This past weekend we rode with my Blue Knights Chapter up to the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge & Campground in Stecoah, NC. It’s turned into an annual overnight ride up there on the last operating weekend of the lodge for the season. Donna and I led our group up there again on a route that got us up there about 2:00 in the afternoon, right at check in time.
We met our group in Jasper on Saturday morning where it was a crisp 30 degrees (F) under a cloudless blue sky. The group had opted for a combination of scenic roads and faster major roads. In the past we took our time and arrived later in the afternoon. Our route took us up Georgia HWY 515 to Young Harris where we took GA HWY 66 into North Carolina and eventually came out on US129 in Murphy, NC before heading for our lunch stop in Robbinsville, NC. After lunch it was just a quick 20 minute ride to the Iron Horse. Along the way I had built in a “pit stop” in Blairsville, GA and it was a good thing I did. One of our members was having problems with her heated gloves and needed a quick repair. The problem was a blown fuse, which she had extras of and one member even had a multi tester in his motorcycle! The leaves on the way up are just about peaking in their colors. When we arrived at the Iron Horse it had warmed into the mid 50′s for temperatures and actually felt nice. It’s always fun to gather on the porch, have a few drinks and talk about the ride. We also noticed that there were a few hearty souls who were tent camping! We say hearty as the temperature had gone down to 25 degrees (F) the night before. We were glad we were staying in cabin rooms with heat! On Saturday’s the dinner choices at the lodge are either prime rib or salmon, so this is no rustic campground! After dinner the group outside had formed a tight circle around the campfire so we opted to stay in the lodge to chat and have drinks.
Although the forecast was for 35 degrees (F) overnight it only got down to 40 but there had been an overnight shower. We never noticed it as we were tucked in our bed in the cabin with the heat on. It was time to head down for our “Biker’s Breakfast” before packing up and heading for home. For the trip back I had planned for us to ride through the Nantahala Gorge along the Nantahala River, one of the venues for the 1996 Sumer Olympics. From there it was down US 64 through western North Carolina and into Tennessee. We rode through such exotic places as Copperhill and rode past McCaysville Drug and Gun Store in McCaysville, Georgia before coming back out on GA HWY 515 in Blue Ridge and heading south for home.
Even thought it was cold in the beginning of the first day, it was still a great weekend to ride and spend time with friends. And after all, that’s what’s all about.
The morning sun coming up over the ridge at the Iron Horse.
Arrived at the Iron Horse!
Donna and I on the way home around Murphy, NC.
The Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge.
Most of our group at dinner at the Iron Horse.
McCaysville Drug & Gun!
Stecoah Creek runs through the Iron Horse property.
A quick repair to some heated gloves.
Our route to Robbinsville, near the Iron Horse.
Our route home from the Iron Horse.
To get run over by the Beemer. But more about that later.
Today we headed off for a ride in a different direction going towards northwest Georgia this time. I had a Blue Knights lunch meeting in Talking Rock that we rode to. It is a motorcycle club after all. After the meeting we had planned to ride up to around Ringgold, GA with Sean & Christine to look around at an RV dealer. We headed north and east using GA HWY 136, US HWY 411 and GA HWY 2 into Ringgold and then to the dealer which pretty much straddled the Georgia and Tennessee state line. While not quite as curvy as northeast Georgia it was still a nice summer ride.
Now about the chicken. North of Chatsworth, GA while on US HWY 411 we ran over a chicken. In all fairness someone had already hit the chicken but it blended in the asphalt pretty good and made a mess when we ran it over. The side stand, center stand and the bottom of Donna’s floor board got most of it. If we hadn’t got her the floor boards she probably would’ve gotten chicken on her boot and pants! In all my years of riding this counts as my third bird, well maybe two and a half. I hit a pigeon in downtown Atlanta while at work riding a Harley Davidson FXRP police motorcycle (that was really messy) and we hit a crow 2 years ago while headed up to Virginia for our Blue Ridge Parkway trip.
The remnants of a chicken that had tried to cross the road.
My Blue Knights Chapter rode a route in north Georgia today that is known as “The Gauntlet“. It’s a 133 mile route of twisting and curvy mountain roads. We had 5 motorcycles with 9 people (3 motorcycles were 2 up) meet for breakfast in Dahlonega before departing. When we headed across the Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway we ran into fog that was so thick it felt like rain. Then on the way down that mountain we did get roads wet with rain. We stopped to don some raingear and to decide if we should continue. We decided that if it looked like rain at our turn for Hiawassee, we’d head for home. The skies didn’t clear but the clouds stopped leaking so we headed for Hiawassee and our lunch stop at the Blue Otter on the shores of Chatuge Lake. After lunch it was time to finish the route and head for places like The Biker Barn and more curvy roads around Nottley Lake and points south and east. The group was just the right size to easily keep together. We’ve actually ridden every one of these roads, except for one before but this was the first time riding all of them in the same day. It makes for a long day of riding and we put a total of 248 miles on the Magic Carpet today
That’s right you saw “guns” in the title!
This morning was the 3rd annual Ride n Shoot put on by my Blue Knights Chapter as a friendly competition for our members. The rules are simple: You meet for breakfast (eating breakfast is optional), then ride your motorcycle to the pistol range, and then shoot the Georgia Double Action Pistol Course. The member with the highest score on the course wins. If a member doesn’t ride their motorcycle over they can still shoot, but they’re not eligible to win unless they ride your motorcycle from the restaurant. Remember, it is a motorcycle club after all. I ate and rode but I didn’t win. I did however as expected shoot a passing score in order to complete the paperwork to continue to carry a pistol nationwide, should I choose, as a retired law enforcement officer.
It was a gorgeous day to ride too. In fact it so nice that a smaller group of us decided to ride back towards Canton, GA on the back roads and have lunch at the Corner Café in the Lathemtown community before all riding home. Hence the title of the article.
It was a good, fun day to spend with friends. Now I just have to work on hitting center mass better from back at the 25 yard line.
Members of my Blue Knights Chapter arriving at Sharp Shooters Firing Range.
Tags: blue knights
Donna and I went on our first two-up ride in well over a month today. With everything that’s been going on and trips to Florida we needed to just get out and ride for fun. My Blue Knights Chapter was going to ride and go to lunch at Bigun’s Barbeque in Talking Rock, GA. But they were meeting over near Cumming, GA. Sean, who lives much closer to us wanted to meet somewhere closer to home and we’d ride up on our own and meet the rest of the Chapter at the restaurant.
Donna remembered how to climb onto the back of the motorcycle and off we went. It was good having her back there again. Sean led us on a nice ride up to the restaurant. Our ride took us all the way up East Cherokee DR. A nice curvy portion had just been paved (the equipment was still parked off the road) so it had that nice new, smooth and “grippy” asphalt. It was fun! We did meet the rest of the group when they arrived at the restaurant behind us. The barbeque wasn’t all that impressive but it was more about being with friends. Man, we needed that ride!
The Magic Carpet and its often riding partner The Roadrunner at Bigun’s Barbeque.
Tags: blue knights
Yesterday was Donna’s birthday. Guess what one of the things she wanted to on her birthday was? That’s right you guessed it, she wanted to go for a motorcycle ride!
There were already a few other things planned so I explained we were trying to put 10 hours of activity into 8 hours. But as luck would have it, some of my Blue Knights members were trying to put together an impromptu ride in northern Georgia for today! So, we met Sean & Christine (and their Victory Cross Country Tour) in Woodstock and headed for Dawsonville to meet the three other motorcycles that were riding today; B.C. & Carol on their Harley Davidson Ultra Classic, Steve on his Harley Davidson Road King and Bill on his Harley Davidson Road King. This was also the first time in quite a while that we had more two-up motorcycles than solo riders. We had a great day riding as the sun peaked in and of the clouds and the temperature rose to 70 degrees. We all lunched in north Georgia along a river and on the way home we stopped so I could buy Donna some ice cream. And the rain held off until we were home for about an hour!
Today was my monthly Blue Knights lunch and meeting. This month it was held at Poole’s Real Pit BBQ in Ellijay, Georgia. Our Chapter Officers hatched an idea to have 2 different groups ride to Jasper, GA where we met and then ride on up to the restaurant in Ellijay. The forecast was decidedly chilly, being in the mid 30′s for the ride up. Three of us rode up from Woodstock to Jasper where we met eight more motorcycles and members. We met a few members at the restaurant who went ahead and rode up in their cars. The plan was that after the meeting our Vice President would lead a ride across Fort Mountain from Ellijay to Chatsworth and then on south towards most of our homes. We thought we had a total of three members who decided to go on the ride and then it dwindled down to just two of us. As we were preparing to leave, I asked “Were those snowflakes?” Sure enough they were. A slight chance of snow flurries was in the forecast had come true. Sean and I headed across the mountain where the temperature did drop to 31 degrees for a while as we rode through more snow flurries. Nothing stuck to the ground, the motorcycles or us and the road never got wet. It was fun seeing the snow while riding though and Sean and I had fun, both making it back home by mid afternoon.
One thing I tried out on this ride was using my Window Phone with the Scala Rider Teamset Pro. I previously had an older Windows Mobile phone that I used easily with it to make and receive short calls by voice. But my Windows Phone 7.5 has the ability to read me text messages via Bluetooth and even let me reply. So, I sent Donna a text message before we left. She replied and when the intercom gave me the choice to “ignore or read” I said “read” and it read me the message. I then said the “reply” option and spoke my reply and told it to send it. I’m not sure if I’d use this a lot but it’s nice to know that I can when I don’t have the Scala Rider paired with the GPS.
The video below is of members leaving the restaurant after our meeting.
Well here it is the first day of 2013 and I started the year off with a motorcycle ride. It might’ve been 48 degrees and raining but a friend of mine, Sean and I rode anyway. Our Blue Knights Chapter had our annual New Years Day meeting and ride. Well the ride was supposed to be to the meeting. As it turns out, because of the weather, Sean and I were the only ones who rode motorcycles to it. Like Sean said, “We’re a motorcycle club!” It wasn’t a bad ride either. You just learn to dress for it and you’re quite comfortable while riding.
This was also my first Blue Knights meeting in 4 years where I wasn’t the Chapter’s Vice President. I had encouraged Sean to run for the office and he did. He was also elected to the office. My Chapter really surprised me with a nice plaque honoring me for my 4 years as Vice President. And the lunch we all enjoyed during the meeting was pretty good too!
It was a chilly and wet ride on New Year’s Day.
The Magic Carpet reached a minor milestone today. While in Dahlonega, GA and returning home from a ride with friends the Magic Carpet’s odometer reached and passed 70,000 miles. No, I didn’t ride 70,000 with friends today!
My Blue Knights Chapter held a “Hooky Ride” today and 5 of us met and rode some crooked north Georgia roads and then stopped in at the Batesville General Store for lunch before heading home. A “Hooky Ride” is a weekday ride where you take the day off or are already off from work. Well almost everybody as two of us today were retirees. We did run into an issue on Georgia HWY 17 though. Just as we were ascending the mountain and the road was getting twisty we found that a truck or a motor home had leaked a nice trail of diesel fuel all the way up the mountain in the curves. This was not fun as diesel fuel is basically oil, doesn’t evaporate quickly like gasoline and is very slippery. Luckily none of slipped and went down. It was a great day to get out and ride 200 miles with some friends and then watch the odometer roll over to 70000!
The Magic Carpet came home with 70,072 miles on the odometer today.