A Return To Off-Road Tandeming & Other Fun Stuff

How best to sum up this past weekend….??? Geez, that’s tough. There are certainly some standout moments that come to mind so perhaps, “Variety is the Spice of Life?”  The big highlights for me were a great time shared with friends on Friday night, a return to off-road tandem cycling with Miss Debbie on Sunday and two days out on the Harley: Saturday for a short ride with just David and then another short ride with David & the two Debbies on Sunday.  Lots of other stuff in between!


I had grand plans heading into my off-Friday in that I wanted to finally stop procrastinating and knock out most of the prep work that needs to be done before I sand, stain and polyurethane the original hardwood flooring in our hallways and kitchen. Until that’s done I can’t move past the flooring project and onto a shower renovation, landscape repairs and of course repainting the house. Yeah, we’re never lacking for a long list of projects.

20160620_185419Anyway, after Debbie headed off to work I fired-up my circular saw and multi-tool to create a nice channel between the old hardwood in the kitchen and the new hardwood in the family room. Yeah, it was a nice 4’ long channel but what I really created was a lot of saw dust… which I somewhat expected. I definitely need to take a different approach to controlling the massive amounts of sawdust I’ll generate cutting about 20 linear feet of channels between the old and new flooring; more joy! On the bright side, cutting the channel and then filling it with some of the left-over rustic oak flooring does seem to make for a very nice-looking, flush transition between the old and new flooring, far better than anything else I’ve been able to come up with.

Once I have those channels cut I’ll be able to tear out the ¼ round moldings and get to work on sanding the 900 square feet of old flooring in earnest. I’m hoping that’s about a ½ day job and I’ll be able to get the floor tacked and stained during the other ½ of the day, to be followed by a day spent putting down the polyurethane early in the AM so it will hopefully be dry by the end of the day and furniture can go back in the next. Yeah, it’s easy to see why I’ve been putting this off. I swear, tearing out the old flooring and putting down new stuff really does seem like it would be easier… but a lot more expensive.

Anyway, after doing my best to remove all of the sawdust I created it was getting close to the time when I’d need to get myself cleaned up and down to The Red Eyed Mule for my every other Friday lunch date with Debbie. As luck would have it, just before heading out the door I checked my company iPhone and sure enough I had to go fire up my laptop and send off a copy of a report. Thankfully, the networks all played nice and I was only delayed by about 10 minutes, giving me just enough time to arrive at The Mule by 11:30am so I could get our burger ordered before Debbie arrived.

oThe timing was impeccable in that Enrique had our burger to us just a few moments after Debbie sat down. It’s not exactly a long and intimate lunch date we share every other week: The Mule is a bustling little place of about 400 square feet including the kitchen with an assortment of five small tables for two, two large tables for 10 and what appear to be three former fast-food restaurant booths that combined with the other tables provides seating for 40 or so guests all told. But, we like it just fine… especially when Enrique makes sure our burger gets prepared correctly since, sadly, the gal taking the orders still doesn’t quite get it.

After lunch I ran by Costco to pick up a few things for the house, followed by a trip to JoAnn Fabrics so I could pick up some elastic for one of Debbie’s sun dresses that lost its elasticity and heavier gauge jewelry wire for some strung beads that needed to be re-strung. As I came out of JoAnn the sky continued to get dark and threatening and I was wondering if I’d be able to make a couple more stops before the bottom dropped out. As I got out of the truck at the grocery store I decided to take my umbrella and it was the right call: it was pouring when I came out.

Back at the house I was able to get the beads re-strung without too much trouble, noting I really didn’t have a hot clue what I was doing and was, instead, relying on farm boy engineering to beef up the string of beads which were actually part of a garment. After finishing that project I replaced the elastic in her sundress to a point where I had the two ends tied at the seam and would need Debbie to fit-check the dress to make sure the elastic wasn’t too tight to be comfortable.   I’m not sure where I got this knack for taking on just about any kind of a repair project, but I suspect it was most likely from my mother’s dad or her brother, aka, my Uncle Rae. I seem to recall he was and still is pretty handy with a sewing machine and was always tinkering around with anything that needed to be tinkered with. I’m very thankful to have picked up that trait as I truly do like fixing things.

The balance of the afternoon was spent putting away my tools from the morning project, getting in a few sit-ups, push-ups, dips and chin-ups in the exercise room and then getting myself cleaned up before Miss Debbie returned home as we’d be headed to Loco Willy’s for our Finally a Friday celebration right after that.


Carrie Ann rocking some oysters at Subourbon’s

I must say, I could kick myself for not getting a photo of Debbie on Friday night: she looked amazing! She had on her black and silver bustier with some of her Miss Me shorts and her black leather fringe-covered boots: it was a crowd stopper to be sure. Perhaps one will surface later. Regardless, Loco’s was going to be a bit more entertaining than most Friday nights in that our friends Bobby & Carrie Ann, Mike and Bettiann and Jeanette (less Ryan) would be joining us for dinner before we all headed over to Subourbon’s Oyster Pub and Social Club where a really great party band called Grey Sunday would be playing. Jeanette was solo for dinner as Ryan was still tied up in surgery but he joined us at Subourbon’s. We also found several of our regulars from Loco’s Willy’s at Subourbon’s – Stewart and Teresa as well as another couple whose names escape me. Grey Sunday did not disappoint and I’m thinking everyone had a pretty good time. In fact, I’m not even sure what time we all finally left for the ‘after party’ at Ryan and Jeanette’s. Yup, the refurbishment of their deck and rear yard landscaping has truly created a wonderful new and inviting outdoor living space. Sadly, I’m not recalling a lot of the details from the evening and Debbie had to fill me in on what all transpired from about the time we arrived until she drove us home. It’s rare I let myself ‘get ahead of the buzz’ and having done so again I’ll be putting myself back on my “not more than one per hour” regiment going forward… maybe even one per 90 minutes. Again, I’m told by Debbie and others it was all good…


Given we were out until the wee hours of the morning, the sun was up before we were on Saturday. I think it was about 8:00am for me and I did my best not to stir Miss Debbie. The 24 Hours of Le Mans was starting at 8:30am, so gave me a little something to do as I searched for the best streaming live feed to cast up to the TV. It turned out the Ford GT Team had some great in-car, pit and garage video feeds overlaid on the official 24 Hours of Le Mans English broadcast so that’s pretty much where the channel remained throughout the day as background for whatever else we’d be doing. It was certainly a lot easier than trying to keep up with Fox network’s channel switching program approach.

Debbie came down around 9:00am and shortly thereafter I ran over to the grocery store to pick up a few things for the house and my meals at work in the coming week, e.g., chicken, steak, lettuce, etc. I also picked up some potatoes, avocados and other fixings for my typical weekend fare, e.g., hot wings & fries, guacamole, pizza, etc. I stopped at Home Depot as well to pick up some concrete / mortar patch for a crack in our stacked stone retaining wall’s coping.

Once I was back at home I made myself busy with grilling my steaks, cutting up the chicken wings, and then patching the cracks in the mortar… pretty much anything but working on those hardwood floors as once I start with that the day is lost to me.

It was getting close to noon and David sent over a note wanting to know if I had any interest in heading over to Harley-Davidson of Atlanta (HDA) to check-out their Summer Luau event and to otherwise just get some wind therapy. Debbie had a nail appointment around 3:00pm and I think we were both still a little foggy from Friday night. So, I told David to come on by the house and we’d ride out to HDA in Lithia Springs from here. That would give me a little more time to work on a few small honey-dos around the house. I think it was probably 12:30pm when he came by and by 1:00pm we were over at HDA.

I was a bit surprised to see that instead of having the event in their parking lot alongside the dealership they’d set up a volleyball court, stage and canopy for the band and their vendor tents in the grassy area under the trees out past the parking lot. What a great move as the parking lot events are always sweat-fests.


That said, the vibe at the Luau was not there for me. They had the “Grains of Sand Band” playing and their 50’s style beach / swing playlist was just not resonating with me so I quickly departed the lovely shaded spaces under the trees and headed into the dealership to look around and see if there was something I needed to buy with my 20% off coupon. Yeah, well no… Turns out there’s just nothing I need. Well, that’s not true. I was in the market for a pair of black harness boots to replace the worn-out / screwed-up black Dan Post Gortex boots I’ve been using as my all-weather motorcycle boots for the past six years. Picture1However, all they had were Harley branded “Huston” boots which while not bad boots are overly festooned with Harley-Davidson logos and then there’s that orange sole insert which I can do without. It was probably 1:30pm when David and I had seen all there was to see. However, I will confess to looking longingly at the water-cooled Ultras and Road Glides… oh to be rid of the insanely hot 110” air cooled motor!!

thDavid suggested heading out towards Douglasville and grabbing lunch at the Irish Bred Pub, a place the two Debs, David and I visited back in 2011 or 2012 when it was a stop on a charity ride. We liked the place and the food was excellent so a return visit seemed well overdue. It was about 2:00pm when we arrived and as is the norm, we headed to the bar instead of a table. Even though the motorcycle ride had done a lot to help clear my head, I still wasn’t in the mood for anything stronger than a soft drink. For lunch I had their Reuben and slaw and David had the French Dip with house-made chips. Dang, they made some really good food! It’s not a pretty ride to get there and the town is nothing to write home about, so our next visit will definitely be a destination ride where lunch at the Irish Bred Pub will be the reason for the ride. It was about a 22-mile / 40 minute ride back to the house which put me back home right at 4:00pm.

Debbie was still out at her nail appointment so I went ahead a knocked out the yard work for the weekend and was just finishing up as she returned home around 5:00pm. After getting cleaned-up it was back to Loco Willy’s. There had been some talk on Friday night about some of the same folks returning to Loco’s to celebrate a belated birthday for Brian, one of our friends who tends bar and is a favorite of the ladies. However, one of our friends was struggling with back issues, another had been out pre-riding a route for a large group motorcycle ride on 30 June, others had kids, etc. so it ended up just being the two Debbie’s, David and yours truly, which was just fine. It was a very light crowd at Willy’s so we were able to have a lot of Brian’s attention. 20160618_193740The two Debbie’s ran over to Gabriel’s bakery and brought back a small cake and some mini-cannoli’s for the small celebration and we had a delightful time. I wasn’t all that hungry since I’d had a late and heavy lunch, but still managed to snack on some smoked ribs and Deb Ford’s left-over ahi tuna. Again, a great time as always when we’re with David & Deb, add-in Loco’s and it’s a party every time.

20160618_215429Debbie and I stopped back in at Subourbon’s around 8:30pm in the hopes The Way Back Band would be performing songs off their rock & roll play list we could dance to; sadly, they never ventured away from the blues and that was something of a buzz kill for us. We were really looking forward to kicking up our heels – as were a few other patrons – and it just never happened. Debbie and I still had a nice time and did get up and dance to one slow tune, but that was it. Unlike Loco’s, a slow night at Subourbon’s isn’t necessarily a good thing when you can’t control the music and don’t know the staff as well as you’d like to. Oh well, we gave it a shot and hung in there until 11pm just the same.


The day started out a bit earlier than Saturday had, mostly filled with the honey-do lists getting worked down, i.e., laundry, light house cleaning, etc.   Looking at the weather for the week ahead I could also see we were in for good weather, so Debbie’s little red car finally got a little love in the form of a wash. Believe it or not, she’s had her little S2000 for 11 years and put 100,000 miles on it but is still as happy as can be using it as her daily driver. I’m almost in the same boat as I’ve been driving the same Toyota Tundra since buying it new in October 2006 and some 126,000 miles later and still have no interest in getting anything else: it’s been a very reliable vehicle that supports all of our needs, mostly hauling us and our very long bicycles around. Speaking of which….

During out time at Willy’s on Saturday night Debbie said she would be willing to head out on the tandem mountain bike for Father’s Day, as she knew it was something I really enjoyed. As regular readers may recall, we did a lot of off-road tandem riding back in the late 90’s / early 2000’s. However, we had a few group rides where the terrain and tempo of the ride became a bit too competitive and that supplanted the fun-factor with anxiety. Any time we’ve tried to go back out to ride the tandem off-road we’d have to ride through that initial anxiety and it never truly went away. So, riding off-road for us has been a once every two-year or so thing. But, again, Debbie being the greatest partner anyone could hope for, offered up that she’d give it another chance and that’s what we did on Sunday…. And it was a blast!

20160619_121057We rode two of the moderate skill level trail loops and had only one or two dabs. Of course, on one I smacked my knee against the tandem’s handlebars when it abruptly stalled-out after both the front and rear wheel hit two perfectly spaced roots at the same time as we were pedaling through the dead spot on the crank circle; ugg! However, Debbie was unscathed after our 15-miles of trail riding and also in very good spirits. It probably helped that I didn’t try to push the pace too hard, noting my skills piloting an off-road tandem were a bit rusty. But, I think there were a few other things that helped, including just the sheer fun and joy that comes from riding a mountain bike on single track in deeply wooded terrain and of course the comments and attention an off-road tandem can generate when other cyclists see it out on the trail… and there was a good bit of that. 20160619_121035Regardless, I was very encouraged to hear Debbie suggest we put tandem mountain bike riding back into our weekend riding regime which would be just awesome! Of course, as I discovered with both of my single mountain bikes earlier this year, tires don’t last forever and the rubber on our Ventana El Conquistador de Montanas (ECdM) is easily over 10 years old. So, you can bet I’ll be putting some fresh tires on it this week so if the weather cooperates and we can find the time for it, we can enjoy a bit more traction next time we return to the trails. The next thing on the to-do list is to see if a local motorcycle and off-road bicycle shock specialist can rebuild our Stratos fork, as the seals are definitely starting to leak. Hey, the poor bike and fork are 14 years old… it’s earned the right to squeak and creak a bit.

After getting home around 1:30 Debbie suggested giving David & Deb a call to see if they wanted to get in a little big bike riding. Nothing grand, just heading somewhere local for a bite to eat and then over to Horsetown so I could look for those illusive black harness boots. They had to run an errand but told us to go head on to find lunch and then let us know where we landed and they’d catch-up. That was about as close to a plan as I needed. Again, I was just thrilled to be getting out on Blue with Miss Debbie aboard! It had been a couple of weeks since our last, short ride.

We both had thought about heading over to the Acworth Fish Company for lunch to give them a second chance as we REALLY want to find another place to enjoy lunch overlooking the lake. The Little River Grill had been that place but it went through hard times, changes in ownership and eventually closed down for good a few years ago. However, we decided to wait until another time when David & Deb could join us and opted to go to the default: Yup, Loco Willy’s.   Hey, it’s our home away from home!

20160619_140630We had a nice ride over, had our imagination captured by a house I’d admired for years that’s for sale on Burnt Hickory Road and found quite a few friends from behind the bar at Willy’s enjoying their day off sitting on the customer side of the bar. There was Billy with his wife, son and son’s girlfriend, Kevin came in, Brian also showed up and we had Christian, Mattie and Ashely taking care of us. Debbie and I split the blackened fish taco’s and shortly thereafter Deb and Dave showed up.


After enjoying our lunch and visiting with our friends for a bit we saddled-up and headed over to Horsetown. You couldn’t have asked for nicer weather to be out on a motorcycle. The gals at Horsetown were all there to greet us when we arrived and it didn’t take too long for David to find the boots I was looking for: Frye 12R’s. The first pair he found were size 9 and a bit too big, but the gal helping us out found what she thought was a size 8 for me to try-on. Amazingly, they fit! Of course, it also turns out they were actually size 8.5. 20160619_190154Anyway, exactly what I was looking for, a perfect fit and Horsetown’s always discounted price was better than anything I’d find on the Internet… it’s one of the reasons we continue to go to Horsetown for jeans, boots, etc. And, no…. these boots will not increase my boot count as they are a replacement for a pair of Dan Post boots that are now in the trash. In fact, I’ve now replaced both original pairs of my Dan Post boots so I should be good-to-go for motorcycle boots well into the future!

Now, I will confess to finding some really nice-looking boots for Debbie, but bless her heart… Debbie pushed back and said “let me make sure they really fit with my wardrobe”… a lesson learned after I surprised with an awesome pair of turquoise boots last year. They look fantastic, but as much as I was certain she had a bunch of things  would go with them, we’ve found she really doesn’t. So, they’ve not gotten a lot of use, which is probably true of at least one or two other pairs of her fashion boots. So, as I say, good on Miss Debbie for curbing my enthusiasm when it needed curbing.

With my new boots tucked in a saddlebag our next stop was a short trip up the road to visit Ralph at his bar, Semper Fi. Ralph is a retired U.S. Marine who always dreamed of owning his own bar and grill. He fulfilled that dream last year and the place has been doing gangbusters. However, it’s so far off the beaten path for us that we never have a chance to “drop in” so this was that perfect opportunity.   Ralph was right out there to meet us when we pulled in; just a great guy (with an awesome and supportive spouse in Carrie) who truly is living his dream. We had a bit of a wait for our beverages and still not quite sure what was up with that, but the cocktails were great and the food — especially the hot dog — was really exceptional.  Gonna have to go back for one of my own instead of sharing that!

After our late afternoon snack at Semper Fi we made the 25 minute ride back to our place on the far west side of Cobb County.  David & Deb joined us out on the breezeway where I had the ceiling fans going to keep things cooled-off as we relaxed a bit and just enjoyed the late afternoon before David & Deb had to head out to grab some dinner.  We need to do that more often!

20160619_193154At some point while we were sitting out on the breezeway Debbie reminded me I had some avocados sitting on the counter just waiting to be turned into guacamole and, gee…. wouldn’t a Margarita go great with the guacamole? She was obviously correct on both counts.  I must say both the guacamole and the Margaritas turned out exceptionally well.  As it got a bit darker I lit the candles in the wall sconces to provide us with some added ambiance and I must say I really liked that!  As with having friends over to sit and chill on the breezeway and veranda, we need to do more of that ourselves as well.  Perhaps its just the mild weather we’ve been experiencing and the lack of bugs — noting the fans do tend to keep the bugs away — but our late spring evenings sitting out at home and over at Ryan & Jeanette’s lovely home has truly been habit-forming.

Anyway, just another great weekend with so many neat moments where it’s hard to pick one as my favorite.  Well, that’s not true, I know which ones were my favorites!  They were the moments I spent with my sweetie and the moments we spent together with friends!  We love our friends!!!





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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