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August 12th Edition

In This Issue:

Riding BE-cause

Lil' Weather

Free Thinking with FancyFree - A Long strange Trip

The Tarheel Tornado - Please Help Keep TCR on the Road

Obituary - The BIG RIDE Bus

Loose Talk with Jon - What happened?!

Look for much more at








The Little Weather Quickie for the Greater Charlotte Area

for Week of August 19-26, 2014

Tuesday 88 t-storms, Wednesday 92 pm t-storms, Thursday 95 p-cloudy, Friday 94 p-cloudy, Saturday 89 scattered t-storms, Sunday 89 scattered t-storms, Monday 89 scattered t-storms, Tuesday 90 m-sunny (as per on 8/19/14)

What a long, strange trip it's been ....

All year we've been shouting about our 5th birthday celebration and for the last several weeks we've been plugging the party we would have at the Maggie Valley Summer Rally. Whether anyone else cared or not, I was determined to honor this important milestone in the life of a young venture. To make it through the first 5 years is an accomplishment, an early indicator of survival. Having only one day to prepare prior to leaving for the weekend, I ran around madly on Wednesday getting a cake decorated with our logo, a case of champagne, and some games in place for the party bus. But the champagne burned up and the cake had no homebase for the crowds to find it. It was a strange birthday.

The poodles and I left home Thursday 2 hours behind Footloose. He took The BIG RIDE Bus ahead because a trip on the bus meant a much slower go of it plus I had loose ends to tie up. At 2:21pm an unknown number came up on my cellphone. Answering it and hearing my husband's voice, it was clear something was wrong but it took him telling me 3 or 4 times before I could really hear him say, "The bus burned up. It's all gone."

He explained that I-26 was backed up and I should find another way to get to him. My befuddled mind didn't get it till the next day that it was the bus fire that was holding up traffic. Tears streaming down my face, I rushed as fast as my little car would go through backroads to get to my man finding him at a truck stop where he'd been dropped off by the firemen; the same fire man who had loaned him his phone to call me, thus explaining the "unknown number" on my phone.

Without our bus or any of the stuff we give out, set up, use, and need for a promotional appearance and dragging from not sleeping too well, I was pretty lost all weekend. Jon, on the other hand, stayed busy helping out his brother Shriners from Charlotte who he'd looped in to sell beer at the rally raising money for their cause. He was also ready to help Sonny in any way he could to make the rally the best it could be. That's who Jon is. He's in the midst of his own tragedy and he's out there helping other folks and keepin' on truckin'. I love him!

Danny, aka "The Tarheel Tornado," showed up Friday afternoon. He'd told me he was planning to be with us to help out all weekend. Lester had too. Danny was a comfort and gently began nudging me with ideas. "We should have a wake for the bus!," he enthused. "There's more ahead for you all, you'll see." I was only partly buying it Friday but by Saturday my energies started to pull back up out of the ashes. Perhaps it was because we women like to shop for new clothes and I'd been out clothes shopping Saturday morning .... since all my luggage burned up. But mostly it was Danny's quietly-vivacious encouragement and Henry's "we're here for you" spirit that cleared the smoke from my brain and spurred me back into positivity. Thank you, Danny! Thank you, Lester!

The Wake for The BIG RIDE Bus is online now - and continues, as Danny requests below, however you may wish to participate.

Friday night, Jon and I went to J. Arthur's for dinner before crashing back at Maggie Valley Inn. The waitress asked why were in town and we said the motorcycle rally. She said, "Oh yeah, I did hear that was going on. In fact, I saw on the news about that bus that caught on fire!" She had no idea who we were. The news was all around the area up there because it had been a story in the Asheville-Citizen Times and WLOS Channel 13 News. Folks didn't know it was us but they were talking about it. It was a strange experience.

Here are some links:


You know, I have never fully understood the symbols that get used on and around motorcycles. Skulls, flames. Maybe somebody can explain them to me. I just take em for granted. It's cool ... that's motorcycle stuff. But why? It doesn't matter - just curious. But I'll tell ya this - I'd rather NOT use FLAMES on any future vehicles The Carolina Rider acquires. Just sayin'....


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

Normally I would be writing to tell you about the rally at Maggie Valley this past weekend and the good time had by all. In fact, I was looking forward to it so much I took Friday off and was planning on being there early to help Jon and Jan set up with “The Big Ride”. I am sure most of you would recognize “The Big Ride” as the bus they bring to these events to promote the event and “The Carolina Rider” magazine. The Big Ride has always been a crowd favorite, and to all those associated with the Carolina Rider.

I was ready to be there early Friday to help with the set up, but fate had a different plan. Maybe some of you have heard by now that there was a problem getting the bus to the rally, and the end result has been the loss of an icon. To make a long story short, a fire broke out in the bus while on the road to the rally in Maggie Valley, and the bus and all its contents were a total loss. The good news is that no one was hurt or injured, just the total loss of the bus. When I arrived in Maggie Valley, and met up with Jon and Jan, to say the least they were pretty bummed out, but determined to get there and do their best to help with the rally. Jon jumped in and helped the Shriners with their booth, and Jan was working with the rest of us. In an attempt to make the best of a bad situation, I came up with the idea to have a wake for “The Big Ride” and to ask all our readers if they would pitch into a bus fund to replace the old bus. To be clear this was my idea and not theirs, and my idea to ask all of you to pitch in.

So here is what I am asking: to commiserate the passing of “The Big Ride”. My idea was to have a New Orleans style wake, and ask all of you to participate by sending a sympathy card along with a small donation to the new bus fund called “The Big Ride 2”. We will use the cards in the wake in some manner, and all the money will go only to replace the old bus. I am asking because both Jon and Jan work hard to promote, educate, and build up the motorcycle community here in the Carolina’s, and they have worked very hard on our behalf to provide sponsored events for everyone to have fun on a bike. So be creative with your cards and as generous as you can. Please help me help them. Write me if you have any questions, and we will do our best to answer by posting Q&A on the website. We’ll keep you posted on the progress.

Write me if you have any questions, and we will do our best to answer by posting Q&A on the website and weekly magazine.

We’ll keep you posted on the progress.

Thanks for all that I know you will do to help good people.

The Tarheel Tornado
Ride fast, ride hard, ride long, but above all ride safe!



What do you mean my bus is on fire?!

It was a gorgeous Thursday morning in The BIG RIDE headed to Maggie Valley. We were headed there to promote The Carolina Rider and to help Sonny of Sonny Productions put on the Maggie Valley Summer Rally. FancyFree and the poodles were in her car a couple hours behind me. I had just crossed into the Hendersonville area and cars passing me were blowing their horns and pointing to the side of the road hollering something. Now mind you, The BIG RIDE Bus is a sight to see. People often honk their horns and holler in excitement just at seeing it. But somehow this seemed to be different.

After about the 3rd vehicle in a row who kept hollerin' and pointing, I got the sense that something was up. Looking in the rearview mirror as far as I could see a trail of fire about 2 feet tall was following the bus. It looked like somethinng out of the movies - a long trail of fire leading up to the bus. For just a microsecond, I thought I could out run it but then reality hit me and I realized I was in my bus. When I saw black smoke rolling out from under the bus, I knew the fire had gotten to the back of the bus and was no longer behind me but in fact riding along with me.

It was that point at which I knew I really need to get out of the bus. I quickly pulled off to the side of the road, opened the door, and realized that everything that I had packed for the Summer Rally was in the back of the bus including my expensive personal cameras and brand new drone. I thought for a second whether the bus might explode at any second and decided to throw caution to the wind to see if I could save anything. I ran through the bus to the back of the bus, threw open the dividing door, and the smoke was already starting to fill the back compartment. Now wouldn't you know it, the cases to the drone and cameras were all black making them extremely hard to find in the smoke. As I searched in the darkness, I saw the handle to the drone and grabbed it. Still searching for my camera bags, two of the windows beside me exploded with loud bangs. For a second, my attention was diverted and I realized I had to get the hell out of there. One quick last look and I spied one of my camera bags, grabbed it, and me and the camera and the drone headed out the door.

As I ran back through the bus and exited the front door, I could feel the seering heat on the back of my bald head and I knew the time was short, The BIG RIDE didn't have long to live, and I needed to get far, far away. Running about 200 yards in front of the bus, I set the two bags down and wondered where the hell is the fire department and at the same time, why are these crazy people slowly passing the bus so close and looking? I pulled out my camera and started taking pictures about the time the fire deparment got there.

As you can see from the pictures here and a lot more in our GALLERY, school buses aren't designed to withstand the heat of a roaring flame. As far as I can figure, the gas tank for the generator came loose and started scraping on the concrete which created a hole in the tank and the friction of the aluminum tank caused the flames to ignite. Once ignited, they ran up the gas tank and into the bus. 20 gallons of fuel is an awful lot of fuel for a roaring fire.

After the fire was put out, Capps Wrecker Service hauled it off and we continued our trip to Maggie Valley to help the good folks out up there. It was not the weekend we'd planned but we are fine and we're happy we could help Sonny Productions and the Shriners fundraiser at the rally. Except for the bus burning to the ground and losing all our stuff, it was a good weekend.





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