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(photo from Sandy's story!)
May 19th Edition
In This Issue:
The Little Weather Quickie for the Greater Charlotte Area
for Week of May 19-26, 2015
Wednesday 88h & clear, Thursday 85h & 30% rain, Friday 85h & clear, Saturday 84h & clear, Sunday 86h & clear, Monday 92h & clear, Tuesday 94h & p-cloudy (as per www.intellicast.com on 05/19/15)
Stories of Remembrance
We all have our stories. Family members who served in this war or that, this branch of service or another. Relatives and friends we've lost; both military-related losses and otherwise gone from us.
My Mama passed away 3 months ago. She was, as I'm sure yours were too, the best mother in the world. She was also very human and, of course, so am I; and as such, there were many times I didn't think she was the best and she wanted to strangle her only daughter! Same with my Daddy who's been gone now for almost 8 years. Their losses are great holes in my heart. Their lives are great giant gifts to my life.
Memorial Day is almost here. Remember when Memorial Day was the 30th of May? Then they moved holidays to Mondays and this year that means Memorial Day is really early landing on the 25th. The holiday, I read, was originally called Decoration Day because graves of fallen soliders were decorated with flowers ... similar to the graves decorated with wreaths in Sandy's photos from Wreaths Across America. Decoration Day was actually on May 5th and initiated in 1868 to remember those who died in the Civil War. In fact, the Civil War was the beginning of national cemetaries due to the thousands lost at war.
(Thank you to Sandy Reece for the use of this photo from her accounts of Wreaths Across America.)
Over time, Decoration Day became Memorial Day and deemed to honor all Americans who gave their lives in all wars. My Daddy served in WWII. My parents got married August of 1941 and then Pearl Harbor happened. The man who would some day be my daddy was gone for over 2 years, stationed in large part in Guadalcanal. During his absence, my oldest brother was born and my young twenty-something mother kept their heads afloat without her solid-rock-of-a-husband and with the loving support of family members who clung together caring for each other during the war.
(One of the aged photos taken by my Daddy during WWII in Guadalcanal ... a mixture of tribal people and service men in the huts they lived in in the South Pacific.)
My oldest brother was in Vietnam. He was gone a couple years as well. I was 6 and can't say I remember much except for our 2nd grade class sent him letters at some point; my sister-in-law getting overseas calls that brought the whole house on edge and later into tears of joy, my Mama crying over another beloved man in her life in potential peril for home and country. Remember the MIA bracelets folks wore? I am grateful my brother wasn't on one. But I know many of you know some of those names; perhaps many. I know many of you served somewhere sometime. It does NOT go without saying that MANY families have been affected by these losses. We remember you all; those who were in the wars and those who have been affected in any way.
As we move into Memorial Day weekend, we may or may not be taking the holiday as a time to remember. In fact, we're more than likely taking the holiday to forget the losses and struggles that we have in our day-to-day lives. And so it is with time off - a much-needed break for the mind and soul. I'm certainly not trying to be a buzz kill. I plan to play this weekend too! We must play. We must enjoy the holiday. We must enjoy the fullness of freedom to play and relax that we've gained from the efforts of our ancestors to build a free land.
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EDITOR'S NOTE: Way back in April of 2013 Sandy wrote part one of this tale. She and some friends wanted to ride to and around The Outer Banks and did .. mostly. And so they decided to return recently to finish what they'd started. You can start from the beginning if you like and read Part 1 - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun before you proceed to the girls recent adventure which Sandy filled with navigation details for us all to follow. Kickstands up ... Have fun!
It was finally time to finish the lighthouse tour on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This year Debbie, Krissa, and I made plans to tour the northern section of Route 12 near Corolla, NC. We caught a Groupon deal for our hotel thus starting the trip plans! We had an itinerary full of places to see and things to do in four full days of riding.
We left Kernersville, NC by way of Highway 66 riding towards Reidsville to merge on Highway 150. Then we jumped on Highway 68 towards Stokesdale and merge onto Highway 158 East. Our first break stop was Warrenton, NC. We then jumped on NC-58 towards Nashville, NC so we could merge onto Highway 64 East to continue towards the coast. I highly recommend this route as we bypassed a busy traffic day near Raleigh, NC.
Our ride was easy and quiet for the morning commute to the coast. NC-58 was a beautiful twisty backroad and a repeat day ride for sure! Along NC-58 I spotted many photographic opportunities, but I just could not pass up the little rustic bar along the way. We had to stop and “git” this photo.
Unfortunately we missed the opening day when “Ladies Git in Free”…so we continued on our way. (laughing!) Next stop was Plymouth, NC for the Roanoke River lighthouse. This quaint little village by the river is a must see and visit spot. We drove up to the lighthouse and parked and were immediately greeted by some locals. The keeper of the lighthouse and museum opened up for us to tour the lighthouse. I didn’t mind climbing this lighthouse…it wasn’t very tall. It’s also a replica of the original Roanoke River lighthouse.
The original lighthouse resides in Edenton. Once located on private property, the original lighthouse was dilapidated and in much need of restoration. BUT, the owner wants a cool million for the old light; so, the town of Plymouth created a replica instead. Several years later the Town of Edenton successfully purchased the building for much less and relocated the old lighthouse to a new location and renovations have been completed. History saved!
The locals also recommended lunch at Stella’s a local hot spot for good food. We agree…it was delicious! The area has rich history and we highly recommend a visit. Our trip continued down Highway 64 East as we journeyed across several bridges of several large bodies of water.
Next stop was Manteo, NC to visit a new place called Outer Banks Distillery for a sample of Kill Devil Rum. Unfortunately, the distillery wasn’t quite ready for sampling (but should be now as they said "after May 5th,") but we did get the 10 cent tour. Scott and Matt are the distillers and very informative about their product. We are excited for them and cannot wait until the bottles hit the ABC stores in NC! We journeyed on to find our place of residence for the next three days and chill-out for a while. The local restaurant just down from our hotel called the Jolly Roger was a great way to wind down.
The next morning was rise and shine early to ride towards Corolla for our first event of the day: Touring the sands of Corolla looking for wild horses. We scheduled our tour with the Wild Horse Adventure Tours of Corolla for 10:00am. Their company policy… we must find at least one horse or your money back. Well… our driver Lee found us nine horses scattered out among the dunes. Some were grazing out in the open while others were hiding under beach houses. The first group of horses found had one particular brown beauty that the tour guides named “No Refund”… he is always out. Riding on the beach in the hummer was a blast too! I sat up front alongside Lee with my camera in hand snapping photos galore! Next stop after the horse tour was Currituck lighthouse and the historic Whalehead Club. Both structures were accessible from one parking area. Krissa (the energizer bunny) climbed this lighthouse. I gave her my camera to take shots from the top. (I am scared of heights!) It is a beautiful area. Another “must-see” for northern Route 12 along the barrier island.
Next day was cloudy and threats for rain so we started out early hoping to beat the wet day. We journeyed towards Cape Hatteras and Bodie Lighthouses. (Our energizer bunny Krissa climbed Bodie lighthouse but not Hatteras) Along the way we are looking for a shipwreck on the beach called G.A. Kohler. We found it off Ramp 27 along Route 12 South near Avon. We also stopped to see the historic life saving station in Avon. At the end of the island near the ferry stop for Ocracoke Island, we visited the Graveyard of the Atlantic museum. Very interesting artifacts on display in this museum.
Making our way back to our weekend residence, the rain started. There was one more stop to make along the way back…. I wanted to find the relocated house from the movie “Nights in Rodanthe”… Serendipity…now called The Inn at Rodanthe. I found it! I turned on a sandy road and got my photos. Krissa and Debbie stayed back on the pavement and talked to a local surfer. I managed to get Batman turned around in the driveway and make it back out to the pavement without incident. Whew! One thing I failed to mention, it was chilly this weekend! I did not pack the appropriate clothing for this trip! I failed to check and re-check the weather before my final packing. I paid the price by being very cold most of the trip. Next time, there will be MORE clothes packed for every possibility of weather changes.
The next day was our homeward bound trip by way of western NC for Debbie and myself and southbound for Krissa. We watched the weather and faced the fact that we would be riding home in the rain and cold rain at that. So…no side trips for the voyage home…straight across Highway 64 West for us all until I-95. Krissa turned south and Debbie and I continued across towards home. Two things happened upon my arrival home… my rain jacket leaked – so it was in the dumpster and Batman will be treated with a nice oil change and new shoes soon for carrying me safely home. But, even though the weather was not the greatest… the three ladies on this trip had a blast! Lots of FUN and LAUGHTER!!
Enjoy the photos!,
How do you write about a good friend crashing on his bike? 5/17/15
We enjoyed a good first day on our planned 3 day excursion around Boone NC. We had the use of Charley’s daughter’s cabin and were looking forward to some good pavement and dirt road rides. On the ride up from Lincolnton to the cabin we took a CPR shortcut that wound through the roads around Marion and across Brown Mtn on dirt roads to the Blue Ridge and to, of course, Christa’s!! Where we enjoyed some great grub and super dessert. On to Boone; up the Blue Ridge and to the cabin where it is was very “cool” indeed. Being nite owls, we planned the next day’s ride and were in the sack by 9 pm.
By 8 am we’re on our way to Boone for breakfast and being the leader I wanted to review the maps and our route---oh oh—where are the maps? Yep, back at the cabin, but you know we aren’t on a schedule so it’s no big deal. Found old 421 and rode it to where it intersects 321, then to Sugar Grove and Bethel Church road which looked good on the map, so watch the video and I’m sure you’ll agree. Then we started out for Watauga Lake in Tenn. We’re running on 321 and see a burnt out gas station, commenting on it and on the intercom we hear, “I’m down, I’m down and I’m hurt!” It’s Charley! and we quickly turn around and speed back to him. He’s laying against a guard rail and bent over, his bike 25 yards or so in front of him. He says he can move all his fingers, toes, arms and legs, so that’s a good sign. Mickey and John help him to his feet and we see his left glove tore and exposed his knuckles to the road, but his riding jacket and pants took the brunt of the damage and left him relatively OK. Gonna be sore a few days and his ankle was twisted, but he’ll be back on his bike soon. Watch the video “CPR Down”
Although I ride with the “gear” I will at times run into town with just a t shirt or light jacket. Seeing how the jacket and pants saved Charley’s hide, I’m a believer. Ride safe my friends and remember ATGATT! All The Gear All The Time
EDITOR'S NOTE: Note the dates on the story above and the one below. Bub had just sent in the following article (5/7/15) for his column when all this happened - when Charley hit the pavement. (5/17/15) We knew you'd want to hear about the accident and, more imporantly, the outcome and new acronymn the CRP's came up with (ATGATT! ... leave it to Bub to come up with that one!) Thought and thought about the best way to publish both and decided you needed to read the last part first .... and then see how grateful Charley was to be on that ride. We're so very glad all are safe. Please read on .. you can see the CPR smiles between the lines!
Charley's Back! 5/7/15
It’s the last week of April and Charley hasn’t been on a ride since late February. To say he has pent up longing for 2 wheels isn’t enough. As mentioned in my last article he had eye surgery to remove cataracts and have new lens installed for both eyes. The left went as planned as was healing well, but the right became infected and wasn’t healing or getting better. He had terrible pain and was taking pain meds 4 times a day along with eye drops of 2 different meds 7 times a day! Then the infection cleared up and his vision improved, the doc said all looked good, just keep up the drops twice a day until the bottle was empty. Charley asked if he could ride his bike and go fishing—his other passion. Yep, was the answer. So when I asked about a ride he answered in the positive. Not wanting to push him I asked him to plan the route. So the 27th of April I rode over to Lincolnton to meet him and John at Zippers for breakfast. Mickey was absent as him and Jeannie went to Myrtle Beach for a couple of days. So after some eggs and grits, we synced our headsets and headed off. I was leading and mistakenly thought we were pulling onto a 4 lane road so went across and drove on a side road that paralleled the road then angled off . They were yelling at me that it was the wrong road, but I could see on the GPS that it joined the road we were going to turn onto. They stayed on the “right” road and when I rejoined them John was in the lead, me in the middle and Charley in the rear. One simple mistake and I’m replaced as the leader! Now Charley is our “official” navigator and he tells me and now John which road to turn onto. You know I kinda like this middle position---no worries about where to go - just follow John. I can actually look at the scenery a little instead of road signs or GPS routes or watching out for dogs, cats, gravel, etc.
So as we ride some nice roads into and past Wilkesboro I query Charley on our ride today, seems like he’s got a all day ride planned. I ask him if he feels good about this long of a ride? He laughs and said he’s ready to ride all week, he’s having so much fun and enjoying it all. OK I reply, but if you feel tired or sore just say the word and we’ll head back to the barn-----he never does! He’s having a great time as John an I are too along with listening to Charley saying so many times how happy he is to be on 2 wheels.
We’re on some great roads, some are portals into the beautiful mountain vistas. Open spaces all around and blue cloudless [ for a change! ] sky.
We’re on a fairly straight road so I tell them about this guy I met who said he rode the Florida Dragon when he was down there for Bike Week. A Dragon road in Florida!?!? Yep he said, it’s 11 curves in 318 miles!
Soon Spruce Pine shows up on a road sign and I know we’re close to Christa’s. We approach an intersection, sail through and Charley yells, we were supposed to turn back there!! Some navigator---asleep at the wheel---bars? But being the gentlemen we are we allow him to keep his position---we sure don’t want it. Aahh, here we are. Dismount from our trusty steeds and enter the haven of good cooking and friendly people. The girls are happy to see us and make a big fuss over Charley, he blushes and “ aww shucks” to all the attention.
This week [6th of May] the three of us [ Mickey is absent again - delivery issues ] head out again. Meet up at Polkville NC 8 am, take off on Stage Coach Rd and over to John Mountain Rd. Then on to some of my favorite roads-- Nanny Town Rd, Painters Gap Rd, Bills Creek Rd, Cedar Creek Rd, and several others as we make our way on our Lake Lure bypass route. Then we’re on Route 74 south of Asheville. Go north a couple of miles and turn right onto the premier road in this area---Blue Ridge Parkway. A couple of years ago Charley found a road off the Blue Ridge that goes into Rt 25 between Asheville and Weaverville. And this is our Asheville by pass. Rode north keeping just east of I 26 and tapped into 197----oh what a road! Smooth new asphalt, and curves??!!! Small ones, sharp ones, large sweeping ones and on and on. The Dragon brags 318 curves in 11 miles, how about a thousand curves in 50 miles - yes, I exaggerate, but I can’t help it. If you ride a sport bike you HAVE to ride this road - look it up between Barnardsville NC and Erwin TN where it is rt 395. You will have the time of your life. My Interceptor was grinning from ear to ear or maybe that is turn signal to turn signal. I grinned so much that my grin wrapped around my head! Now that brings up an image! Oh and as an aside, Rt 197 goes through Pensacola. Look it up.
We stopped in Unicol TN for lunch at Clarence’s Restaurant, if you’re in the area stop in and enjoy some great southern cooking. Leaving Unicol we jumped on TN 107 which becomes Rt 226 in NC. Rode this good road all the way down to where I turned on Bostic Sunshine Highway and Charley and John continued onto Polkville where they went left toward Lincolnton.
And the CPRs finish up another stellar day of scooter riding in the Appalachian Mtns.
Come join us on a ride - we’ll be gentle.
Over the last couple of weekends we’ve hit a couple of the local festivals near Orangeburg. The weekend before last we went down to Walterboro to the Rice Festival. The weather was not too good for Saturday so after work on Friday we headed out 601/301 to Bamberg to our new favorite gas station – Matheny’s Station – all grades are ethanol free, and the man comes out to put the gas in. He says he knows ‘bikers’ are a little touchy about putting gas in so he just hands me the nozzle. He always asks where we are headed now, we tend to stop there when we go places as it is the closest ethanol-free station near us.
The Rice Festival is a typical street festival with the fairly typical vendors, lots of trinkets and stuff you don’t need and a few actual crafts that are kind of neat. But we went for the food vendors. She wanted the first funnel cake of the season. They also had the largest pot of dirty rice, the Civitans claim to cook up the largest pot of dirty rice in an old cast iron syrup kettle. But since they were closed when we got there – sold out- we had to settle for a funnel cake to start. Then on to the potato ribbon – where they take a potato and thin slice it into one big ribbon and drop it in a deep fryer. We like ours dark and crispy. Once we finished the potato ribbon we headed over to get a funnel cake with powdered sugar – Marcia did the most damage to that and I had my eye on the seafood vendor and got an order of shrimp. Surprisingly they are very good, they were calabash style with a very thin coating and not overdone. And of course by now we had to have a drink. We headed back to the bike and watched some of the dog jumping. They had a big pool and threw a Frisbee out to measure how far each dog could jump out into the water. There were a couple of different bands and musicians along the street.
Then on the way home when we stopped at the Dairy Queen (I said we had to hit all the junk food palces,) but there getting gas was no junk food: One of the sharpest 33 Chevy’s I’ve seen in a long time. Even though it was red (not one of my favorite colors for a car,) as you can see from the picture it was sharp. The folks were coming from Florida and headed home to Virginia.
Last weekend (May 2-3) Orangeburg had the Rose Festival which hosts another street fair with vendors. They have dance groups and concerts throughout the weekend, and a whole field of roses. I met up with a group of Star Riders from chapter 516. Star Touring and Riding Association is the official riding organization of the Star Motorcycle (Yamaha.)
(I met these people at the Rose Festival!)
Reginald Brewer and his lovely wife told us all about some of their rides – Scoot and Shoot – where they get together and go to a gun range. Another pin he showed me was Hawks and Hogs which was a get together with a flying group to raise money for a local charity through a scavenger hunt, which sounded like great fun. If interested you can contact Reginald . The flyer says it is a non-political, non-confrontational, no ‘tavern runs’ promotes safe riding and following the highway laws. They even invited a couple of us Harley riders to join with them on some rides which I hope we can make.
(Along with the roses I had to catch one of the cutest ‘roses’ of the day with the little girl that apparently had had her fill of the fun for the day.)
The Rotary Club Turkey legs were sold out when we got there, and the lines were too long for the funnel cakes, so we went to a new BBQ place down the street that just opened and had a man passing out flyers for his new restaurant. I will need to go back a few more times to test a few more items before I render a real opinion, but it is better than most of the others in town.
Look up a festival near you and go for a ride!
Happy Memorial Day
I've been across the country on one of my motorcycle education trips for the past week. Headed off to Maggie Valley as soon as I return in a couple days. It's the Spring Rally at the Festival Grounds in Maggie Valley and Sonny Productions is at it again working to give us a fun time. This time the focus is on Mopar cars and motorcycles, of course. Check out the flyer and website to see all in Sonny's vision. They've got music lined up for the stage and games and vendors as usual. "The event is going to be great!," shares Sonny. "We have lots of vendors and cars and bikes and the weather is custom made for our event. See you in the Valley."
FancyFree and I will be there beginning Thursday and through the event Friday-Saturday-Sunday. I'll be home for the holiday Monday and plan to kick back with a beer on the lake. We are not publishing the Magazine next week in honor of the reason for Memorial Day. Hope the holiday is good to us all.
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