerves and proceeded to take on the most twisty 11 miles in the nation.  The road looked as if had been recently paved and our early morning start meant traffic was almost non-existent.  We both took out hard but we had decided we would stop near the Calderwood Reservoir to turn around (KMZ).  This area provided good views of the reservoir and dam and is about 14 miles from the beginning.  We met there turned around and did it again.  Everyone seems to have a direction preference and since we know had ridden both ways I found the east to west direction to my liking.  I prefer right handers and I think there are more of them riding west.  Back at Crossroads of time we stopped to pick up an obligatory t-shirt.  We rode south on US 129, crossed the Tennessee River just west of the Cheoah Reservoir and rode along the Cheoah River.  This part of US 129 is exceptionally twisty all the way to Santeelah Lake where the road opens up and the severe twisties are minimized.  While this part of the road isn't as tight it is still pleasurable to ride.  We stopped before we reached Topton at a roadside picnic to eat our sandwich we picked up in Robbinsville.  We continued south on US 129 as it ran with US 74 and US 19 into the town of Andrews.  We were determined to get off of the four lane divided highway so we turned south on NC 141,  This was probably a mistake given the road was straight and not very scenic (KMZ).  We turned left and on US 64 and headed towards Chatuge Lake.  As soon as we turned on US 64 I noticed the sign for Old US 64 (KMZ).  We turned around after deciding to explore this road.  It was well worth it.  It wasn't in the same league as some of the other roads we had been traveling on but it was definitely worth the trip.  We turned on Hall Road (Brown Rd. on the DeLorme map) for a quick stop along Crawford Creek (KMZ).  It was difficult getting down to the creek but it was worth it on such a hot day.  Back on Old US 64 we turned right on Young Harris Rd as a shortcut over to NC 69.  We turned right and headed south on NC 69.  This road took us over the state line into Georgia.  We were running down the west of Chatuge Lake.  We turned left on US 76/GA 17 headed toward the the town Hiawassee.  We had also been in this area in 1996 and noticed a big difference, the place had grown and the road had become a four lane highway.  We passed GA 288 which would have taken us around Hiawassee but we didn't bite when we should have.  Once through Hiawassee we turned right on GA 17 and headed south toward Helen GA.  The road twists along the Hiawassee River then follows the Chattahoochee River into Helen.  We cruised through Helen to see its sights turned around and went back to the north of town where we turned left and headed west on ALT 75 (KMZ).  This road dead ends into US 129 where we headed north.  We stopped along US 19/129 along Dick's Creek (KMZ) just before it dumps into the Chestatee River.  Turner's Corner Cafe sits at the intersection where US 129 separates from US 19 (KMZ).  This cafe (formerly restaurant) was a place we had stopped before.  They used to have the state's biggest bear, killed by a truck, stuffed and on display in the restaurant.  The new owners fixed the place up considerably but the former owners took the bear.  We went in and asked about the fare but decided to wait until the next day to dine there.  South on US 19 we began a steep climb up Cedar mountain.  The road here is very twisty and very wide with passing lanes.  At Rockpile Gap (KMZ) we turned right on GA 60.  GA 60 is one of my favorite roads, it is extremely twisty, well marked curve signs and banked turns.  I can just fly on this road.  There is also some great scenery at the Chestatee Overlook and Woody Gap but we were too in tune with the road.  Occasionally we would slow a little to capture some scenery but it didn't last long.  Soon we were in Suches where we were staying for the night.  We had dedicded to stay at TWO (KMZ).  TWO stands for Two Wheels Only.  It is a resort that was opened by Frank Cheek in the 70's but is now owned by his daughter Britt and her husband G.T.  They have level camping spots, cabins, and even mobile homes to stay in but we decided in one of the upstairs bedrooms.  There are three bedrooms upstairs that share a bathroom and kitchen along with all the motorcycle magazines you could dream of.  Downstairs is a common dining room with a pool table and other amenities.  There is even a pool for those hot summer days.  However, the best part is the nice deck where after a day of riding you can sit with other motorcycling enthusiasts and talk motorcycles all night long while drinking your favorite beverage.  While we took advantage of the pool the best part was relaxing the deck after riding all day.  After taking a dip in the pool we decided there was still time left to get in another ride.  We headed north on GA 60.  Above Suches the scenery changes as we rode along the Toccoa River and Skeenah Creek.  The road here is in a valley but the road does remain twisty.  We went into Blue Ridge GA got a bit to eat and turned around to ride it again.  This time we stopped along the river to soak up the scenery.  Pretty soon we were back at TWO for the night.
Day Six - The Tail of the Dragon