Winter finally loosened its grip a little bit today. I had a Blue Knights meeting up in Canton, GA this afternoon. Since it’s a motorcycle club I figured I should ride my motorcycle. It wasn’t a long ride but it was enough to shake the cobwebs out a bit and to tease me a little. Four of us met in Woodstock and rode up in a group. After lunch and the meeting I took a solo ride back home on a little longer route going past Lake Allatoona, a bit curvier than I-575, the way we had ridden up. On of our members is a retired U.S. Marshal and now has an actual saddle as his motorcycle seat! Yes, he has a child’s pony saddle on his motorcycle as the seat!
Tomorrow is forecast to be 60 degrees (F) and partly cloudy (or is that mostly sunny?). Maybe I can talk Donna into an afternoon ride.
“Doc”, a retired U.S. Marshal, now has a saddle on his motorcycle.
Tags: blue knights
My Blue Knights Chapter usually holds out first meeting of the year on January 1st and members try to also ride to the meeting. It’s just a cool tradition to ride on the first day of the year, if you can do so safely. Although it was a short ride to lunch and a meeting (I had bangers and mash), it was still a ride nonetheless. So today, on the first day of the new year we also got in our first ride of the new year!
First ride of the new year to the Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub.
Today was the BMW Motorcycle Club of Georgia’s annual Toy Ride to the Towns County Georgia Sheriff’s Office. The club holds its Georgia Mountain Rally every spring in Hiawassee, GA which is located in Towns County. The county and the area are extremely hospitable to the visiting motorcyclists and this one of the club’s ways of thanking the community. The Sheriff’s Office is the dropping off location and distribution center for toys that will be distributed throughout the county from several sources or from deputies who have found children or families in need of some help during Christmas. Toys can be picked up at the sheriff’s office or even delivered. In some cases toys are even left secretly by deputies. The club asks motorcyclists to drop off unwrapped toys at the two Atlanta area BMW Motorcycle dealers. Then on the day before the ride Blue Moon Cycle’s toys are brought to BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta, where the ride to deliver the toys leaves the next morning. Any motorcycle is welcome to ride and help spread some holiday cheer. This year we filled the sprinter van up! There were even 5 bicycles loaded into the van.
This year, my friend Sean joined me on the ride on his Victory Cross Country Tour. As I was riding to meet Sean for the ride to the dealer it was 40 degrees (F) and there were a few snow flurries floating around. Perfect weather to help out Santa Claus! We got to the dealer where the riders were treated to hot drinks and breakfast before we all helped load the van. There were about 30 -35 motorcycles riding up this year. As we headed up north the temperature was dropping and the sky was still overcast. The heated grips and heated seat were put to use. Every year we have a scheduled stop in Blue Ridge, GA. In Blue Ridge we were greeted with snowflakes falling from the sky and a temperature of 34 degrees (F). Again, perfect for Christmas! I looked at my phone and was greeted with a weather advisory for freezing mist and freezing fog for the Blue Ridge area. After our pit stop we were back on our way to Hiawassee to deliver the toys. As we rode on, we could see snow at the higher elevations. The sheriff and his staff were there to greet us with coffee, hot chocolate and Christmas cookies while we unloaded our toys to be added to what had already been collected. I don’t know how anyone was able to get any work done at the Sheriff’s Office as the offices were all filled with donated toys. Their goal is that no child in the county should not go without a Christmas toy.
After dropping off the toys our group started splitting up to head for lunch and home. Sean and I took a ride up and over Blood Mountain on US HWY 129, looking at some snow-covered mountain tops. On most of our ride to lunch the temperature had dropped to 31 degrees (F) and we could even see some of the freezing fog at the higher elevations above us and at Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia. We stopped in for a leisurely lunch at Turner’s Corner Café before continuing on for home. Sean had made an observation today too. As most motorcycles were BMWs (there was Sean’s Victory, a Triumph Tiger and Suzuki V-Strom also) he noticed that most riders were wearing armored, fabric riding gear and full faced helmets, including him, instead of jeans and leather jackets. He also noted there wasn’t a “beanie” helmet in the bunch.
It was fun to help out Santa Claus. I also tried out a feature on my phone that’s called “BlackBerry Storymaker” that can make a “story” from pictures or video and that attempt is right below here.
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.
Our route to Robbinsville, near the Iron Horse.
The Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge.
The morning sun coming up over the ridge at the Iron Horse.
Stecoah Creek runs through the Iron Horse property.
Arrived at the Iron Horse!
Donna and I on the way home around Murphy, NC.
McCaysville Drug & Gun!
Our route home from the Iron Horse.
A quick repair to some heated gloves.
Most of our group at dinner at 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!