Moto Guzzi National Owners Club
Moto Guzzi National Owners Club
Moto Guzzi National Owners Club
Text size:  A  A

The Irwin Empire

The southern most parts of Georgia, Alabama and northwest Florida are usually very hot and humid in late June, and therefore are not conducive to motorcycle riding. In spite of this, number one son, who was, back after home after a hard year at the USAF Academy in Colorado, wanted to go on a tour of some historic areas of the southeast. So we loaded both '73 Eldos with the necessary gear for a three-day trip and headed north to the headwaters of the Choctawatchee River, originating at beautiful and remote Blue Spring Alabama. This is where the water comes from a deep aquifer and remains at a constant 58 degrees year round. You'll have to get your atlas out and look at the tri-state area to appreciate this travel summary. Keep in mind that before the arrival of the white man, native Americans dominated this country and used its rivers as their means of transportation. Our objective was to travel as close to the Chattahoochee River from Eufaula, Alabama south to Lake Seminole and observe the geography and terrain from our two-wheeled vantage point at a leisurely pace of 45 mph. I know you EV people hate riding in low gear, so forget this kind of tour.

The density of traffic in these parts can be illustrated by the fact that after we broke camp on Sunday morning at 5:00 and traveled for over three hours, we did not see one vehicle. We crossed the time zone on the Chattahoochee at Fort Gaines, Georgia and went down the east side of the river to Bainbridge, Georgia, where we crossed the Flint River. This scenic country route winds up and down high bluffs overlooking the "Hootchee," through corn, peanut and cotton fields.

One of the counties of note is Early County, Georgia, which was established in 1818 and is one of what is now about a dozen Georgia counties, all part of the Irwin Empire. From there we pressed on to the southern part of Lake Seminole. There were many roadside historic markers - one which marks the boundary of the Irwin Empire. This is situated just before you cross between Alabama and Georgia. You have to do some extensive research in your American history book to find this Irwin guy, but he is recorded there. I won't detail it, but he was under General Andy Jackson's (who incidentally was the first Governor of Florida) command and was probably the richest man on this continent at any time, especially since he owned all the territory from Columbus, Georgia to Lake Seminole and east to the Atlantic. He acquired this as a result of dedicated service during the War of 1812. Check your map and you'll be amazed at how much water is in this area. The roads are all excellent for riding, and although they are flat, for the most part, they do have a lot of twisters that challenge the rider. Spanish Moss hangs over some roads, and the three-hundred-year-old oaks create spooky shadows in the early morning.

On Sunday we ate lunch at Lunckard Lodge on Lake Seminole. The arrowhead collection at this lodge is as good, if not a better, than the one at Smithsonian. They also have some realistic stuffed rattlesnakes that will get your blood pumping. They have an unusual collection of antique guns hanging from the restaurant ceiling. Many other items from the colonial days.

An overview of what this part of the U.S. is about comes from the fact that all the main cities were built on top of ancient Indian settlements, and with good reason, since it was nearly impossible to travel inland from rivers due to the forest density. Later came the cotton, tobacco and brick foundries along with the Civil War and the expansion of the South. It is actually too much to cover, but you are more than welcome to travel those ancient trails, and I'd be glad to help anyone interested in making the trek. My email address is listed in the MGNOC, and I'll be at the Florida Rally in White Springs in October. I will gladly point the direction.

Once again, the 1973 Eldorado, with nearly 200,000 miles on the clock, along with the restored '73 Eldo made the weekend very enjoyable. No problems kept us from having a great father - son weekend in the foothills of the deep South, while we absorbed some of the historical facts of this great country.