Great Weekend & Great Trip to Blue Ridge on “Blue” To Cap It Off… (Long)

I usually do these “weekend reports” over on my other blog, but since I haven’t posted anything to this blog since the first week of June I figured I’ve put it here… Oh, there’s motorcycling content, but it’s part of the story not the entire story.  However, if you’d prefer to skip to the Harley trip, go to the bottom of this blog entry and look for “Sunday;” I won’t be offended… really.

So, here I sit on my half of our leather love-seat recliner in our cozy family room with the big wooden five-bladed ceiling fan going while recollecting my memories from the weekend and enjoying a refreshing, home-made frozen margarita.  As Debbie said after tasting tonight’s batch, “I don’t know why we bother going out for margaritas.” She’s got a point. There’s nothing fancy about ours, I just pour some Jose Cuervo margarita mix over ice in our VitaMix 5200, eye-ball the splash of Jose Cuervo “Gold” tequila and let ‘er rip: the result is never disappointing!  Yes, it’s shaping up to be a great end to a great weekend…

FRIDAY

My off-Friday started with a couple hours of work from home on some weekly reports and reviewing updated process & procedure documents that I carried home.

Red_Eyed_Mule_logoAfter that I had to grind through the personal finances and then begin the errands I could fit in before meeting my sweetie for our every-other-week Friday lunch date at The Red Eyed Mule. “The Mule” has lost some of its personality now that the owners had to hand-off day-to-day operations to some other folks because of a career relocation.  They still own “The Mule” and the food is still great and I can’t think of a better place for our quick Friday luncheon date, so rest assured… “The Mule” will continue to be one of our regular haunts, right up there with On the Border.  After lunch, it was down to the Harley dealer to pick up a derby cover gasket for the 2011 Wide Glide as it’s almost due for service.  Getting out of the Harley dealer for $10: priceless!  Of course, the best part of these lunch time errands is that I was running them on our Road King “Blue” but without the windscreen.

DSCN0443It’s so nice to be able to quickly pop-off “Blue’s” windscreen on those really nice days where there’s no good reason to have a windshield in front of your face.  It changes the entire riding experience in a good way, at least from my perspective… and that’s why I have a Road King instead of a Street Glide, Road Glide, Ultra Classic or Electra Glide

Friday afternoon was consumed by the aforementioned yard work as the hedges needed trimming, the flower beds needed weeding and the weeds everywhere else needed killing!  In the midst of getting the yard work done we had a bit of a sun-shower, or a sun-downpour.  After getting the electric cords and trimmers out of the rain I turned my attention to my ’03 BMW R1100S, which was in need of a windshield change and an oil change.  Every summer I change out the “touring” windscreen for the much shorter sport screen and with 21 June looming it was time.  It was also sorely in need of an oil change so I figured I’d knock that out while the rain came down.  What should have been a mindless, easy 15-minute task of changing the oil turned into a half-hour reminder of why you should never let your oil catch pan get too full before dumping them. Yup, I punted the thing spilling oil all over the garage floor. What a mess…

Friday evening was our usual visit to On the Border for dinner with our friends David & Deb.  We also got to spend some time with other OTB friends Seth and Carol.  I think I may have over-indulged a bit and was probably in fine form and engaging with my filters turned-off; therefore, my sincere apologies to anyone who is owed an apology.  It was one of those weeks.  Debbie got us home safe and sound and we had a very nice, relaxing evening out on the breezeway once we got home.

SATURDAY

Saturday — or at least the part that covered 7:00am until around 6:00pm — was consumed by tandem cycling.  All of the gory details from our 42-mile long monthly tandem cycling club ride in Forsythe and Cherokee counties north of Atlanta are covered in an entry on my tandem cycling blog, aka The TandemGeek’s Blog.  It made for a great start to the “official” weekend, as it’s been far too long since we got ourselves up early for a spirited tandem ride.

lake_partyThe first of a few bummer’s for the weekend was an invitation we received in the middle of our ride to join some friends out on the lake for the afternoon.  I so-badly wanted to make it it out to the late as we really, really want to spend more time with our new friends and it never seems to work out for one reason or another.  However, just looking at the clock, the weather and seeing how tired Debbie was I knew we’d never made it to the lake.  As I expected, Debbie was worn out by the hard ride and heat and fell asleep as soon as we got home.  I knew she needed the sleep and and the early afternoon thunderstorms rolled thorugh I sent our regrets to our friends out having a great time on the lake. If only!!!

logoAfter Debbie’s nap we got cleaned up and headed off for dinner at Loco Willy’s.  David was solo as Deb was not feeling well and elected to stay home.  We had a good time, which is why we go to Willy’s on Saturdays: if it’s not fun, why bother!  Really.  After a long, enjoyable dinner we shared our plans for Sunday with David which included a motorcycle ride up to Blue Ridge, Georgia where we’d have lunch at Harvest on Main (a place we ate on the way back from our Gatlinburg,TN weekend last Labor Day) and then visit a women’s clothing store our friend and former “fashion consultant” Misty at Horsetown had recommended.  David said he’d let us know if he and/or Deb would be joining us.

Our original plan for Saturday evening was to have made a motorcycle ride up to Blairsville, Georgia, where we’d hoped to spend the night listening and dancing to the music of Pretty Twisted at the Copperhead Lodge.  However, we couldn’t get a room and without being able to spend the night the trip was a non-starter.  It would have been a great night, I’m sure… and tied-in nicely with our plan to visit Blue Ridge on Sunday.

20140621_222652
Vic having fun with a laser light that’s focused on his guitar as he begins his always epic performance.

As a back-up, we headed to a nightclub in Woodstock, Georgia to hear another local band called Shyanne play.  The nightclub has what I’ll call a spotty business history, having been in and out of business several times.  They seem to struggle with large crowds and the regulars who hang out there are sometimes, well… interesting.  Did I mention the smoke?  Shyanne was excellent and the club was a bit smokey, but we had a good time listening to the music and even got out on the dance floor a couple of times.

SUNDAY

Finally, for the die-hard Harley or motorcycling adventure types who have subscribed to the blog, here’s what you’ve been waiting for!

I’ve been waiting for the right weekend when we could make a trip up to Blue Ridge so we could check out a women’s clothing store called The House of Threads and grab lunch at the restaurant Harvest on Main.   The House of Threads hit our radar when we ran into our friend Misty down in Panama City Beach. Regular readers may recall that Misty was the manager of Horsetown in Marietta who helped us redo Debbie’s wardrobe in 2012-2013.  Misty decided to take a new direction with her career which left a huge void in our ability to find the kind of clothes Misty was buying for Horsetown that suited Debbie so well.  Misty thought the gal  who owns The House of Threads would be a “good substitute”  and suggested we pay her a visit.  Harvest on Main was a wonderful restaurant we visited with David & Deb on our way back from Gatlinburg last September which was well-worth the ride just by itself.

Speaking of the ride, I knew there had to be a nice route that would get us to Blue Ridge without having to spend too much time on highways: all we needed was good weather and a Sunday that was free.  This weekend was looking like “the one.”  However, it began to fall apart when we couldn’t get the aforementioned room at the Copperhead Lodge for Saturday night.  But, riding up Sunday morning would work just fine too; we’d just have to get on the road earlier than if we’d been coming from Blairsville.

We originally planned to make the trip up with David & Deb but with Deb being under the weather I’m guessing they elected to pass on the trip. I say guessing as I never heard back from David after Debbie outlined our Sunday plan at Loco’s.  My recollection isn’t always the best, but I’d thought David was going to check with Deb, and then let us know if they’d be joining us.  In retrospect, I probably should have sent a note to David around 9:00am on Sunday morning but that’s all water under the bridge at this point.  There was also a parallel wrinkle as we’d gotten a note from some other friends on Saturday night asking if we wanted to ride over to Alabama on Sunday; Hmmm.  That sounded like fun and we could certainly do our Blue Ridge trip another time.  However, the planning on that ride sort of fell apart early Sunday morning so we simply pressed on with our Blue Ridge trip.

We rolled-out of the driveway around 11:00am, about an hour later than I’d originally planned.  However, that gave me time to get the lawn cut and a few other honey-do’s accomplished in the morning, so no worries there.  We made a point of avoiding highways for the ride up and it was wonderful.  We found a couple new rural shortcuts around Waleska and also explored the Blood and Jones mountain passes between Jasper and East Elijay, Georgia, as a way of staying off 515: a highway by any other definition in my book. The weather couldn’t have been any better despite the threat of a 50% chance of rain on both ends of our journey.

20140622_171554I will note that we did our best to ward off the rain by putting the touring bag on “Blue” so I could carry all of our rain gear and still have room for anything we found at “The House of Threads” for Debbie.  I always feel that if we’re prepared for inclement weather we seem to encounter less inclement weather, so why not! Using the touring pack turned out to be the right call.

20140622_130631(0)We rolled into Blue Ridge around 12:30pm and found a parking spot on Main Street just a few steps from both Harvest on Main and The House of Threads, which — it turns out — are right next door to each other.  We had no trouble getting a table at Harvest, which may be a good or a bad thing: not sure if Sunday’s supposed to be a busy day or not.

I had what David had the first time we visited; from the menu: Angus Beef Hot Dog
An 8oz 100% Angus Beef Hot Dog placed on a toasted baguette and topped with homemade sauerkraut. Served with baked beans, apple whole grain mustard, a dill pickle spear and coleslaw. OMG! I’m not a “foodie” who posts a lot of photos of what I eat, but every once in a while I’ll find a dish that defies the imagination and requires a photo:

20140622_124914

To quote my friend Tim P, this is “the best hot dog ever!”  Debbie had the Vegetarian Black Bean Chili with tomatoes, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, a dash of cayenne pepper and topped with shredded cheddar cheese and diced red onions.  Wonderful meals and you can bet that 1/2 of that 8oz hotdog came home in a doggie bag.  No way I could eat the whole thing and not have to take a long nap.

20140622_131516After our wonderful lunch we walked next door to “Threads“.  We’d hoped to find the owner, Cynthia, on hand as she was the reason Misty had suggested we visit.  However, they were apparently having issues at a second store in Copperhead, TN, which demanded Cynthia’s attention there.  The gal who was covering the Blue Ridge store all weekend was as nice and helpful as could be: we truly enjoyed our visit with her and she was able to offer up all kinds of suggestions on how to wear their clothing and what might look good on Debbie.  I’m actually pretty good at that too, so we had a grand time.  On the bright side, it wasn’t literally a “grand time” but we got about 1/2 way there.  I think all told Debbie came home with six or seven new additions to her wardrobe.  Just lovely things all around in the store: we’ll definitely be back.  However, I will say that there’s no way our experience with Misty at Horsetown will ever be replicated: that was just the right person at the right place at the right time.  Misty and Debbie’s tastes and ability to wear similar clothes was they key since Misty did the buying, add to that her unmatched attention and enthusiasm for “playing Barbie” with Debbie turned the shopping visits into social events that we truly cherished.  And, to be quite frank, the pricing at Horsetown was and still is hard to beat.  Threads has lovely things, but given the boutique nature of the store and their clientele, MSRP is the rule of the day…. not that there’s anything wrong with that!

We visited a couple other stores where we found Debbie one more dress and she also found a cute little dress for the soon to be debuted Miss Vivian Rose, who will be our 5th grandchild and 4th granddaughter.  So it begins… again!

Sadly, just as we were about done with our visit in Blue Ridge we heard back from some other friends who sent us a note just after we arrived in Blue Ridge to let us know they were looking for a Sunday ride opportunity.  We’d told them where we were and a short while later we received a note that said they were on their way up. Sadly, our time tables just weren’t going to overlap and we’d likely pass each other somewhere near Ellijay, Georgia.

No doubt about it, we need to start sharing our respective weekend schedules and vacation calendars so we can get them to gel together.  So far we’re batting below .100… or at least it feels that way.  We’re going to work on that!!! But I digress.

The ride home back over Yukon Road, Jones & Blood Mountains was delightful as was the ride from Jasper into Canton now that we’ve figured out how to by-pass Reinhardt College on Upper & Lower Burgess Roads.

20140622_171450I think our total mileage for the day was about 170 miles as I didn’t get us lost or take too many detours. “Blue” performed well, albeit with enough engine heat to make sitting at stoplights a bit toasty around my thighs and Debbie’s calves.   As you can see at left, my decision to take the touring bag was a good one as we easily had both of the motorcycles hard bags filled with new acquisitions. The left-over hotdog rode home on top of the rain gear in the touring bag.  As I mentioned earlier, it’s good to be prepared!

So, as I finish writing this after doing some multitasking to take care of odds and ends from the weekend that were still to be taken care of (e.g., cleaning dead bugs off Blue, hanging the tandem bicycle back-up over the Wide Glide, another load of laundry, etc.) I can say that I have a very happy Miss Debbie on my hands.  She (and I) were very happy that we got ourselves up and out of bed in time for Saturday’s tandem group ride, she thoroughly enjoyed today’s trip on Blue up to Blue Ridge and as you’d expect he’s quite happy with her new wardrobe additions.  We also had a couple of great meals with our friends and got in a little live entertainment on Saturday night… some of it on stage while some of it was elsewhere:  the bar scene from Star Wars comes to mind!  Ouch; that was bad.

In closing, not sure there will be much new to report for a couple weeks. We’re off to visit family next weekend via a 1,500-mile round trip (probably in the truck, not on the bike), back home for a day or two, and then off again for the 4th of July weekend.

 

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About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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