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December 20th Edition
The Little Weather Quickie for the Greater Charlotte Area
for Week of December 20-27, 2016
Wednesday 57h & sunny, Thursday 60h & p-cloudy, Friday 51h & m-sunny, Saturday 48h & 70% am rain, Sunday 57h & 30% am showers, Monday 58h & 30% am drizzle, Tuesday 64h & 40% showers (as per weather.com on 12/20/16)
Look who I got to hang with Saturday!
It was a chilly Saturday morning and all 'round the city,
no on-ramps were open & no one gave us their pity.
The police and fire folks were blocking the way
Making The BIG RIDE Bus late for a very special day.
It was time for the Windjammers Ride, for toys for all the kiddies
It was our final toy run of the year & spirits were up, in fact, giddy.
It was really cold I tell you, as we set up the hot chocolate and cookies
And since no one had ridden up yet, we all decided to play hookie.
We snuck into the warm of the bus and grabbed a snack to keep us going
Our little team of elves got some holiday spirit flowing.
Then what to our wondering eyes should appear
But The Tarheel Tornado and compadre Lester dear!
Around the corner someone gave a shout
And from a Bee-mer coupe, Bub popped out!
"It's a Christmas miracle," someone eagerly said
"The boys came to join us! The Storytellers are NOT dead!"
But then came the question, that one no one dared ask
"Where's Shaggy, the profanity enthusiast?"
"I saw him, I did!" our Bub did exclaim.
"He showed up for the ride-in in Chesnee. Of that I can surely claim!"
Ah, toy runs, the end-of-year parties
We love coming together with all of our ride smarties.
It's been a good-ish year although some might dispute
We'll just look ahead for a new year to salute.
2017 will be even better, we're wishing us all
And thank you to our Storytellers who make this thing afterall!
Haven't written in awhile. I have several "excuses" for being absent - some better than others! Probably the best or worst depending on the context is that my son had a heart valve replacement and I was in Ohio with Margie for several weeks. Margie stayed on until near Oct to help out. He has no family there and lives 20 miles from nowhere near Logan OH. Anyway, he came through fine and will soon be able to return to work. Another excuse is that the weather had been so good in Oct I was seldom out of the saddle. The CPRs put on some miles, one 3-day ride to West Virginia and numerous rides weekly, almost daily! And so far Nov has been very good, although we do need some rain to put out the fires around the South East. According to Weather Channel that relief will be here this week on Tues and Wed.
My videos and pictures are from our ride I named “Charley's Call.” Our usual stomping grounds are right in the middle of several big fires. (Did you get any of the smoke? We did here near Gaffney. Where Charley and John live at Lincolnton NC, the smoke didn't reach there.) Charley suggested that we meet at Zipper's Restaurant in Lincolnton and ride north of there and avoid the fire areas. We met at 8am minus John. He and a table saw had a run-in and the saw won. He couldn't ride as his clutch hand was bandaged up. No fingers lost, thank goodness.
VIDEO #1 - click on picture above
We headed north toward Boone on some devious roads Charley directed us on. He is the official CPR navigator. ...Why, we hardly ever get lost more than 5 times or so on a ride! Seems like we passed through Glendale Springs and weren't too far from Shatley Springs and West Jefferson. Some mighty fine riding. I had our intercom connected to the video camera and you can hear some of our extensive conversations. Of course this was just after the election so that occupied our thoughts a great deal. Part of the ride was on a couple of dirt roads and I have to say the scenery was outstanding. Of course you ride slow - at least we do - and we have time to notice the scenery.
VIDEO #2 - click on picture above
Poga (With a name like that who could resist checking it out?)
I like to peruse maps looking for places and names that I’d like to see and visit. I was scanning a Google map and looking for some new roads to ride for the CPRs. We’ve pretty well exhausted the roads close to home and up into the nearest mountain ranges. We had ridden to Wild and Wonderful West Virginia in early Sept. Coming back we came across some new roads around West Jefferson NC. So I was looking in that area and over to Erin, Tenn when I came across a road named Poga. Poga?? what is that? why that name? Guess we better ride up and check it out. But first I’ll Google it and see what it means or where the name comes from.
Found this: As an Indian word it is a sissy or pantywaist. As a Russian word it is a dance or crazy acting. As an Asian word it is being cheerful, liking people.
So what does our Tennessee Poga mean? Don’t know yet, but when I do you’ll be the 4th or 5th to know. (number may be higher than that.)
I’d started our route to Poga from our fav place to eat - Christa’s Country Restaurant beside the Blue Ridge Parkway on NC 181, 15 miles or so north of Marion NC. Nothing new on the route until we got to Banner Elk NC and turned north on NC 1310 or Sam Eller Rd. I’ll interject here that we did this on the 2nd of Dec which happened to be the coldest day so far this season. 29 when Mickey and I met Charley at Polkville, NC at 8 am. It was 31 when we got to Christa’s and a balmy 35 when we found Poga Rd.
Needless to say our heated gear was turned on MAX!
Here we are on Sam Eller Rd and it is climbing up and up as it twists and turns---wheee---we’re having fun! A few miles up Sam and the road becomes Beech Mtn Rd, musta crossed a county line. And the road is still going up and twisty and ---you know. We come on a cross road, Beech Mtn makes a sharp turn right and angling off to the right is Frank Jones Rd and angling off to the left is Frank Jones Lane.
Frank loved making roads
... and straight ahead is -------scary sounds----Dark Ridge Rd. And Garmin GPS which “never” is wrong says on to Dark Ridge! Nice road, but strangely no houses. Up to this point there were small farms and such but on Dark Ridge---none---uuuummm, maybe there is something to this dark ridge thing. But it is beautiful up here, we are riding on the mountain ridges and can see forever. Off to the right is Beech Mtn and they’re making snow there for the ski slopes. It’s windy and the snow is blowing off the mountain making a pretty picture. And off to the left are mountain tops and mountain ranges marching off to the horizon. We are having a ball, this is great!! After awhile we come to the NC-Tenn state line and Dark Ridge becomes Clawson Rd. A few miles and smiles on Clawson and there it is ... Poga Rd! We found it with no problem------not yet, that is.
This is a T and we have to go right or left. I know that Poga ends at 321 near Watauga Lake and we want to be back at Christa’s for lunch so left we go. Poga Rd is nice and we’re glad to be riding on it. ... then we come to an intersection of a half dozen roads ... well maybe 4 or 5. Anyway, the “never” failing GPS says to turn left. We think we should go right. We talk it over and being the intrepid mountain men we are we trust our instincts and go “left.” Remember earlier I said no problems so far? Well ... the road we get on is Heaton Branch Rd. Uuuuumm that name seems familiar and I thought that Poga Rd dead-ended at 321. Oh well, ...
Garmin wouldn’t lead us wrong ... right??
Heaton Branch is really nice, a narrow 1-lane mountain road only it’s paved - nice. But before I get started on Hell ... I mean Heaton Branch ... let me tell you about an encounter we had on Dark Ridge Rd. Part of Dark Ridge is dirt, very nice dirt, hard packed and not much gravel so it makes for nice going. We came down a small grade and in a pasture on the right sat a helicopter with several trucks around. Stopping and taking in the scene we noticed the long boom attached to the copter and at the end 10 large circular saw blades. We knew then it was a tree trimming helicopter used by utility companies to cut back trees and brush intruding into the right of way. Here is a short video of the helicopter taking off with it’s attached hardware: VIDEO
Now back to Heaton Branch ... Last summer I was out riding alone and thought about riding to Sugar Grove and the mouth watering cookies in the bakery there. Can’t remember just where I was but loaded Sugar Grove into the GPS. Now my GPS is set up to avoid 4-lane roads, highways, and toll roads. Also programed to find the shortest possible way. It showed a magenta line and said "follow me," so off I went. Rode on some good country roads and when it put me on Heaton Branch I thought this is the best yet. It starts off as a normal 2-lane road, then a narrow 2-lane road, then a narrow 1-lane road winding along the mountain sides and up and down such. Beautiful. After several enjoyable miles it became a dirt road. Still very nice. I was riding my Honda CB1100 and it purred like a kitten---a large kitten. Then it started to get rough but nothing I couldn’t handle and as I climbed a mountain side I seen the spire of a church. I thought this is where the dirt ends and will be back on a paved road ... wrong! Coming up to the church I seen it was very small with a large cemetery behind it. The road took a sharp turn right and ahead of me was a steep grade with the road going straight up.
No winding back and forth, just straight up steep!
Now I began to get worried. The road was rough with deep ditches on each side to allow rain water to run down. I thought that if the CB would stall or spin I could end up in a ditch and there was no way I could get out. Seriously contemplated turning around and going back. Reason prevailed ... no it didn’t. You know I went up the hill! It was rough going but made it to the top and onto a better section of road and then back to pavement. You know how your mind blanks out unpleasant stuff, well I had forgotten that Heaton Branch was that road. Not only me but Charley too. I took him up the road when I was on the much lighter Versys 650 and even then we agreed that it should only be run with a Jeep or 4-wheel drive truck. So here we are, now with Mickey with us. Charley and I can’t believe we’re back here!
We talk it over and agree the smart thing would be to turn around, ... but ... let’s get up that hill!!
So we go up talking to each other, grunting and groaning as the bikes bounce off ruts and spin the rear wheel and holding our breath when the front wheel slides off on the side, but lucky for us we make the top and all breath a sigh of relief. And just a little further on we’re back on pavement. WHEW! Mickey says “Load Christa’s into the GPS and let’s get out of here!!"
An hour later and we’re sitting in a warm restaurant, sipping hot coffee and eating Christa’s great cuisine. Back down the mountain and the temp warms up to 47 ...turn down the temp on the heated gear!
I want to wish you all a beautiful Christmas and a blessed New Year. With all that has gone on around here I have a lot of shopping to do; the first time in several years I haven't had Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving, even before Halloween! I hope you all get new motor scooters and new gear to go along with it. A nice action camera would be nice and an intercom to talk with your riding buddies. Thanks to all the riders I’ve met this past year and the interesting conversations we’ve had. I’ve talked with guy and gals from the west coast of the US to the west coast of France. The Carolina Rider Weekly Magazine has made me talk with other riders much more and I want to thank FancyFree and Footloose for inviting me aboard and allowing me to broaden my horizons.
Well we made it! And, first I want to say how good it was to hear from Lester, and so glad that you are doing better after surgery. Also we are sorry that we will miss you all at the Easyriders Show in January. We always enjoyed the show and meeting all of the readers of The Carolina Rider Weekly Magazine. We would love to hear from many of you. Lester thinks no one reads him??! I always enjoyed his articles and wisdom and I think there are many others, so Lester, keep it up and keep riding. Now let’s hear from some of you. I know you are riding.
It looks like I’m going to have to put the bike away for a few months. It has been 40 years since we moved from Michigan and I’ve been able to ride year ‘round, but, alas, I think I’m going to have to winterize the bike and store it for a few months!
As you can see it was full fall colors when we got here. The colors were brilliant with some of the trees green on the bottom with a red band in the middle and golden at the top. This large old maple in the title photo above is in our yard, and yes, we have to rake up all those leaves. Actually Marcia just blew them into the cornfield - it is good for the soil. We got here to mild weather for November in Michigan with temperatures near 60 on many days.
I left work on the 28th of Oct at around 1 o’clock and we were on the road at 3. I had planned on riding the bike because we needed the trailer space to haul the remainder of the things we had with us. But Marcia bought a 04 Wrangler so we had to figure out how to pack everything in the two vehicles and on and around the bike. It all worked out.
After a couple days of moving furniture, unpacking boxes, and "where are we going to put all this STUFF?!" I said, "Enough! We are going for a ride!"
The weather was really nice the first few weeks of November. We headed over on Highway 12 to Route 66 to Sturgis. Yes, you read correct. Route 66 in Michigan goes to Sturgis, Michigan. Sturgis is the home of Harley drag racer Mike Romine. Mike is a good friend of Bill Furr (Orangeburg Cycle Racing and recent inductee in the SC Hall of Fame) and they have been racing as friendly competitors for many years. Mike was down in Ga/Fla racing for the weekend but we stopped and had a wonderful conversation with his mother who told us all about Mr. Bill from Orangeburg ("Drank beer like it was water???? Say it isn’t so!")
It was a cool day, mid to upper 50’s and we were very comfortable. We headed on down Route 66 into Indiana through Howe and Lagrange to go over to Middlebury and back up to Marcellus where we are now living. This is in the heart of Amish country and there are plenty of horse and buggy and bicycles on the roadside...
The road is about ½ lane wider on each side to accommodate them. I would try to always let off the gas and coast past to not spook the horse, but they are used to traffic. This picture is of a couple doing their farming and the front wagon and team is being driven by a lady. They were having some kind of conversation and she was sure telling the guy behind her something. It looked like she was giving him a piece of her mind at the moment, but I’m sure in a kind and gentle way, because that is the way with their religion, ... or maybe later she would just ask forgiveness. In that religion/lifestyle women are used to driving horse teams. We often would see them driving the buggy, such as into town, but seldom have I seen them driving a team in the field. She sure looked like she knew what she was doing and had the team and wagon through the opening and into the field. I thought of the contrast between the times as we were cruising the area. Here we were on a fancy Harley with more bells and whistles than I know how to operate and they don’t use electricity, or man-made conveniences. They don’t have central heat, unless it is a wood/coal furnace. They still cook on wood stoves, even the farming is manual labor or horse power. Now in their work they do use tools. Some of the best roofers in the area are the Amish men and they have cell phones and air tools for their work.
We took a right when we got down to I (Indiana) 120 and over to Middlebury, which by the way has one of the best home cooking restaurants in the area (wouldn’t be an "Orangeburg Ron" article without some food!,) then north on 131. We made a stop at The Creamery antique shop. I was looking for a latch for a Hoosier cabinet I refinished for our kitchen, but they didn’t have any.
Let me know if you know what a hoosier cabinet is ...
...This one was moved out of the kitchen at the farm in 1948 and sat in the back room until I got it out to refinish it and put it to use. So, we started back north and toward home, but saw a Dairy Queen and made another stop. We got home just as the sun and temperature were going down. Had a great day and ride and especially a break from all the unpacking.
I just had to include a picture of the sunrise in back of our barn. And, of course one of Marcia’s shadow pictures.
Well and then comes the SNOW. People at Church thought Marcia was a bit off when she walked out last Sunday yelling “Woo Hoo, it’s snowing!” Got to love the enthusiasm. And I bought a snow blower and not a shovel.
Just want to add my wishes for happy holidays to you all. As this year draws to a close, I believe there is new hope on the horizon. I'm seeing signs of financial uplift and looking for better things to come for us all.
If you own a business or small practice and you want to get the word out about it, The Carolina Rider Weekly Magazine can't be beat for a market-targeted, timely, highly-circulated professional publication. Send me an email! Let us help your business have a much better 2017. We are happy to work with your specific budget abilities.
In the meantime, take some time to chill over the holiday weekend .. or longer if you can. You're going to need to be rested up to keep up with the New Year!
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