Jamaican Me Crazy!

ryan_jeanetteJust for the record, I should be typing this while sitting on the beach in Negril, Jamaica, with our friends Ryan, Jeanette, Bobby, Carrie Ann, Jeff, Sharon & Patti and Miss Debbie at my side.  Sadly, we were unable make the trip and missed out on celebrating Ryan & Jeanette’s wedding vow renewal this past Saturday in Jamaica, some 15 years to the day after they first exchanged vows on the very same beach.  Thankfully, our friends have been sharing video and stills from the wedding on Saturday and we sincerely appreciate those images.  If only….  But I digress.

Back here in Hotlanta it was, well, hot.  Pretty much like everywhere else in the U.S. so who are we to complain. But, it’s hard not to complain when just about everything we do on a weekend is influenced by the weather, be it cycling, motorcycling, yard work, work on the house, working out in the garage or just trying to relax on the breezeway.  On the up side, the very warm weather has also brought with it much-needed rain, albeit spotty at times.

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 9.57.48 PM

FRIDAY

Our first scattered thundershower of the weekend gave me just a slight spritz on my motorcycle ride home from work.  Unlike the one that I encountered earlier in the week than sent me under the cover of a gas station to put on my rain gear, this one decided to taunt me during the final two miles before getting to the house. It was never hard enough to warrant putting on the rain gear given that it was a casual Friday at work which for me means black denim jeans and a polo shirt.

logoDebbie came home a short time later and after both of made some wardrobe changes we were off to Loco’s for Finally a Friday.  Sadly, when we arrived the bar was packed.   We only recognized about ½ of the guests as Friday regulars and the other ½ while familiar weren’t usually there on Friday nights.  Not sure what was up with that.  We ended up grabbing a table with our friends David & Deb after securing Madeline as our server and then took turns visiting with our friends at the bar.  While we were at Loco’s yet another a massive rain storm blew through the area: just amazing how these storms seem to pop-up out of nowhere!

We had a good time at Loco’s, but it’s never quite the same when we’re outside our comfort zone, i.e., not at the bar.  I also regret not sticking with ‘lighter fare’ as the chicken quesadilla that Debbie I split didn’t knock my socks off and, in fact, really didn’t sit all that well with me.  We definitely do better sticking to things like our Ahi Poke, the blackened fish tacos, the Willenburger and to a lesser extent, the smoked ribs.  As good as the cheese-covered Mexican dishes always look, they just never sit well with me.

merchantsBefore leaving Loco’s, the two Debbie’s, David and I had decided that we’d head to Nashville on Saturday afternoon so we could hit the honkey tonks on Saturday night and then have breakfast at the Loveless Cafe on Sunday morning before heading back home.  It’d been a while since we’ve done a spur of the moment overnight trip and Debbie and I are always up for the Crossroads or Two Fiddles after dinner at Merchants!

As we left Loco’s our plan was to go to SuBourbon’s Oyster Pub where a great dance band, Grey Sunday, would be playing at 9:00pm.  However, I’d left my wallet at home so instead of heading directly to downtown Kennesaw we’d be making a detour and coming via the house.  On the plus side, that gave Debbie a chance to change into a killer dress.  On the down side, it also put me at a weird intersection with a stop sign where it doesn’t belong that the sometimes (OK, always) overzealous local police stake-out so they can ticket folks for California stops.  Sure enough, after making my rolling stop and turning left the blue lights came on behind me.  Unfortunately, the minor traffic violation stop morphed into a field sobriety test… which I easily passed.  However, it was not a pleasant experience that consumed at least 30 minutes and took the wind out of our sails, at least in terms of enjoying the rest of the night at SuBourbon’s.  On the plus side, I learned a lot about changes to DUI laws I’d not realized had been made over the past several years that are – to coin a phrase – quite sobering.  In short, there is now a DUI Less Safe law on the books that has nearly the same legal penalties as DUI.  Your blood alcohol level being below .08 is irrelevant and, to that point, passing a field sobriety test is also meaningless if an officer believes that your ability to drive is impaired.  In other words, it’s completely subjective; yikes!

Needless to say, we opted to head home after this experience and have also decided to make a point of steering clear of the city limits from now on, noting that both Debbie and I have been stopped and ticketed for excessive speed along one of Kennesaw’s notorious speed straps near the airport.  I may have even mentioned it in a past blog entry: it’s a divided four lane road with traffic turn-outs that looks pretty much like every other 55 mph stretch of four-lane divided roadway in our region.  Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 9.12.29 PMHowever, the city has posted a speed limit of 45 mph along this stretch of road that nets them a tidy revenue stream since traveling with the flow of traffic on this stretch of road means doing at least 55 mph, lest you get rear-ended or cause an accident.  Yeah, 13,700 traffic citations a year in a city with a population of 32,000.

Anyway, enough of that…  Like I said, we’ll probably just steer clear of the city limits hence forth and, in turn, the businesses in the city.  In fact, this is why our friends David & Deb typically haven’t joined us when we’ve gone over to SuBourbon’s in the past and have even been reluctant to go to Paddy’s Irish Pub which sits at the edge of town along with the Electric Cowboy.

SATURDAY

Given that we ended up Friday night sitting at home watching streaming video on the big-screen instead of kicking up our heels at SuBourbons, it was early-to-rise for me.  I tried to sleep-in but without much success.  I did my best not to disturb Debbie as I headed downstairs to find quiet things I could do.

As I checked the weather outlook for Georgia and Tennessee our Nashville trip wasn’t looking all that great.  As hot as it was here at home, it was even hotter in Tennessee. Moreover, it was even money for thunderstorms in the afternoon, evening and on Sunday as well.  I was pretty sure David would come to the same conclusion later on in the morning, but would wait and see.

20160724_193506With Debbie up and breakfast behind us I ran down to the Terrell Mill Shoe Repair store to pick up my Frye boots.  Yes, these are the relatively new boots I bought for riding the Harley’s but, as it turned out, didn’t have quite enough “lift” to give me solid footing.  The folks at Terrell Mill fitted a nice Vibram lugged sole to the bottom of the boot’s original soles to rectify that little problem.  Oh to be inseam challenged.  Anyway, the boots looked really good and not a ‘Steampunky’ as I thought they might.  The heel is definitely a bit higher-looking than the norm for most harness boots but not awful.  However, at least on the first test fitting, walk around and sitting on Blue they seemed to now be the perfect height!

I was back at the house around 10:00am and David had weighed-in with the same assessment of Nashville: juice ain’t worth the squeeze.  With the trip off the table, I think it was about 11:00am when we headed out for a much-needed tandem ride with our new found bandwidth.  The goal was to get in as many miles as we could without getting caught out in the afternoon pop-up thundershowers.

Screen Shot 2016-07-23 at 1.07.19 PMAbout ½ way into our 25-mile ride I decided we’d do well to cut the ride short and stay a bit further north with an alternate route back to the house.  It turned out to be the right call as strong winds and light rain was just starting to fall when we pulled into the garage.  Sure enough, five minutes later the bottom dropped out and it poured for the next 15 minutes followed by a light, steady rain for nearly the next hour after that.

Back at the house we made a point of booking a condo in Panama City Beach for the fall bike week on 20-23 October as that may be the only fall motorcycle rally we go to this year. Daytona is the week right before Panama City Beach and comes right on the heels of the Southern Tandem Rally up in Cookesville, Tennessee.  Debbie doesn’t have enough vacation to cover all five days and, in fact, just the three our four days off will likely require some unpaid days off; ugg!  Perhaps by next March this won’t be a major obstacle: time will tell.

We and our friends David & Deb were on the fence about Loco’s for Saturday night was we knew Brian wouldn’t be working behind the bar and his fill-in was “spotty” at best, i.e., not always enjoyable to be around. However, after considering all of our options we decided to give it a shot and if the “vibe wasn’t happening” we could call an audible and figure out where to go from there.

Debbie and I arrived about 15 minutes before David & Deb and let’s just say Brian’s fill-in wasn’t all there.  We’re not sure what he’d taken, but just standing up was taking about 80% of his attention and energy: with three broken glasses in the space of about 10 minutes, several screwed-up 50 piece chicken wing to-go orders and the servers having to make their own drinks it was pretty clear he was unable to work.

We were able to secure Dominique as our server for a table so that we didn’t have to witness the disaster taking place at the bar and be pretty darn sure our food and drink orders wouldn’t be scrambled or lost and that worked out well for us.  Debbie and I split the smoked ribs with the Korean BBQ sauce, some fries and slaw and it hit the spot.  Not exactly healthy, but definitely tasty.

Sadly, after another 10 minutes and the threat of anarchy by the rest of the staff the manager — who had just finished an 8-hour shift — had to send the fill-in away and cover his shift.  On the bright side, in about 30 minutes normalcy returned to Loco’s and we ended up having a pretty nice dinner and even made our way to the bar afterwards to visit with Christian before heading out for another quiet evening back at home.

However, before calling it a night we did decide that we’d join David & Deb for a ride back up to Dahlonega for lunch on Sunday. It would be a do-over of the ride we took last weekend, but with a different lunch destination: Shenanigan’s!

Sunday:

Similar to Saturday I was up early on Sunday and did my best not to disturb Debbie. As the morning progressed our plan for the day slowly developed and while it didn’t include a tandem bike ride, I was able to head out by myself for a short solo road ride.

While there’s nothing I enjoy more than riding with Debbie on the tandem (or the motorcycle, for that matter) I do enjoy it when I get some alone time on the bike.  Now, to be completely candid, it’s not like Debbie and I do much chatting when we’re out riding so it’s not all that different when I’m riding alone: it’s equally as quiet.  But, the ride tempo is a bit different and I don’t have the added responsibility that goes along with making sure you do everything in your power to keep your tandem cycling partner safe: it makes for a huge difference in terms of the reduced mental task load.  Curiously enough, the actual mechanical act of riding the tandem doesn’t really add any task load whatsoever… in fact, it’s very hard to tell the difference. That may say more about how well suited we are to our Calfee tandem and just how clean Miss Debbie rides than anything else.

Anyway, it was a very nice albeit short ride of less than 20 miles and it got me home in plenty of time to knock out a few chores and also enjoy some ‘us time’ with Debbie before we had to leave for our Dahlonega ride. Yard work would have to wait until the afternoon too!

20160724_164043We met David & Deb at a local gas station around 11:15am and made our way up to Dahlonega on mostly the same roads as last Saturday.  However, we by-passed downtown Canton, Georgia, by jumping on the interstate for a few miles on the way to the mountains and did then same and then some on the way home.  The ride up was very nice; just can’t beat our local mountains for a little cooler air, some moderately twisty and tree shaded roads and all with light traffic.

20160724_132425Lunch at Shenanigan’s was fabulous!  We found four seats at the bar with Cassandra and she was an outstanding barkeeper!  It was good to be inside a relatively dark and cool place after our toasty 90 minutes ride.  Debbie and I opted to have our own entries: she did the blackened Salamon over a Caesar salad and I did their blackened ship wrap with chips.  I didn’t need the chips and the wrap was anything but healthy with its cheese, gritzed-up tortilla chips and mayonnaise-based dressing but boy was it tasty!  Just a great place with wonderful staff and an amazingly broad selection of food offerings that belie the “Irish Pub” theme of the restaurant.  We’ll definitely be back…when the temps drop a bit!!!!

20160724_160305The ride back home was as uneventful and almost as enjoyable as the ride up. I say almost in that we jumped on the I-575 spur in Canton and rode that back down to the Town Center Mall exit.  Given how hot it was and the speeds we were travelling, it was like riding into a hair dryer!  On the bright side, our destination was On the Border where we found Racheal tending the bar: she’s awesome!  But, more to the point, July 24th was National Tequila Day and OTB had their regular house maggies on special for $2/ea.  Debbie and I each had just one (1) so we could check the box on celebrating the national holiday and spent a good hour ‘chillin’ with David & Deb before heading home.  It was a good way to end the social part of our Sunday, as there was yard work and chores waiting for us back at home.

After making a stop at the jewelry store to drop off one of my watches for a periodic full-service and new battery, I think it was about 4:30pm when we arrived at the house. Once at home Debbie headed off to the grocery store while I headed out to fire up the edger, trimmer and lawn mower while keeping an eye on the sky as the afternoon thunderstorms were imminent.  In fact, it wasn’t 15 minutes after putting the mower away that the skies began to open up.  We closed out the day with our Sunday wing fix and otherwise getting ourselves ready for the work week ahead, i.e., cooking my breakfast steaks, chicken for lunches, finishing up laundry, etc.

Not a bad way to salvage a weekend with a little bit of everything, all the while remembering that we “would-a, should-a, almost could-a” been hanging out with our friends in Jamaica!

 

 

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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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