My dad was a mechanic. Everybody knew him, and most everybody brought him their vehicles for tune-ups, oil changes and major repairs. His shop was also a filling station, gas station, whatever it was you called them.
The very first post on this website was called “Edge of the Gorge,” and it included a trip on the northernmost section of old US441 in Georgia, from near the North Carolina state line down to Tallulah Falls. This time, I picked up 441 south of the gorge and wandered on down until 441 left my route to pass through Homer and Commerce and Athens and points beyond.
Sometimes I find old roads quite by accident. Just today, in fact, on a return trip from a dental appointment, driving west on US78. There it was, a hard right turn and the street sign said — “Old Highway 78.”
At 391 feet, it’s Georgia’s longest wooden bridge, and its 253-foot covered span over the creek is the longest unsupported wooden span in the state. After some repairs in the 1980s, the 170-year-old bridge is still in use, another superlative for the state — its oldest wooden bridge still carrying regular traffic.
Prior to 1882, it was really, really hard to get to Tallulah Falls. After that, you could take a train, and if you did, you’d see quite a show — a 1,000-foot deep gorge with a series of six waterfalls over a one-mile span, the roar of the falls so loud you could barely hear yourself talk, and a constant mist rising from the depths. Georgia Power ruined that in 1912 when it built a dam over the Tallulah River, flooding half the gorge with one of a series of lakes and reducing the great river to a trickle.