Sean & Randy return with the jumper cables. Don’t they make a cute couple?
Yesterday, members of my Blue Knights Chapter were going to meet for what’s called “Pancakes on the porch” at Rider’s Hill in Dahlonega, GA. A group of us were scheduled to meet in Woodstock and ride up there. We prepared to leave and one of the motorcycles, a 2002 Harley Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic wouldn’t start. Randy was quick to begin getting the seat off and trying to diagnose his issue. Sean and I decided a push start might be in order. Let me tell you, pushing a full dresser touring bike and its driver is a chore! The bike almost started but we ran out of hill. So more tinkering was in order. The lights would light but it seemed there just wasn’t enough juice to turn the starter. Someone spied an auto parts store just down the street and Randy got on the back of Sean’s Victory Cross Country Tour and they returned from the store with a set of motorcycle jumper cables! Now it got even more interesting. Sean started getting tools out to access the battery on the Victory which was down low, in front of the engine, behind some body work. The other motorcycle, a Harley Davidson Road King also required tools to remove the seat and then get to the battery. Now on Randy’s Ultra Classic I had just watched him remove his seat and get to his battery without using a single tool. So I moved the K1200LT, raised the seat (by releasing it with a knob in the side case) and there was my battery! Just like the Ultra Classic. Well no joy, it wouldn’t jump-start. Then the jokes started. “Hey Chris, use your smartphone and Google “Harley won’t start”. There shouldn’t be too many hits!” But Sean had Randy try to start the bike while he hit the starter with a pair of pliers. It cranked right up! A stuck solenoid on the starter seemed to be the issue. So it was off to Rider’s Hill.
We got to the Hill and enjoyed the dinner plate sized pancakes with friends. Randy’s Ultra Classic started up and he headed for home, not wanting to push his luck and to do some diagnostic work about his starter. For many of us the ride to Rider’s Hill was the ride for the day. Donna and I along with Sean and Christine on their Victory had already made plans to head to Camping World in Oakwood, GA to look at motorhomes and to have the hot dog and hamburger lunch they were offering. It was a nice ride down there. We had lunch and then looked in some really nasty used motorhomes! I’m not kidding. They could’ve at least cleaned them before offering them for sale. But that aside, we then headed for home. I heard from Donna, “You’re not going to put that jacket on are you?” It was hot and I gave into her suggestion. But now hindsight showed I was probably warmer WITHOUT the cloth, vented motorcycle jacket! I pretty much expected that. But the four of us did stop for ice cream on the way home so that made it a little better.
We pulled into the garage at the end of the day and noticed a few drops of liquid under my right foot peg. Closer inspection showed it to brake fluid that was leaking. So it looks like I’ve got a repair in my very near future.
My Blue Knights Chapter had scheduled one of its weekday “Hooky Rides” for today and had planned to ride “The Gauntlet” in northern Georgia. Well, we had only three of us show up for breakfast and to ride. The Gauntlet is a 133 mile loop showcasing some of north Georgia’s great motorcycling roads. We began the loop at the intersection of US HWY 19 and US HWY 129 at Turner’s Corner (the bottom of the attached image below, above Dahlonega, and rode it counter-clockwise). If you’re skilled enough, you can get some wear on the sides of your tires too on this ride. Two of us today are former motor officers from the Atlanta Police Department and the third is just a flat-out good rider. Part of this ride literally has North Carolina on one side of the road and Georgia on the other! For some reason this ride takes all day to complete. We could’ve easily ridden up to Deal’s Gap and ridden The Tail of the Dragon and come back in the time it took to ride this 133 mile loop. We had a cloudless blue sky and started with temperatures in the mid 60’s F and reaching 88° F in Dahlonega when we finished. It really is a fun route to ride. I wore my new Tourmaster Air Tracker mesh pants and they were great on this warm day. I also wore my River Road Laughlin jacket, from Motorcycle House, all day, opening the vents in the jacket as it warmed. The jacket got warm sitting in some traffic in Dahlonega and again in Woodstock on the way home but cooled off as expected once I got moving again. At the end of the day the Magic Carpet got parked in the garage with 81,473 miles on her odometer.
The Gauntlet is marked in red.
Today was the first Saturday this season for “Pancakes On The Porch” at Rider’s Hill in Dahlonega, GA. These are not just pancakes, these are HUGE pancakes. These pancakes are the size of a dinner plate! Don’t ask me how they cook them without burning them and flip them without breaking them. Whatever you do, don’t order two.
My Blue Knights Chapter rode up to Rider’s Hill from various locations to enjoy some of those pancakes with our friends as well as some members of Blue Knights Georgia IX who showed up too. We had planned on a ride somewhere in the area after our hearty pancake breakfast. As it turned out many of our members had “honey do lists” waiting for them back home or just wanted to head home. Maybe they wanted to head home for a nap but I would’ve preferred napping in the rocking chairs on the porch to the symphony of motorcycle engines. One member on his Gold Wing joined Donna and me for a short ride. As Steve put it, “It’s too beautiful a day to not go for a ride.”
We headed north from Rider’s Hill and took Georgia HWY 60 past the “rock pile” and Two Wheels of Suches. We made the right onto the stretch of Georgia HWY 180 which is named Wolf Pen Gap RD on the stretch between GA HWY 60 and US HWY 129 (the map image below DOES NOT do this road justice). Once at HWY 129 we made the right and then headed up and over Blood Mountain and back for Rider’s Hill. After a short break we headed for home. Down in Dawsonville, they were having “Spring Fling Days” and we wanted to avoid any traffic from that (we got caught in road closures for a foot race on the way up), so after we left Dahlonega we took Georgia HWY 52. While on HWY 52 we saw a sign for a street named Myrtle Beach so in a way, sort of, we rode to Myrtle Beach today. We branched off on Georgia HWY 183 before making the turn on Georgia HWY 53 towards Jasper and then on for home.
There were a lot of BMW Motorcycle out on the road today as the BMW Motorcycle Club of Georgia was holding its annual Georgia Mountain Rally up in Hiawassee, Georgia.
The odometer on the Magic Carpet passed through 81,000 miles today and now sits in the garage plugged into the battery tender with an odometer that reads 81,163 miles.
Part of the parking lot at Rider’s Hill this morning for “Pancakes on the Porch”.
Wolf Pen Gap RD between Georgia HWY 60 and US HWY 129.
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 home from the Iron Horse.
Donna and I on the way home around Murphy, NC.
Arrived at the Iron Horse!
Most of our group at dinner at the Iron Horse.
McCaysville Drug & Gun!
A quick repair to some heated gloves.
Our route to Robbinsville, near the Iron Horse.
Stecoah Creek runs through the Iron Horse property.
The morning sun coming up over the ridge at the Iron Horse.
The Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge.
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