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(photo by Marcia Lofts from a collection of Ride and Nature photos)

August 16th Edition

In This Issue:

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

Lil' Weather

Free Thinking with FancyFree

Ron: A Hot Ride from NC to SC and Back

The Tarheel Tornado shares a Little Harley Humor

Your Myrtle Beach Discount Card

Rebel Randi: Road Journal Entry #4

Loose Talk with Jon: More on Lane Splitting & Filtering

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The Little Weather Quickie for the Greater Charlotte Area

for Week of August 17-23, 2016

Wednesday 94h & p-cloudy, Thursday 91h & 90% pm t-storms, Friday 90h & 60% scattered showers, Saturday 89h & 40% scattered showers, Sunday 91h & 60% scattered showers, Monday 92h & m-sunny, Tuesday 89h & m-sunny (as per on 8/16/16)


In today's edition, we are happy to hear from The Tarheel Tornado whose life in recent months has not allowed him space to tell us a story or two. Even in the midst of his busy-ness, he's thrown some humor our way; perhaps just to let us know he's still alive and kickin! Glad to hear from you, Danny.

Rebel Randi continues her journey and this week tells about connecting with Women of The Wind "sisters" as a part of her ride to personal freedom. She wanted me to convey that she's been receiving some emails from you readers and LOVES IT! Many thanks to all of you who reach out to our storytellers and giving 'em a little encouragement on their ride. Just click on the "footer" at the end of anyone's column to reach them directly via their TCR email address.

Good to hear from Ron and Marcia. The story Ron shares in today's edition of The Carolina Rider Weekly Magazine actually happened a couple months back but he's been slow getting it to us as they've been busy with a life transition. Perhaps you noticed in one of their stories sometime back that they have been working on their farm home in Michigan? A retirement plan of theirs. Well, with the sale of their house in Cope, SC being finalized shortly, they will be making that move. While we'll surely miss having them in The Carolinas, they will always be part of The Carolina Rider family, won't they?! Ron promises a story or two more before they head to the farm but we're wishing them great joy in their rides wherever they take them - now and always.

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We headed up to Charlotte for graduation of my niece daughter (from Hough HS, for those of you in the Charlotte area.)  We knew it was going to be a hot weekend and also decided to stop by the Catawba Cultural Center and the USC Native American Cultural Center in Lancaster.  We headed out our usual route to Columbia on 321.  That road is getting those ‘heat bumps’ and is really getting rough, but is only surpassed by I-26 in roughness so it is still the better road.  We swung around Columbia on 77 to Blythewood exit and Hwy 21 which we planned to take into Rock Hill and hit 77 again and on to Huntersville north of Charlotte...

Hwy 21 is a nice straight road and lots of trees, which we thought would provide more shade than I-77 and this turned out to be true.  It was a good ride, until somewhere as I was looking around at the scenery I missed a turn and down the road a ways realized I had not been paying attention to the gps and was ‘just ridin’.  Oh, well, since we were headed north I figured we would eventually run into something that would take me to Charlotte, and guessed correct.  It did work out, but it was not around 4 pm on a Friday and traffic was building and did I mention it was hot – the thermometer on this fancy new bike said it was 96 and we were in the 4 lane traffic with lots of stop lights. 

We made it to 77 just north of Rock Hill and 77 was running along, until it stopped just past the rest area.  It was stop and go through most of Charlotte until we got to the ‘commuter’ lane area and since we were 2 people I hit that and moved on.  Finally some wind and movement.  We were enjoying it again until about exit 26 or 28 somewhere in there where the ‘commuter’ lane ends and also turns into 2 lanes instead of 4 and we were stopped again.  The bike was reading 99 by now and it was hot. 
I was able to get alongside a semi-trailer on the shoulder to sit in the shade and stayed there for a mile or so until I could see an exit.  We were still about 2 miles from the exit I needed, but had been about 45 minutes in the sun or shade of the trailer and the bike was really getting hot, along with us.  I gave in and yes, I did run the shoulder to the exit and found a convenience store for a bottle of water.  We called my niece to see if there wasn’t a back way to her house or we were staying at the Hampton Inn across the street and she could come to us.  We had an easy trip up the 2 miles to her house and all went well.

We went to eat at The Fork. (What would be an article from us that didn’t include eating?!)  It was a terrific place, small and very good food.  But the deserts were fantastic.  I couldn’t decide so ordered one of each - 4! The names were different but they all were good.  I remember something about a beet brownie with blueberry whipped cream, some kind of Thai Tea and plum sauce thing that was terrific and my niece ended up actually licking the bowl.

Saturday morning we headed to the Catawba Cultural Center just east of Rock Hill.  What a neat place.  We pulled in and parked by a "dugout" canoe that was typical of the transportation of the early Catawba tribe.  Went inside and found a wonderful display of artifacts and a nice diorama of some wildlife and Native American hunter.  Even though it was warm we took the "nature trail" down to the river.  And I found some ‘wildlife’ posing along the river .... !

It was a really nice morning and entered in the gps ‘Lancaster’ for the USC Native American Center.  Marcia likes owls and has been looking for a native owl.  She had talked with a lady there a year and half ago and she said she would make her one.  At the Cultural Center they said they were having a display there of arts and crafts.

As we walked in we heard this lady calling Marcia’s name and that she had made her a special owl from a conversation they had some time ago.  She remembered her name and said that she had felt a special ‘kinship’ with her and was thinking she might see her there that day so she brought the owl with her.  It was a really neat owl and we purchased it, along with a turtle.  Turtle’s hold a special place in the Catawba history, but that is another story you will have to look up.  I wanted a snake bowl, but Marcia didn’t think we had room???? (A snake bowl is a regular bowl with a snake around the top.  The purpose of the snake is that they could store food in the bowl and the snake would keep the mice and rodents out.  Not sure if it worked, but they looked really neat.)

It was just as hot going home as it had been going up to Charlotte, but we were able to move along on 21.  We had a snack for lunch because as always I was on the hunt for BBQ.  We never did find any so waited until we got back to Columbia to the Carolina Wings and Ribs (the one off exit 115) and we like the dry rub ribs and wing chips.

By now the sun was waning and starting to cool into that time of early evening when you could just ride on.  And even though it was Hwy 321 and not very smooth, we had a great ride home to end another great weekend, wonderful people, and a great ride.

Ride on!

Here's a little motorcycle humor for you all!! I haven’t been riding much this year. In fact nothing has gone the way I had hoped this year (except having a grandbaby to visit,) but it’s not over yet. Looking for good things ahead!

A Laugh

A little girl was walking down the street by herself, when a guy on a motorcycle pulled up beside her and said, “hey little girl, do you want to take a ride?” She ignored him and kept walking, so he pulled up beside her again and said, “hey little girl, I’ll give you $10 to take a ride with me.” Again she ignored him and kept on walking. The third time he pulled up beside her and said, “ok, I’ll give you $20 and a box of candy if you will take a ride with me.” This time the little girl stopped and turned around and screamed as load as she could “Listen Dad, you are the one who bought the Honda instead of the Harley, so you ride it home yourself!!!”

More Viewpoints!

Lane Splitting and Filtering

So, just to remind you, here's what I shared a few weeks ago:

Apparently the National Highway Safety Committee is considering endorsing lane splitting and filtering for motorcycles. Lane splitting is passing between two cars on the highway at a speed no greater than 15mph greater than the cars are going. Filtering is when a motorcycle is allowed to go between rows of stopped cars and filter to the head of the line, be it a stop sign or traffic light.

Here's the feedback we've heard from readers with varied viewpoints ....

Bub (Golden Carper,) who writes for The Carolina Rider Weekly

Magazine sent in this perspective:

"Jon asked us to give our opinion of lane splitting and I've been thinking about it.  I don't think I'm in favor of it, not because it doesn't work but because of the average motorist's attitude to it.  Yes, I've done it in the US and Europe.  In Europe I felt safe doing it but here - no.

In Europe most drivers start driving on a 50cc moped, not because they necessarily want to but because of the way the license system is staggered.  You start on a small bike, wait 2 years, pass a test and get a bigger bike, generally up to 350cc.  Another year or two, pass another test and move up to the big boys bikes.  Also the insurance is out of sight for motorcycles, $1000 a year is not uncommon and get a traffic ticket!!! Yikes.  I say this to show that over there they "grow up" with and around bikes and if you have one you must be loaded with money which means you are considered socially OK.  Now in the good ole USA it's cool to be and look bad ass even if you're not.  So the perception is that all bikers are bad and are generally looked down on by the general public.

In Europe a car driver in tight traffic sees a bike splitting lanes and he/she will move over in their traffic lane to provide more space.  Here a driver sees a bike lane splitting and they will close up to block you.  The driver thinks he/she has dissed a bad guy and that will teach him [ biker ] to try and get ahead in traffic.  Just sit and fume like the rest of us. 

99% of my lane splitting has been when traffic is stopped either for packed roads or accident.  And drivers have tried to stop me, curse me and now I'm afraid they may shot at me.  Even semi drivers have tried to trap me.

You say that education of drivers will alleviate the problem.  Yes but, who's going to do the educating?  Driving isn't taught in school any more. The motorcycle companies? I can't see that. Will it be required that all drivers attend a briefing on lane splitting?  How many are going to say their rights are being trampled on by that?  Lawyers will love it.

I'm for the idea of lane splitting but I think it will be a long time before it is accepted in the US as a whole."

Steve S. shared: "I lived in California for a couple years split lanes and moved to the front of stopped lines quite often. In California it is tough on a bagger as the cars do not readily move over to accommodate you passing thru. Recently I was in Paris France and noticed that the cars there are respectful of the bikers and move over to assist them in passing. I currently live in NC and have noticed that the drivers here don’t like to be passed so you are going to have some people that just get pissed off. It can be done safely if the car drivers are educated to respect bikers as they pass thru the middle."

Bill K said: "As a CA transplant after 32 years there, I can vote for endorsing lane splitting.  it seems that it looks to be much worse than it really is.  For that reason the CA CHP supports it 100%  Every motorcyclist that land splits must be careful for sure... but they must be careful anyway. Being able to focus on what is in front of you and NOT what is potential hazards behind you is a real bonus, especially on the freeways. On city streets, being able to roll up to the front of the cars stopped at a stop light is much safer as well....  The bikes are better ot in front of the street traffic then buried in the middle.  having just recently done a tour in Italy, one find out that if you don't roll to the front at a stoplight you are likely to get a little horn tap to get out of the line! Sitting in freeway or street traffic on a hot day is also uncomfortable as we all know and can be very hard on today's lean running engines as they heat up. Just my 2 cents... after riding for 32 years in SoCal."

David P wrote: "Jon, Maybe someone has to explain it to me better but I just don't understand why the NHSC would think this is a good idea and endorse it.  It's just not a safe practice in my mind.  I see it happen and typically cringe each time just hoping the rider makes it through and doesn't get squashed, his bike dinged up or worse.  For me I would never try it because my bike is too big and I care about it, me and my passenger too much to risk it.  You just can't control what the cage drivers are going to do and because of that, split or filter at your own risk."

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Fort Mill, SC 29708