I find myself bouncing back and forth between the two different blogs in that the content bleeds back and forth but will figure it out before too long. Case in point, as I look at the past week we – as in both Debbie and me – were able to get out on our bicycles after work several nights: Debbie on the road and me off-road. The weekend was also one spent out cycling and not motorcycling; Saturday on the road and Sunday off-road. So, I think it probably fit better here than it does on the tandem blog beyond a short mention and that’s probably how I’ll start trying to manage the content. On the bright side, the USA Today format will probably be easier on readers vs. my traditional Wall Street Journal writing style.
So yeah, lots of cycling for us; woohoo! Looking ahead at next weekend we’ll tip the scale the other way as we get ourselves ready for a motorcycle ride down to Key West, Florida: about 850 miles give or take. Just like last year, we’ll break that ride up into two legs: a 450-mile leg to Orlando and then a 400 mile leg into Key West. We’ve got a room at the Orlando Hilton resort on Saturday and Sunday nights and have confirmed we’ll be in the same room at the Cypress House in Key West and will be able to park the motorcycle on the property again.
Speaking of the motorcycle, Blue II has been acting up a little: hard starting after sitting for a day, running very rough and it’s stalled out a couple of times. So, I’ve asked Kelly at Atlanta Harley Davidson to see if she can find some white space on our tuner, David’s, schedule to give the ECU programming a quick look and make an adjustment to the fuel/air flow as I’m guessing that’s what’s a bit off. Fingers crossed, it’s only an engine tuning issue and nothing more serious. If it is, the temptation to simply trade it in and get a water-cooled bike will be huge. Seriously, as much as I like the Road King CVO, Blue II just hasn’t been Blue I and I don’t know if it’s real or imagined. More to follow.
As far as the rest of the weekend, Friday afternoon started off really well. Mostly because I left the office early enough to sneak in a quick look on the mountain bike trail before Debbie got home from work. It was hot… really hot. But, it still felt good. Unfortunately, I think I set myself for a little trouble in that I probably got a bit dehydrated and then went out to Loco Willy’s for dinner.
As you can guess, I didn’t re-hydrate with a sports drink and after going to my happy place with our friends David & Deb I quickly found myself in something of a funk, i.e., I got way ahead of the buzz early on, and then got way behind just as fast. We headed home afterwards and that was pretty much the night as I remained in my funk until I fell asleep. Sadly, Debbie thought it was something she did and, in fact, it was purely a poor choice in beverages after my mountain bike ride: I should have had beer instead of tequila.
Saturday morning all was good with the world again. We’d thought about making the 45 minute drive out to Taylorsville, Georgia, for the June tandem club ride, but decided to sleep in past our appointed departure time and, instead, did a 25-mile from the house. We were back at the house by 11:00am before the real heat of the day settled-in and with enough time to finish up most of our errands before our son Wesley dropped off our 2 year-old granddaughter Vivian for a few hours in the middle of the afternoon.
After 23 years I finally decided that our breezeway needed a little décor enhancement and headed out to see if I could find either some wall art, plants or a combination of both. I ended up going with wall art and we’ll figure out the plants after we get back from our week-long vacation as anything green would be brown by the time we returned given the 90*F temps we’ve been enjoying. I think I did OK; Debbie liked it! Our homage to Key West – a metal rooster – is en route and we’re excited about that! So photos once the chicken arrives!
After spending the afternoon chasing Vivian around – she’s a ball of fire – we headed over to Loco Willy’s for dinner. It was a much better night than Friday for a lot of reasons. While sitting there we received a message from a friend who invited us to head to one of the other regular watering holes where they were celebrating our friend James 50th birthday. Debbie was pretty tired after her afternoon with Vivian, but agreed to drop in for a while. In retrospect, I’m pretty sure we both very glad we did: we had a blast! The main celebration was already over when we arrived but, quite frankly, it always becomes more fun once the planned activities are replaced by the unplanned activities. Again, we had a great time visiting with a bunch of our “biker friends” who we don’t get to see all that often. We actually left at a reasonable hour and didn’t over-do which was a good thing.
Sunday started off as a beautiful morning. After getting laundry well underway we took a mid-morning break and headed over to the Allatoona Mountain Bike Park to ride a couple of loops on the Ventana. Amazingly, I’m pretty sure this is the first time we’ve gone out off-road riding on back-to-back weekends since 2007: seriously. We went to an off-road tandem rally back in 2010 – Alex Nutt’s A.O.R.T.A. at Asheville, North Carolina, but we were only able to ride on Saturday as Debbie wasn’t feeling well the next day and I had saddle sores. So, I was pretty excited to be getting out again and like the previous Sunday, we had a good time and didn’t have any issues or undue excitement.
We did our usual and rode the 4.4-mile version of the Turtle Back Loop first, noting the somewhat more advanced 1.1 mile Red Barron trail has a couple of very narrow paths through pines that I don’t think we can negotiate with the width of the bars on the Ventana: it’s just too narrow to get both sets between the trees without dismounting.
After a brief break at the trailhead we went on to Mason’s Bridge Loop which is about a 2 miles of connector trails plus 2.3 miles of the bridge loop for a total of 4.3 miles. We skipped the 1.3 mile Mason’s Bluff loop as I wanted to be sure we’d have enough “left in the tank” to ride the 2-mile long Mumbo Jumbo loop before calling it a day. Interestingly enough, I felt better on Mason’s than I did on the Turtle Back loop, where the heat just kicked my butt. The short break apparently gave me a second wind and we both felt pretty fresh by the time we returned to the trailhead.
Although she had some trepidation about it, we went over to Mumbo Jumbo and Debbie really enjoyed that loop. It started off with a lot of climbing but then meandered through the woods and is easily the most tandem friendly of all the loops at Allatoona Creek. The Mumbo loop added about 1.6 miles for the actual loop plus another ½ mile for the connector trail.
All told we only rode about 11 miles; about the same as last Sunday. We’ll need to add back the Mason’s Bluff Loop next time now that we’ve confirmed Mumbo Jumbo will be on our regular loop list.
Back at the house we resumed our weekend chores: finishing up laundry, grilling steaks for my lunch, cleaning up the Ventana and tightening up bolts and the eccentric as the resumption of riding has apparently caused the sleepy bike to start moaning and groaning a bit. We had Indy car racing, then NASCAR running in the background while puttering around the house interrupted by a pretty strong series of thundershowers that blew through from 2:00pm – 3:00pm.
I ran over to our local Cabella’s after the rain stopped, noting it was my first visit since it opened a couple of years ago. I was in search of a second sun shirt for the motorcycle ride down through central Florida. Sadly, they didn’t have a single Small-size shirt of any kind in the store: seriously. There were plenty of XXL and XXXL but zero Small and only one or two Mediums… which are still too big for use riding a motorcycle where a tight-fitting shirt is a must. So, to be quite frank, and since I’m not really an outdoor sportsman anymore, I’ve not been missing anything at Cabella’s.
Back at the house the lawn had dried-up enough by the sunny skies that followed our brief thundershowers so that I could cut it; the last of my weekend chores. With that done I joined Debbie on the breezeway to cool-off and finish up watching the NASCAR race out in Sonoma, California, where I was thrilled to see Tony Stewart take the checkered flag.
I spun up a single batch of margaritas before firing up the deep fryer for our hot wings and fries. As I did when we last had wings at home, I set the dee fryer outside on the grill to keep the hot oil odors out of the house and given how comfortable it was on the veranda we just went ahead and had our wings outdoors instead of indoors. Hard to believe it’s taken us this many years to really begin enjoying our little outdoor living space. Must be one of those things that comes with time.
We finished out the day watching the COPA America finals between Argentina and Chile. Boy, and I thought American football officials were drama queens! Wow, the head referee was definitely walking a final line between managing the game with an iron fist and disrupting it… possibly altering the outcome.