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(photo by Ron & Marcia Lofts)

June 2nd Edition

In This Issue:

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

Lil' Weather

Free Thinking with FancyFree

Sandhills Mike - End of an Affair

BIG RIDE 2 Rides Out!

Orangeburg Ron - Ride & Dine

Loose Talk with Jon


The Little Weather Quickie for the Greater Charlotte Area

for Week of June 2-9, 2015

Wednesday 76h & 60% rain, Thursday 81h & 50% rain, Friday 85h & p-cloudy, Saturday 87h & 50% rain, Sunday 84h & 50% rain, Monday 87h & 50% rain, Tuesday 92h & clear (as per on 06/2/15)

Riding Hats

So, ... a friend who rides on the back of her boyfriend's bike and is really into the biker scene threw out a unique term in conversation recently. While it's her intention and hope to get more into riding and she's drawn to all things motorcycle, she gave away her lack of biker jargon when she stated, "I've got to get me a hat!" What kind of hat? What style? Do you want something with feathers or a wide brim to keep the sun off? Dressy or casual? Is this a party hat or a baseball hat or a floppy girly hat or just what might be your quest?

Upon further exploration, the group of us hanging out with her soon came to find out that she was talking about a helmet.We had a good time ribbing her about it but then decided it was a fun new idea anyway and so adopted it for the evening; perhaps forever! Why not a hat? Sure, we use these hard bowls on our heads to protect our noggins but there's a hat-like similarity to them ... we gotta express our style!

What kind of riding hat do you wear and why?

Let's hear from you!

Write and tell us about your style and function, your stickers and colors and paint jobs and ornamental attachments. Send pics! And, of course, let us hear if you don't own a "hat" and why. We'll be publishing answers in an upcoming edition.

And, as Joe Cocker says, "You can leave your hat on!"

I'm on Facebook ... "friend me!"

To end an affair ...

  I could feel the affair was ending. Her beauty was becoming less appealing, the compliments of others less frequent and not really positive. Often she seemed unwilling to be with me,"temperamental," some would call it. Weather and temperature seemed to effect her mood and performance, reluctant on cool mornings and anguish for the ride home at the end of the day. We have spent 12 years together. Many a weekend spent traveling up and down the east coast to Myrtle Beach for the rally 3 or 4 times. We ran the "Tail of the Dragon" twice and the "Back of the Dragon" once. We ventured as far west as Atlanta, where her steadiness was challenged in rush hour traffic, uncommon for us. We visited the usual gathering places for motorcyclists, club events, poker and charity runs, fine eating establishments like Mac's, Quaker Steak & Lube.  At each gathering my eyes would wander to the newer/younger rides, their chrome gleaming, with fresh paint schemes always catching my attention. Finely in need of new tires I decided it was time for a new favorite ride; for Selina, (my 2002 Kawasaki Nomad,) and I to part ways. Our relationship over the years and 41+++ miles, put my other bikes with much less mileage at a disadvantage; feeling neglected and underappreciated.

  So in an instant I decided it was time for a new favorite. Selina understood and carried me from dealership to dealership, both of us amazed at the prices for a new relationship. Our search was unfocused with little concerns other then price. Yamaha 1300 deluxe was in the hunt, I was giving up power and a fuel gauge. Harley TriGlide way to expensive but many older riders going to them for health reasons. Harley's Streetglide and Roadglide looked real good but at $20,000 I can buy a convertible car and get better gas mileage. Victory's line of motorcycles appealed more to me but our nearest dealer was in Jacksonville with only 1-2 of the non-touring bikes. Yes I was looking in the "off season" as I was told at the Victory dealer in Raleigh.

Frustrated and confused I started looking at other brands. Honda didn't have anything that appealed to me or Suzuki. Ducati, Triumph and Aprilia are not really my style but more reasonable priced and readily available locally. That left Kawasaki, the brand I was riding, to all these dealerships and the nearest I could find was in Wilson NC, a 90-minute ride one-way. Trips to Wilson to find well-used models & pushy salesmen but nothing new. After talking to a friend at work I went Rockingham N.C.
    Sport Cycles, a multi-brand dealership with a lot of used quality cruisers and touring bikes. The sales staff were surprisingly not pushy; more interested in what I have ridden and what type of riding I do. I looked at all the bikes new and used, price/value was my main concern looking for my new favorite ride.  I wanted the most for my money, a warranty of a year or more, not paying more then $15,000, and still get more then I have in my current bike. I also wanted to include my current bike in the deal as a trade-in so that someone else would be able to enjoy her as much as I have.

 I was surprised to see the price of the Kawasaki Voyager ($13500) next to Honda Goldwing ($23500). The Voyager has a 1700 cc motor with a 6 speed transmission, belt drive and is a full touring bike not much different then Harley touring models. Yes, I agree the quality and craftsmanship, dealership availability, and American-made arguments are good points; but in the end they were not worth $10000 to me. I like Harley products. I just cannot afford them.

   The Voyager came in black with royal blue or white with brown. I was wanting a blue bike when I started my search and the blue of this Kawasaki was catching my eye. I had gotten pre-approved at my local credit union before I started my search, so it was time to start talking money and trade-in. Many of the dealerships I talked to did not want to talk trade-in because they didn't sell used bikes, but this dealership had a lot of good quality used bikes, no bald tires or oil stains on the floor.

  After conveying interest in the Voyager the salesman and I started the purchase dance. I always buy new bikes in the "off season" when sales are slow because the seller is a little more reasonable in the haggling. He came back with a price for my bike that was average for what I saw on Craigslist and asked if I was military or retired.  Being retired military I qualified for additional discounts on top of the monthly incentive program. We haggled a little before agreeing to a price and a time that I could pick it up. Two days later I'm picking up my new bike. My Selina and I are no longer together.

(CLICK on above image if you remember "Love means never having to say your sorry")

I brought the new bike in for it's 1000 mile service and noticed Selina had been sold and was awaiting pickup. We said goodbye again I hope the new owner enjoys her as much as I did.

I have been receiving an email from Harley Haven for the last couple of years announcing that on the second and fourth Wednesday they have a ride and dine.  The basis is the people gather together at Harley Haven on the North side of Columbia, right off I-26.  We finally had a Wednesday night free, and just as important they were going to Hudson’s Smokehouse BBQ.  I have a weakness for BBQ, and especially Hudson’s ribs.  So we finally headed up to Harley Haven to see how this all works out.  They say ‘kickstands up at 6:45 sharp’ and they meant it.  So we arrived about 6:30 and there were around 10 bikes there.  We were unsure where to park or how it worked and it felt a little awkward at first since we didn’t know anyone.  Marcia being the more social one introduced us to a couple of the people.  Sure enough at 6:45 one guy said let’s saddle up and everyone headed for their bikes.  By now the group had grown to around 20 bikes and we ended up picking up a few more so when we got to the restaurant we had nearly 30 bikes.  We headed out to Lake Murray and across the dam to come to Hwy 378 to make a right and just a mile or so from Hudson’s.

While we may ride a lot, we seldom ride with or in a group.  Even when we’ve gone with friends it has usually been only 3-7 bikes at best.  Now we are in a procession of 30 or so.  Marcia was very nervous; I could feel her tense with nearly every turn and bump.  Usually she is relaxed and comfortable, but not on this ride.  She was glad to get to the restaurant.  I had hoped she could get some pictures along the way, especially all of us crossing the Lake Murray Dam, but we didn’t have time to get the camera out, and she wasn’t in the picture-taking mood.  So pictures came at the restaurant.

We sat with Ken and Susan.  Ken has his own exterminator business and Susan is a nurse at one of the hospitals.  They have often ridden with the group.  He said it was a bit smaller this week, probably because of Myrtle Beach with only 30 and last month they had 60 bikes.  I imagine the restaurant has mixed emotion to see 60 bikes roll in with 75-80 people all at once.  Since it was a buffet it worked out better than ordering from a menu. We had a good dinner and good conversation, talking of trips we’ve taken or want to take.  Ken said he is headed up to Laconia this year, and has wanted to do Route 66.

The ride home was much more comfortable for Marcia and was a great ride.  It was just one of those nights where you could just ride on all night.  I even asked if she wanted to go to Michigan or Florida or somewhere and ride through the night and play hooky at work the next day.  We went home through Lexington and picked up Route 6 and into Pelion on to North.  We took 321 to Neeses and then on to Boland Town where we live.  The weather was great, it felt like in the low 70’s just cool enough to feel better in a jacket, but not anything heavy and no humidity.  As we rolled along I looked up to see the sky full of stars, the single light cutting through the darkness.  Then came the smells, someone grilling (glad I was already too full to even try to eat anything,) then the fresh pine scent followed us for a time where someone had apparently been logging.  A pasture and I’m guessing cattle and then on the right were sheep.  Ever watchful for deer along the side we just rode into the night – yes one of those old Bob Seger songs, Roll me Away, came to mind ...

Then, of course, Night Moves came to mind and I tried to sing it through the microphone to Marcia, but I may be a better driver than singer.  Anyway, we both enjoyed the ride home (she especially enjoyed not being in the group) and remembered why we enjoy it so much.  All in all, a good night, a good meal, good company, and an especially enjoyable ride home.

Let’s ride!


June's arrived and we have a couple big events to attend this month. I'm looking forward to them both. Smoke Out arrives in a few weeks but this weekend I get to breathe in the sweet woodsy BBQ aromas from Hog Happenin's Kansas City BBQ Competition in Lincolnton as well as the acrid clouds of burn-out challenges. Hog Happenin' combines good eatin with good rides and the good people of the Lincolnton area embrace it all during this Friday evening through all day Saturday good time.

We'll have The BIG RIDE 2 parked in historic downtown and we'll be looking for you. Come see us!

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