Back around 2007 through 2009, a local graphic artist with an interest in motorcycles by the name of Norm Blore brought out a nice glossy magazine called Motorcycle Lifestyle. The magazine featured motorcycles and motorcycle-related events, accessories, news, and other information. In fact, I wrote an article for the magazine about washing leather motorcycle clothing yourself at home.
The magazine was certainly not dependent on my little article, though I also don't think that is what caused its demise. Rather, small independent publishers have a very difficult time making money in their endeavor.
One thing Mr. Blore included in many of the issues was a ride map. These highlighted roads and attractions that are interesting to motorcyclists in the upstate of South Carolina and the bordering states of North Carolina and Georgia. He also occasionally wrote about further-away trips, some on the other side of the globe.
One of these local ride maps was called Get Lost!, because it is a fairly complex route from which is it easy to do just that -- get lost. Incidentally, that is one of the neat things about riding, I think. Just go down a road that looks interesting either in person or on the map to see where it leads, and what borders it. It is especially encouraging, nowadays, that almost no matter how lost you are, you can press the "home" button on a GPS and it will (usually) get you back to that by the shortest route.
Anyway, the Get Lost! route appeared in the Early Spring 2009 issue of the magazine, and was actually called "The Pumpkintown Loop, GREAT ROADS YOU'VE NEVER RIDDEN". He goes on to describe the route in more detail:
56 miles of two-lane as they zigzag through our upper South Carolina rural landscape. Some roads are pretty tight. All have farms and old country homes and interesting sights to see. I almost like it better in winter because I can see what is normally hidden behind the trees. Ride slow, ride careful and have a great afternoon. This should take about two hours if you don't get lost. This is a complicated one. A great route for a scavenger hunt.
|Copyright 2008, Norm Blore.|
By the way, Pumpkintown is a crossroads just about in the center of this ride map, though you don't go through it while following the route. I tried the route out with the help of my GPS. You can download the GetLost.GPX file here, by clicking the Download button on the page the link takes you to, then selecting Save File, and entering the desired location on your hard disk or GPS. The GPX file was created by the Harley-Davidson Ride Planner website using the Motorcycle Lifestyle magazine map. I wrote a posting about using the Ride Planner website here in case you want to give it a try.
All information given here is thought to be correct, however, it is YOUR responsibility to make certain that it works correctly, works with your GPS, works with your computer, and so on and on.
Routes generated in various ways may cause you to be routed in the wrong direction -- maybe the wrong way or off a cliff. That, too, is YOUR responsibility.
The contents, usability, accuracy, and suitability of any files referenced are not warranted in any way. YOU must determine whether to use any information in the files or in this posting, or referenced by this posting.
Do not fiddle with your GPS while riding. Always stop in a safe place before attempting to manipulate your GPS screen.
There are no warranties on anything here whatsoever, express or implied.
I use an earphone plugged into my GPS so I can hear its verbal directions. That helps avoid having to study the screen while you are riding along, that being a potentially dangerous activity.
If you use the GPS route, ignore any instructions to make a U-turn. Those are apparently caused by slight errors in selecting the waypoints in Ride Planner. Look at the paper map to see where it is taking you, and follow the paper map when in doubt. You will get back onto the GPS route, usually in a minute or two.
A letter "F" on the map indicates that fuel is available there (though there is no fuel at Pumpkintown, but there is a restaurant).
And so I start out on my way to getting lost.
February 22, 2018
The weather is good today -- temperate, about 60 degrees, with quite a few clouds -- as I head northward on SC-135 to my starting point on the route where it crosses Earl's Bridge Road. I plan on riding the route clockwise today. From that starting point, the route takes me up and down, hither and yon.
Most of these roads are gently curving, but occasionally there is a tight turn -- not necessarily marked as such, I might add. I did find that there were quite a few places where there was mud on the road, washed out of unpaved driveways onto the road by recent rains,
...and from a couple of logging operations.
Fortunately most of the mud is dry and thin, so it is easy to avoid trouble. There is a little gravel in places, but not much, and there are a few significant pavement heaves that I take the brunt of along the way.
I ride along, following the GPS instructions and the paper map. I am going pretty slowly, so I can look around at the pretty scenery. There are a lot of old barns and outbuildings.
After a few trips west to east and back west, I find myself on Tater Hill Mountain Road. I don't see much of a mountain, but it must be a place where they grew potatoes. An old red dog lying in the road looks at me sleepily as I pass by.
I hope drivers coming from the other direction see him in time to swerve around him.
In a few miles, I am on Carrick Creek Road. Just north of where it intersects with Table Rock Road is the Amelia Falls Event Venue. This is a place that is available for weddings and other gatherings. They advertise: "Our picturesque setting provides opportunities for distinctive ceremonies, receptions, reunions, and picnics." The main attraction is a small waterfall that is visible from the road. There is a narrow pulloff on the road from which you can view the falls.
|That's the bike parked way up there.|
After I drink in the view of the falls, I continue northward on Carrick Creek Road, keeping a sharp eye out for a gargantuan St. Bernard dog that chased me the last time I rode through here. He runs like a gazelle, and that time I was saved only by an oncoming car that the dog had to avoid before intercepting me. I don't see him today, fortunately.
I continue across SC-11, known as the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway that runs along the southern edge of the Blue Ridge Escarpment, and continue onto Back Park Road. Table Rock State Park has an entrance just south of here on SC-11; a nice place to picnic, hike, and enjoy the views. There is a picturesque barn with a quilt pattern on the side and an old truck peeking out the far end here. I stop to snap its picture.
Back Park Road comes out near Aunt Sue's Country Corner, "Where families can still be families!" It is a good place to stop for lunch, or a scoop of ice cream, and they have some other shops there to buy souvenirs. They are closed in winter, unfortunately.
From there, I go up South Saluda Road, which turns right onto Table Rock Road (not the same as the previously-mentioned road of the same name), which changes into River Road. I pass the makeshift helicopter landing field they used during the forest fire back in November of 2016. It is a campground in the warm season. Further along, the road parallels the South Saluda River with many shallow picturesque shoals. There are a few places to stop if you want a closer look at them.
I come out onto SC-276. If you want, it is only about seven twisty miles to the north from here to reach Caesars Head State Park. The road is a little rough in places, and watch for the vendor at Bald Rock selling honey and other touristy items in one place about a third of the way up along the right side of the road. Coming back down you can't see it from around a bend, and there might be cars stopped or turning there. I didn't go up this time because it is cloudy, but the view is excellent on a clear day. You can walk out onto the very large, aptly named Bald Rock if you like.
I turn to the south on SC-8 and again cross SC-11 onto Talley Bridge Road. At the Greenville County line, there is a bridge that passes over some pretty shoals in the river on the left side.
There are remnants of an older highway bridge on the right side, and calmer waters.
I continue on a short distance and turn sharply right onto Moody Bridge Road. Around the first left-hand sweeper, look for a pulloff on the left side on the shore of Tall Pines Lake. Kill a few minutes to take in the view of the miniature lighthouse on an island in the lake.
A little further still, I run across the Causey Tract public dove hunting field on the right, at 1776 Moody Bridge Road. It is only open Saturdays after noon, and there is a limit of 50 shells or 15 birds, whichever comes first. I don't stop to shoot. It isn't Saturday, after all.
Moody Bridge runs into Pleasant Grove Road, then into Liberia Road. There is a church on the left side called Soapstone Baptist Church and cemetery. There is a large outcropping of soapstone near the church, and they have a monthly fish fry supper that I'm told is quite good. The cemetery just to the south has many very old gravestones.
I finish out the route, coming back to SC-135. I follow it back to Easley, then go a little further south, meander around the countryside some more, do some low speed practice, than go home to my garage.
All along as I ride today, I have seen views and glimpses of the mountains, both near and far.
I got lost from the intended route a few times, but managed to recover and get home all right.
I also am not so good about remembering to turn off my GoPro when I stop someplace. I inadvertently got my picture taken many times during this trip. Some examples:
Try out this route for yourself when you have a little time. I think you'll like it.
By the time you read this, the dogwoods, Bradford pears, redbuds, and forsythias will have begun flowering, so get out there and Get Lost!
Let me know how you liked this route in the comments section.
Other maps from Motorcycle Lifestyle Magazine:
- Lake Country -- Fall 2008 issue. Explores two of the lakes in Upstate South Carolina, Keowee and northern Hartwell. 120 miles.
- A Two Hours Afternoon's Jaunt -- Spring 2008 issue. Covers and area centered on Tigerville, SC. 82 miles.
- Spartanburg, Saluda, Rutherfordton Route -- Summer 2008 issue. This route goes into North Carolina, and includes the twistiest road I know of. 98 miles.
A clever ad that appeared in Motorcycle Lifestyle Magazine: