As Friday’s work day came to a close I had to remind myself I was taking vacation the following week and, by taking off, the goal is to cut-off the electronic leashes. With that in mind, I passed off a few meetings to co-workers, reminded my boss I’d be out and fired off a few last assignments which, OK, I’ll have to follow-up on Monday or Tuesday from home, but that’s it!
Yeah, right. It all sounds good, but in reality I’ll be checking the smart phone just to make sure there’s nothing that really demands some attention all week long. Sadly, it’s just the way it is in our 24/7 work culture where leaning-out the enterprise means there’s not a lot of bench depth or coverage when someone is out. Consequently, it means you never really turn it all off, you just dial-it back a bit.
But, dialed-back and not going in to the office on the three days that I’ll actually be vacationing at the house isn’t all that bad. I should be able to get a lot of spring yard work done mixed in with some cycling and other things that will hopefully give me some sense of accomplishment intermixed with only a few hours of work being on my mind each day.
The real payoff should come on Thursday when Debbie and I throw a leg over our Harley and head down to Daytona Beach for three days at Bike Week with two other couples and two friends whose wives are otherwise occupied for the weekend. Even if it’s crowded, it will be nice to get in two long walks on the beach with Miss Debbie and a three days & nights relaxing, people watching and cruising around Volusia County, Florida. As I mentioned a few weeks back, Daytona Beach owes us a vacation!
Anyway, after taking my last teleconference of the day I headed for the door around 3:45pm, 9.5 hours after walking-in the office which is technically a short day for me. I decided to head home a couple of hours earlier than normal so I could pick up a birthday card and some petite fours for our friend Deb of David & Deb, as we’d be celebrating her birthday a few days early since it was falling on a Tuesday this year. It also gave me time to run a few other errands before arriving at home a little before Debbie.
As usual, after switching into Friday night attire we headed over to Loco Willy’s for our Finally a Friday celebration with Dave & Deb, Stewart & Teresa and the rest of the regulars as well as a few non-regulars. The evening turned into a bigger celebration that we’d originally expected as we were joined by our friends Ryan & Jeanette, Jeff & Sharon as well as Cowboy and Patti. Not sure if that was pure coincidence or if there was some level of conspiracy involved on the part of our friends, but we had a really good time even though we had to give up the bar for “the big table.”
Note to self: I need to learn that when friends join us at Willy’s who aren’t regulars to not push the food choices that we like so hard, as I forget not everyone has the same tastes, especially when it comes to how we like certain things. It’s not like there’s anything bad on the menu… so I just need to let folks make their own choices instead of making too many recommendations. Apologies to anyone who I’ve done that to.
As we all neared the end of our dinners someone suggested heading over to SuBourbon’s to see if they had a band that was worth dancing to, so on we went. As an added surprise, our friends Bobby & Carrie Ann joined us, fresh from their week-long trip to San Diego, California. We weren’t able to get into the main bar, but we had a very attentive waitress so that was pretty nice. And, because we were on the porch we seemed to have a lot of room to move around and mingle which was also nice. The band was good, but that rockabilly stuff just doesn’t lend itself to dancing. However, the bumper music between sets is always good so we were able to capitalize on that a few times.
While everyone was together we also had a chance to talk about the travel and lodging plans for next week’s trip to Daytona as well as the Panama City Beach trip which comes up at the end of April. So, as mentioned, we’ll have Ryan & Bobbie joining us for the ride down to Daytona on Thursday morning around 6:00am and it sounds like everyone has found a place to stay, albeit spread out along the Atlantic Ocean from Edgewater to Daytona Shores. We’ll also be meeting our friends Chuck & Julie and Jeff & Sharon down in Daytona. However, for Panama City Beach it sounds like nearly all of us will be occupying two three-bedroom condo’s at Sterling Reef, with the exception of Deb & Dave who will be staying about 100 yards east of us in a friends Condo or some such. So, that all is working out quite nicely.
Again, a great time out Friday night with great friends.
As you might imagine, we slept in a little later than normal on Saturday after our late night out on Friday. Once again, I think we were both a little foggy from all the “fun” and less than healthy food & drink. Yes, rich foods and drinks cause quite a shock to our systems given that Debbie and I consume very healthy things during the week, reserving the weekends for slightly less healthy things like oysters buried in cheese and a few high-calorie cocktails. However, that said, we were both stirring by 8:30 and working on our weekend chores by 9:00am. I should note, we had our friend Deb as a house guest since David passed on going to SuBourbon’s. He’d had a long week, had just traveled back in to town Friday afternoon and was facing an impromptu motorcycle trip on Saturday and Sunday. So, while Debbie ran Deb home I went off and ran a few other errands, got the laundry started and then turned my attention to getting Blue ready for the Daytona trip.
Now, I should also confess that I passed on that impromptu opportunity to head up to Nashville with “the boys.” Ryan, Bobbie, Cowboy, Jeff & David planned to leave at 10:30am on Saturday morning for an overnighter. As tempting as it was, all week-long I’d been looking forward to getting out on our tandem bicycle with Miss Debbie this weekend for some much-needed pedal bike time, particularly since we’d be on the motorcycle all next weekend and, well, I just cherish my weekend time with Debbie. So, as much as I missed-out on what I’ll assume was an epic adventure with my compadres, I’m pretty sure I came out ahead by staying at home. Again, we’ll get lots of miles on the bike and our fill of rowdy crowds and next weekend.
Speaking of next weekend, the only thing I’d not done to Blue II yet was to install a certain accessory that shall remain nameless (ATSRM), but that makes our long trips a heck of a lot easier to manage. On the original Blue, I had the ATSRM installation and removal process down to about 40 minutes. However, for some reason the same technique on Blue II just didn’t work. That pretty much doubled the time as I had to fully disassemble the ATSRM hardware before I could install it on the bike; bummer. But, having now completed the installation I believe I will be able to remove it in 40 minutes after we finish our trips. There’s also an electrical installation aspect to the ATSRM that took a bit longer since it was the first time I tried to get all of the electrical accessory control boxes behind the battery and under the saddle. Now that I’ve got it all in there I should be able to remove and install it in about 20 minutes. So, all told, about an hour to remove and 90 minutes to reinstall the ATSRM is my guess for future planning purposes: not too bad, but not ideal. Cest la vie.
It was about lunch time when I finished up the ATSRM installation project and about the same time when Debbie arrived back from running a few errands. Our plan was to have a little lunch and then head out for a tandem bicycle ride after letting our food sit for about an hour.
After the hour passed we put on our cycling togs, threw our legs over the Calfee and headed off for a 25-mile ride on one of our regular loops. It felt a little colder than the 59°F temperature we saw at the house, but a huge improvement from our 40°F rides earlier this winter. We didn’t set any land speed records on the ride, but that wasn’t the goal: we just needed to stretch our cycling legs a bit and it couldn’t have been a nicer day for just such a thing. Well, I say that… but truth be known, the tree pollens are already giving me fits.
After we returned home Debbie headed to the backyard to get a little Sun while I gathered my thoughts for a Sunday to-do list and my three days at home. That would be in addition to putting down 60 bales of pine straw that West Cobb is delivering on Monday. When the Sun moved behind the trees Debbie’s vitamin D fix came and we both headed-in to the house so we could finish up chores and relax a bit before getting dressed for dinner.
Yup, where else but Loco’s! We were anticipating a quiet night since the boys were still in Nashville and that was just fine with us: I think we needed a quiet night. After getting a little iron back in our system vis-a-via splitting a delicious Willenburger, we headed back home for “movie night” on the couch. Debbie had an itch to see the Marvel Studio’s “Ant-Man” again and thankfully it was available for streaming on Sony’s video service. It was a nice quiet way to spend the evening with my sweetie.
I was up pretty much at the normal time for a Sunday, about an hour or so before Debbie. That gave me a little time to do some home finance stuff, analyze the previous week’s stock market performance and do a little more research on a variety of things, e.g., retirement, healthcare (aka, the cure for retirement) and some upcoming vacation options.
After breakfast I headed out to work on my short to-do list for Sunday, which included getting some annuals to plant, filters for the HVAC as they were due for a change, some Plastic-Dip to refresh our 5-year old cycling mirror helmet clamps and some spar varnish to rehab the 28-year-old Telescope-brand beach chair I received as a trophy for winning the Hobie Cat 16B class at the 1988 San Diego Classic that Debbie uses when tanning in the back yard.
So, once back at home I planted & watered the new annuals, sanded and then varnished the wooden arms on the beach chair, “dipped” our mirrors, changed out the HVAC filters, did a little carpet maintenance, and picked-up where I left off on raking leaves in the backyard in advance of Monday’s resumption of leaf chipping & pine straw spreading.
Once again, we had a little lunch and then after an hour we were back out on the tandem for a do-over of the 25-mile loop we’d ridden on Saturday. Debbie had talked about wanting to do a 40-mile ride, but I could tell in the first 5-miles that neither one of us had 40-miles in our legs: 25-miles would be just fine! And, it was.
By the time we’d returned home and finished up the last of the chores we had just about enough time to clean-up, hop on Blue and take a ride over to Loco Willy’s for an early dinner: hot wings and cold beverages! We’d earned it with a fairly busy weekend at home. As always, lots of familiar and friendly faces around the bar and the wings — while not actually made with the correct hot sauce — hit the spot. I guess we’ll need to be a bit more specific when we order. Some of the bar keepers have our “usual” orders down pat while others, not so much. Again, great food, but it just wasn’t the flavor we were craving.
Back at the house it was a quiet night where Debbie spent most of her time getting ready for the week ahead, doing some exercises and then getting to bed early. Me, well, as you can tell, I’m sitting here doing my blog, so I’m not quite ready to settle down for the night.
However, given that I’m up this late, I can see some of the early reports coming in from the boys after they returned from Nashville. Apparently, in addition to having an epic night at the honky tonks on Broadway, two of the five bikes had to pay a visit to Columbia Harley-Davidson in Franklin after some type of mechanical failures. One bike was fixed, the other was apparently terminal and ended up being replaced with a new bike. My initial instincts were correct: Jeff’s 2012 CVO Ultra had a really nasty engine noise on last week’s ride and when they stopped in to Columbia Harley-Davidson to address some issues that David was having on his ’03 Road King, the “noise” in Jeff’s engine was the tip of an iceberg. To make a long, epic story short Jeff came home with a sweet deal on an equally sweet replacement for his 2012. I’ll let him share the reveal at the time and place of his choosing. We’re still waiting for all the details and photos to emerge. Can’t wait to hear the stories!