LEADING UP TO THE WEEKEND
- As the clock ticked past the Autumnal Equinox on the 21st of September the thermometer didn’t necessarily drop right away.
- However, while out riding the mountain bike after work on Wednesday night I found myself struggling to see certain portions of the trails as the sun was going down significantly earlier than it had just a few weeks back.
- Moreover, here in Georgia the fall brings with it all kinds of seasonal allergies and those too have quickly become ever-present in an annoying kind of way.
- And, while those day-time highs are still tickling the low 90’s and mid-80’s, you can find yourself getting pretty darn chilled riding a motorcycle to work at 5:30am signaling the need to throw on a heavier jacket, over pants and of course the cooler / wet-weather motorcycle boots for my daily commute.
My hardwood floor refinishing project has just about done-me in and cured me of home repair projects; I should have just ripped out the old flooring and installed new flooring over the entire downstairs. However, it just seemed wasteful to tear up and discard perfectly good flooring. Anyway, as I mentioned last week, I finally found what I thought was the “right” polyurethane: the Minwax Clear-Satin. Yeah, well guess what… turns out Clear-Satin is the same as Satin in regard to leaving an amber hue. Therefore, now with two coats of the same amber hue polyurethane, all of that work to get the old flooring color to be a close match to the new flooring was for not. Moreover I made some application goofs with the second coat that will require hand-sanding to remove before I go ahead and apply the recommended 3rd coat of amber goo. Well, that’s one option. I could also sand the entire thing down again, re-stain and then use the truly clear, water-based polyurethane coatings to get the flooring coloring the way I originally wanted it or, perhaps just hire someone to come in and do it who knows what they’re doing. The latter is very tempting at this point as I’m not sure I’ll ever get past the amber color disconnect with the rest of the downstairs flooring and my red oak stairs.
While waiting for the polyurethane to dry I headed off and met Miss Debbie for lunch at The Red Eyed Mule. She actually bought me lunch, but only because I was so flustered by my flooring project when I left that house that I’d forgotten to take my wallet along. But hey, a free-lunch is a free-lunch and having the opportunity to visit with my wife in the middle of the day is always a treat.
After lunch it was back to the house where I had a full afternoon of yard work waiting: edging, trimming, hedging, weeding, spraying Roundup and of course cutting the lawn. If nothing else, it kept me from wandering into the house to check on the flooring a bit too soon. On the bright side, while the resulting color is wrong the actual finish the product left on the floor was really quite nice.
Debbie arrived home as I was getting cleaned up and after chatting about our different “Finally a Friday” celebration options we decided we’d go back to Applebee’s and stick to salads as a hedge against the less healthy options that always seem to tempt our palates. It started out and almost finished as just the four D’s: David, Deb, Debbie and Dick (my bar name). After having our dinner and socializing a bit we decided to call it a night, paid our tab and headed out to our cars. Well son-of-a-gun, who comes walking up as we’re walking out? Two of the other Loco Willy refugees – Stuart & Teresa – who had just dropped in from God knows where. We returned to the bar with them and picked up where we left off for another hour or so.
And, as good of a time as it was, it still wasn’t the same as Loco’s. More to the point, we miss the collection of friends who always came together at Loco’s on any given day of the week and having folks behind the bar and working the tables who know us and go out of their way to take care of us. In fact, it was bothering me enough that I decided to take an inappropriate group photo that I posted as part of a comment for the Loco’s marketing & social media guy knowing he’d read it shortly after it’s been posted: after all, he’s been spending a lot of time deleting comments based on watching the message traffic. Well, I guess I crossed a line as it got me blocked from posting future comments. Serves me right… and it’s not a big deal.
I must have been about 9:30pm when we finally headed home: hard to believe we spent nearly 3 hours at Applebee’s but time flies when you’re having fun. Shortly after arriving home I saw an update from our friend Ryan on his epic, 1,500 mile in 24 hour “Iron Butt Bun Burner GOLD” ride that he began some 20 hours earlier in the wee hours of the morning.
His 1,500 mile route took him west to Memphis, then south to New Orleans, east to Lake City and then north to Atlanta. When he posted he was headed north on I75 from Lake City, Florida, on track to be back in Atlanta around 2:00am.
Having spent a few too many hours behind the wheel and on the motorcycle in my life, I asked if he wanted a wing-man for the final two hours of his ride, noting that if I left the house by 10:15pm our paths would cross around 12:00am just south of Macon. Although he said there was no need, I decided to go ahead and make the trip down so he’d have someone on his wheel to witness his 1,500 mile milestone and, well, to be sure he was able to keep the bike headed straight down the road.
What should have been a pretty easy 120 mile ride down to Macon was made a bit chaotic by three different construction projects where in two cases three of the four through lanes were closed on I75 South. In one case I was able to take a side road and bypass the stopped traffic. However, in the second instance there were no exits or side roads so I crawled along at 5 mph for several miles. Once I was clear of that mess it was smooth sailing. We were communicating our mile-marker positions as our paths appeared to converge at I475 west of Macon I targeted Exit 5 as the point where I’d make a quick gas stop, bio break and take a splash of Coke then fall in behind Ryan from the on-ramp at Exit as he passed and that’s exactly how it worked; to quote Ryan’s message as I came off the ramp and snapped on his rear wheel, “Perfect”. We had a trouble-free and traffic free ride back through Atlanta and were on home turn at 1:30am for his final gas stop and witness form, which I signed-off on.
Amazingly, after covering 1,500 miles without any bad weather, traffic or a fuel shortage – noting the Southeast was actually in the middle of a minor gas shortage situation due to a pipeline issue – it was at 1:30am when he stopped at a QuikTrip just a few miles from his home where he encountered his first gas shortage. We motored east toward another gas station so he could gas-up and grab his ending receipt for the ride documentation and that’s where we parted company. I was home by 1:45am, in the bed by 2:30am and slept until around 6:00am, my usual get up time for a weekend. In hindsight, if I didn’t have the flooring project in front of me I would have been tempted to have either joined Ryan for the 1,500 miles in 24 hours, or perhaps a less ambitious 1,000 miles in 24 hours by heading down to Mobile, Alabama and joining him for the rest of his journey. Well, then again, probably not.
There’s a reason we don’t to 100 mile bicycle rides anymore: been there, done that. I’m more into the destination at the end of the journey than simply time on the bike so I’d be more likely to make the 800-mile ride to the Harley Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on a lark, spend the night and then spend a day touring the various Harley venues before heading home on the 3rd day. That’s more my speed.
Anyway, just for context, here’s what my little late night ride looked like overlaid on Ryan’s epic journey: the red line represents my 240 miles of riding, but it was actually confined to the out-and-back route captured inside the blue box. Yeah, not much more than your average Sunday ride with some of the folks we know.
Being a light sleeper, I was up around 6:00am and did my best not to disturb Debbie who was still enjoying a pretty deep sleep. The only major “gotta do” on the schedule for Saturday morning was a tandem bicycle ride. So, it really didn’t matter what time we finally got on the bike, so long as we got on the bike! I spent a good part of the morning inspecting the various issues with my flooring and trying to decide on my next move. If it wasn’t for having to pull the base moldings off to do I’d be inclined to just leave well enough alone for now and then do a screen & re-coat if and when we decided to sell the house since I’ll likely be putting rugs and runners down this time around. Meh, we’ll see. I just can’t stand knowing those correctable issues are there, even if it means making the floor even a little more dark than it was.
Debbie stirred around 8:00am and after we both had some breakfast and did a few weekend tasks we finally headed out for our tandem ride around 10:30am. It was already getting a bit warm, but before too long it will be afternoon rides as the temperatures continue to drop through the fall and winter months.
We had a good ride and after making a saddle adjustment about 1/2 way through the ride I finally began to feel relatively well-planted on the composite shell. In fact, it was after making that adjustment that I decided to snap this selfie: I know my on-bike selfies drive our dear friend Cheryl nuts, for fear that I’ll crash the bike or otherwise put the lovely Miss Debbie at risk.
As we were out riding we had a short discussion about our various interests, hobbies and recreational pursuits… and specifically about the struggle we sometimes have when it comes to making the choice between doing a tandem bicycle ride or event vs. a motorcycle ride or event. The problem is, we truly enjoy both pursuits equally and have formed wonderful relationships with the folks who share our passion for cycling and motorcycling. However, if we could only do one of the two, it would definitely be cycling… as we credit cycling for maintaining our health and relationship going on nearly 20 years now. In other words, cycling keeps us young… physically and emotionally. As much as we love motoring through the mountains and then stopping to socialize with friends along the route, it just lacks the sense of accomplishment that we get from riding the same roads under our own power, and therein lies the tie breaker with motorcycling. Thankfully, I don’t foresee us ever having to choose between the two so we’re good. Of course, if it was only cycling and motorcycling that pulled out our leisure time: add in household maintenance, time with the kids, a few other recreational / down-time activities that we enjoy and other family obligations and it gets tough, especially when there’s not a lot of common ground between all of our compartmentalized interests… other than us! But, as always, I digress…
With our tandem ride in the books we needed to go in search of food. Well, that’s become something of a no-brainer when we’re on home turn on Saturday and Sunday afternoons: Loco Willy’s is open from 11:30am – 5:00pm! I think it was around 1:30pm when we rolled into Loco’s very empty-looking parking lot on Blue, who was uncharacteristically acting up a bit with a new chirping noise. Meh, I had blackened fish taco’s on my mind! When we walked into Loco’s we were pleasantly surprised to find the bar was nearly full of folks enjoying great food, soft drinks and college football. We scored a pair of seats at the far end of the bar and Christian had us set up with some cool drinks, chips & dip and our fish tacos in no time. OMG, there’s no better fish taco than then one they serve at Locos. Just be sure to get it on the flour tortilla. The corn is more authentic and tastes great, but they fall apart in a nano-second. Again, just great to be at “our bar” with familiar faces on both sides.
For the latter part of the afternoon we had three options: (a) go home, (b) head to Harley-Davidson of Atlanta to stand on hot asphalt in the parking lot and listen to live music, or (c) head over to Semper Fi Bar & Grille to meet up with friends supporting a great charity ride that ends with donations of stuffed, huggable animal toys to the local police who, in turn, hand them out to young kids who have been either directly or indirectly traumatized: a great cause. We swung by the Target and found three very plush and adorable stuffed animals — a bear, a rabbit and a little dog — and then made our way to Semper Fi, arriving about an hour ahead of our friends. I should note, being the good souls that they are, Carrie Ann and Jeanette were “working the stops” along the route which meant they’d be last in along with the boys. On the bright side, we found our friend David at Semper Fi and chatted with him while watching Tennessee beat the Florida Gators at home: nothing wrong with that!
After our friends arrived we visited with them for a short while and found ourselves up against the clock on a prior dinner commitment with David, Deb, Stuart and Teresa at about 6:30pm. As I ran the numbers on how long it would take Debbie to get ready and added in travel time to home and then back out to Twin Peaks I found we had to hit the road by 4:45pm. Sadly, that only left us about 30 minutes to visit with our friends who were pretty busy saying their hello’s to the local law enforcement folks, event hosts, Ralph and the good folks at Semper Fi and also entertaining grand kids who were on hand. It was still good to see everyone before we had to saddle up and head on home.
Our time schedule was spot-on and we got very lucky to find five empty seats at the back of Twin Peak’s main bar when we walked-in. Stuart and Teresa were the next ones to arrive and they were briefly joined by their son Christopher. David & Deb came in about 30 minutes after we did and we spent the next two and a half hours enjoying some pretty good venison chili, salads and reasonably priced adult beverages: perhaps the Peaks was a viable alternative to Loco’s??? The gals working the bar were hit or miss: there were a couple who were as good as they come in terms of being attentive and prompt. We thought we’d have heard from our friends over at Semper Fi and even poked them with a few instant messages to see where they might be as there was some mention of them joining us at the Peaks.
As it got close to 9:00pm we said our goodbyes and headed towards the house and about 5 minutes into the drive home we finally heard from some of our friends. A couple were on their way home, but a few others who had moved from Semper Fi to a new placed called the Rusty Bucket that had just opened were still camped-out there so we changed vectors and headed to the Rusty Bucket to see what was going on there, as a few of our friends were impressed by what they saw during the day. We found quite a few familiar faces the Bucket and it was good to visit with our friends. It will be interested to see how they do long-term. Probably not a place where we’d spend a lot of time – a bit too smoky for eating meals or listening to a DJ – and just didn’t seem to have the same cozy feel and vibe as its sister dive bar, the Beer Barrel. We called it quits after about an hour and headed for home around 10:30pm.
Sunday was definitely a down-day for us. We couldn’t blame it on the weather as it was really a nice day. That’s not to say it wasn’t a productive day as it was a busy morning with all of the usual honey-do tasks like laundry, watering the parched lawn, washing cars and a few small projects. Debbie was still a little saddle sore from Saturday’s tandem ride so there wasn’t a lot of interest in getting back out on either the road or off-road tandem; however, I was able to get her interested in a short motorcycle ride with a lunch stop at Loco Willy’s: gotta get that yummy food when we can!
Loco’s was empty when we arrived and the folks who were there we knew as fellow die-hard patrons. We visited with Christian for a while and ordered up some of the best ribs, fries and slaw that we’ve ever had at Loco’s. Not sure what made the difference, but wow!
Unfortunately, the chirping that we noticed on Blue II Saturday was back with a vengeance on Sunday. I wrote a separate blog entry on the problem and solution and the bottom line was, the same exhaust bracket that came loose on our 1st 2013 Road King came loose on this one. There were two hex-head machine bolts that had backed themselves out. Once I realized that was the source it was a fairly easy fix: remove the bolts, clean the old thread locking compound out of the threads and apply some fresh Loctite before re-installing.
Since I had the motorcycle lift out and my hands were dirty I decided to do some belt maintenance on our other Harley, Betty, and finally put the tandem bicycle away for the weekend once that was done.
The rest of the afternoon and evening were spent finishing up weekend chores, making margaritas & guacamole – which became our dinner – and then watching the Sunday Night NFL game while hammering out a few other blog entries. However, as I sat there working on my blogs and watching message traffic from our friends on Instant Messenger and Facebook I saw something flash by from Loco Willy’s. I initially assumed it was just Rex doing some follow-ups and then saw it was from Colleen, who is technically the owner of Loco’s. She was chiming-in on something David M. had written on Sunday, lamenting his inability to get his Bloody Mary at Loco’s as he always did every Sunday up and until 39 days ago. Well, see for yourself…
Here’s hoping her outlook was fact-based and not just wishful thinking: we need Loco’s in our lives… we really do! It’s how we wash away the work week and kick off our weekends so that we can be re-created before heading back to work on Mondays.