Yesterday was Mother’s Day here in the US. Donna and her sister took their Mom to lunch and then Donna had to work later that afternoon. I called my Mom who lives in another state. But what did I do on Mother’s Day? Why I went for a motorcycle ride! Now some may think this unusual but Donna has even requested to that before on Mother’s Day and birthdays. I guess I’m one lucky guy.
My Blue Knights Chapter had to cancel a ride the day before because of a forecast of a high probability of thunderstorms. Those thunderstorms never materialized. But there’s an old aviation saying about cancelling a flight that can be compared to motorcycling, “It’s better to be down here wishing you were up there than to be up there wishing you were down here.” So on Sunday a friend, Sean, and I went for a ride. We were going to pre-ride a route for an upcoming Blue Knights ride. We met in Jasper, GA under a nearly cloudless blue sky with temperatures already warming into the mid 60′s. We took off and headed for Talking Rock before heading up over Burnt Mountain on GA HWY 136. I don’t know what it is about Burnt Mountain but it’s always significantly cooler up there. Along the top, the temperature dropped down to 51 and when Donna and I were up there about 2 months ago there was snow on the side of the road when the mountain tops in the area hadn’t seen snow for over a week! We headed on through Dahlonega passing Rider’s Hill and making the turn at the Rock Mound for Turner’s Corner and US HWY 129. Turner’s Corner wouldn’t be our lunch stop today as we were going to have BBQ in Blairsville. But now it’s time to vent. Some people shouldn’t ride motorcycles. Or if they do, they should pull over and let the line of cars and motorcycles pass them. On US 19/GA 9, between GA 60 and US 129 we got stuck behind a couple on a Kawasaki Vulcan cruiser, a “Harley-A-Like” bagger. He had highway pegs mounted high up on his crash bars. He had the pegs angled so his feet pointed to the sides of the road. This guy literally looked like he could’ve been at the gynecologist’s office for an exam! That was just to paint a picture. He would go along at 45 mph or higher; until he reached a curve. When he reached a curve his brake light would come on and he would slow dramatically. Come out of the curve and he’s speed up until the next curve and repeat it again. The entire stretch of road is probably a no passing zone and there was car between us, so I didn’t pass them. Then I noticed (because I had nothing better to do while creeping along) that when he would brake in the curves that his feet were still up on those highway pegs! He was braking hard using only his front brake in curves. When we got to US 129 to go up and over Blood Mountain, this guy on his Kawasaki sadly turned left. Great, now we were going to be behind him on a really curvy road! He started his routine all over again. But luckily, it wasn’t long before we got two lanes on our side of the road with a nice sign that reads “Keep Right Except To Pass”. So I drop to 4th gear, pull out into the left lane give the gas; good. I wanted to pass this guy as quickly as we could! Then to my amazement as I’m parallel to him, he begins changing lanes into me in a curve to the left. I saw the shock and panic on his face. I’m sure that if I had hit my horn he would’ve wrecked. But we put him in our rear view mirrors. It wasn’t until we stopped for lunch that Sean told me how close that Kawasaki had gotten to me. Since Sean and I were both riding solo, we rode a bit more “spirited” than if our wives were with us. The BMW K1200LT is an 850 pound touring motorcycle can that do a pretty good impersonation of a sport bike at times. We got to a nice sweeping, angled and sharp right curve and I was really leaning into to it, “motor officer style”. That means pushing the bike over while your body is upright. Suddenly I felt my right foot peg scraping the road! I guess I was leaning a bit far! Usually when riding 2 up and we’re leaning like that, the side stand on the left or the center stand on the right will scrape first as a warning. I didn’t get that warning being solo and it surprised me a bit. I got to thinking later and realized that those foot pegs are pretty high off the ground to begin with. In the same spot Sean drug the right floorboard of his Victory Cross County Tour through the whole curve. We had a really good time going up and over the mountain. If you’ve been in the area you know what a well maintained, curvy and fun road US 129 over Blood Mountain can be. We stopped for lunch in Blairsville before getting back on the motorcycles and taking a more sedate and leisurely route home. As we were getting ready to leave the BBQ restaurant, a group of 5 Triumph motorcycles pulled in just in time to take our parking spots as the lot was full. I even made it back home in time to kiss Donna before she headed off for work. But I did cook her a dinner she wanted when she got home. Now Donna wants to go for a ride because it’s been a while. Where should we go………..