So, here I sit at 9:15 on Sunday night collecting my thoughts ahead of the work week being ever mindful that work in all of its form gives us purpose and the means to enjoy those non-working moments enjoying time with family and friends and pursuing our other passions and pastimes.
Since this is the motorcycling blog that I’ve hijacked as my personal journal, motorcycling once again gets the lead-in entry, but deservedly so. As you’ll recall from last week, Debbie had her first 100+ mile day back on our Road King, Blue. It was a good day and the 116 miles was broken into four legs, the longest of which was about 40 miles.
A Sunday Ride to the Mountains on Blue:
With beautiful mostly sunny skies on Sunday and temps working their way up from the low 30’s at 7:00am to the mid-60’s by early afternoon, a group of our motorcycling friends whom we visited with on Friday night at Loco Willy’s and then again Saturday night at the Subourbon Bar & Social Club (aka, Rock & Roll Club, aka, Raw Bar) invited us to join them for a Sunday afternoon ride to the North Georgia mountains.
It was a great way to cap off a very enjoyable weekend where I’d already gotten in a bicycle ride, enjoyed time out visiting with friends, a little bit of dancing and even gotten in some work around the house and garage. Before heading out Blue even got a wash as the last two times she was out it was raining: just didn’t seem right for her to show up at her first public appearance with a coating of road grime.
We headed out from the house at 11:45am for a 12:15 meet-up and 12:30 ride-out from the Quick Trip station on Highway 92 in Woodstock. It’s only a 15 minute ride, but you have to add another 15 minutes for sitting at all the stoplights along the way; unbelievable how the traffic engineers have timed the lights to impede the flow of traffic instead of allowing to move through more than an 1/8 mile between red lights.
There ended up being a total of eight motorcycles and 11 riders in the group which included Ryan & Jeanette, Jeff & Sharon, Cowboy & Patti, Allen, two other gents whose names I’m sorry to say escape me at the moment. I think it was about 12:45 when we headed out and after a brief traffic tie-up associated with the end of services at the Woodstock Community Church, we were rolling along through the secondary and tertiary roads through Hickory Flats, Ballground, Marble Hill and into Dawson County.
We stopped for a leisurely lunch at Shenanigan’s in Dahlonega around 2:45 and I must say it was a great place: wonderful staff, good food and plenty of room for our group of 11 with only a short wait.
After lunch we headed up into the mountains in search of the R-Ranch. I’m thinking that we turned off Yahoola Road a bit too early and ended up on what would have been the back way into the R-Ranch on John Walden Road, a less than inviting piece of very narrow and rutted pavement from what we could see. On the bright side, as the road captains sorted out their bearings it gave us a chance to put on our leather over pants and chaps as I was beginning to feel a bit of a chill setting in as the the sun began to set and temps headed down a few degrees. We ultimately abandoned the quest to visit the R-Ranch and headed back out on Yahoola Road / Route 19 into the Dahlonega and then on down toward Cumming and then east towards Canton, Georgia on Routes 369 and 20. Given the sun was within an hour of setting and we were still a good 40 minutes from the house, we decided to skip the post-ride stop at Bodocks and parted company with the group in Canton.
By the time we arrived home we’d logged about 180 miles, and 140 of that was with the group. It was, obviously, Debbie’s first time riding with other bikes in a group since October and she said she felt pretty good, even through most of the more narrow, twisty sections. She did say there were a few times when she got a little anxious, but with a few adjustments to our riding line and stagger we were able to address that. Again, all-in-all, a very good day on the bike for our first “real” ride since October. Debbie was also quite thrilled with her black version of the HJC Blossom helmet, although I think she was missing her full face as we made final stretch towards home with the sun setting and temps heading back into the 50’s. It’s good to have options!
We talked about heading to Loco Willy’s for our Sunday wing fix, but when I offered up a pizza back at the house I received an enthusiastic “oh yeah!” My baby likes my at home, mostly homemade ‘Orts Special’ with Cashews: Bobolli bread is clearly cheating, but the rest of the pie is pretty-much a custom blend of homemade sauce, mozzarella cheese, cajun sausage, pepperoni, Ortega-brand green chili’s and cashews. And, I think I discovered the best way to add the meat to the pie is by quartering the pepperoni and halving the sausage, as tonight’s pie was clearly the best so far.
Sorry about the lack of people on bike photos; I’d meant to take a Go-Pro along but got distracted by yard work and before I knew it I had to clean up and go. I was also pretty focused on the basics of riding two-up as it had also been a long time since I’d done any “real riding” since October as well, never mind with Debbie aboard. So, as we get back in the groove you can bet I’ll be sure to capture a few more photos, still and otherwise.
As for the rest of the weekend, here’s the run down:
Friday was an off-day for me and for the first time in a long time I didn’t even fire up my laptop. I was able to field a couple of questions via my company smart phone during the morning and I’m thinking I only had a handful of Emails in the afternoon; not bad!
In between those few work-related distractions I was able to get a few chores done inside the house, including a little re-organizing in the kitchen which was way overdue. Of course, it just created a new project or two, so I’ll have to revisit that in a week or two.
Of course, the highlight of any off Friday is being able to have a lunch date with my sweetie at The Red Eyed Mule, and today was no exception. Isn’t she purdy! That’s my reason for being right there: she lights up my life and is also pretty easy on the eyes!!!
With my visit to Costco, a short but failed quest to find a motorcycle face mask and lunch behind me, I found myself at home with a free 90 minutes into which I figured I be able to fit in a bicycle ride. My first choice — riding off-road — wasn’t an option as the trails were still closed due to recent range. Therefore, even though it was a little chilly with temps in the mid-40’s and a stiff 13mph wind blowing, I went ahead and knocked out a short road ride. I must say, it felt pretty darn good to get out and spin my legs. However, much to my chagrin, I failed to take into consideration that in addition to the cold air, the hardwood tree pollens had just began to blow and I think I may have ingested more than my fair share during that ride, as I’ve been struggling with sinus issues, a sore throat and now a hack in my chest ever since.
I did a little home office work after I was back at the house and before I knew it was time to get cleaned up for our Finally a Friday visit to Loco Willy’s. Debbie was home promptly at 5:30 and after she chanced into something a bit more comfortable we were off.
Friday Night: As usual we had a good time visiting with our partners in crime David & Deb as well as the entire Loco’s gang: Stewart & Teresa, Kevin, Rex, Gene & Clark, Brian, etc. Note that this would be one of the last photos of me with long hair, as it all came off on Saturday. Yup, after letting it grow since August 2013 I finally accepted the fact that the folks at work just aren’t ready to deal with me having a pony tail and keeping the length right at my collar leaves me with a wild mop instead of a nicely groomed flow. So, as you’ll see in subsequent photos, I’m back to being clean-cut as well as clean-shaved: oh the horrors!!
However, what was a bit of a special treat on Friday was an unexpected appearance of our friends Ryan & Jeanette! I’d actually thought they were still in Florida but — low-and-behold — a text message came in from Ryan asking if we were at Locos. “Yes” was immediately replied to with “We’ll be there in 30 minutes.” About the same time there was also a few messages flowing from Carrie Ann so I was half-way expecting a full-on party to arrive. However, I believe Carrie Ann & Bobby were getting ready to head off to San Diego in the morning, so they weren’t able to come out and play. However, Ryan and Jeanette did join our little gathering and we had quite a time of it. I’m pretty sure the four of us outlasted all of our regular mates at the bar as it was easily close to midnight when we said our goodbyes and 12:30 when we arrived home and set out safe-arrival notes.
Saturday: I woke up feeling a little foggy on Saturday morning, but part of that had to do with left my contact lens in over night. I was also starting to experience the on-set of my annual bout with allergies after getting a head full of pollen out riding my bicycle on Friday. I may have also over-indulged a bit on Friday night as always seems to happen whenever Ryan and/or our friend Chuck and me get together. I have a rather well-researched formula that I used to manage my fluid intake and it works well until I get distracted and lose track of time, much to the advantage of the house if you will. So, bearing in mind that I may have actually been a little groggy and enlisted Debbie as the designated driver on Saturday night, I had a little hair of the dog before heading out to wash cars and take on a list of other chores.
In addition to washing the car & the truck, blowing leaves off the porch, and trimming back the Crepe Myrtle trees for spring, I ran out and had my hair cut. As mentioned, it was my first real haircut since June or July of 2013, as that’s when I started to let my hair grow out. I’ve had the back-end and sides tidied up a few times since then but for the most part it’s been down past my collar for the last year. Pretty weird, as I’d just gone back to being clean-shaven in November after having either a short beard or goatee for 22 years. Oh well, all good things must come to an end; guess I’m starting to act my age!!
I found Debbie out sunning herself when I arrived home and after getting her set up with a proper beach chair and towel so she could truly enjoy getting a little vitamin D for the first time since September. Yes, it’s been a long, cool and cloudy fall and winter round these here parts!
Saturday Night: Dinner at Loco’s was on the agenda and we treated ourselves to the smoked ribs; they were yummy. Again, just enough for two which is how we like it. For whatever reason, I got it in my head that we should drop by the Subourbon Bar “just to check it out” on the off-chance that they’d have a good dance band. Well, son-of-a-gun if someone wasn’t having a semi-private party with a party band called Grey Sunday playing. We were pretty excited until we realized that with so many of the party-goers up dancing, there really wasn’t room for party-crashers to join. So, we decided to bide our time until the 9:00pm rockabilly band from Anniston, Alabama came on. However, while we were sitting there just as we had on the prior evening we received a text message from Ryan wondering if we’d be interested in going to Subourbon’s! Yeah, well… we were already there. About 30 minutes later Ryan & Jeanette along with our other friends Cowboy and Patti showed up and we had a grand time enjoying oysters and the good company of our friends. The music never really happened for us as the rockabilly band just played everything way too upbeat for anything other than a really fast jitterbug. However, during a break the bridge music kicked-in and that was all we needed, with Patti & Jeanette out there with us: we were quite the sight, I’m sure. Again, we were out a bit late but had a great time and were actually in very good shape when it came time to head on home. Back at home I’d almost broke out the pancake making stuff, but we both agreed that it was just time for bed.
Sunday: As for the parts about Sunday that weren’t already covered, it was pretty much a restful morning after our second late night. I was up around 7:00 but found myself struggling with a very raw throat, crud in my sinuses and a full-blown allergy red alert. I immediately broke out the netti-pot and saline + baking soda solution, Flonase, Zyrtec, Dayquil and Halls triple action to try and knock down the symptoms so I’d be able to function. By about 9:00am I was feeling pretty good and while I really wanted to take another bicycle ride, sucking in more pollen was probably not the right thing to do.
Instead, I probably ended up doing something just as bad which was heading into the backyard and firing up the tree limb and leaf chipper to turn all of the Crepe Myrtle tree limbs and two very large piles of leaves into about six 40-gallon bags of mulch that go right back into the yard.
Not exactly a dust / pollen-free activity by any stretch. But, it gave me something productive to do after getting the motorcycle ready for the afternoon ride and has me one step closer to ordering up all the pine bark and pine straw I’ll need to put down as ground cover in a couple of weeks. Oh the joys of home ownership.