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(photo from Bub's story, click on pic above for a little jammin' man!)

April 5th Edition

In This Issue:

Riding BE-cause ~ Charitable & Educational Events in the Carolinas

Lil' Weather

Free Thinking with FancyFree: Do you do "The Rider Wave?"

Bub: A Shortcut to Christa's & other Ramblings

Your Myrtle Beach Discount Card

EVENT REPORT: Durham HOG's Annual Chili Cookoff & Bike Show

Loose Talk with Jon

CLICK BELOW to buy your money-saving "Carolina Rider" discount card for Myrtle Beach businesses!

CLICK ABOVE to buy your money-saving "Carolina Rider" discount card for Myrtle Beach businesses!

 

 

The Little Weather Quickie for the Greater Charlotte Area

for Week of April 6-12, 2016

Wednesday 65h & m-sunny, Thursday 70h & 50% am-rain, Friday 61h & p-cloudy, Saturday 54h & p-cloudy/wind, Sunday 62h & sunny, Monday 75h & p-cloudy, Tuesday 72h & 80% t-storms (as per weather.com on 4/05/16)

 

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  I made a route to get us to Christa’s Store at Pineola NC that included some roads we’d never been on and I hoped would be good bike roads. I had Googled the route and it looked OK, but you never know until you put the rubber to the asphalt.  Keeping an eye on the weather for the last week of March and Wednesday stood out as being the best choice. Charley, Mickey and myself were riding, John was meeting his son at Telico Plains, TN for a 3-day trail ride.

Meeting up at our usual spot in Polkville, NC at 9 am we topped off our fuel and started up NC 226 toward Marion, NC.  At Dysartville NC we jumped off 226 and picked up the Dysartville Highway north to US 70 west. Just a few miles east on 70 we turned onto Powerhouse Rd.  That road Ts into 126, otherwise known as the Yellow Mtn Rd.  As we rode around Lake James on 126 Charley told us of his experience building a display cabinet for his daughter.  Charley is pretty good at woodwork but his daughter wanted the cabinet covered with laminate.  He said he worked on that thing for 3 weeks, he’d get frustrated and quit for a couple of days, then hit it again. Finally got it done, loaded it in his truck, drove up to High Point and got lost!  Didn’t have his gps and was going in circles. Mickey and I laughed at his tale and I forgot to look at my gps, so we had to make a U turn to get back on route. Only had two u turns that day .... think it’s a record for me!

We’re back on 226 where our route Ts into it north of Marion and riding north a few miles to where 226 turns east away from 221.  We pick up 226A , which is a very twisty road, to Little Switzerland and where the road makes a sharp hairpin turn right we turn sharp and back left onto Bear Wallow Rd where the video I shot started. Another twisty road with super views, just don’t take a long look or EMS will be looking for you over the side of the mountain.  This road becomes Crabtree Rd where it passes under the Blue Ridge Pkwy via a very narrow, low bridge.  Crabtree runs into US 19E and we went east and north on it.  North of Plumtree and south of Minneapolis we turned right on Big Plumtree Creek Rd and quickly left on Licklog Rd up to Squirrel Creek Rd and we’re treated to some spectacular views and awesome riding.  Seems like we’re on top of the world!  There must be a county line or something here as Squirrel becomes Spanish Oak.  When we moved here I rode on a little road close to home, Ben’s Farm Rd  and then I noticed the name changed to Bridge’s Rd and a few miles later it was Abes Mountain Rd ----- whaatt???  Told Margie that I’d ridden three different roads and hadn’t made a turn off the one I started on.  I’ve gotten used to it now ---- somewhat!

Anyway back to the route, Spanish Oak runs into NC 194 and 194 runs into NC 181 and 181 goes to ..... you guessed it!!  Christa’s!

Arrive about 12:30 and we are HUNGRY - pushing those bikes around the mountain roads makes one that way.  Meet a group of 6 riders from Charlotte there and we swap tall tales and lies with them, pass out some “The Carolina Rider" cards and settle down to gnaw on Christa’s world famous ribs .... uumm umm ummm!

This video shows Bear Wallow Rd from Little Switzerland and the pictures show some scenery where we stopped for a stretch along Bear Wallow/Crabtree Rd.

 

My 2-cents ...

The Rider Wave

Fancy Free asked us if we “WAVE’' and I do. Get a response probably 95% of the time.  I wave to all riders. (Why, I once waved to Shaggy .... made his day!)  Wave at bicycle riders, most moped riders, [they seldom wave back - they’re in shock that a real cycle rider would wave at them!] Most of my non-responders are those that only wave at riders on their brand of bike or chopper riders. Their loss, I’ve helped several of those types when their bike broke or dumped them.

Fuel, The EPA, & our Rides

I would like to pass on a couple bits of info that is going to impact us as cycle riders and as car drivers.  The EPA has mandated that gas stations sell 15% of ethanol along side their other gas, Mostly this will not impact us UNLESS your station has the blender pump where all fuel comes out of a single nozzle.  If the vehicle ahead of you has pumped the 15% then the hose to the nozzle will dispense that gas into your tank before the other comes on line.  Big deal, you say.  The cycle industry has made tests and while that little bit won’t hurt a car with a large fuel capacity it will damage a bike with it’s smaller tank. Not right away but over time being caught several times in that situation with a blender pump, AND the manufactures say putting any amount of 15% fuels in your tank will void the warranty.    The AMA [ American Motorcyclist Assoc. ] ran a campaign to have members contact their congressman and the EPA.  Congress did agree that it was wrong but the EPA said they didn’t care and were going ahead with the plan.  Motorcyclist are such a minority that they can be disregarded.   Next---yep there’s more—The EPA snuck into a bill that pertained to diesel trucks an amendment that cars and motorcycles can NOT change anything on a vehicle to race it.   Yep, sure does in Friday nite drag races at the local strip or changing your pipes for a track day or a romp in the woods.  I know most of us try to ignore what swill comes out of Washington DC but we need to jump on this quick, cause I don’t wanna take that carbon fiber muffler off my Kawasaki or the reverse cone megaphone off my Honda. [ only used on race venues, of course.]

Remember we are a small group, but we can be mighty!

Don’t forget to wave,

Bub

P.S. The following happened back in February - happened on another ride to Christa's (which is a high chance since it's one of our regular haunts!) ... but even if it's an old story, it still reminds us about ATAGATT! One more time...

The CPRs are riding and we’re going to Christa’s, our favorite place to eat ANYWHERE!   We all had to juggle some stuff around to get Friday clear but we made it.  First we called Christa to see if she had gotten back from vacation in Florida.  The ladies save their tips, close the store for January and head for warmer climes.  The CPRs try to be the last motorcyclist to be there in Dec and the first in Feb.   Most of the time we make it and this season we did. Lost out the first spot last Feb to fellow CPR Charley and his brothers-in-laws.   Margie and I were there on Wednesday, but we drove my car up. 

We meet at the corner gas station in Polkville NC at 9 am with a balmy 32 degree temp showing on Mickey’s BMW.   And our heated gear was keeping us warm and toasty.  Filled our tanks,synced our intercoms and off we go.  Nice ride up NC 226 with little traffic [ that’s why we ride on weekdays ] up to Dysartsville where we picked up Dysartsville rd to US 70 west of Marion.  Over to Bridgewater rd N, which becomes Power Dam rd around Lake James.  Cruising along have a good time---Mickey interrupts my revelry telling me to look at the beautiful lake on my left, I reply “Oh, I was having so much fun I forget to slow down and enjoy the surroundings.”  Did I mention that Power Dam rd is a twisty, rollercoaster delight?  Power Dam T’s into NC 126 where we turn left to intersect with Fish Hatchery road which twists through the mountains to NC 181 which is the crème de la crème of roads around Marion and Morganton.  I promise to include these roads into my next installment of CPR Favorites.  Here is an old video I made in 2012, not in HD but it’s still good. Planning to remake it this summer.

We’re cruising up 181 trying to imitate the GP riders---ha—not likely--  and Mickey notices that it still a little early for lunch and maybe we should find another road before we go to Christa’s.  Now Charley is our “official” navigator and he says we’re coming up on a Forest Service rd that runs down to Beach Mtn rd [ rt 90 ] and we could go over to Pineola rd which T’s into 181 just east of Christa’s.   OK navigator, sounds good!!! did I say that??  Here it comes on the GPS , slow and turn right and down the mountain.  Nice, we enjoy the scenery, opps here’s a muddy spot.  There has been a lot of snow on the mountains and the melt water is draining down the sides of the mountain and some crosses the road in spots.  We gingerly slip and slid through the muddy places and it’s not too bad.  THEN we come to the bottom of the mountain where the road intersects Brown Mtn Beach rd and Beach rd is all mud!  We slowly ease out into the road and there is a solid base underneath, the mud isn’t thick so we continue on. Charley says we’ll be at the Pineola rd soon and it will be better going uphill.  Uuuumm, the mud seems to be getting deeper and more slippery.  John lets lose with a few #%&# as his BMW tries to keep him focused.  Up in front I try to find the more solid section of the road.

I’m really fighting my Kawasaki 650, I know it’s the lightest bike in the bunch and I’m hoping I can keep enough speed up to kinda stay on top of it all.  Once in awhile I get into a deep rut where a truck or some kind of 4 wheel drive had been through.  This road runs along a river and while it is a beautiful ride---when it’s dry, that river seems to be calling and it’s a 10 to 15 foot drop to it.   I’m really putting all my attention on what’s in front of me, you know the rule is that where you look is where you’ll go and I’m really trying to ignore that river.  I hear some more #@@$&*$ from John and know he’s working hard to keep that big bike upright as is Mickey on his Beemer and Charley on his Vstrom.   I ask Charley if the Pineola road is showing on his GPS cause it’ not on mine.  He replies that it can’t be much further and as he’s the navigator it must be.  Just keep 2 wheels down and out of the deep ruts.  The mud is becoming deeper and really slippery and we’re all looking forward to that turn up the mountain where the road will be dry.   There have been at least 2 vehicles ahead of us or had come back this way as the ruts are becoming not only deeper but criss cross at times,  If I can keep the bike on a section where no other vehicle has been it is  fairly stable, but to cross through a rut on get into one it becomes a struggle to keep the bike up right.   I’m putting along and doing OK when the rear wheel falls into a rut and swerves me right to the edge of the road and on the edge of the bank of the river.  I try to work to my left when the front wheel hits a rut and slides out to the right and down I go!  I yell into my mic—“I’M DOWN”.  But it’s not bad, I was going slow and the mud is soft, my left knee banged into the tank and that was all I could feel was hurting.  I craw out from under the  bike, stand up and here come the others.   We look at my little Versys laying in the mud with it’s rear wheel hanging over the river bank and a 10 foot drop to the water.  Sure glad I fell to the left instead of the right!   We stand up the bike and all is OK, just a little mud all over it and me---did I say LITTLE!!!   That NC mud sure is sticky!   You know I always carry a camera and had used it coming down the road from 181,  but did I think to use it now?  Guess you know the answer to that.

So, did we make it to Christa’s?   As we’re standing in the road looking  at all the mud on my bike and me, here comes pickup.  The guy stops and asks which way are we going?  We answer that the plan was to get to the Pineola rd.   “You better not,” he replies. “ the mud is worse up that way and the ruts are 1 to 2 feet deep.”  So navigator, where do we go?  Being old and wise, { which do not necessarily go together } , Charley says, “turn around.”   We crank up the iron ponies and slip and slide our way back to the Forest Service rd and back up the mountain to 181.  You know, those muddy spots didn’t seem as bad as they did before.   11:30 and we pull into the parking lot, I walk in all muddy and grimy and ask Christa if I can come in.  She gives me the once over and says, “Sure”   She and her hubby ride dirt bikes.  I go back outside and shake off some mud and we then have a wonderful lunch and reminisce about our adventure.

Lunch is over and we talk about taking a different route back down the mountain.  Charley says lets get onto NC 183 over to US 221 and on to Marion.  Off we go, turn onto 221 and around a curve is a semi wrecker towing a dump truck loaded with gravel-----at 15 mph!!  After a few miles [ we can’t passs cause the road is so tight with curves ], Mickey remarks, “ You know Charley you haven’t done a very good job of navigating on this ride, First you put us on a mud road and now you put us on a road behind a very slow moving tow truck. We may have to vote you out as navigater, and I think we have 3 votes to do it”.  Charley replied, “ make that 4 votes!!”  And we rolled down the mountain laughing.

       Well for me this was the first time I have attended this well organized event.  I was impressed with the number different things going on all at the same time Poker run, charity bike raffle, and chili cook-off all running smoothly and at the same time and ending nearly one after the other.

Traffic control was handled quite well by a local Boy Scout Troop you don't see that much. Lots of deserving charites were represented, Aidan's ride, The Carolina Boxer Rescue and the five charities covered in the raffles all benefited from all who attended.

Rolling Thunder had a booth along with the Cristian motorcyclist Association, and Hells  Angels. Harris Inc. microbrewery had a lot of interesting information about the growing micro brewing industry, but I was more interasted in the samples!

Many of the local riding clubs attended and were well represented throughout the day. Bikers for Christ, Cyclones, H.O.G of course, Hells Angels, Red Devils just to name a few.

If you haven't been to a chili cook-off you are missing out on some really good stuff . There were four chilis to vote for or choose from depending on how you look at it . My favorite was number two (and I admit I voted for him more then once!) The weather kind of sucked being cloundy all day with a little rain around 2pm. Overall I had a good time and plan to attend again next year.

Click below to walk along with me and hear the sounds of the event ....

Ride Routes

Over the years, we've had many requests for ride route suggestions. We thank our columnists for sharing their rides and, when they can, adding as much route detail as possible. Sandy has been giving us more turn-by-turns along with great photography, and Bub has just begun providing some maps of the CPR rides. Today's route is to a good place to eat that's also a cool country store that you get to by way of out-of-the-way roads. That's one of my favorite kind of rides!

Thanks to our wonderful columnists, we have a great addition to our magazine's already valuable resources.

Got a Ride Route to Suggest?

Let's hear about it - and remember, we all love photos!

 

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