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Check out more of Miss June's photos in our Carolina Beauties GALLERY ... and while you're browsing, give a listen to The Fabulous Thunderbirds' song too! (Special thanks again to Pat Franks and Sportscar Collision and Classics for this great bike and location for the photo shoot ..and, of course, Footloose Fotos)

 

 

In This Issue:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Riding BE-cause - a Focus on Not-for-Profit Events & Efforts

This coming weekend: Run for Ronald McDonald House Charities - Columbia, SC

 

Lil' Weather

 

Free Thinking with FancyFree

 

Golden Opportunities: Unknown Road

 

Ponderings with Poni: Bike Nite at FinZ

 

Fighting for Veterans on the Homefront with Justin: Cameraderie of MC's

 

Mike on a Bike: Ride Journal Entry #3

 

Loose Talk with Jon

 

Look for much more at www.thecarolinarider.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THIS coming weekend ...

 

 

 

The Little Weather Quickie for the Greater Charlotte Area

for Week of June 4-11, 2013

Tuesday 81 p-cloudy, Wednesday 82 p-cloudy, Thursday 80 scattered t-storms, Friday 81 scattered t-storms, Saturday 86 iso t-storms, Sunday 86 p-cloudy, Monday 87 p-cloudy, Tuesday 86 iso t-storms (as per www.intellicast.com on Tuesday 06/04/13)

 

Support Shaggy!

This is a special request from me. I hope you can help.....

Don't forget that our beloved contributor, Shaggy, has put together a Japanese bike show down in Spartanburg and it's THIS weekend! Whatever your opinion is on Shaggy's opinions, however tender your ears to his creatively-scathing rants, you GOTTA give him some applause for tackling a job like this! Footloose and I know it's a HUGE effort to put on even the smallest of bike events so we're, (as the latest hillarious Geico commercial says,) happier than a camel on hump day to help Shaggy out in whatever small way we can with his mission to provide an alternative bike show in his home state of South Carolina. You're amazing, Shaggy!

And when I say that we KNOW what it takes to put on events, the truth is we can't make it to Kamikaze 2013 ourselves because we have our hands deeply tied up as organizers of another "alternative" kind of event - Lake Wylie Music Fest for the boating public on Lake Wylie at the border of our two Carolinas. (check out the website and join us if you're on the Waters of Wylie!) None of us noticed that the two dates were in collision until it was way too late. So here's what I am asking: PLEASE PLEASE go to Kamikaze 2013 and represent The Carolina Rider proudly for us, will ya? Tell Shaggy that FancyFree sent ya and give him a pat on the back. No matter the turn out or the weather, he's done the work and we're proud to back him. Have a great show, take some good pics, and then go on a Rant about it later, Shag!

Read last week's rant from Shaggy with more info about his show HERE.

 

Mike on a Bike is home. He wrote Saturday & shared "Just a quick note to let you know I arrived home this afternoon.  I am so glad that I watched the weather and "took a right" at Amarillo and headed south to Dallas before heading east again.  Damn good thing.  I-40 and Oklahoma City got clobbered, again, and I would have been in the middle of it! Went grocery shopping to resupply.  A soft seat and four wheels never felt so good!" Read the latest Ride Journal Entry below and look for the final homecoming story from Mike on a Bike in an upcoming edition of The Carolina Rider Scene.

To all travelers out there on the roads, safe, juicy travels. May every turn bring you something to remember, even if it sucks...

 

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

The GPS said ... WHAT??! That can't be right, it's opposite of where we're going! Well, maybe I'd better follow it. After all, I don't really know where I'm at. Across this bridge, OK here we go. Turn right in 2 miles, OK. Turn right in 1 mile, OK. Turn right in 3 miles, OK. Say, isn't that the bridge we crossed over a few minutes ago? We're back where we started ! ...

Mickey and I left Shirley's Kitchen in Polkville after a breakfast of eggs, grits, potatoes, sausage and toast ready to conquer the NC highways. Pushed our Yamaha FZ1s up 226 to Marion and up 80 (known in some places as the Snake, but which I named 5 years ago as "The Spawn of the Dragon,") and onto the Blue Ridge going west. Stopped at a rest area near Mount Mitchell and talked with some riders from Pennsylvania, another couple of guys from Greenville SC and several car riders from Florida. Motorcycles open up lots of avenues to meet people.

Continued on the Blue Ridge and over Mount Mitchell where Mickey's temp gauge said it was 56, when we left Shirley's in Polkville it was 74! Several miles of "cool" riding until the road dipped down a thousand feet or so. Another 10 or 15 miles and our turn off appeared on the GPS.

Last month, the three of us had talked about riding the mountains north of Asheville. We had some favorite roads up there but the thought of going through Asheville had put us off several times. I sat down at my computer, brought up Map Quest and started searching. I found a road called Elk Mountain Scenic highway which tapped into the Blue Ridge and ended at Weaverville, which is north of Asheville. Looking good!! We rode it couple of weeks ago and things were really messed up when we got into Weaverville. So I worked on the route some more since then and thought I'd worked all the bugs out. (wishful thinking) On this ride Charley couldn't go with us so Mickey and I did the honors.

Elk Mountain is a beautiful road that parallels the Blue Ridge for awhile then continues west as the Blue Ridge dips south. As you approach Weaverville there are some really outstanding homes that dot the mountain along the highway. They are worth the ride themselves. We arrived in Weaverville and thought we would end up on US 25 ... nope, not 25. We pulled into a grocery parking lot, pulled out the Western Carolinas map and still couldn't find where we where. Mickey talked to a guy in the lot and he was visiting and had no clue where 25 was either. Then he saw a couple of guys in a beat up pickup with a company logo on the door. He said, "they'll know," and they did. We were only a couple of miles from where we wanted to be, a short ride compared to some of our "lost" adventures.

We turned right and sure enough there was Heavener road which goes across I 26 and connects to NC 251 which runs along side the French Broad River up to Marshall NC: Our destination for the day. After we had motored up 251 for awhile, I noticed that the GPS was telling me to turn left in 2 miles. I thought that was odd because on the map it looked like 251 went straight up the east side of the French Broad to Marshall. I told Mickey what the GPS was doing and he said. "I'm following you." Ok, here comes the turn ... and the first paragraph tells you what happened. Those GPS gremlins got us again! Did I tell you what it did to us in California?? We thought we were gonna be buzzard meat out there!

We continued a few more miles on our original road and there was Marshall. Now to find a gas station and restaurant. Drove through Marshall (a short drive,) no gas and no eats. Uuummm, better try some local knowledge. We had stopped in a lot across from a NC driver's license building. A car pulls in and I walk across the road and asked the lady if she knows of a gas station and restaurant nearby. She replies that she lives in Greenville, TN and doesn't know the area. The driver's license office was closed for lunch and she was going to wait until they re-opened. So I went to the GPS menu and punched up gas station. The Zumo replied that there was an Ingles gas station 2 miles north. I told Mickey we'd have to trust that the results would be better than the route marking. He replied, "I'm following you."

Off we go and there is Ingles right where the GPS said it would be! Good thing, as my fuel gauge was flashing empty. We talked about eating, (never far from our minds) and thought we'd ask a local. A car pulled in beside us and Mickey asked him about a restaurant. You already know what he said ... "not from the area!" Mickey walked over to the pay booth and the lady told him there were 2 near. Great! Now which one? I asked Mickey and you know what he answered. So, I pull out of the station and soon see one of the restaurants. Wish I'd seen the other one first. Oh well, that's how you find out. If you're going to Old Fort NC, email me and I'll let you know which cafe to skip there.

Anyway the FZs were gassed up, we were too; so now how do we get home? Punch in "Go Home" on the Zumo and it says go east. Well, I knew that! We follow it and end up on US 70 east of Asheville and on over to Old Fort where we turn onto the Old Fort Sugar Hill Rd. We jump off that at Cedar Creek which is dirt for a couple of miles as it twists down the mountain and then asphalt over to Bill's Creek and so on until we see the "Gaffney xx miles" signs. A good ride ... total about 275 miles and fun along the way.

 



Bike Night at FinZ

I had a very busy day in the office and was feeling like the chair was becoming a part of my ass (just call me Chair-Ass from now on!) Luckily, this evening I had an assignment from Footloose of The Carolina Rider. I was heading to FinZ Raw Bar in Matthews with FancyFree for some Bike Night and a pizza and to give away a one night's stay for 2 at the Skyline Village Inn!

When FancyFree and I arrived, we saw a nice place roped off for biker-only parking, (which ya'll know I deeply appreciate and even feel is my due!,) and several scoots were there already. A duet from the band, SugarSmaX, was setting up in a corner of the restaurant so I went over and spoke with Karen, the lead singer, for a few minutes. What a delightful gal and Holy Crap when Mark, her guitarist and fellow band member, struck a chord, I was mesmerized by her voice. That girl can SING!!  Thank you SugarSmaX for playing awesome and drawing a crowd! Look them up on FaceBook or on their website sugarsmax.com. Karen was very helpful in announcing our give-away.

But back to the fun I had at FinZ Raw Bar. The biker crowd was commandeering the outdoor seating which is right beside the bike parking so FancyFree and I grabbed a table there. I enjoyed a drink sitting right where I could watch all the unique bikes putting in and heading out.  There was so much laughter going on you would think it was old home week!  A few riding groups came out and several just single bikers showed up but EVERYONE was friendly. Jason Taylor's group of Litigator beauties were there handing out calendars and talking with people. Those are some sharp and very gorgeous ladies.

FancyFree and I ordered some great food from the very diverse menu at FinZ Raw Bar and launched into our real purpose. We were on a mission to get everyone in the house to sign up for our give-away. You know when The Carolina Rider shows up in the biker community the party is on and we will be giving away something! A couple of hours and a few beers later we selected the winning draw submitted by Ken Z of Charlotte!

As you can see from this photo, he was one happy and proud winner (as was his girl too!)

Nothing like good food, a group of friends, and free stuff. Friends, be sure to look frequently at our calendar and see where good times will be happening. Can't wait to see you on the road!

 

 

 

 

Camaraderie found within U.S. Military Vets MC

There is a certain feeling you have when you leave the military after you have served your time.  For some it's the feeling of relief because their time is up and then it's on to excitement because they can start the next chapter in their life. For a few it can be the feeling of loss because they know that they are leaving behind the only life they knew as an adult and are not sure of what road lies ahead for them. For others they are not sure what to think, some days are happy because they don't have to worry about the constant grind of the everyday life of being in the military and then the next day they miss that same daily routine. One thing I will tell you is that for the most of the people that do leave the military - whether it's because they have finished there tour, were medically discharged, or retired - they will say the one thing they miss most about the military is the camaraderie they had with their fellow brothers in arms. I know that I miss it.

Let me ask you where do most Veterans tend to go to find that connection again? It could be with their local VFW, DAV, American Legion, or other community organization. However, more and more today you are seeing that the brothers and sisters who have worn the uniform of this great country are following in the footsteps of there grand fathers and great grandfathers after they returned home from war: they are seeking to find that sense of belonging, stability and structure. And they are finding much of what they seek within motorcycle clubs that are geared towards Veterans. One such club that I had the honor to meet was U.S Military Vets MC "CrossRoads" Chapter NC.

 

I first had the privilege of running into their President "1 R" at the Progressive Motorcycle Show earlier this year in uptown Charlotte and we started talking about my service dog Cody and that lead into 1 R and I talking about Two Wheels For Warriors and how they are building motorcycles for Disabled Veterans to get them back on the road again. Our conversation ended with the exchange of cards and we went on our ways. I was honored when I received 1 R's call to talk again about who the U.S. Military Vets MC are and what they do within the community and to see if they could possible help Two Wheels For Warriors. Well after a few missed opportunities we were finally able to meet this past Saturday at their meeting place, VFW POST 2031 in Statesville, NC.... (article continues ONLINE)

 

 

  (Mike's latest Ride Journal Entry came to us on May 29th with this email: "Well my time in California has come to end. I left Oakland Monday and am in Albuquerque tonight. Tomorrow on to the Pan Handle and Oklahoma City ... watching the weather very carefully. Since the hail storm, it has been an amazing trip." Read on, and as he says about the photos, "eat your heart out!")

After two nights and a full day of R&R in Tucson, it was time to move on.  Whatever I saved on my room rate through Hotwire I probably blew on two great meals and some really great wines.  I took part of my day off to run some errands for a few things I hadn’t packed, some time by the pool, and writing about my trip crossing the desert and of course, the hailstorm I drove through.  As much as I wanted stay out of the desert, I wanted to get back on my bike and get to LA and the only way to do that was ... through the desert.

I checked the weather several times the evening before my departure and fortunately, the daytime temperatures in the desert had dropped into the mid-nineties.  With that in mind, I soaked my evaporative vest in the bathroom sink for several minutes before removing it and squeezing out the excess water and placing it in a plastic bag.  In the morning it would go into a saddlebag.

My ride from Tucson to LA was largely uneventful.  In Phoenix I donned my semi-wet vest under my leather jacket, opened all the venting zippers and headed off across the desert to LA.  Ah, it was like air conditioning, really!  I’ve now crossed two deserts, with wind, and it is not easy riding; the heat and wind really take it out of you and fatigue sets in much sooner during a day’s ride.  My bathroom stops became less frequent even though I was drinking far more water and the funny, and dangerous, thing is, you don’t sweat while riding, it all evaporates in the heat and wind.  Dehydration, like hypothermia, can sneak up on you and really screw up your responses when riding ... blown shifts and poor braking when getting off the highway and God forbid, in an emergency!  I felt myself getting a little “dopey” at times and made a point of stopping more often, whether I needed gas or not.

OK, California.  I arrived to sunny, warm weather, what else, this is California! A lunch in Santa Monica with two women friends I met while on a river cruise in Vietnam and Cambodia was followed by a dinner party with three women friends I met cruising off the coast of Australia.  Husbands present; like I said, friends!

I left LA and headed up the coast to Santa Barbara to see the Pacific and stop for lunch.  Paranoid about leaving my luggage (which had my laptop) on my bike while I had lunch, I opted for a couple of hot dogs and stretched out on the beach using my jacket as my beach blanket.  Yes, in jeans and boots.  I got some stares from some of the bikini clad “youts” (‘youths’- see: My Cousin Vinny), but hell, I didn’t have a chance anyway!  The California sun felt so good.

From Santa Barbara, I traveled up to Santa Maria to visit family.  The three days off the road was so relaxing but I found myself wanting to head north to pick up the Pacific Coast Highway, the reason for my trip west.  With pictures with family, and of course bike, completed I headed north to San Luis Obispo where I picked up US 1, the Pacific coast Highway.

The Pacific Coast Highway

 Let me be very clear here, driving the PCH is a religious experience and, on a bike, your senses and soul, experience even more.  For those who believe in God, you will find yourself periodically looking up (briefly) at he sky and saying “thank you God” with each bend in the road and the incredible sights that follow.  For non-believers, you will question how such a beautiful thing could exist during your ride, repeatedly!

(The McWay Falls at the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park)

Coming out of San Luis Obispo, the road rises into hills that parallel the coast before ducking back behind more hills.  Shortly thereafter, I rode right along the coast as the road continued to rise, etched into the sides of the mountains.  Understand, these are mountains that end in steep cliffs that drop right into the Pacific.  Suddenly, I was riding a winding two-lane road hundreds of feet above the ocean with a minimum of guardrails.  Each time I came around a bend and saw a new view of the Pacific below, it caught my breath.  This not a road to be driven fast, it is a road to be savored for its beauty, sights, smells and engineering. 

            The onshore winds kicked up the surf so that as it crashed against the rocks lying off the coast, huge splashes of foam rose into the air.  The shades of the water below covered the entire blue spectrum and all the while, the sun shone and highlighted the greens of the mountains and blues of the water.  The air was crisp, cool and filled with the salt air that only comes when near the ocean.  It was intoxicating.

            Well into the ride, I stopped at the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park to see the Mc Way Falls drop 100 feet into the ocean below.  It was spectacular.  Like so many places along this ride, I took pictures but they just can’t capture the total sensory experience of the winds, sky, ocean and mountains.  I took it all in, in my mind, in my soul, and smile ever time I think about the experience.

            I rode on through Big Sur and into Monterey and stayed at another Hotwire find for about half the price.  Wanting to share my adventure and pictures with family and friends, I skipped dinner out, made a quick trip to Trader Joes, grabbed a good bottle of wine, sushi and a few snacks and headed back to my room.  I found a great station, KPIG, a station that still allows its DJ’s to play what they want (no play lists), and started sending everyone my day’s pictures.

            That night I slept soundly, with a smile on my face.  Tomorrow, San Francisco.

Me with Bixby Bridge in background ... and ....

Still smiling!,

Mike

 

 

Shirts

Did you see that our shirts are online now? I realize FancyFree wrote about this last week. Just didn't want to miss a chance to promote good stuff from The Carolina Rider. You might have seen them at the Winter shows (Easyriders and IMS) where we had them displayed .. or on my back!

We're pretty proud of the design and want to see tons of them out on the road. In fact, we're going to have a special ride in July to a Quaker Steak & Lube Bike Nite where anyone who rides up in one or our shirts will get a free appetizer. You'll need to have the shirt before the ride plus it'll be hot in July so I recommend buying your short-sleeved t-shirt now! Just click on the image below to follow the link to our ONLINE SHOP:

Plus, if I see you out at any of these BIKE NITES wearing one of these shirts, I'll buy you a beer (or something comparable!)

 

Have a great week, dodge the rains, and have fun.....

www.TheCarolinaRider.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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