December 1st Edition
In This Issue:
CLICK BELOW to buy your money-saving "Carolina Rider" discount card for Myrtle Beach businesses!
CLICK ABOVE to buy your money-saving "Carolina Rider" discount card for Myrtle Beach businesses!
The Carolina Rider BIG RIDE 2 Bus will be giving out Hot Chocolate & Cookies at the Following Holiday Charity Rides:
The Little Weather Quickie for the Greater Charlotte Area
for Week of December 1-8, 2015
Wednesday 66h & 80% rain, Thursday 56h & p-cloudy, Friday 56h & clear, Saturday 57h & clear, Sunday 59h & clear, Monday 59h & 60% rain, Tuesday 57h & clear (as per www.intellicast.com on 12/1/15)
Our publications would be nothing without a delicious mixture of ingredients ... you guys who subscribe (and sometimes even graciously read our contents!,) our Sponsors who keep the lights on and provide services of value to our communities, and the inspired contributions of our writers and photographers. "Wow!," I think every single week. "Wow!, what a great read, Wow! what generous sharing, Wow! what beautiful shots, Wow! what tantalizing stories!"
This week is certainly another grand example of this thanks to Boda, Ron, and Marcia. Boda's series on the history of the CBA has been fab and he takes a short intermission from it to respond to a long-ago article by Vince Esposito who ventured the question, "What defines a Biker?" Boda chews on it from his own perspective and draws from some fun and poetic web resources as well as his deep and wide personal history. Good read!
Ron and Marcia took one of their enviable "Just Rides" and share their bumpy route as well as the scene in Helen, Georgia. Marcia and her camera record along the way giving us a feel for being along for the ride and Ron narrates and jokes so well and never fails to cover the food they enjoyed (or didn't!) They're a great couple to ride with vicariously; probably mostly because their enjoyment of their own ride comes through loud and clear!
Yay 4 Shaggy!
A few years back I got a call from an eager writer who asked if we might be interested in a column from him. He'd been contributing to another Carolina mag and wanted to extend his reach, express himself more fully, and utilize his gifts and training. "Yep!," I said, even after he asked if he could use some "colorful language" in his style. Yep! we kept saying after he proved again and again that he's a pro - partly because his writing is very good, partly because he lights people's fuses! The Carolina Rider Weekly Magazine is honored to have Jon "Shaggy" Peeler in our pages and we want to take a minute to congratulate him for another published article in the latest issue of The Horse Magazine, something Shaggy has dreamed of doing. Good job, man!
Holiday Schedule for your Weekly Magazine
The Carolina Rider Weekly Magazine will not be published next week as we celebrate Thanksgiving
Additional off weeks coming up: December 22 & 29, January 5
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What Makes Someone a Biker?
Let’s start by clearing up the difference between a Biker and a Rider. A Rider is someone with an insatiable passion for motorcycles in general. He (or she) knows his motorcycle like he knows his own Mother. He can tell if it is running properly just by the sound and vibration. He can perform his own maintenance and roadside repairs, if necessary. He values his motorcycle above all other possessions.
(Gone but not forgotten: Little Mikey, Big Billy, and DW)
A Rider has to admire a good sounding motorcycle. It doesn't matter if it's a sport bike, a cruiser, or a dirt bike. He takes better care of his motorcycle than himself. It doesn't matter what he rides, just that he rides every chance he gets – “live to ride, ride to live”. It’s his life - he is either on the road, or planning his next trip. A Rider experiences an inner peace when he is on his motorcycle. He’s a million miles from work, worry and pressure for the duration of the ride – Nirvana on two wheels.
It breathes and pulses with life
We can move as one
It’s about riding
And freedom and free feeling
It’s not about fear
I am in the wind
I am finally set free
From what bothers me
Bikers are a little different; to use mathematical terms, Bikers are a proper subset of Riders - a group that is strictly contained within a larger class and excludes some of the larger class’ members. Symbol: Bikers [ Riders. In other words, all Bikers are Riders but not all Riders are Bikers.
A Biker is a Rider with a family – maybe not blood relatives, but family. A Biker’s family is found on the road throughout his or her life. Real Bikers celebrate a kinship with other Bikers without any concerns for money, position, or status. You find common ground in the bikes, the life style, the parties, and most importantly the road. You help each other when things go wrong on the road. You give respect and expect to receive the same.
Two bikes on the road
Passing each other briefly
Within the subset of Bikers, you can, sometimes, find Brothers. Brothers or Bros are the most restrictive subset. Bikers can develop a sense of Brotherhood with other Bikers – if they earn it. Brotherhood is a matter of Honor, Loyalty, and Respect. Brotherhood means knowing and accepting that we will both be helping each other so much that we can’t be keeping count, not out of obligation, but because in a true brotherhood, you do it without question because you expect that of yourself.
In my life I had met literally thousands upon thousands of Riders, of this, I found several thousand Bikers, but far fewer brothers. These include the original members of the Concerned Bikers Association, the original members of ABATE of Washington, and the members of my old club – The Undertakers MC of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. I also count as Bros several people I rode with over the past 45 years, including members of the staff of several magazines, motorcycle rights organizations, other motorcycle clubs, and a few bars.
I have found Brothers in clubs that were at war with each other, and with people I had conflict with myself. A good example is Little Thunder or Flounder. I met him at a CBA run to Gold Hill. I was riding my old 54 panhead when I pulled into the campgrounds about dusk. I parked the bike and went to greet some friends. After a few minutes, I noticed a small Rider looking at my bike. He had a large slice of watermelon in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other. I realized he was drunk and meant no harm, so I ignored him and turned back to my friends.
A few minutes later I heard a thump from my bike. I flicked my flashlight on to see what had happened. He was flat on his back, holding up the watermelon and whiskey. I couldn’t help laughing out loud. That upset him, and he began cursing at me. I just ignored him and turned back to my friends. A short time later, I was hit in the back of the head with that watermelon slice. Little Thunder came charging up to me, challenging me to fight – until he got within arm’s reach.
He suddenly realized that he was about a foot shorter and 150 pounds lighter than me. He skidded to a stop, held out the whiskey and said “have a drink, bro.” Laughing, I took that drink and wound up drinking the rest of the bottle with him and his girlfriend Star. He earned my respect and I still consider him a Brother even though I lost touch with him when he went to prison several years ago.
Friends: Never ask for food
Biker Friends: Are the reason you have no food.
Friends: Will say "hello"
Biker Friends: Will give you a big hug and a kiss.
Friends: Call your parents Mr. and Mrs.
Biker Friends: Call your parents Mom and Dad
Friends: Have never seen you cry.
Biker Friends: Cry with you.
Friends: Will eat at your dinner table and leave.
Biker Friends: Will spend hours there, talking, laughing and just
Friends: Borrow your stuff for a few days then gives it back.
Biker Friends: Keep your stuff so long they forget it's yours.
Friends: know a few things about you.
Biker Friends: Could write a book with direct quotes from you.
Friends: Will leave you behind if that's what the crowd is doing.
Biker Friends: Will kick the whole crowds' butt that left you.
Friends: Would knock on your door.
Biker Friends: Walk right in and say, "I'm home!"
Friends: Are for a while.
Biker Friends: Are for life.
And one more for the road ...
A Real Biker
A biker went to a bar and ordered a drink. As he sat sipping his whiskey, a
young lady sat down next to him. She turned to the biker and asked, "Are you
a real biker?" He replied, "Well, I've spent my whole life on Harleys. My
momma was pregnant with me when she rode on the back of my Daddy's Harley,
then as a little boy I rode on the back with my Daddy until I finally got my
own Harley. I've been riding a Harley ever since. So yes, I guess I am a
She said, "I'm a lesbian. I spend my whole day thinking about women. As soon
as I get up in the morning, I think about women; when I shower, watch TV,
eat, whatever, everything seems to make me think of women." Then she got up
The biker was thinking about what just happened when a man sat down next to
the biker and asked, "Are you a real biker?"
He replied, "I always thought I was, but I just found out I'm a lesbian."
Riders, Bikers, and Bros are all bond together by the motorcycle and the road. All can be dangerous but all can also be a great blessing in your life.
As usual, I stole information from the internet shamelessly. If you want to know who wrote the haiku poems and other quotes, just highlight the text and do a search – you might find more interesting reading.
"We’re goin’ to Helen Georgia." You’ve heard that saying and people are often telling me to go there, so we decided to go. I will say take your coat, it wasn’t as hot as they say, it was very cool. Monday morning it was 28 when we got up and had to wait until around 9:45 for it to get to 40 so we could take off and head home, but I get ahead of myself.
On kind of a spur of the moment I said let’s go to Helen Georgia. Marcia kind of looked for a moment and asked what was in Helen. Well, it is close to a group of roads identified as “The Gauntlet” that is advertised as 133 miles of smiles. It is another of the group of ‘twisties’ that are all over Northern Georgia and Western North Carolina. The weather was predicted as cool – highs in the 50’s- but sunny for the area. The riding season, at least for long weekends is drawing to a close and I wanted to get one last ride in. So we tried to find a nice Bed and Breakfast – nope, everything is booked. I knew nothing about Helen and Blairsville area. So I reluctantly checked some motels, also booked. Then I came across cabins and found one with vacancies for Saturday and Sunday night.
We left home around 10 on Saturday with mild temperatures of about 55 and a prediction to get to 60ish. We looked at various routes on the map and finally decided to just go with the GPS since we now have one on the bike – oops. When do you trust the GPS and when do you just say you’re wrong. I would find out on this trip. Anyway we trusted the GPS and it took us out of Neeses on a good road. Great, I knew this road and where it was taking us, I thought and it was good. Then it told me to take a right – “no, that’s not correct” ... “but we said we were going to follow the GPS.” ... “Ok, we’ll turn and it took us over to 178 – oops the first mistake of the GPS. 178 is not a good riding road. It has lots of bumps, you know the ones, those heat bumps that jar your neck when you hit them, yeah, like that. It took us up through Batesville-Leesburg and toward Saluda. Shucks, I could have stayed on 383 and gotten there and it was a better road. Too late now and we stuck with it. It was then I realized it was taking us to Anderson, which to me seemed out of the way taking us north, to come back south, and go north again. Anyway it took us down some really back country road that would have been smoother if it was gravel instead of some kind of pavement and it was only about 1 lane wide. After about 30 miles of this at only about 15-20 mph I came to a road and didn’t know where we were. As we were looking at the map, someone stopped to ask if we needed help and we did. They said we were only about 10 miles from where we could pick up the road we originally wanted, so back on the road. On toward Helen.
We stopped for gas and pit stop and parked next to this interesting truck. You can see Marcia talking with him about his interesting truck. I had asked if this was the way to Calhoun Falls and he paused to say, “Well, you could get there from here.” I asked, “Is there a better way?” He answered, “well, you could get there from here.” I realized I might be asking the wrong person and moved on to the bike. Marcia, the friendly one asked about his truck. “How long did it take you to put all these trucks on there?” “I don’t know, I’ve been doing it for some time.” “That’s interesting, why did you put them on your truck?” “Well, my step daughter took off with my grandson and I haven’t seen him since they left, so I put one on since I can’t give them to him. Do you have a dollar?” You meet some interesting people on the road, part of the adventure of a road trip!
The remainder of the trip was on good roads and with minor concern about where we were, we were where we were supposed to be. I missed a turn outside Taccoa Falls and had to turn around, but that wouldn’t be the last time on this trip.
About 4 pm we were rolling into Helen to try to find our cabin in the woods. We didn’t know if we actually had made the reservation correctly until we stopped in a little town of Antique shops of Bowman Ga. and I was able to check my email. There had been a delay in my server sending out my reservation on Friday and they hadn’t received it when we left. But we had some instructions when we stopped in Taccoa for gas.
When we got to Helen we were surprised. A long, long line of traffic into the town and tourists everywhere. Helen is a kind of Bavarian setting with a strong German flavor. It was a Saturday afternoon and the town was full, people everywhere.
We found our little cabin in the woods that was to be our home away from home for the next two days. It had a little stream behind it and was very nice inside. She had even turned the heat on for us. We headed back into town for dinner and ate at a place on the river. The food was fair, but the setting next to the river was very nice. We were able to walk the town and get a caramel apple (Marcia missed them during the fair season). And back to the cabin a little after dark. We were about 3 ½ miles out from town and the cabin was called Bear Den, but we never saw any bear around in the area.
Our plan was that the next day, Sunday, we would wait for the sun to come up and warm things up a bit and head out to “The Gauntlet.” It was a good theory, but the weather people missed the call on Sunday. The sun never did really warm things up. It was 45 when we left at 10:00 and for most of the trip into the afternoon it didn’t get above 55 and on the ridge tops it would drop back to down into 46-48 degrees.
The lower part of the trip was the most ‘technical’ with the twists and turns and switchbacks. Lots of up and down over one ridge and up the next.
We stopped at the Wolf Pen Gap store for some gas and a pit stop. There were about a dozen other bikes in the parking lot and getting gas and food. It was about 11:30 at this point and too early for lunch so we decided to wait until the ‘Copperhead Lodge’ which was advertised as the headquarters for The Gauntlet.
We saw a sign for the Lodge, but it looked like an entrance to a subdivision so I passed by but decided it must be the place so we turned around. When we stopped we saw this interesting pilgrim cow. Even though the sign said ‘no hunting’ it appears someone tried to shoot the cow in the middle. But we liked the hat.
The lodge was closed on Sunday apparently. We saw a couple of bikes, but didn’t see anyone that worked there, or seemed to know if they were open for lunch or even the store was open. So we went on.
We were on Nottley Dam road and came upon what we learned was Nottley Dam. As you can see from the picture the water was very low.
This part of The Gauntlet was not as twisty and curvy. The road ran through farms and lots of houses with mild curves, but not the switchbacks of the earlier, or we would learn later part of the trip.
We were actually only a few miles from the North Carolina border and we saw a number of Murphy signs for only 20 or so miles up the road. I am familiar with the Murphy area. When we lived in Black Mountain I used to have some church business that took me to Murphy area a good deal. We loved the area and this was similar. We missed anywhere to eat, being Sunday most things were closed. We tried the ‘Biker Barn’ another headquarters to The Gauntlet, but it was closed on Sunday and Monday. By now it is getting on in the afternoon and I missed lunch so we went on into Blairsville. We tried a couple of antique stores, but they also were closed. We are not fans of the typical fast food fare when we can find a good local establishment so we were looking and found ‘The Hole In The Wall’ and had some wonderful sirloin soup and a hot dog. The soup was welcome as it was still cool not even in the 60’s in Blairsville.
We were headed to the Richard Russell Scenic Highway and back to Helen before dark. I wasn’t wild about trying to do a road along the ridge in the dark and it was now into the 3 o’clock range so we decided to head back. And glad we did! The Richard Russell Scenic Highway is one of those roads you wonder why it was built in the first place. There were no homes and not a route to take to Helen, because there were more direct routes. But we were glad they build it, because it did live up to its name as a scenic highway. Lots and lots of scenery and vistas to look out on.
And did I say it was cold?
This was ice along the roadway from water dripping down the rock face on the road. Now how does Marcia look warm and I don’t? She had the soup in Blairsville, maybe that was it. Or she is in the back and snuggles down. Actually, she is taking most of these pictures as we are going along, so she isn’t just tucked in behind me. And we don’t have a go-pro, just a little Nikon that she can’t use her gloves with. I love the pictures where you can see her in the mirror and if you look closely you can see the camera in the mirror on some of the pictures.
We got back to the cabin around 4 pm. with time for a little rest before heading into town for dinner. We did stop at a little convenience store and pick up some snacks and a fire log for the fireplace at the cabin. That was fun to have a fire going.
Being Sunday night we were concerned about places being closed, and as we discovered we were right. However, we did find a place, Bodensee, (long e at the end.) We parked and a car pulled in next to us and I mentioned that we would just follow this man and see if the food is any good since we didn’t know anything about German food. Marcia asked him if the food was good, “Best German food in town”, was the reply. She asked if he had eaten here, “Eat here every day, I own the place.” He took us in and got us a seat and waiter came over. We did have a wonderful meal, much better than the night before. I had a slice pork loin in mushroom gravy in a cast iron skillet, and she had a slice pork loin with tomato and cheese sauce that was also terrific. Did I say you meet the most interesting people on road trips? A very nice man and a very good restaurant.
We knew it was going to be cold Sunday night, but when we awoke the thermometer said 28. Now I’m used to riding in cold, but not that cold. Our plan was to wait until around 10 in hopes that it would warm up. The prediction was for it to be cloudy most of the day and a high around 50 for the area. Our plan worked out and when it got up to 40 we decided to head out. We had been waiting for the morning sun on the lake we went by to and from town to get a good picture, but didn’t expect the nice addition of the geese on the lake in the morning.
Just outside of Helen is a large Indian Burial mound. (title photo) The story is that a young couple from differing and warring tribes fell in love, but the girls’ father forbid the relationship and threw the boy off a cliff. The girl so distraught jumped and they intertwined at the bottom of the cliff. The chief being taken with their love had them buried in this mound still clutching to each other. Or, as the sign says, it was a ceremonial burial mound for Cherokee, which is probably more correct. But isn’t the story nice?
The good news was that the sun did come out and warmed nicely, even later in the day getting in the 60’s around Aiken SC near home. It wouldn’t be a Marcia pictorial without one of her signature shadow pictures, (or she was just so glad to see the sun and her shadow which we hadn’t seen for since Saturday.)
We had decided to follow the map and eschew the GPS and take 17 to I-20 over to Aiken and then we knew our way from there. A wonderful idea. 17 was a good road and was easy to follow – up to a point. We stopped in Washington Georgia for some wonderful clam and corn chowder soup in a little downtown café and a really good ham and bacon Panini sandwich. A nice visit to the Chamber and an invitation back to the homes tour and dinner in December, which sounds really interesting. Washington Ga. is the home of the Confederate Secretary of State Tombs and was the last meeting place of the confederate government.
Back on the road down Hwy 17 and looking for I-20. Wouldn’t you think that you couldn’t miss I-20? I turned on the gps to see how it would take us home from there and it still wanted me to go up to Greenville and I-85 down I-26 which didn’t make sense so I turned it off. I had forgotten to memorize the map well enough to know that if I get to Thompson Ga. I’ve missed I-20, but we are following the signs correct. What could go wrong? We get to Thompson and take the bypass, still thinking that we should be coming to 20 soon. I remembered that we were going to stay on 17 and it intersected with 20 so we stay on 17 down to Wrens and we both are thinking we’ve messed up somewhere, but were afraid to say anything. When we get to Wrens we ask a local police person directing school traffic “how far to I-20?” “About 18 miles back from where you came,” was the reply. Oh, great so off we go again.
Oh, the adventures of road trips, ... isn’t that why we go?
Stay flexible and enjoy the ride. We get back to Thompson and stop a mailman to ask how to get to 20 as I’ve gotten the map out and somewhere realize I’ve crossed it. He said that there wasn’t a ramp or entrance to 20 from Thompson and had to go out about 5 miles to get to it. We went back to the bypass and I remember the intersection we turned at. I remember stopping at that light. Wouldn’t you think it would be a good place for one of those ‘to I-20’ signs??? We had been seeing them for miles, oh well, just a 40 mile jaunt, but the road was good. We get to 20 and over to Aiken and home around 5 o’clock. Just enough time for our 6:30 appointment.
We had a GREAT weekend, another great ride and so glad the bike worked flawlessly. It is true to its name – Road Glide. At times it does seem to just glide along the road, at least until those darned bumps. And of course great company.
This Saturday and Sunday bring two of our favorite annual toy runs ... Gaston CBA on Saturday in Ranlo and Charlotte CBA in Charlotte on Sunday. Go buy a stuffed animal, bungie it to the back of your bike, add some antlers to your windshield or a big red bow, throw some holiday cheer in your attire and come ride!
Hot chocolate and cookies at The BIG RIDE 2 for one and for all.
Coming up in another week, the bus will head to Columbia, SC for the ride for some of our cherished vets. Gotta love the toy runs for kids but this one will surely hit your hearts. Folks who have served us all and now needing a little lift in life. Check out the list below for needs and join in one of the biggest rides around. And yep, we'll be giving out hot chocolate and cookies there too.
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