We Didn’t Want To Waste Today’s Weather

Never pass up a great day to ride!

Today was forecast to be in the mid 60′s° F for temperatures with clear skies today.  Late in the morning we decided to go for a ride.  Then we were getting a later start than planned but I came up with an alternate plan.  We were going to head up to Talking Rock, GA using the quick route and then have lunch at Biguns BBQ.  After lunch was going to be a short ride and then head for home.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky as we headed for Talking Rock.  But the weather wasn’t warming like we expected.  Sure we wore jackets but even after getting to Talking Rock just after 12:00 pm it was still 54° F not having warmed much since the overnight low of 48°.  Now here’s the rub.  We didn’t put the insulated liners in our jackets, counting on the sunshine to warm things up a bit better than it did.  That didn’t happen.  We really weren’t cold, it’s just that the liners would’ve made it quite comfortable.  After lunch though we headed across Burnt Mountain and towards Amicolola Falls State Park.  When we got to the turn though we didn’t head for the park because there’s also a big pumpkin patch that way and we figured it with this being the first brisk fall day the traffic near there would be horrible.  We made the right turn onto GA HWY 183 heading towards Dawsonville, towards it though and not to it.  We made the turn onto GA HWY 53 and it’s nice curves heading towards places like Marble Hill, Tate and Nelson, all in the general direction of Jasper, GA.  The road never even really warmed up enough to make the “tar snakes” and issue today where they almost feel like ice sometimes.  Today they were just small bumps in the road.  It was a great ride!  Even this far south the leaves are really starting change color and the windy day was blowing them out of the trees and onto the road.  This is what fall riding is all about in north Georgia.  The home weather station showed we got all the way up to 65° F today.  It wasn’t a long day in the saddle but at least we didn’t waste a real good riding day!

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A Cool Picture From This Week’s Ride

A few days ago I had posted that my friend Sean and I had ridden up on the Cherohala Skyway, had lunch in Robbinsville, NC and then rode The Tail Of The Dragon after lunch.  While we didn’t ride up to ride The Tail Of The Dragon, it was a spur of the moment decision; we literally decided to do it just because we were in the area.  The Tail Of The Dragon now has roadside photographers from at least FOUR different businesses out there and it was a weekday!  The one that is probably the most well known and has been there the longest is Killboy.  A few days after the ride I looked on the websites and found a photo I wanted to download from Killboy’s site.  So I was wondering if anyone wanted to see the underbelly of the Magic Carpet.  I mean everyone posts pictures of the side of their motorcycle but no one posts pictures of the bottom, especially as it’s going down the road.

Yes, that big German lady may be 12 years old now but she still likes to go out and dance.

Would you like to see the underbelly of my motorcycle?

Would you like to see the underbelly of my motorcycle?

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2 Men, 2 Motorcycles and 360 Miles

Yesterday was my friend Sean’s birthday.  His wife and my wife, Donna had dropped a hint this past weekend about him taking a birthday ride and me going along with him.  Well as Sean joked, on Monday night, “I got my hall pass.”  Since it was his birthday I told him it was up to him where to ride to and that I was just following along.  So we met Tuesday morning and headed out, me on the BMW K1200LT and Sean on his Victory Cross Country Tour.  First off this was unusual as the both of us nearly always ride with our wives.  It turns out that our main destination was to be the Cherohala Skyway that stretches from Tennessee into North Carolina.  We headed up from Holly Springs, GA until we got to Blue Ridge, GA where we then took GA Highway 5 into McCaysville, GA and Copper Hill, TN.  We enjoyed the twisting and winding roads through places like Ducktown and Turtletown before we took a short rest in Tellico Plains, TN at the Tennessee end of the Skyway.  The Cherohala Skyway is just an amazing road.  It’s a stretch of road over 40  miles long going from Tellico Plains, TN to Robbinsville, NC.  The road twists through the mountains and has altitudes ranging from 900 feet to 5,400 feet above see level.  On a clear day like it was yesterday it seems you can see forever through the openings in the trees and from the scenic overlooks.  Here it was the last day of September and there was already plenty of fall color in the trees and leaves blowing through the air.  We had already planned on having lunch at El Pacifico, a Mexican restaurant and quite possibly the only Mexican restaurant in Robbinsville.

Over lunch we discussed where to ride next.  One idea was to take U.S. Highway 129 back down to Murphy and Andrews, NC and then head back into Georgia through Brasstown before heading home.  Then Sean decided that since we were so close, literally minutes away, that we’d head up to Deal’s Gap and ride The Tail Of The Dragon.  Yes, the infamous Tail Of The Dragon and its 318 curves in 11 miles.  It’s a stretch of road that we’ve both ridden a number of times.  It can be a fun stretch of road to ride too.  We’re lucky enough that we live in an area where a trip to The Tail Of The Dragon and back home can easily be accomplished in a day.  But to be honest, the only reason we rode it on Tuesday was because we were right there.  Before we mounted back up in the parking lot of El Pacifico we experienced the only sad moment of the day.  Sean and Christine are selling their home and have a contract on it and will be moving at the end of October before settling for a while in Florida.  Sean looked up the road and said, “I guess it’ll be a while before I get to ride roads like these again.”  Now granted that we’ll both be up in the area the first weekend in November while leading a group trip to the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge and Campground but being in a group, while can be fun, is not as fun as just two men and two motorcycles.  We rode onto Deal’s Gap, passing up the store and its nearly empty parking lot and rode The Tail Of The Dragon.  We rode it only once through and headed for US HWY 411 which would take us back south and home to Georgia.  Along the way we commented at a traffic light that it would’ve been more fun to head back on The Dragon and head home on a more scenic route that would take just a little longer.

I’ve ridden both the Cherohala Skyway and The Tail Of The Dragon a few times.  But this is the first time that I have ridden the two of them back to back in the same day.  While The Tail Of The Dragon gets all the hype I can tell you that the Cherohala Skyway is definitely the better of the two rides.

When I got home that afternoon I had 360 more miles on my odometer from the location I had met Sean in the morning.  So, hence the title of “2 Men, 2 Motorcycles and 360 Miles”  You can’t have much more fun on a tank and half of gas!

Along the ride we had our picture taken by a roadside photographer on the Cherohala Skyway and by a number of them on The Tail Of The Dragon.  Once they all finish uploading their pictures I’ll write a post with some proofs and links to their sites and maybe even purchase a picture or two.  So look out for that post.

Categories: Rides | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

She’s Definitley “A Keeper”

And no, I don’t mean the motorcycle.  I mean my lovely wife and riding companion, Donna.  But then I’ve known that for a long time.  When we stepped up from a cruiser to a touring motorcycle and bought the K1200LT one of the things she wanted to do (yes you read that right, she wanted) was to ride from Georgia to Washington state to visit her sister.  Well back in 2008 she suffered a layoff from her job and then a few weeks later they began furloughs for me at the police department of 10% in hours and pay per week for over 6 months.  Those combined with life and other things had put that trip on an indefinite hold.

Then last week we got one of those “save the date” cards for a wedding in California for next June.  Donna asked me “Can the Magic Carpet still make a cross-country trip?”  I told her it sure could.  She had already made preliminary plans for her bucket list trip, already figuring we could ship “wedding clothes” and other things out to California and then just pack the motorcycle with trip clothes like we did for our Blue Ridge Parkway trip back in 2011.  I think she just wants to be able tell relatives that she rode on a motorcycle across the country!

She’s definitely a keeper!

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Motorcyle Rides From A Reader

Dewayne is a Marketing Manager at Motorcycle House and a reader of this blog.  Admittedly he’s also the one who contacted me about reviewing products for them.  Dewayne wanted to share an article with us.  Normally I’d simply just “Re-Blog” the link but Dewayne doesn’t have a blog.  I’ve copied his Northwest California Rides here.  At the bottom of the article is a link to the full article along with all the links and the pictures.  There’s also a link to his motorcycle racing article.

 

Northwest California Motorcycle Routes for a Scenic Road Trip

Riding your motorcycle is a great way to experience the scenic beauty of just about anywhere. Your bike not only takes you from point A to point B, it lets you enjoy a nice breeze while doing so. Some of the most picturesque routes are found in the American Northwest, particularly in California. This means that whenever you are ready to pack your bags and head on a California adventure, you will have many routes to choose from. This is just as true if you plan to focus your trip along Northwest California as it is for routes that take you to other areas of the state.

Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway, or Highway 1, runs along the Pacific Coast of the state, letting you either begin or end your journey in Northwest California. The route covers about 127 miles, so you will need to have enough luggage with you for a few nights. It is an incredibly easy route to follow, where you either start in Monterey or Morro Bay or then end in the other. The simplicity of the route allows you to sit back and enjoy the beautiful sights, including rock outcroppings, rolling hills, majestic mountains, and coastal views. You will find lighthouses, 18th century buildings, and plenty of animals, including monarch butterflies, sharks, gray whales, sea otters, and sea lions.

California Highway 58

Although not completely in Northwest California, State Highway 58 still makes for an excellent motorcycle route when you are in the area. This is sometimes considered to be “The Lost Highway,” because so few are aware of its natural beauty. The route covers 90 miles and starts around 12miles to the west of Bakersfield, California. From there, you just follow Highway 58 west until you reach the coastline. Along the way, you can enjoy farmland, canyons, and more mixed along both relaxing roads and tight turns to keep you on your toes and guarantee your trip is filled with adventure. 

Angeles Crest Highway

Another great, easy-to-follow route for motorcyclists looking for a road trip adventure near Northwest California is the Angeles Crest Highway. This highway includes a portion of State Route 2 and will take you on an adventure covering 66 miles, including spectacular views and excellent riding. Along the way through the San Gabriel Mountains, stop to see the Mount Wilson Observatory, which is perfect for those who enjoy astronomy or simply want an excellent view of the nearby mountains and valleys. As you continue, you find sweeping curves and generous lanes. Consider stopping at Newcomb’s Ranch Restaurant & Bar along the way.

Los Angeles

If you happen to be in Los Angeles instead of Northwest California, you will still have plenty of routes to choose from. You can ride along Mulholland Highway until you reach The Rock Store, which is a restaurant and shop. Taking the Pacific Coast Highway can lead you to Neptune’s Net, a popular seafood restaurant. Other options for afternoon rides that don’t require a large saddlebag include taking Little Tujunga Road all the way to Route 66 Classic Grill or the Malibu Highlands until you reach the Rustic Canyon General Store & Grill.

No matter your preference, packing your motorcycle bags and heading to California can give you an adventure-filled but relaxing road trip you won’t forget.


About the author:

Dewayne Jasper has been riding for over 6 years with his Kawasaki Ninja ZX6R; you can also follow him on Twitter and know about his riding.

Link to Dewayne’s Northwest California Routes with links and pictures in MS Word format.

Link to Dewayne’s Racing Documentaries with links and pictures in MS Word format.

Categories: General | 1 Comment

A Ride To Eat (RTE)

The couple we’ll ride with, Sean & Christine were out-of-town and came back yesterday.  What’s the first thing Donna wanted to get together and do?  Well it was to go riding of course!  Sean & Christine are now in the home stretch of being full-time RV’ers with a contract on their house and had already planned to look at campers and motorhomes today.  We’re leaning in that direction ourselves so Donna came up with the idea for a short ride to lunch for some BBQ and then back towards home to look at campers.  We met later in the morning than normal since it was a lunch ride and we headed for Dawsonville and over Burnt Mountain for lunch in Talking Rock, GA at Biguns BBQ.  This is the same short lunch ride I had led some members of my Blue Knights Chapter on earlier in the week.  But it does amaze me of how much cooler it is on the top of that mountain and it’s not very high.  Today it was sunny and it was 8 degrees (F) cooler on the top of the mountain.  We headed on to Biguns before it got too crowded and it sure did get crowded today.  After lunch it was time to head down to Camping World to do some window shopping.  Donna and I even found a real nice Class C motorhome that we really liked.  It was to the point that we were looking at each other and scheming.  We were at the point that we decided that if we could right now, we’d buy it then buy a trailer for the Magic Carpet and just hit the road.  Maybe in another year or so though.

Today was also the first day that I finally got Donna to wear earplugs while riding too.  She finally gave in!  She had tried foam earplugs in the past but didn’t like them and admittedly they did loosen up and fall look like they were going to fall out.  It was time for me to replace my ETY plugs so I just ordered 2 pair this time.  She really liked them when she tried them on when they got here and then she wore them all day today and found them comfortable.

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A Hooky Ride With Friends

I’m in the Blue Knights Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club.  Today was a “Hooky Ride” that I had planned.  We started “Hooky Rides” a few years ago and they are weekday rides and the idea is to get back home before the school bus does.  The rides were also requested by members who don’t always have weekends off to ride.  I know this may come as a shock but law enforcement is not a Monday through Friday job where you work only during the day.  It was actually a good idea and sometimes we have quite a number of members show up.  It had been a while since we had a “Hooky Ride” so I scheduled one for today.  Other than myself, two other members showed up, B.C. and Steve.  We weren’t going to let that deter us and off we went for a short ride that I had planned out.  I took us on the Hillbilly Drive ride.  This ride was intentionally not long and took us on some local roads from Dawsonville, GA over to Talking Rock, GA to have lunch at Biguns Barbeque.  It was a simple route too, taking us out to GA HWY 183 before taking GA HWY 136 over Burnt Mountain and into Talking Rock.  What a great day to ride too!  When we left Dawsonville it was right at 70°F and a clear, cloudless sky.  Heading over the mountain it dropped to as low as 64ºF and B.C. later said that maybe he should’ve worn a jacket.  Once at lunch, two of B.C.’s friends came by, both retired police officers who had at one time ridden motorcycles for the Atlanta Police Department in their careers.  That meant that counting B.C. and me there were four retired Atlanta Officers who had been motor officers.  While it wasn’t an all day ride it was great day to ride and have lunch with friends!

The weather was great for riding today!

The weather was great for riding today!

Categories: Rides | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Finally, A Nice Long Ride Together

It seems like forever since Donna and I rode together.  Between her job, a stretch of either hot weather or rain and just life in general it seemed like ages since we rode.  In fact the last time we rode was when we went to Maggie Valley, NC back in July.  The other day Donna asked “What’s the weather like for Sunday?  I need a ride and I want to go to Turner’s Corner for lunch.”  We decided that there would be no errands, no chores and if anyone wanted us for anything that wasn’t a bona-fide emergency they’d just have to wait.  With an approaching cold front the forecast kept going back and forth with the forecast for rain.  It’s no fun riding in the rain and this ride was supposed to be fun. On Friday the forecast was improving and then on Saturday it was improving more (although we had already made our decision to ride).  I knew we would ride, no matter what the weather brought when Donna told me to pack her rain pants.

When we left in the morning I did just as requested and headed up to Turner’s Corner Café that sits on the corner of US HWY 19 and US HWY 129.  The Cafe’s true address is even 10 Turner’s Corner RD!  On the way up one of the first things we noticed was that there weren’t many motorcycles on the road with us as we got closer to the north Georgia mountains.  It must have been the gray clouds and temperatures in the upper 60′s in the morning!  Granted the clouds did look like they could rain on us and in fact they did, quite a few times, but never more than enough to just wet the windshield.  Some of the hill and mountain tops were shrouded in fog and clouds.  We took a pretty standard route for us to get to lunch, heading up I-575 until it became GA HWY 515 (to make up time) then GA HWY 53 to Dawsonville, GA HWY 9 on up to Dahlonega and then US HWY 19 to the restaurant.  Along the way near Marble Hill, Donna saw a baptism going on in a creek.  It is a nice curvy ride up there.  Now when I say a US Highway don’t think a multi-lane highway.  These are 2 lane roads in the mountains (Appalachian version of mountains) that are US Highways.  We had a great lunch out on the deck overlooking the river.  We nearly had the deck to ourselves!  Again, it must’ve been those gray skies that looked like rain.  There weren’t even many motorcycles heading up and down Blood Mountain.  I had planned us two rides for after lunch and both started and ended at Turner’s Corner.  I was in luck because Donna picked the long ride!

We headed south for a short distance towards Cleveland, GA but made the turn onto GA HWY 75 ALT (NOT interstate 75) and took it to its other end at GA HWY 17 just north of Helen.  We headed north on GA HWY 17 towards Hiawassee taking the nice twisting and curving part along the way.  We like to use more than just the center portion of the tires!  Once HWY 17 dead ended at GA HWY 76 in Hiawassee we made the right turn towards Clayton.  Before getting to Clayton though we turned right on GA HWY 197 for its twists and curves along Lake Burton before making our next right turn in Batesville onto GA HWY 356 passing through Unicoi State Park.  We ended back at GA HWY 17 just outside of Helen again before heading back past Turner’s Corner and heading back for home.  This whole ride today was all in Georgia but there’s a stretch along GA HWY 76 where you look into North Carolina.

We filled up with gas when we started in the morning and we put 248 miles on that tank of gas today with gas to spare!  Just before we got home the Magic Carpet’s odometer passed 84,000 miles.  But those aren’t the best things about today.  The best part was doing them with Donna sitting behind me on the motorcycle.

Categories: Rides | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

The “Blogroll”

The other day I realized that I read a number of blogs.  I didn’t have links posted for about half of them.  This afternoon I sat down and edited the “blogroll” feature over in the right sidebar.  Instead of listing the more than 20 blogs (which would take up a lot of space over there) I limited the widget to showing a random list of 6 blogs.  Each time a page is visited or refreshed you should see a new list of blogs.  Don’t see yours?  Refresh a few times and you will.

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How Our Motorcycle Got Named “The Magic Carpet”

Boats get names.  Fighter pilots name their airplanes.  Babies get names.  Pets get names.  But I never really thought about naming a motorcycle.  But once we bought our BMW K1200LT I noticed on some of the BMW message boards that the motorcycles had names.  When we had out Suzuki C50T Boulevard we merely just referred to it as the “The motorcycle” or “The Boulevard”.  That seemed simple enough.  But BMW riders were naming their motorcycles and I’m sure they’re not the only ones who do it.  We were trying to come up with names.  “The Big Green Machine” was out, but “The Big German Lady” was a possibility.  It was harder than you think to come up with a name.  Did we want to come up with a name and then translate it into German?

Then one early one brisk morning we were headed up the road to meet some friends to go riding.  We had the stereo, yes a radio station, playing in that nice BMW intercom.  It was a classic rock station that we were listening to.  Then Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” began playing.  My head was moving with the music (luck for Donna I wasn’t singing) and we decided right then that we’d name our BMW K1200LT “The Magic Carpet”.  For some reason it just fit and has been that way ever since.

Categories: Accessories | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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