For reasons that initially seem like a mystery, Debbie and I have not ridden our Harley Road King Blue since our return trip from Daytona Beach on March 13th; that’s unfathomable! As I look back in an effort to discover why I’m left with simply one answer: it’s just not a priority. Good grief, have we lost our collective moto-mojo!? After all, prioritization is a conscious effort so clearly we’ve decided to do other things instead of hopping on the Harley and heading somewhere, even if it’s just out for a bite to eat.
Of course, as I think back, there was a time when a ‘Sunday ride’ was the norm where we’d meet up with our friends David & Deb and just head out around noon and end up somewhere. The last time we did anything like that was a Sunday ride up to Dahlonega with Jeff & Sharon, Bobby & Carrie Anne, Ryan & Jeanette, Cowboy & Patti, Alan and a few others on February 28th. It was a great time, but it was also a huge commitment of time on weekends where our time is at a premium, and therein lies the problem: we’ve simply got too many things to do, to include work around the house, time that has to be set aside for fitness (aka, cycling), family commitments and of course some down time. Couple that with less than inviting weather during what has been a relatively cool spring and therein lies the explanation as to why that big blue Harley hasn’t moved during the last month, other than being shuttled around in the garage during a deep cleaning and polish.
In fact, that’s why there have been very few blog entries here at RidingTwoUp of late; most of what we’ve done has been biased towards cycling so the “weekend updates” have been getting posted to my tandem cycling blog. So, just to let any regular readers know that we understand y’all have been feeling neglected (yeah, right… this isn’t the New Yorker or even Imgur), here’s a weekend recap even though there’s not a lot of motorcycling content aside from this introduction and a brief mention of my ill-fated trip on the black Wide Glide where I lost my fob and had to override the security system.
Friday was my work-from-home / off-Friday and after spending a couple hours doing some work from home in my sweats (does it get any better?!), then knocking out some home banking and catching up on Email, I dove headlong into my to-do list:
- Get the Toyota Tundra smog checked: An easy do since the local car wash I use offers a smog inspection for the same $20 you’d pay for the option-loaded wash. The best part is, they do the smog test while I finish wiping down the truck so it really takes no time from my day at all. Sure, it sucks to be reminded that this is one of those “revenue generators” for the state that has less to do with getting old cars off the road than it does with providing another revenue stream for the state’s general fund. But, hey… I passed. Now I get to pay my $20 annual tag fee along with the $137 annual “Ad Valorem” tax, aka, an annual tax on your assets just because there aren’t already enough taxes when you’re paying out more than ½ of your real wages and earnings in taxes. But I digress….
- Get groceries for the weekend and week ahead, e.g., chicken, spuds, celery & blue cheese for hot wings on Sunday afternoon, shoulder steak for five breakfast muffins, chicken for five salads with diced chicken on top and stuff like that.
- Run a work-related errand….
- Drop by Costco to pick up some of their out-of-this-world canned tuna for Debbie.
- Pay a rare visit to REI to get some new tires for my old mountain bikes; $30/ea… on sale! Oh, and some new cleats for my cycling shoes: I’m tired of having my shoe pop-loose from the pedals at inopportune times.
- Stop at Joanne Fabric to return some ‘extra’ thread and bias tape from last weekend’s cycling jersey sewing project.
- Stop at Lowes to look at wood flooring… again.
- Lunch at home… alas, no Red Eye Mule today as Miss Debbie has an office luncheon to attend.
After having a late lunch I threw in a load of laundry and headed out to the garage to swap out the old and worn-out tires on my two mountain bikes for the new ones I’d just bought at REI. The hard tail titanium Dean is fitted with a set of rims that can be used with tubeless tires, but I’ve decided that the cost of tubeless just isn’t worth it for me so I still use tires with tubes. However, the tires that I’d installed on those rims had a wire hook rim bead instead of a Kevlar bead and getting them off was not a simple task. However, after thinking about it I finally figured out how to break the bead seat and off-set the tire in the rim’s spoke bed so that I could get the tires off the rim. The second tire change went much easier. I also decided to be lazy and used a C02 inflator (a) because I have a lot of old C02 cartridges laying around and (b) to remind myself just how much pressure I could expect from a single cartridge out on the trail. The answer to b was about 22 psi; not really enough so 2 cartridges per tire or C02 + pump. The tire removal and installation on my aluminum, full-suspension Ventana went much more smoothly since it has a more conventional rim.
I decided to make a quick trip over to the Publix shopping center to pick up a few more things that I’d need for our Sunday hot wing fix before heading off to do some off-road mountain bike riding. It had been a while since I’d ridden my 2011 Harley Wide Glide cruiser so I pulled it off the hydraulic stand and got it ready to go. What followed was worthy of its own blog entry so I won’t repeat it all here. Suffices to say, I lost the key fob between the house and Publix which would have left me stranded with a dead bike if I didn’t have a quick reference card and the PIN number needed to override the bike’s security system.
Back at home I quickly got changed in my cycling apparel and made the 10 minute drive over to the Allatoona Creek mountain bike trail head so that I could get in a ‘quick’ loop to cap-off the afternoon. I say quickly in that it ended up being anything but. Once again, “the rest of the story” is captured in another blog entry but the reader’s digest version goes something like this: I ventured off on two new trails that I’d not ridden before: a moderate-level loop called Mumbo Jumbo and what turned out to be an advanced-level loop called Voodoo. The skulls on Voodoo should have been a clue that I was headed into some challenging obstacles. In the course of navigating the rock gardens, bridges and other obstacles I ended up “layin’ er down” and in the process pinch-flatted the brand new front tire. The tire was fine, but the tube was shot.
I was able to replace the tube in a few minutes and was on my way without any serious bumps, bruises or damage to my Dean hard tail. It’s nice – in a bizarre way – to be reminded that in mountain biking (and very much like skiing) if you don’t fall down every once in a while then you’re really not challenging yourself.
The loop ride took about 30 minutes longer than I’d planned but I still made it home in time to be showered and ready to head off to dinner when Miss Debbie arrived home from work. We went to Loco Willy’s as is the norm for a Friday night and found most of the usual suspects were already there. For whatever reason we never really got in the groove on Friday night. We had one of our best Friday meals ever – the blackened Mahi fish tacos on flour tortillas – but pretty much seemed to keep to ourselves and were ready to go shortly after eating instead of hanging around and socializing.
I think we were out the door at 7:30, not much more than an hour after we arrived, and ended up having a lovely and quiet evening “chilling-out” back at home. It’s nice to change-it-up now and again!
Our Saturday was going to be a little disjointed in that Debbie was going to spend most of the day with her mother who was celebrating her 80th birthday. Debbie’s five siblings couldn’t really come up with a consolidated way to celebrate and would be dropping in and/or visiting throughout the weekend. Debbie decided that she wanted to spruce up her mother’s gardens while visiting. So, Debbie took the truck along with a truck bed full of yard tools and stopped at the nursery on her way to Canton.
After puttering around the house most of the morning I headed out around 11:00am in Debbie’s little red Honda and knocked out a few more to-do list items:
- Get Debbie’s Honda smog checked
- Stop at Performance Bike to buy some extra Co2 inflators (I needed one and didn’t have it on my Friday off-road ride), tire levers (I broke one changing the tires on Friday) and new arm warmers (the ones I have no longer stay up).
- Yet another trip to Lowes to look at flooring and to pick up some throw rug hold-down strips.
- Check out flooring at the Home Depot, pick up a 40 watt appliance bulb and a 90* HDMI adapter for the LCD TV in the family room.
Back at the house it was a potpourri of small little tasks: replacing the light in the oven, fitting that 90* adapter to the back of the TV to reduce the bending forces on the HDMI cable-end/TV fitting, changing out the well-worn clipless pedal cleats on three pair of cycling shoes, washing the mud off my mountain bikes and lubricating the drive chains then fixing some faulty wiring on the landscape lighting around the front of the house: I should probably just put in all new wiring in the not too distant future. Frankly, I probably would have done that if I hadn’t just finished covering those flower beds with fresh pine bark.
About the time I had the landscape lighting back on line Debbie arrived back from visiting her mother. She was a little stressed as is often the case after getting caught up on the litany of different issues, breaking news and other trials and tribulations that come with a large family and extended family members. And, as much as we enjoy visiting with our friends at Loco’s, what Debbie really needed was a quiet and relaxing dinner for two. As we thought about all of our choices, most of the places we’d normally go are all pretty noisy – Henry’s, Capers, Fish Thyme, Aspens, Bahama Breeze, etc. – so we decided to try Copelands of New Orleans: it was the right call!
We had the dimly lit bar nearly all to ourselves with an attentive barkeeper, delicious food and the ability to talk to each other. We started off with some deep-fried, crab-stuffed mushrooms, split a Caesar salad and had our own entrees for a change. Debbie went with the blackened salmon and jambalaya summer veggies and I had the Rib Eye covered in blue cheese with the same jambalaya veggies. It was way too much food for us as we typically split our entrees, but absolutely delicious and just what we needed.
As we did on Friday, we decided to spend our evening chilling-out back at the house and it was equally delightful. It’s fair to say that we’re really just resting up as we’ll have two very busy back-to-back weekends on April 22-25 with Debbie’s birthday and a tandem rally over in Huntsville and then we head to Panama City Beach in Florida on April 28-May 1.
As much as I’d like to say that Sunday was all about riding two-wheeled bikes, none of that came to pass. Instead, Sunday became another day filled with errands.
I was up early and once again doing more on-line research on flooring as I was bound and determined to start the downstairs carpet replacement this weekend, one way or another. I also spent some quality time in the kitchen cutting potatoes into fries that would soak in cold water all day and cutting up chicken legs into thighs and drums for our home-solution to the Sunday hot wing fix. Again, while we enjoy our visits to Loco’s we’re suddenly craving time at home and, quite frankly, loving it!
Debbie had the dot for visiting with the tax preparer as we’re pretty much pushed getting those done up to the last minute. Thankfully, she was the first person to arrive at the tax office and was in and out in less than an hour as a line quickly began to form. On the bright side, once we receive our state refund, the net pay-out for taxes this year will be under four figures, a first in decades. Not sure we’ll be able to replicate that until we move out of the 1099 game and become pensioners.
After getting my work in the kitchen taken care of I head off to Floor & Décor for yet another look at flooring. However, I was clearly on a mission to find and bring home flooring so I could get the carpet removal project moving. I think it was easily 10 years ago that I received my first jaw-dropping estimate on what it would cost to have the carpet in our dining room, living room and family room replaced with wood flooring and a more recent estimate confirmed that a “do it yourself” approach was the right way for us to go and now was the time!
After looking over all of my options I decided to go middle of the road using a better brand-name, US-made engineered hardwood flooring that would be “close enough” to our existing oak flooring in terms of species, board width and general coloring. The remaining differences in sheen and color – noting our 23-year old oak floor’s varnish has yellowed – will be addressed by refinishing after the carpet in the adjacent rooms has been replaced with wood flooring.
After picking up the 150 sq ft of wood + adhesives, floor patch and other materials that I’ll need for the dining room, I headed home where I began the process of, relocating the furniture, pulling up the carpet/pad/tack strips and then prepping the concrete floor for the adhesive. I’d briefly toyed with the idea of floating the floor, but quickly realized that there were just too many potential issues with that approach, i.e., hollow / cheap sound, potential for moisture / mold formation, lifting, etc. and decided to go the glue-down route
After getting a good start on the flooring project I found a good place to take a break so I could clean up and get started on the hot wings & fries as it was almost 6:00pm. I treated myself to a cold-one since I believed I’d earned it! If I do say so, our at-home wing fix was pretty darn good so it may become the norm going forward. It’s not all that much trouble to make so long as I do the clean-as-you-go thing so that I don’t have a big mess to clean up once the meal is over or, worse yet, leave Debbie thinking that she’ll have to clean up after me.
We finished out the night with a nice call to my folks while I ironed shirts for work, as I’ve grown tired of having shirts worn-out by the dry-cleaning process. With all of the laundry out of the way, it was just a relaxing night at home as we girded up for the work week ahead and, of course, my latest project.