We had some friends come through Montgomery last Friday on their way to spend a few days at 29 Dreams Motorcycle Resort up near Birmingham. Kit and Peeka Boo, who live in Tallahassee, FL., met Kit's brother and his wife, Mr. J and Jtoo in Dothan, AL., and rode up together. The J's live in PC with most of our other friends and we haven't seen either of them since we partied together in Holt. (See my BikeFest Series, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly)
We met them for lunch at Ryan's Friday as they were traveling through, and after we filled up our bellies, we decided to ride up the road with them for a while. Jtoo rides her own Road King and I had to compliment her on her tag. "RDQWN". She told a quick story about some young guy talking to her about her cool "Road Queen", but he thought the Road Kings were cool too! We just laughed about how many people will say the stupidest things to try and appear cool and knowledgeable.
We mounted up and headed north, up Hwy 231 to Hwy 9 and made a pit stop in Rockford, AL at Indian Hills Motorcycle Resort. Kit wanted to check out this facility, and it gave us a great place to stop for a stretch and a drink. We split ways here though, and headed back home to Montgomery, and they proceeded north to 29 Dreams. We made plans to meet the next morning in Talladega and ride up to Mt.Cheaha State Park and spend the day riding and sight seeing around that area.
At 2407 feet, Mt. Cheaha is Alabama's highest point in elevation. The view is beautiful and on a pretty day, you can see for miles. The Park has cabins and chalets available along with a full restaurant and hotel. For those who like it rough, primitive camping is available, and swimming too! It would be a great place to have a chapter meeting or a group weekend getaway. There is a lot of nice riding in this area. It's fun and curvy on one side of the mountain, and more curvy and slower going on the other side. Harley and I have ridden up here so often, I would have to consider it one of my favorite places to ride.
It's Saturday... Flag Day. The day was perfect! A slightly overcast sky kept the sun from scorching us, which just made the ride even more pleasant. Unfortunately, something was wrong with Mr. J's bike and they weren't able to join us. We hoped they would get it going and join up later, but no such luck. Sadly, Jtoo stayed behind with him, but they made the best of it by enjoying some rest and relaxation back at camp.
We met Kit and Peeka Boo in Oxford, and after a short visit to the Mt. Cheaha Harley Davidson Dealership, we started our ascent up to the park. Boo was snapping pics as we rode and she got one of me leading us up the mountain. Harley's gauges weren't working, and being more familiar with the road, I took the lead. I'm usually not in front, but I have to say, I liked it! I could get used to that!
We took advantage of some great photo opportunities at the scenic overlooks. A really nice fella, also out riding, didn't mind taking the time to snap this pic of Harley, me, Peeka Boo and Kit. Thanks Dude!
Of course, I had to get one of our bikes on the overlook, with the beautiful Talladega National Forest in the background.
We stopped at the top and stretched our legs and took some more pics. I was having fun! Kit and Boo were taking it all in and I think they were enjoying the ride too. I always get satisfaction from my rides, and I think today was a little more special because we were sharing it with someone. As we continued on our way down the twisty curves on the other side of Mt. Cheaha we went through Talladega and ended up near Pell City.
We found a good smelling BBQ Shack and decided to stop and get something good to eat. Since I'm the one who spotted it, I'm glad we weren't disappointed. To be honest, I smelled it before I saw it. I bet you can't do THAT in a car! I guess I have a good nose sense for good grub!
After we ate lunch, we took a couple of county roads south and rode along the Coosa River and Logan Martin Lake. It didn't seem long before we came to the turn were Kit and Boo would head west to go back to 29 Dreams, and Harley and I would proceed south to Montgomery. We waved our goodbyes and made promises of keeping in touch. "Bye! Ride Safe!"
As I watched them ride off, I just smiled. I was thinking, "What a great day we had!" I enjoyed seeing our riding friends again and I look forward to the next time we can have an opportunity to get together. I hate we didn't get to have as much time with Mr. J and Jtoo, but at least we got to share a nice lunch and short ride together.
The fact that this Saturday was the day that Harley and I celebrated our 28th year around the block of life together, I couldn't think of any other way I would have wanted to spend it. I got to ride my motorcycle all day with the love of my life, and we had some nice friends to share it with! Ride on and ride safe!
Sunday, June 15, 2008
This is our day to celebrate our fathers. I want to pay a special tribute to my dad, my hero.
I am an only daughter, and the oldest in a family with three brothers, so this led me to have a very unique and special relationship with my dad. I was the first one to break him in for all those dad challenges. First kid driving, first kid to date, first one to leave home, you know the drill. Being an only daughter made this more difficult for him, but sometimes it had it's privileges also. I was special!
When I was a little girl, my dad would let me dance on his feet. He would twirl me around and move me to the music. Everywhere he stepped, I would be right in sync. I would laugh and never want him to stop and eventually he would say, I tire him out and it's time for him to dance on my feet! I know many other fathers dance with their daughters this way, and we were no different. He took me to all my Father Daughter Girl Scout events and was my best coach during my softball days. Many Fridays, he would work his tail off, setting up a campsite for our family for the weekend, just to tear it all down again on Sunday. We would have the best time though! I am very thankful that my Dad was around to make memories like this with me.
He's a tinkerer and can't be still. He loves to get into projects and he was always fixing things around the house. To this day, when he comes to visit, Harley will leave little things around undone, just so it will give my Dad something to do. I can appreciate his pride in a job completed and his comfort in knowing that his daughter still needs his help with things.
As long as I can remember, while we were growing up, he always had a motorcycle. He had a Honda 650 he would ride to work everyday that he could, except when the winters set in. Iowa didn't allow year round riding. He and my mom enjoyed riding with friends and when us kids were old enough, they would take off for weekend trips. He didn't bat an eye (not that I saw anyway) when some of my boyfriends would pick me up for dates on motorcycles. It's been several years now since he sold his bike, but Mom said he was very proud that day I called and said, "Dad! I'm riding my own now!" And of course, that didn't come without some words of wisdom and lots of, "be careful out there!"
My dad's getting older and slower these days, but he's still that strong minded, well meaning man he always was. I want thank him for the sacrifices he endured in order to raise his family, and the love and support he always showed us. A lot of my personality, I get honestly from him and I wouldn't have it any other way. Thanks Dad! Happy Fathers Day! I love you.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Saturday came with a warm temperature of 92 degrees, and clear blue skies. A perfect day to ride, and ride we did!
Harley and I set out after a late breakfast and just headed east. No particular place to go, we just wanted to enjoy the day with the wind in our face and daily life off our backs. Time for therapy. After a few turns here and there we found ourselves on the east side of our favorite lake. Lake Martin is a great recreation destination, and we find ourselves riding around it's shores often. Boating ramps, camping areas, and fishing spots are available all around the 720 miles of shoreline, and it's a great place to spend the hot summer days.
We stopped at a nice little rest area with a hiking path and picnic tables called Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail. This beautiful overlook is at the southeast corner of the lake looking west toward Kawliga Bridge. We found this place by accident a few years ago, and it's fun to come here every now and then, just to look at the lake, while we have a stretch. Every year for the 4th of July, there is a huge fireworks show on the water near the bridge. This little area draws quite a large crowd of onlookers, all wanting to take advantage of the spectacular view.
Looking at all the boats in water, reminded me of the days when we had a pontoon. We had the "Party Barge" for three summers and we spent a lot of time up here and had a tremendous amount of fun! It's funny how I don't miss it though. I guess it was fun while it lasted. I think of the poor saps down on the lake paying $8.00 a gallon for gas at the marinas and figure, that's why I don't miss it. My Glide gets me all the entertainment I want and then some, and it doesn't take near the hit on my wallet for gas. And on a hot summer day like this, I just look forward to the pool waiting for me at the end of the ride.
Continuing on our way, we rode west on CR 50 and stopped at the Jack B. Venable bridge on the Tallapoosa River. The history behind old broken bridges like one this interest me. These retired, crumbling bridge abutments stood as haunting reminders of the original structure that once graced this spot. They almost seem like a sad memorial to an era gone by, and the history they hold deteriorates with them as they age and weather. Proudly, the new stronger bridge stands mockingly significant, next it's decaying mentor.
We road about 200 miles and got back home 5 hours or so later, feeling completely content with the way the day had evolved. Nothing crazy happened to either of us. No dive bombing hawks or darting foxes. No u-turning SUVs controlled by teenage drivers. Just us, the road, and a warm summer day to ride your worries away. The sun warmed us up a little, so taking that cool refreshing dip in the pool was the best ending to a great day. Ride on! Lady R