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March 29th Edition
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The Little Weather Quickie for the Greater Charlotte Area
for Week of March 30 - April 5, 2016
Wednesday 72h &sunny, Thursday 75h & 90% rain, Friday 80h & 100% rain, Saturday 70h & sunny, Sunday 72h & sunny, Monday 67h & m-sunny, Tuesday 67h & 50% rain (as per weather.com on 3/29/16)
Walking and Chewing Gum
Rubbing your Belly & Patting your Head
Riding and The Wave
It's an acquired skill, an ambidextrous practice, a signal of kindredship: The Rider Wave. Do you do it?
I've noticed that not everyone does, that not everyone does every time, and that not everyone does to all riders.
There seems to be a prejudging-limitation to the ritual. Wave at that one but let the other one; the one with the "other" style of bike, go by.
Wave when you're riding in your home territory or just passing someone "out there" but once you've been at a rally for thirty minutes, you drop the wave or risk a new kind of carpal tunnel syndrome due to the volume of riders going by.
Out on the highway, the backseat rider might do the wave to spare her leader the extra work from hauling her around.
What is the unsaid-true-insider wave is clutch hand (left hand) extended pointing down toward the road. The less "real rider" wave is hand up like the Queen.
Middle finger extended is NOT the wave I'm pointing out, but there might be other valid variations such as a peace sign two fingers or a hang ten. (And yes, I'm sure there are some Vulcan salutes but they get lost in the downward expression.)
Finally, I must share this: It took me some time; years in fact, to get comfortable enough to take my hand off the handlebar and do anything, least of all wave. So ever since I realized that I could, my waves are unceasing and exuberant. I'm a rider, dammit! I wanna celebrate that and celebrate you riding too!
So, do you wave? When do you wave? Why and How?
Write me and let's talk about The Rider Wave. And, hey, let's see some photos of waves!
Prizes for Wave Photos & Stories
Let's hear your observations, frustrations, stories, and see your photos. We'll reach into our prize boxes and make it worth your while. Ready, get set, WAVE!
I'm on Facebook ... "friend me!"
My First Spring Bike Week in Daytona
& now I know ... I prefer Fall
It has happened again, and now it is over. Daytona Bike Week. The best ever! The 75th anniversary of this great event! It was something to behold! Some say the crowd was down, even though they were the largest I have ever experienced in Daytona. This was my first Spring Bike Week. I have been to Biketoberfest for the last 3 years running, but this was my first spring rally. I had always heard that Biketoberfest was a little more subdued compared to the spring rally. Now that I have experienced them both, I have to agree. Biketoberfest is a little more laid back, and for an old man like me, more enjoyable. As far as the businesses go, the people there are all the same, so acquaintances made in years past are there for the rekindling. I enjoyed seeing all of my old friends, no matter where they are. Whether they were at Michael’s Galley, Boot Hill, The Beaver Bar, or Aunt Sue’s, they were there and it was good to connect again. As always, it was good to make new friends. I was very fortunate to make them all over town. It was just a fun time. A much needed time away from the normal hustle and bustle.
We started out on Wednesday morning, headed south. Straight down I-26 to I-95 all the way down. In years past, I have left late in the day and stopped in Savannah, Ga. This time we were leaving earlier so I decided to go as far as Brunswick, GA. The weather was perfect for riding, and the extra 125 miles would not kill either one of us. It would also give us less of a ride on Thursday morning. Well as it turned out, we rode just as much on Thursday because we rode over to Leesburg, Florida to visit the dealership where the TT bought his bike a few years back. As it turned out, they were in a new dealership just down the road from where they were. A nice dealership, not very big, but nice. That added a few miles to the trip, but the weather was nice, so who cares! Just ride!
The week had gone along pretty good with only a few small hick-ups. The motel was a $30 a night hotel that was charging $170 a night. That alone is the biggest reason I will not go back to the spring rally. I can stay in a Hyatt cheaper in the fall than I can a roach motel in the spring. Our room was so small, you had to go outside to change your mind. The A/C didn’t half work. No ice machine on the premises. No parking. Now I knew up front about the parking thing. I knew I could park on the grass if I had to. I didn’t know that the motel basically required you to park on the grass in an area that was not flat and that was not big enough to turn around in unless it was empty. If there were other bikes there, it took a lot of maneuverability to get the bike positioned. As a matter of fact we saw one older gentleman drop his bike because of the close quarters in the bike parking area. Luckily enough it being a slow to no speed maneuver and in the grass it did not damage anything on the bike. The gentleman had a prosthetic leg so he couldn’t pick it back up, so we did it for him and helped him get it to a parking position. He was embarrassed but I told him not to worry, that we all had done it at one time or another. That seemed to make him feel better.
We rode out to Destination Daytona Harley-Davidson on Friday. The traffic was horrible. We basically got in line over a mile out. I’d say it took us an hour to get there once we got in line. We had similar issues in several places we tried to go to. We found “lot full” sign after “lot full” signs everywhere you went. There were places that you had to wait for someone to leave before you could go in. I’m not into waiting, so we would ride on and find some other place to go. That is another one of those hick-ups I referred to earlier.
After dinner Friday night we were headed back to the motel when I had some bike trouble. I had just pulled away from a traffic light (in a spirited manner) and when I hit second gear it sounded like my exhaust had fell off the front cylinder! Oh Crap! I quickly upshifted up the gears to get the RPM’s down and to get me to a place I could pull over. We were on US 1 and it is a limited access highway, so I had to look for a spot to pull off. Finding a parking lot, I coasted in, shutting the bike down. I get off and with the flashlight on my phone, nothing looked out of the ordinary. I could not grab anything as it was good and hot but all nuts were in place. I found that it only leaked when it was under a load. I figured I would nurse it back to the motel and check it in the morning in the daylight and after it had cooled.
Bright Lights in the Darkness ...
I tried to sleep but me being worried about the bike, I didn’t sleep well. Saturday morning I found that the nuts were tight but the pipe would move around. I deducted that I had probably blew out the exhaust gasket. Wrong! I found a shop on Beach Street that was open and had a neon sign saying “Mechanic on Duty.” Cool! I pulled in. As it turned out, I was at the famous Carl’s Speed Shop. The people there were super nice and after they had looked the bike over, they told me that I had a broken exhaust bracket at the transmission. They gave me phone numbers of a couple of shops to call. First I tried Robison’s Motorcycles. The guy on the phone took all my bike information and put me on hold. He came back in a minute with good and bad news. Good news the computer says he has the part. Bad news, he found the box and it was empty. I thanked him for his time and hung up. I then called Black Gold Cycles. While the guy there had me on hold, Robison’s called me back. They thought they had found the part that belonged in the box, but I would have to bring the bike in to be sure. I told him that I would get back to him shortly. Black Gold came back and says basically the same thing, we have several, but you will have to bring the bike in to match it up. As it turned out Black Gold was a block away (the closest) so I went there. Mark at Black Gold Cycles goes out and lays down on the ground to get a good look at the broken bracket and then goes inside to hunt. He comes out with several. They had it, and I was next in line for the mechanic. I didn’t get the mechanics name (I’m sorry) but I am very grateful that Black Gold Cycles was open that day. They are normally closed on Saturdays but decided to open during the rallies, and I appreciated it. They had me back on the road in just over an hour. Thank you Black Gold Cycles. You guys are gold! If you are ever there and need help, check them out, you will not be disappointed!
From there we went out to the Daytona Speedway. The TT wanted to see the Boss Hoss trikes. He has an interest in a Boss Hoss 57 Chevy Trike, and we were told there was one out at the speedway on display. Bright red and a LS3 engine with a 4speed automatic transmission. It was nice! After drooling all over it we walked around to look at the other vendors. Unfortunately for us, it was closing time before we could get around to everyone, but that is ok. We weren’t looking for anything in particular anyway. From there we went back to Main Street to take in all of the sights, sounds, and smells of Bike Week. The final night, I knew it would be crowded and we were not disappointed. Just being on Main Street during Bike Week is an experience in itself. If you have never been there, you need to at least once. We stayed on Main for a few hours but knowing we had the 500 mile ride the next day and losing an hour from daylight savings time, we turned in at about 10:30.
Gotta go miles out of the way? Just Ride! Raining? Just Ride! Nowhere to park? Just Ride!
Sunday morning we both woke up early, before the alarms went off, so we hit the road early. Before daylight actually; stopped to fill our tanks and headed out. We ran into rain coming home. I was wet four times if you count the shower I took before we left the hotel. Getting caught in the rain is no big deal if you carry the correct gear for it. It is just like a shower, it’s no big deal. Keep the bike in a safe operating condition and ride. Rain or no rain. Just ride.
We made it home in 8 hours which I thought was not too bad considering the traffic, the rain, and the mileage I now get. We ran a solid 75mph all the way home.
Overall it was a good time! One that we will never forget! Rides that we cannot remember with friends we will never forget!
Ride Safe, Ride Hard!!!!!
My First Daytona Bike Week
& my Expectations weren't high
but I was Pleasantly Surprised
by The Tarheel Tornado
Well it’s official and in the books. I just got back from Daytona bike week 75th anniversary in Daytona Florida, and that means I made 3 out the 4 major bike weeks for their 75th anniversary rides. I made Myrtle Beach in May 2014, Sturgis in August 2015, and Daytona in March 2016. I can’t do anything about Laconia too late, but I plan on making the 100th coming up in a few more years. I will try to make it there for the 95th in 2018, just as a scouting trip. Mrs. Tornado did not go with me on this one. She chose to go see our new granddaughter out in Little Rock Arkansas, the previous week. Still not bad for someone who does not ride that much. She made 2 out of the 4! Her and my sister in law rode out together, so my sister in law could see the grandbaby for the first time. They had a good trip, and we’ll be going back soon ourselves.
Bike week was a lot of what I expected, but a lot of unexpected as well. The ride down was good. Lester and I went together. He had been to the fall rally several times, but not to the larger spring rally, so we decided to go together. We split the ride going down we left on Wednesday the 9th and stopped over in Brunswick Ga. The weather was great, clear and sunny, even got warm. Not much to tell there, other than we ate dinner at the local “Logan’s Steak House”. There was nobody there, service was not very good, and the meal was not very good as well. On top of that, the waiter grabbed Lester’s salad before he was finished. That boy doesn’t know just how close he came to having a very bad day. Don’t mess with Lester’s food!! The ride in on Thursday went well, but we went to Leesburg Gator Harley before going to Daytona. That is where I got my Harley, and I wanted to pick up some new merchandise, and we needed to kill a little time anyway before we could check into the hotel.
I was following Lester’s lead on what to do at Daytona, so we got checked in and then went to “Aunt Catfish’s On the River” for dinner. That was a very good seafood restaurant. The food was very good and the service was good as well. Our waitress’s name was Puff. Before we were to leave, I asked her if that was her real name, and it really was. Puff was the short version of her last name Pufferton, and her first name was Candy. I’m not making this up! From there we rode back to Main Street to see what was going on. It was jumping as Lester expected. Lots of activity going on all up and down Main Street. We stopped in at a joint (you may have heard of!) called Boot Hill Saloon, in hopes of running into an acquaintance of Lester’s that normally is there during bike week. She was, and it turned out to be a very interesting stop. I did not actually see anything that supposedly happened, so I cannot confirm nor deny the alleged incident actually took place, so don’t believe anything Lester may tell you. It’s only vicious rumor and innuendo. What happens in Daytona stays in Daytona!
We left there and walked Main Street and went in a bunch of shops checking out the merchandise. Every business there is either directly or indirectly related to bikes and riding. I liked the fact that you could walk the entire distance without much difficulty, and you had plenty to see and do. If you wanted to park your bike on Main Street for free you could, but you had to locate a parking space. That’s not easy with that many bikes around. We opted to pay $5.00 and park in a very convenient location. We walked all the way up and back, checking out every shop, and the bars. I found a few shirts I was interested in, and talked to the dealers about getting the best buy. Eventually we settled back in at Boot Hill for the rest of the evening watching all the festivities and having an adult beverage. The band was good, and the people were crazy as you might expect. At this point we had ridden close to 700 miles the last 2 days, and decided to turn in about 9:00 pm.
I can’t call myself a light sleeper when I travel, but I wake up early without alarm clocks, so I was up early the next morning. When we were ready to go eat breakfast, we went to a place called Mike’s Galley. Again this place was very good. The meal was very good, and comes with a large portion for a reasonable price. The cinnamon buns looked great, but they were huge. I gained 2 pounds walking by them. No way that I could eat one of them by myself. The service was good, and we were in and out in a reasonable time. However, I am told that we were lucky. We got there at a good time. The sign says “The best breakfast in town”, and it is normally a healthy wait time to get in.
From there we rode out to the Daytona Harley Davidson shop and checked out the dealers out there. Traffic was heavy going out, and it was stop and go for a while, especially the closer you got to the Harley shop. We made it in, checked out most of the vendors, and I got my chips and pins from the Harley shop. The weather was great, but it was warm. It was time for a beverage, so we wound up at the “Beaver Bar” for some dinner and entertainment. I was starving by then, because we had not ate lunch. I got the philly cheese steak sandwich, and the grouper bites. Man those things were good. The band was really good, and it turned out they were from my backyard in Marion, NC. We ate, drank, and listened for a while. Just so you know, I drank sweet tea. I’m just not a big alcohol consumer. I’ve had 2 friends killed, and one a quadriplegic over alcohol, so I never grew up desiring the alcohol scene. It’s my choice, you are free to do what suits you best, just don’t drink and drive. I told Lester, that I watched most people around me drink more alcohol in 1 hour than I would drink in a year, probably more than a year. However, that does not mean I can’t go to a place like that, under those circumstances, and not enjoy the evening. I can live and let live as good as anybody.
When we left there that evening, things took a different turn, and I don’t want to steal Lester’s thunder, so I will not get too deep into the rest of the trip at Daytona. I believe Lester will fill you in on all the details.
Once we got all that business taken care of, we went to check out some Boss Hoss trikes. There was a dealer nearby, so we went there first. Mrs. Tornado expressed the interest in a trike on our trip to Sturgis, so I have been secretly checking out the options. I had this idea to build a trike that looks like a ‘57 Chevy Belair, since I own a ‘57, and Lester says “they already build one like that,” so off we go to check them out. When we go to the dealer, the ‘57 version was not there, but it was at the speedway. I checked out what they had there, and sat on one. That is a big piece of machinery with the LT2 Corvette engine and 400 HP. Lester asked the lady if she would start it up, and we were inside the building. There was 3 guys sitting on the couch relaxing. In fact, one guy was sleeping. She fired that trike up, and startled him out of his nap. It really was funny, especially watching the other two guys laughing at him. We left there and rode out to the speedway to see the ‘57 trike. We got there late, but in time for me to see it up close. These trikes are very nice, but honestly, for me I think it was too much. I would like to live a little longer, and I think I would be riding an edge too close with that machine. We took the time we had left to check out some vendors there, but really we were out of time. For these guys the rally was officially over, and it was pack-it-in-time. We made our way back to Main Street, made a pass to buy a shirt, and then settled in at Boot Hill again to soak up the last of the festivities.
The ride back was good, but long, because we rode all the way back on Sunday. We hit some rain just inside Georgia and again before Spartanburg, but overall the trip was fine. I did have one interesting event riding back. We were near mile marker 75 on I-26 doing about 80 mph. I had put my prescription glasses in my front pocket and buttoned it up. I thought they would be fine there, and not come out. I was wrong. They did come out of my pocket. It was the strangest thing. I saw them come out and basically float from left to right to above my throttle hand, a foot or so up. They were literally suspended above the windshield over my throttle hand. They sort of stopped in midair for a moment, and I let go of the throttle to grab them. I didn’t get them, but instead knocked them down to the windshield faring at the space between the faring and the handlebars, where they hung up there. I quickly grabbed them with my left hand and stuck them inside my shirt. We pulled over shortly thereafter to change headgear for the rain, and I got them secured at that time. Very strange event, but I didn’t lose my glasses!
I have to admit my expectations were not very high for the rally. Since I don’t drink much at all, I did not believe I would find the beach rally circuits to be very interesting. When it comes to the riding part, I believe I am right, not really very good places to ride, but I was wrong overall. I found the rally to be very interesting, and I had a good time. I am very glad I went, and it was good to have Lester along to lead the way. If it had been up to me, I may have missed the fun part. Can’t wait until Laconia, and the new rally coming next year in Tennessee.
The TarHeel TornadoRide fast, ride hard, ride long, but above all ride safe!
I was given an assignment to visit Cherokee Cycles in Greer SC and so last week I jumped on my bike and traveled west on Highway 11 out of Gaffney. Reaching the intersection of 11 and 14 west of Campobello at Gownsville I went south towards Greer. Passing through the historic downtown and out of town I found Cherokee Cycles. The shop is located about halfway between I-85 and the Greer city limits. The I-85 route would have been faster but 1, I don’t like riding interstates and 2 , 11 and 14 are nice roads and the scenery is much better than 18 wheelers.
Cherokee Cycles is a beautiful shop with plenty of parking. Some remodeling work was going on and I learned later the display and shop area are being expanded by 25%. Outside several Indian, Victory and 3 [ count em ] Slingshots! were on display, those Slingshots are something else! Went inside and was asked if I needed help—if he only knew! Yeah, I’m looking for Danny Patterson who is co-owner with his Dad, Dan. Met up with him and we talked a bit before a tour of the facilities. The Patterson family is a motorcycle family, Dan Sr rode choppers in So Cal in the 60s and Danny rode Honda 50s in the Mojave Desert as a youngster. Dad worked in the aerospace business and was the Director of Space Shuttle Ops at Kennedy Space Center. He was transferred to Greenville SC and in 1997 was awarded the Order of the Palmetto for his contributions to the state. Also that year he and some buddies started their trike conversion business. In 2002 the partners left their corporate positions to concentrate on the trike business.
It was a unique business in that they only built trikes and had some on display. All other builders had the trikes as a side business to their motorcycle dealings and you ordered your trike from them, waited until the kit came in and was installed. Dan Sr had kits on hand and turnaround was quick. Danny told me that a customer can drop off his bike on Monday and pick it up on Friday! In 2004 Dan called Danny and asked him to come to Greenville and help him in the business. So Danny quit his job as a corporate accountant in Cocoa Cola and moved to Greenville to help Dad in the business.
In 2007 they had outgrown the shop so moved a little bit north,built a new shop and a huge warehouse. They have several acres there and the “backyard” is where events are held. The Open House coming up to name one. (see their event posting on our CALENDAR.)
The pictures don’t give justice to the beautiful showroom. There are sleek, exotic Victorys, awesome Indians, several bikes that have been converted to trikes, and of course the wild Slingshots. Clothing and custom parts are displayed throughout the room. As I mentioned earlier, they are expanding the main building by 25% and will have room to display the Polaris ATVs they also sell. And the larger shop area will allow bays exclusive to each bike model, a bay for trikes and one for ATVs. Cherokee Cycle has become one of the largest three wheel dealerships handling all major brands with trikes on display, they are a top 25 Victory dealership and boast Top Gun Status the last 2 years.
As you know from my previous articles I’m not a cruiser rider but that Indian Scout ...! It is a beauty, I could install different shocks, a fork kit to raise it an inch or 2 and I’ll bet it could carve those NC mtn roads with the best of them!
Many Thanks to our Story Tellers
Thanks to those folks who write and shoot photos for The Carolina Rider Weekly Magazine. We so appreciate Lester and Danny's ride stories from their Daytona Spring ride and Bub's story about Cherokee Cycles.
Thank you all for taking time in the midst of and after your rides to share your ride with our readers. You really are exceptional folks and great storytellers. FancyFree has decided that's what your new title is, as a matter of fact: Story Tellers of The Carolina Rider. I like it.
Wanna tell your story? It's a truly easy & fun process to join us on occasion or as a regular contributor. Drop FancyFree a line and let her know you've got a story to tell.
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