Red Eyed Mule – I tele-worked from home on Friday and decided to see if my sweetie wanted to meet for lunch at the Red Eyed Mule in Marietta. I’d never been before, but she had and gave it raves reviews… good food and the owners —husband and wife owners Sabra Wessel and Joseph Wood — have a soft spot for Harley peeps. Didn’t even realize until yesterday they had a Facebook page.
Anyway, I rode over on the Harley and arrived a little early at 12:05pm so I could check out the place and the lunch menu. The place is only 600 square feet and it was packed; a good sign since it’s been open a couple of years. As for the menu, pretty simple: burgers on Texas toast, chicken salad, BLT, soup or a smoked meat loaf special with fries or onion rings on the side… and all of it for a buck or two less than most places doing burgers. Debbie arrived about 5 minutes after I did so we were queued up to order pretty fast and decided to split a Jake’s L’il Daddy and some fries. Sabra Wessel was working the till and taking orders, while her husband Joe was running food: nice to see a small business where the owners are in the thick of it!
They don’t claim to be “fast food” and it wasn’t, but that’s part of what makes it special. I think we waited about 10 minutes for our meal which gave us some time to visit with each other, and that was nice. Joe came by with our food and they split the order into two baskets which was unexpected and nice; classy touch. The burger — slathered with a great mixture of lettuce, tomato & a mustard sauce reminiscent of the old “animal style” flavor of California’s “In n’ Out” burgers and topped with a dollop of “Sloppy Jimmy” (i.e., sloppy Joe) — more than lived up to expectations and the hype. Can’t wait to try breakfast there!
Daytona Carbon Polo – After giving Debbie a hug and a kiss goodbye as she headed back to her office, I headed home to do a little more work and was hoping I’d be done early enough so I could ride over to Harley-Davidson of Atlanta. My primary goal was to pick up a top Debbie had seen and liked when we were at the Curves & Chrome event back on July 16th. I also wanted to see if perhaps they had a DOT-approved, polo-style 1/2 helmet, as I’d struck out at Earl Small’s, Cartersville, WOW Motorcycles, Freedom Powersports, Mountain Motorsports and knew that BMW Ducati Husqvarna Motorcycles of Atlanta wouldn’t have any 1/2 helmets, short of perhaps a Shoei St. Cruz. The trick was getting out and back before the afternoon storms rolled-in.
Thankfully, I had all the inputs I needed and shot off the white paper to my boss for review at 2:30pm. That would give me enough time to make the 20-mile / 45-minute trip, do my shopping, and then make the 45-minute ride back home before Debbie and hopefully before the skies opened-up. However, just in case I moved my rain gear from my BMW R1100S’s saddlebags to the Harley’s saddlebags, under the premise that if you have rain gear chances are you won’t need it.
It was a nice ride over, not much traffic and pretty sunny. I snagged the top for Debbie and set that aside and then turned my attention to their helmet display. I was pretty pleased to see that they did, in fact, have an all-carbon polo (or jockey if you prefer) style helmet on the rack, along with an HCI-105 polo style helmet. As always, my in-between size head made me do the “hat dance” for about 20 minutes as I worked to figure out which of the polo-style helmets really would fit… long-term. I say long-term, noting I find helmets tend to get a little larger as they begin to form to your head and I also like to wear a bandana under my helmet to soak up sweat rather than getting the helmet liner all funky. I finally decided to go with the Medium-size, all-carbon Daytona polo style model. It was a bit pricey as far as typical 1/2 helmets go (but still about 1/4th or 1/5th the cost of my Shoei Multitec), but I like to support local business when I can and avoid “showrooming” even though you can typically save a few bucks buying over the net.
I was a little skeptical as to whether the helmet really met DOT standards, but after a detailed inspection and comparison to other helmets I gave Daytona the benefit of the doubt. In addition to the fit of the shell, the other two things that put this helmet over the top vs. the HCI-105 were: (a) the retention system, which used completely adjustable straps to make for a custom fit, and (b) the 1.62 lb weight… which was a full 1/2 pound less than the HCI-100 I’ve been wearing. I stuffed my HCI-100 into my empty saddlebag with Debbie’s new top and wore my new lid home to make sure that it was going to work as well as I thought it would. I was not disappointed. I liked everything about the Daytona: light, great fit, better airflow, no lifting and did I mention it was light?
Decompression Session – I got home just before the real rain began to come down, and before Debbie so I still had some time to finish up some laundry, grab a shower and get myself ready for our Friday “Decompression Session” (DS). We’ve been doing the Friday night DS since we first met back in the Spring of 1991 and have made a point of going out for Margarita’s and Ameri-Mex every Friday night. Our original “regular place” was the Town Center Rio Bravo Mexican Cantina. They were acquired by Applebee’s and they pretty much did-in Rio Bravo in six months. We moved on to a couple different places before we caved-in and gave the local “On the Border” Mexican chain restaurant a shot. This was around Thanksgiving 2001 and we have been going there almost every Friday ever since, making quite a few friends on the staff and of other patrons. In fact, it was at “On the Border” where we met our dear friends David & Deb who became the catalyst for the purchase of our first Harley back in June 2011: best decision ever!
Anyway, if you do the math you can pretty much figure out we probably paid for the last store renovation… but it’s been worth it. Friday DS is what gets us through the week, and it’s from where our other adventures are typically hatched. In fact, the four of us — Debbie, Deb, David and your’s truly — started working on the logistics for our October trip to Panama City for the fall edition of “Thunder Beach”. Oh what fun. Can’t wait.
It’s also through David & Deb that we rediscovered night-life, local bands, and new friends. One of those bands / friends are Sarge & Jody: Sarge is a former USAF PJ who now DJs, hosts Karaoke nights, manages a local club and is also the promoter for his wife Jody’s cover band, Pretty Twisted. About two months back we began heading over to a local place called Jimmy Mac’s Pub after “On the Border” on Friday’s to watch folks do the Karaoke thing and this week was no different. Jody was there along with her daughter Syd, and several other friend whom we met through David, Deb & Pretty Twisted where there as well: Mike & Vita, Rick & Margaret, and a few others. We had a great time, but bailed at 11:30pm as we had to be up by 7:00am on Saturday for a 47 mile tandem bicycle ride at 8:30am in Rome, Georgia.
Bike Night Alert: Note that Jody & Pretty Twisted have just been signed-up to play Bike Night at “The Georgia 120 Tavern & Music Hall” in Marietta, Georgia on Thursdays beginning August 30th
Bottom Line: DS night was a resounded success and a great way to cap off a fun day that included lunch with my sweetie, a 60-mile ride on the Harley, the acquisition of a helmet that I actually enjoy wearing on the Harley, and time spent with quite a few different friends.