So, this is the weekend when we were supposed to be in Daytona Beach, Florida for Biketoberfest. Sadly, we cancelled our trip back in September for reasons unrelated to Hurricane Matthew. Amazingly, just a few days after Matthew pounded Florida’s coast around Daytona Beach, the fall edition of Bike Week was in full swing. We had reservations at the Nautilus Inn and sure enough, they were able to re-open and begin welcoming guests as soon as the power was restored on Tuesday the 12th. Our favorite night spot — The Ocean Deck Bar & Tiki Room — were also open for business as were most of the main venues from New Smyrna Beach to Flagler (albeit with a detour around A1A where it was washed out by Matthew) and well inland to places like Destination Daytona and the Iron Horse Saloon. Do we regret not going? Not really. We were able to get a lot accomplished during the week since we stayed home and on Thursday at 6:00am we’ll be headed south on the Harley headed to Panama City Beach for their fall edition of Thunder Beach.
The David Uhl Prints
As far as what we were able to accomplish since we stayed home, as mentioned in my blog back on 3 October, there were a pair of gicleé prints up for auction that had been donated by David Uhl at our local Harley-Davidson dealerships, one of which I was considering a big on. Long and the short of it, I went over to Hellbender Harley on 11 October to look at the piece entitled “Love Triangle” I was interested in bidding on. After seeing it in person I did not hesitate to put in a bid that was pretty close to the original full retail value when it was released in March 2016. I could have simply outbid the one individual who bid the minimum value by a few bucks but since I had a pretty good idea what the print would have sold for back in April following the release and because the proceeds from the auction would be going to Operation One Voice — a local charity set up to provide assistance to U.S. Special Operations Forces — I went ahead and bid close to my maximum commitment, leaving a few dollars in reserve in case there was a subsequent bid before the auction ended. But wait, there’s more! Having learned more about both “Love Triangle” and the second gicleé up for auction entitled “Brittney” and seeing that no one had placed a bit on it, I went ahead an did so. As much as I liked the print and had a perfect place for it in our home, I somewhat expected anther, higher bid to come in since it was a larger and more expensive release from David Uhl’s Women of Harley-Davidson collection. About mid-afternoon on October 13th I received an Email from the dealer’s marketing manager that let us know we had been the successful bidders on both prints! Debbie joined me to pick them up on Friday around noon and by 3:00pm they were both hanging proudly in our home. If you’re interested in more details about gicleé prints, these two particular prints, David Uhl or Operation One Voice, I have it all captured in a separate blog that you can find HERE.
Lunch at The Mule & The Afternoon Off
We celebrated our acquisitions and took advantage of Debbie having the day off by stopping for lunch at The Red Eyed Mule. We’d missed our previous Friday’s lunch date at The Mule due to the tandem rally in Tennessee and we’d miss the upcoming one because of our trip to Panama City Beach, so we were both in need of a Jake’s Big Daddy… and it did not disappoint! After finishing our lunch Debbie headed off to run several errands that she’d already planned before I interrupted her day off with the side trips to Hellbender Harley to pick up the prints and our lunch stop at The Mule. Me, I’d been feeling extremely tired all day (and the day before) so I decided to take a few hours of vacation time and spend part of the afternoon relaxing. Well, I say that, as soon as I was back at the house and had our new prints hung I had to turn my attention to inspecting the work of our house painters: ugg.
Again, as mentioned in a prior blog entry, I decided to have the house painted instead of taking it on as another home improvement project. Staying at home also allowed us to schedule a painting crew to come out to the house on the 11th through the 14th. The crew began by power washing the house on Tuesday and then returned on Wednesday to prep it for paint. I was somewhat surprised when I learned they were at the paint store around 2:00pm on Wednesday, assuming it would take at least a full day to prep the house for painting on Thursday & Friday. Let’s just say I was very surprised to find the body of the house painted and was dry when I arrived home around 6:30pm that night. And, upon closer inspection I could see a lot of short cuts had been taken and that the paint on the house had a lot of issues. I sent off a note to the painter’s project manager requesting a meeting at the house to go over a list of issues that I’d included in my email, but also allowed that they were more than welcome to take a shot at correcting the issues and I’d take a look at the house on Thursday night to see how it was looking.
They did a pretty good job of fixing the things I’d found and after finishing the house late on Friday I’d give the job about a 6 or 7 on a scale of 10. Maybe even an 8 in some respects. The remaining issues are more or less related to a few missed areas that were easy to miss, e.g., a couple of window sills under the closed window on a very hard to reach corner of the 2nd floor. There was also some sloppy paint strokes on the trim and the window grills on the garage doors were not removed for painting which created some issues that I’ll have to take care of. However, all-in-all, I’m really glad to have the house covered with a fresh coat of paint (two coats in some cases, given a couple of the aforementioned issues) and several minor repairs taken care of. Had I taken on the house painting project myself, I’d have been at it for at least 6 weekends and, quite frankly, I don’t know when I’d have six entire weekends at my disposal to paint the house.
Finally a Friday at Loco Willy’s
Another bonus for staying home instead of going to Daytona Beach was being able to resume our Finally a Friday celebrations at Loco Willy’s! We’d missed out on their first Friday back in business after 5:00pm due to the tandem rally up in Cookeville, Tennessee the previous weekend. While I thought we’d be going it alone on Friday as our friends David & Deb weren’t going to be there since David was still out on the road, imagine our surprise when we found our friends Bobby & Carrie Ann at Locos’ when we arrived. It was so nice having an evening with Bobby & Carrie Ann to ourselves! Don’t get me wrong, we love being with all of our friends in group settings, but just having some time with the two of them was a real treat. And, above and beyond that, it was just so darn good to be back with all of the regulars, staff and of course their wonderful food! While we were visiting with Bobby & Carrie Ann, we also met another Loco’s regular named Ron who turned out to be one of the more truly interesting characters that we’ve met at Loco’s… or anywhere else for that matter. As the evening began to wind down, Bobby and Carrie Ann headed over to another favorite hang-out to meet with other friends while we stayed at Loco’s for about another hour or so before heading home for the evening: Debbie was very tired and so was I. In fact, I had actually been feeling under the weather for the past two days and even took a quasi-nap on Friday afternoon. So, heading home would be the right call for us.
During our extra hour with Ron, we learned that prior to his retiring from the 9-5 world he had been a television series producer for Universal, Warner Bros and a few other studios since the 70’s on shows like McCloud, Baretta, Little House on the Prairie, Knight Rider, AirWolf, Murder She Wrote, Diagnosis Murder, Miami Vice, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. He was also a car collector and as you’d imagine we spent a lot of time talking about cars. I believe he has just about one example of every significant model year Corvette, a few other muscle cars and acquired Rob Reisner’s Invader back in 1999. Any kid who build model cars in the late 1960’s and 70’s when customizers like George Barris, Ed Roth and Jan Ohrberg were turning out car after car after car or who had Hot Wheels would immediately recognize the Invader. Anyway, suffices to say, it was great spending time talking with Ron and we hope to see him at Loco’s again.
We’d been keeping our fingers crossed that the weather outlook would vastly improve on Saturday morning so that we could venture off to the North Georgia mountains and spend the day soaking up some sun. However, looking into the accommodations that were available for an overnight stay coupled with a so-so weather forecast, we opted to stay closer to home and get a few more things done around the house before heading to Loco’s for dinner.
One of the first things that I needed to get done on Saturday was power washing and then re-hanging the wall pergolas over the garage doors that I’d removed to get out-of-the-way of the painters. The pergolas really look great on the front of the garage, but they are a real pain to maintain since they need to be taken down and power washed about every two years, and re-stained every-other year. It probably took me close to three hours to get them power-washed and hung, noting that they won’t be due for stain until next year: thank goodness!! I also blasted the front door to the house while I had the pressure washer out as I’d asked the painters to leave it and the stained ceiling over the breezeway and veranda “as is”. Again, it took the better part of the early afternoon but once it was done and everything was back in place as it should have been, the house looked pretty good.
As for the late afternoon, put all of our wall hangings, carpet, outdoor furniture and TV back out on the breezeway and veranda to get that all back to normal. After that, I went ahead and pulled our “Accessory That Shall Remain Nameless” (ATSRN) out of the garden shed and move it to the garage so I could get it ready for Thursday morning’s departure for Panama City Beach.
It was nearly 5:30pm by the time I had everything put back in its place and headed in to get cleaned up so we could return to Loco’s Willy’s for Saturday night’s dinner. Amazingly, even though there were six college football games going on the big-screen TVs, Willy’s had a very small number of patrons at the bar when we arrived. As the evening wore on the place began to fill up and in addition to visiting with Rex — Loco’s marketing and web guy — we also had a chance to visit with some other regulars whom we only knew by sight and had never spent any time chatting with. It was a great way to spend the evening and, as we did on Friday, we headed directly home at the end of our visit to Loco’s.
Job #1 on Sunday would be doing a little work to get Blue ready for our trip to Panama City Beach on Thursday. On the bright side, one of my pre-flight tasks on trips like this when we are compelled to take-along the ATSRN, is one I’ve continued to get more efficient at and that could pay dividends in the future if I ever need to take Blue to a Harley-Dealer for a mechanical issue while we’re on a trip. Once the mechanical work on Blue was done I cleaned and waxed the ATSRN & Blue so that they’d be easier to clean after the 1,000 miles of riding we typically do on the trip to & from Panama City Beach + the riding we typically do on Friday & Saturday in and around Panama City Beach. While I was doing this, Debbie ran out and bought groceries for the coming week. Meanwhile, we had laundry going upstairs.
With the bike pretty much ready to go, I turned my attention to my very neglected and filthy truck. It was already sporting about a month of grime when we made the trip to the Southern Tandem Rally in Cookeville, Tennessee, and since both the trip to and from Cookeville were done at night the front of the truck had a massive collection of insects that needed to be washed off. I opted to go to the car wash for this dousing but can already tell that I need to give the truck a proper cleaning, buff-out and polish before too long as the car wash process is starting to make the finish look pretty dull and hazy.
Back at the house I turned my attention to the downstairs flooring project. Yeah, what should have probably taken about a month has now become a six-month project. It’s about two solid days of work away from being done. However, my challenge has been finding a day when Debbie would be out of the house for 10 hours and when I wasn’t working so I could prep and then apply the final coat of polyurethane which then takes a good 5-6 hours to dry. However, in the mean time, today I was able to cut and fit strips of flooring material to gaps that I intentionally left between the new flooring in the living/dining/family rooms and the original flooring I refinished. These pieces will end up being flush with both the new and refinished old flooring such that I don’t have the usual T-shaped transition pieces sitting over the gaps for us to trip over. While not perfect, the strips look a lot better than those transition pieces. So, again, as soon as I have an off-Friday at home I should be able to get down that last coat of polyurethane, then permanently install those gap-filler-strips, install quarter round and paint all of the trim to complete that project.
For dinner, after discussing our various options — homemade pizza, homemade wings, Twin Peaks, JD’s BBQ, etc — we decided to make one more trip to Loco’s. We’d already had the steak fajitas on Friday, the BBQ Ribs with fries & slaw on Saturday and a chaser of Nacho’s after that and were now craving Loco’s blackened fish tacos on flour tortillas. It’s hard to express just how good their food is, other than to say that we truly feel like the food we eat there is far more healthy that the fare we find at other restaurants. When we arrived the parking lot did not look full. However, once we walked inside we could see both the inside and patio bars will packed; uggg! Oh well, a table would have to do. We had a great server — a new gal named Anna — and the fish tacos did not disappoint. As we were sitting there our friends Billy & Dava came in for dinner. We spoke with Billy briefly and Dava came over to visit. However, a few minutes into our discussion with Dava, another bar regular stopped by and proceeded share all of her woes with us for what seemed like an eternity. Dava was able to excuse herself so she could go back and be with Billy and another friend came up that gave us a polite way to cut off the depressing monologue that pretty much spoiled our evening out. Why do people seem to feel the need to share all of their troubles with mere acquaintances? I guess they just want everyone to be as miserable as they are: no thanks. My apologies in advance as I’ll be cutting off these types of recreational “drive-by / woe-is-me sessions” in the future. If it were a close friend, that’s be one thing but not from mere acquaintances.
Anyway, after getting past that situation we had a fairly quiet evening back at the house after that. We finished watching the one NFL game that we get on a Sunday afternoon and put the Sunday night game on as background noise while doing end of the weekend things around the house. So, here I sit at 12:30am finishing up my blog and looking ahead to a three-day work week before heading off to enjoy a four-day weekend with my sweetie in Panama City Beach!