This Past Weekend
Not a whole lot of motorcycling going on ’round here of late. Yes, we get out on Blue every Sunday afternoon and ride over to Loco Willy’s for hot wings and then usually take the long way home to get in at least 50 miles with a few stops along the way. Such was the case today.
Today’s ride felt a bit brisk with overcast skies and temps hovering in the low 70’s instead of the upper 80’s or mid-90’s and with a pretty stout 20 mph breeze blowing to boot! Miss Debbie came down looking lovely in her Miss Me jeans and her Miss Newby’s ‘Old School Bike Show’ string top and was crestfallen when I told her we’d need to wear jackets. Although she protested a little, by the time we got to Loco’s she was wishing I’d have given her some gloves to wear! After Loco’s we rode over to Hellbender Harley-Davidson to visit with our friend Nick and to check out their jackets.
My Fieldsheer liner is about worn out from 7 years of just about daily use from September through May on my commute to work and before simply getting an MA1 flight jacket to replace it (the Fieldsheer is basically a cheap knock-off of the MA1’s we wore in the Air Force), I figured I see if H-D had anything made for riding that was a better choice for similar money. I opted to go without my worn-out jack for the short ride over to Hellbender and almost regretted it: it was just not quite t-shirt weather the way it is when we first see the 70′ temps in March & April.
This touch of cool air and overcast skies was all goodness since as the title of this blog entry implies, we’ll be headed into the mountains next weekend where cooler temps are almost guaranteed. Having had a taste of the cooler temps was a wake-up call to put the “doors” back on Blue’s lower fairings, remembering that I took them off before our July 4th trip to maximize airflow past the engine for our Florida trip. Yeah, well now that fall is just a few weeks away and given how quickly and dramatically the weather can change in the mountains, having those doors back on and our cool weather gear along will be necessities. The travel bag and saddle bags will certainly be full and Debbie will probably be wearing her full-face helmet.
Next Weekend & Our Trip to Gatlinburg
We fully amortized our Key West trip from the 4th of July weekend a few weeks back and have been suffering from road trip deficit disorder (RTDD) ever since. I think we’ve found that we need to do a long day trip at least once a month and an overnight trip every other month except during the winter when the weather makes most reachable destinations not all that great for a weekend motorcycle trip. However, come March we have Daytona, in May it’s PCB, July will probably become Key West and October is back to Daytona & Panama City Beach. So, there’s definitely a hole in September and for the second or third time we’ll be heading to Gatlinburg with our partners in crime, David & Deb, via the North Georgia, Northwest Carolina and Southeast Tennessee mountains. Sweet!
We’ve toyed around with making a quick trip up to Nashville for dinner at Merchants and a night at the Honky Tonks, but weekend commitments with family and friends have kept us close to home where we’ve enjoyed our weekend tandem cycling rides which, when coupled with at least a few hours on Blue every Sunday afternoon, seem to keep us happy and relatively fit. Unfortunately, the tandem cycling came to an abrupt end last weekend when we finished the ride only to discover the frame on our tandem bicycle had a slight failure. Unlike a Harley, it’s extremely rare for a bicycle to fail even after 7 years and 35,000 miles of use, so I was quite surprised. If I had to relate it to a motorcycle, I’d say the failure was on par with discovering a bad lifter in your Harley under warranty before it causes any secondary damage. You know, thank goodness it wasn’t any more serious but hey, it’s still something that shouldn’t happen and leaves you without your bike while its fixed. Of course, having this particular tandem bike fixed means stripping the components off the frame and having FedEx ship it to the builder in California… there’s no “local dealer” solution for these one-off, high-end composite bicycle frames.
Anyway, suffices to say our trip to Gatlinburg couldn’t come at a better time. We’ll head up to Knoxville on Saturday and spend the night there checking out whatever there is to check out in downtown Knoxville on a Saturday night. It could be interesting and a bit busy since Saturday is also Tennessee’s football home opener against Bowling Green!!! Sunday is still a bit soft, but we’ll probably head towards Cherokee and/or the Maggie Valley. I’m partial to the Maggie Valley and paying a follow-up visit to the Wheels Through Time Museum, whereas a visit to the casino’s is also a possibility, along with a trip up to Clingman’s Dome before riding back down into Gatlinburg for dinner at Calhoun’s.
We’ll be using our gift certificate from our visit with the Hilton Vacation Properties in Orlando to cover part of the tremendously pumped up lodging costs for Sunday night: a 150% increase from this past Sunday! Oh well, we deal with the same thing at Daytona and Panama City Beach: it’s the law of supply and demand and Gatlinburg is apparently a popular place. No kidding, our room at the Hilton Garden Inn will be on par with what we’d pay for a 3 bedroom condo in PCB!!! Guess we’ll need to squeeze maximum value out of that one-night-stay!!
Monday we’ll finish up the 600+ mile ride with the trip back home where we’ll enjoy three weekends at home before we begin a whirlwind of trips in October: 1st weekend to Richmond, Virginia for the Southern Tandem Rally (8 hours up on Thursday night and 8 hours back home on Sunday), then a weekend at home before doing the Thursday through Sunday, 4-day fall versions of Daytona Bike Week (9 hours each way on the bike) and Panama City Bike Week (5 hours each way on the bike). Here’s hoping we have great weather for all these weekends! If not, we’ll make the best of it!!!