In spite of the slushy insinuation from my earlier post, Have Fun... But Be Responsible!, I had a very mild and quiet New Year's Eve. Our friends, Big Ed and Red Light Roxanne came up from Panama City to spend the New Year with us and enjoy a nice couple of days. We planned to eat dinner at one of our favorite local Mexican Restaurants and then had every intention of hitting our little neighborhood bar, the It'll Do, for a couple more before heading home. But after the "medium" Margarita's came, and they were the size of fish bowls, we were well on our way to la la land when we left the restaurant. We decided to take it to the house and let the "Amateurs" have the road for the evening.
On New Year's Day, Big Ed and Roxanne had a prior family commitment to be fulfilled. While they did that, Harley and I decided a nice way to bring in the New Year was to take the Glides for a ride. So we did. A couple of weeks ago, on a previous ride, we tried to find Hwy. 68, a road that crosses over I-65 somewhere near Verbena, AL. Don't ask me the purpose of our need to find this highway, other than the fact that we knew it was there, and we've never been on it. We headed north via Hwy 143 to Hwy 31 until we spotted a road we suspected to be the illusive Hwy. 68. Harley committed us to a left turn, but proceeded slowly down this new road until we saw the marker. Bingo! Hwy 68! The road was our reward.
The 57 degrees kept the air chilly, but the sun did it's best to shed a little warmth on you between the shady spots. The coolness was invigorating and head clearing, as we sliced through the cold air, taking to the road with the anticipation of a newly found treasure. I love exploring new roads, because that means there's something new to see. Hwy 68 was dappled with rural homes and pastures. Old barns and farms loomed in the distance, and the cows were curled up on the ground as though they were trying to stay warm. I could understand their plight, as by this time, my fingers were pretty cold from riding. I've mentioned before, my Christmas $ will come in handy to help me remedy my "cold fingers" dilemma. We continued on this road for several miles until it came to an end at Hwy 57, where we turned north and headed toward the little community of Verbena, AL.
As we approached Verbena, we had the misfortune of having to avoid a chasing dog... not! Let me explain. Having ridden in these rural areas, I have become quite familiar with the hazard of loose running dogs, who like to take on our motorcycles in a game of "Road Kill Chicken". Problem with this game is... I don't want to become the Road Kill! I've gotten pretty good at surveying the scene and adjusting my velocity so both, me and my adversary, can come away unharmed with the promise to challenge each other again, another day. Not everything goes as planned for some Canine Gladiators and this was the case for one such Bull Dog in Verbena. Harley was in the lead and noticed the Bull Dog first and pointed him out to me. I could tell Harley was already making changes to his momentum as I looked over, and saw the Bull Dog about 50 feet from the road, running full sprint along side of us. Just as I was about to alter my throttle, I noticed something on the back of the Bull Dogs neck. What was it? Oh no... he's on a leash! Now you see him... SNAG! Now you don't! That poor dog went Alley Oop, from 20 mph. to 0 mph. in 1.2 seconds. There's no doubt, I very much appreciate the fact, that this poor dog's owners had him on a leash, or things could have turned out ugly for us. But dang, that had to have hurt! Harley remarked later, when we were rehashing the Bull Dog episode, that the owners should at least consider putting a Bungie cord on the end of his leash, to allow for a smoother transition from go... to stop. They could call it Bull Dog Bungie.
Verbena is a very small little community just south of Clanton. As we rode through, I found myself riding down a storybook country road with this quaint little country Church sitting at the end of it, in a sharp curve. It was such a picturesque moment, one of those peaceful times that hits you suddenly, and you realize... "Life is good. I'm so glad I'm doing what I'm doing right now!" We passed on by the pretty Church and went on into Clanton to enjoy a New Year's Day Wattaburger! I told Harley while we were eating, I wished we'd have stopped and got a picture of the Church. He didn't say much at the moment, but on our way back, he took a turn that allowed us to go back by the Church so I could get this shot. He's such a good guy. We then got on Hwy 31 South and started coming back to Montgomery. We figured Big Ed and Roxanne would be through with their family activity soon, and we should get back to the house.
I'm very happy our friends came to visit and allowed us to be able to spend some time together. We always enjoy their company and I look forward to seeing them again. I was really glad I had the opportunity to ride on New Year's Day. I hope it sets a precedence for 2009, with good rides to come in the days ahead. There were several moments during my ride that allowed me the chance to ponder my resolutions, organize my goals for this year, and just have my own little pep rally to help me get ready for the year. I hope 2009 is better, but only time will tell. I can't think of a better way to start... than riding in the New Year!
Author's note: I apologize for the lack of pictures of this ride, but it was cold! Too much trouble taking gloves and liners on and off. We plan to ride again on Saturday to real pretty area, with the intent of trying to get some nice pics. We're supposed to have temps reaching 72, so it should be a nice day to ride.