Sunday, February 18, 2018

Happy birthday to me :)

It was SUCH an awesome weekend.  I wish I had 2 more days ... then 2 more days after that ... then 2 more ... you get the point.  Yesterday was raining and miserable, so we drug the teenager to the range and he FINALLY got to shoot for the first time.  Now ... my son has been into/out of a lot of things, and guns is one of them.  He has watched videos of how to clean them, load them, shoot them, what brands/models are for what ... he's definitely a Youtube expert on such things.  We rented a 9 mm Beretta cop issue.  He shot the first round beautifully, then the 2nd bullet jammed.  Instantly, I felt a small panic rise up inside me, but oh so calmly he ejected the bullet, lined up his next shot, and pulled the trigger.  That round fired off fine, but then the next bullet jammed.  Again, he super calmly ejected it, then shot again.  His entire "turn" went like that; fire, jam, fire, jam.  I took the gun for my turn, and same thing happened to me.  Head scratch, the range officer had no problem, and David had no problem, so I think the issue w/ Kody and I was that our wrists were moving too much.  We traded that one in for a "civillian" issue of the same gun, and had no more jamming issues.  I am so proud of Kody; he shot like he'd been doing it his whole life.  He loved it, thanked us profusely for taking him.

3 Muskateers

Today, we sent the baby with his grandparents for "their week" down in GA, and we headed off to Cherokee, NC!  We were eating at the Casino to celebrate all the fun February things; Valentine's Day, the 20 year anniversary of our engagement, and my birthday (which is next week) and the 1 year anniversary of owning Mufasa.   It just so happened that today was the first warm and non rainy day in a week, so of course we hopped on the bikes!  Khaleesi was purring like a kitten and rode as smooth as a baby's bottom.  Last week she got an oil change and a new front tire, both of which were sorely needed.

We hit 321 and rode through the National Park up and over the mountain to Cherokee.  It was a slower and uneventful ride as there really was a LOT of traffic out and about today.  We barely saw any bikes, it was 98% automobile traffic.  I swear all I have to do is look where I want to go, and Khaleesi takes me there.  Every curve felt like it was on rails, and the slower pace meant much of the ride I actually rode with one hand, b/c when I'm like that I can sit up straighter and relieve some of the pressure on my back.  All too soon we arrived at the casino and parked in the garage.  We locked our helmets and jackets to the bikes and went in to stuff our faces.

After rolling ourselves out of the casino, we decided to head back through Bryson City and down 129 to go home.  This way was a bit higher speed, as there was hardly any traffic!  I practiced holding different lines as we swept through turns at 60+ mph; it was exhilarating!  Once we got into Deal's Gap, both the resort and Killboy were closed off completely until next month; we took a super quick break, and David let me lead down the Dragon.  He was wearing his Go Pro for the first time, and he filmed me as we drove down it!  As per usual, my arms and upper back got a little tight.  I ALWAYS respect the Tail; I know there's plenty of highly experienced riders that have accidents on that road, and I never want my confidence to put me in a dangerous situation.  Thankful to God as usual, all was well and I SLAYED those 11 miles!  Despite consciously pulling my heels up in some of the steeper banked turns, I still dragged one on the ground, and as usual, that gave me a quick little scare!  It was cool watching myself drive it!  I'll post the video once we get it uploaded to Youtube.

Upon arriving home, found out my birthday present had arrived!  David bought me a Daymaker headlight for Khaleesi.  The Daymakers are the fancy LED type lights instead of the more yellowish halogen lights.  Took all of 10 minutes to install it!  Yipee!  I'm happy b/c the white light shows up a little better in the day light, and ANYTHING to make myself more visible makes me happy.  

Tuesday is supposed to be BEAUTIFUL.  It's also my later day at work.  I may just head on up and over Foothills Parkway on my way to work :D  So excited, it'll be my first day of the new year riding to work.  It's beginning to look a lot like riding season!!!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

As often as you can!

Sooo sad it took me 38 years to figure out this fact!

2 rides since my last blog post, yay!  Last week we got out on Sunday.  It was a few miles longer than yesterday, but both were super fun.  Sunday we headed south again down 411 towards the Ocoee/Hiawasee river scenic park.  Um, we finally made it down there, and it wasn't JUST a dirt road ... it was a MUD road.  We were only on it for a few hundred feet, and during just that time we were slipping and sliding BIG TIME.

See the mud on that tire?  Um, no dirt roads today!

So, we turned back north and hit some new roads we haven't been on!  David and I really enjoyed talking back and forth, and we enjoyed discussing the landscape as we rode through it.  David is amazing at finding curvy roads, and the route we took was really fun.  I have no idea where we were; just down 411 South towards Ocoee, lol!  Didn't go near the Cherohala this time, but it was still a great ride.  About 100 miles.

Washed my baby!  Looks as good as the day she came off the showroom floor

Yesterday, we headed into Townsend, ate lunch at a really good spot called the Dixieland Cafe, then took the backroads into Sevierville proper.  As a bit of a last minute thing, we decided to hit the gun range!  Never shot a gun in my LIFE.  One of my highschool friends growing up had a BB gun; that's the ONLY thing I've shot, and I didn't enjoy it much because it kicked me both in the collar bone and the eye.  I did ok at the range; shot a Ruger .22.  Very comfortable gun, but I was having a hard time with my aim; had to aim WAY low, and my shots were going probably 3 feet higher than I intended.  I alternated between 5 and 10 yards.  I just had no control over the "kick" of the gun, and it kept going high.  One of my 2018 "goals" is to take the gun safety course, get my concealed carry permit, and buy a gun!  Why?  Because it's my right as an American, and even though I've been fortunate enough to never be in an endangering situation, I want to be prepared if ever I am.
Baby figuring out how to load the ammo

Um ... dude in a different lane was shooting a CANNON!
And ... he's good at shooting too, just like everything else!

Hey!  I did it!

Had a good time; probably the gun I'll end up buying.

We left from there and came home back roads I've been down, but not often.  We managed to dodge the vast majority of the rain; I felt SO GOOD.  Khaleesi just is the most awesome bike in the world.  I NEVER feel like I'm fighting her.  Just look where I want to go, and around the corners she goes!  Wears Valley Road has one particularly gnarly uphill right hand switchback turn; I NAILED it unbelievable perfectly.  I don't think that corner has EVER felt so good :D  The roads were slightly damp, as there were spotty rain showers in the area.  Thundered back into the clean garage 85 miles and a few hours later.  Today; RAIN.  This week, COLD.  Next weekend, COLD.  So ... not sure when we'll get out again :( 
Had to do surgery on my horse chaps to get them to fit around my fat thighs :(

Different bandanna!

Thought this was a cool shot <3 nbsp="" td="">

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Waaaay too little seat time!

The South has been hit by a COLD snap.  Northern FLORIDA has seen snow in the last few weeks.  I haven't started Khaleesi on any of the super cold days, but on the hand full we've reached 40, I've gone out there and fired her up.  Not one single issue thus far.  I took a SUPER short jaunt around Big Springs Road a day or 2 after Christmas.  It barely squeaked up to 40 degrees, so I layered up and went alone.  Hubs said I was crazy, he'd wait.

REALLY wanted to join in on one of the many New Year's Day rides, but the high was sub 20, so yeah.  No.

Today was SIXTY FIVE.  YESSSSSS!!!  I wanted to ride to work this morning, but with already getting up at 5, as long as I have to take care of the baby in the mornings, I can't ride to work.  Maybe the warm summer will change that, but for now, it's just too cold. 

Met the hubs, and we headed down 321 to some sweet little curvy back roads a mere 10 minutes from our house.  Went through the towns of Friendsville and Greenback, crossed over 411, took a road or 2 we'd never been down, then dead ended onto 129 just below the Dragon.  Took 129 back home.  SUCH a beautiful day, it was a perfect ride.

I felt a little out of sorts at the very beginning just because I had to shake the rust off.  Also, riding in new boots is always interesting.  My new HD boots have a grippier, knobby sole on them, so I was getting a little hung up on my foot peg.  I got them figured out though, got back to shifting a little more smoothly.  David and I got radios, and we were able to talk back and forth, which was awesome! 

I LOVE to say I was pretty much book perfect.  No wide swinging, no missed gears, curves on rails and I got on the gas once or twice.  SO grateful and happy to get to ride.  We were out for an hour and a half and clocked right at 60 miles.  Wish we could have gone longer, but the baby was at the sitter and dark was fast approaching. 

Not sure when the next ride will be, but y'all can guarantee to read about it here!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Ridin' all our cares away!

Our entire family on Thanksgiving day!

We had 2 short 60 mile rides after our KY jaunt.  They both were pretty fun!  We picked the better of the 2 weekend days (ahem, the WARMEST day) and went out once the baby went down for a nap (which put us around early afternoon).

A Sevierville back road

One of our rides was my "work loop" out to Foothills, down to 129, then back home.  Always a good ride.  On 129, we FINALLY stopped in at "The Dragon's Pit Stop" and went inside.  Usually when we go by there it's closed, so it was nice to finally get to go inside.

The following weekend, we took a route I picked out; the back roads of Sevierville!  I knew it was going to be peak color, and I didn't want to head out towards the National Park b/c I KNEW there was going to be a ton of traffic.  So we went the opposite direction, in the general direction of my work.  We headed out 321 towards Gatlinburg, then turned off up the back roads.  LOVE them so much; one road is more like a driveway than an actual road.  There was practically zero traffic, which I was THRILLED about.  On the down side, we were at the tail end of a stomach virus in our house, so David had to cut the ride a little shorter than he wanted b/c he was starting to get a "rumble in the tummy".  

Happiest when I'm out riding with my baby!

We cut through Wears Valley, which has some BEAUTIFUL sights, and turned into a neighborhood of gorgeous log cabins.  We climbed up ... and up ... and UP to the top of the neighborhood.  Breathtaking views up there!  Snapped a pic, then back down to home.

Could you imagine this view every day??

Our longer ride was 2 weekends ago; drove down 411 S towards Ocoee; had PLANNED to go all the way to a curvy river road down there, but we left later due to warmer weather, and David underestimated how quickly the sun is starting to go down now!  So we turned a little earlier than intended, actually touching the Cherohala Skyway for about a half a mile, then hit Hwy 68, which we had never been on before.  FABULOUS road, lots of curves; Khaleesi was SUPER happy with the route ;)

Last week, I rode to work on Wednesday.  Yes, you read that correctly!  It was 33 degrees in the morning, and I MADE IT.  I was sufficiently layered up to the point that the ONLY place that was cold was my finger tips.  So my gloves are too hot for 55+, and too cold for 40-.  My chin got a little cold because the way I had my jackets layered, I tunneled the wind directly up into my chin.  Slogged through work, then reaped my reward afterwards!  It was a sunny 63 degrees and I hit my usual track of FHP to 129 solo.  David thought I was crazy, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat;)

The weekend was a bust b/c it was raining on Saturday and COLD on Sunday, but this Thanksgiving week has been lovely.  We layered up and headed out yesterday around noon.  After a brunch at the Cracker Barrel with half of Maryville, we walked out to the bikes to see Mufasa's BRAND NEW rear tire sitting on the rim :(  I felt soooooo deflated, lol.  However, with a save from my amazing sister in law and then the fantastic father in law, we were able to not let that tiny roofing nail get the best of us!  11:30 this morning, we again layered up and headed out.  David's patch job seemed to be holding, so we headed into Knoxville, then north up to Big Ridge State Park.  Not going to lie ... that state park is a lot of nothing!  It sits on Norris Lake, and it must have been dammed up because there was no water to speak of.  There were hiking trails, but I have no idea if there were any waterfalls or any other "grand finale" there.  Made our way out of the park down this GREAT little country mountain road.  The road leading to the state park was like Holy 10 mph right hand corkscrews Batman!  I KNOW I said those weren't a problem anymore, but they DO still suck, lol.  I had ONE bad turn where I just didn't set up right, and I swung way wide into oncoming traffic, but luckily there was no traffic.  We ended up not far from the IMOK dealership and went down a SUPER fun curvy road that we had test ridden a Chieftan from the dealership down ... ever since, I've been dying to take Khaleesi down it!  It was just as fun as I knew it would be, and we worked our way back home, hitting I-140 for 11 miles.  But again, I was layered up perfectly, so didn't even catch a chill.  My gloves were perfect for this ride; it was between 50 and 55 degrees today; no chilly fingertips at all :)

David adjusted my handlebars a little; made them lower and closer.

Thankful for an amazing husband that always finds a fun track to suit our desires!  No long rides for a bit until the weather warms back up and the days get a little longer.  We went just about 105 miles today, and that was pretty perfect for the weather.  Gone about 5 hours, and that was with an hour lunch stop.  Not sure what next weekend will bring; we just take things one day at the time!  Blessed to have the time and the ability to do this together! <3 nbsp="" p="">
My favorite sign!  Curves ahead!! :)
Our thwarted ride!

TN backroads heading to state parks!

Today!  Yay!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Winter is coming!

Winter may be coming, but GOT is a year+ away!  Anyway, I digress ...

Quiet few months riding wise for us.  We have managed a minimum of 1 ride per week EVERY week so far, but the temps are dropping colder, and the dark is coming on faster.  3 weeks ago, we finally went more than 60 miles!  Our default ride seems to be 55-70 miles.  We headed west and went through the Big South Fork Rec area, then up into KY for a little.  Dropped back down into TN by way of I-75 and got stuck in HELLISH traffic :( 

We headed out towards Oakridge and went steadily North towards the KY/TN border.  The Big South Fork area is soooo beautiful!  It's a haven for hikers and kayakers, and for motorcyclists! 

I love that ride because it's more country side type riding vs. mountain riding or straightaways.  It's nice, easy curvy roads with not too much elevation.  There are a few wicked turns and twists, and the road was every bit as challenging as I remember it being, but where as I was a little bit intimidated last time, now I felt light years more confident!

Khaleesi is such an amazing machine.  As she has broken in, I love her every bit as much now as I did that first time I sat on her in the church parking lot.  Turns are effortless, the ergonomics are perfect, and there is power to spare.

Surprisingly, we were a few weeks away from peak color; it started out as a brisk morning, but the day warmed up beautifully.  We got a bit of a late start because I wanted to dart into Cycle Gear to get some warmer gloves (which I didn't even need ... my hands started to SWEAT in them).  Normally, we're on the road by 7/8:00.  Today, it was more like 10:00. 

KY was different to ride in ... the particular area we were in actually wasn't that special.  It just happened to be the area we ended up in on David's chosen route, but I still really enjoyed myself.  Not a whole lot of particularly challenging roads; no Snake, or Dragon, or Rattler ... we did hit one or two roads that at the end, we pulled up beside each other and laughed with joy.  To me, that's a perfect ride!

I no longer critique my every move.  Khaleesi and I move as one most of the time.  I don't stall her, I don't have issues or problems turning left or right, and my tight right hand switchbacks?  No longer an issue :)  My back does get tired after about 200 miles; I feel like I'd really like reduced reach handlebars.  My upgrades wish list is floorboards, highway bars, Daymaker headlight, light bar with baby Daymakers, upgraded pipes, a custom seat, and reduced reach handlebars.  Not the kitchen sink!  My total mileage is around 7500 miles ... my goal is 10K+ in my first year.  I've got until April to make that goal!

After about 200ish miles, we were both starting to fade a little.  It was getting late, it was Sunday which means no "day of rest", and even though our track was fun, I knew what was to come, and it was about 3 more hours. That was when we decided to jump on I-75 S ... and hit total roadblock!  I lasted about 20 minutes of sitting there in 2-5 mph traffic, and I was DYING.  Khaleesi was blowing out leg blistering heat, and my left hand was cramping so badly I was reaching over to hold the clutch with my right hand.  I told David I HAD to get off that damn interstate. 

We finally did, found a back road that was decently fun, wound our way back to the interstate, and blasted back home.  I went through my least favorite spaghetti interchange of I-40 through Knoxville, and we pulled into the garage about ... 7:15.  It was a gorgeous day ... cool start, but ended up low 70's.  300 miles total, felt SOOOO good! 

2 60 miler rides, then 100 miles to be detailed soon!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Life on two wheels; rollercoaster edition

4 bikes in the garage can only mean 1 thing ...

Today was our first time on a group ride of more than 7 or 8 bikes.  We had a LONG ride planned from Gatlinburg, over almost to Asheville, then back.  We were invited on the ride by a facebook friend I hadn't actually MET yet.  She lives in NC, and when she found out her group was going to be close, she invited us!  The MIL and FIL tagged along as well; they decided to visit us this weekend here in the motherland :D

Ever been so layered up you feel like the Stay Puft Marshmallow man??

We rose at O'Dark 30 per usual and indulged in our riding breakfast fare at the Cracker Barrel.  Drove to the meeting spot in Walland and waited for all to arrive.  A mixture of bikes pulled in, including an Indian Springfield and my friend's white Scout twin :)  We spoke to each other and introduced ourselves officially, then it was time to hit Foothills to the Tail of the Dragon.  Um ... 3/4 of the group decided to leave out before the leader led them ... and they turned the wrong way!  Ooops.  Luckily, my friend had stayed w/ us; we waited a few minutes, and when it became apparent they weren't coming back, we went on (per the ride leader.  Apparently this is not uncommon, lol).

My awesome FIL. My steel horse obsession is all HIS fault!

Foothills was its usual beautiful road.  For some reason, I was getting pelted with pea gravel.  Very annoying!  I tried to stay offset from David, but I still felt the sting once in awhile. We turned down the road that has the gnarly hills (but not the SCARY road through the Top of the World neighborhood) so we could avoid the rest of the FH traffic.
10+ times down the Dragon safe and sound!

I tried to "warm up" in prep for the Dragon.  I just never know how it's going to feel.  I always do fine, but sometimes the curves just feel jerky or hard.  David actually cranked down on my clutch cable and tightened it up; my shifting now felt smoother, but my handle is tighter!  I also had to relearn my friction zone b/c it engages further out now.  I did well though, didn't stall her or anything :)  I shook my head, loosened up my shoulders, and opened and closed my hands a few times as we rolled our way down the mountain and to the start of the 319 curves in 11 miles.


We pulled off to check phones for signals/text msgs since there still was no sign of the other 8 or so bikes.  After a few minutes, we did a bit of a shoulder shrug and went on since everyone knew we'd be stopping at Deal's Gap.  David was behind my friend on her white Scout with me behind him on MY white Scout.  The ride down into NC was absolutely picture perfect.  It was one of the best Dragon traverses I've done; today made time 10 or 11 I've ridden it in the 4 months I've been riding motorcycles.  It could also be a case of practice makes perfect?  Lol, I don't know, but Khaleesi rolled through the curves and the dips on the perfectly banked and well paved road without a single hiccup or botched line.  I didn't touch either of the painted lines, and it seemed super quick that it was all of a sudden over :(

Girl Scout and Khaleesi

We were parked for about 3 or 4 minutes, and we saw the rest of the group motor down the hill and into the parking lot, yay!   After shopping at the Killboy store like normal, we hit Moonshiner 28 and took "the long way" to Robbinsville.  We were at the back of the pack since our little group was the new comers, so the ride was a bit slower than we were accustomed to.  It wasn't a bad ride by any means, just different.  The group had split off again; the front half going on with cars getting in between.  We found a gas station once we got to Robbinsville and figured out the restaurant to eat at.  It took a while for all of us to get our food, and by the time WE got ours, most everyone else was finished.  The ride leader decided to shorten the ride since their group had a LONG ride the day before; just to hit 129 from where we were and go back the way they came, up the Dragon.  We decided to veer off on our own; I LOVE the Cherohala, and wanted to ride it.

All of us female Dragon Slayers today!

We'd shed a few layers by the time we started up the 15 mph switchbacks.  As the road climbed in elevation, we began to get chilly!  Pulled off to add a layer back on, then we got in the rhythm.  I literally felt like I was on a rollercoaster!  Khaleesi felt smooth, rhythmic, and took every curve beautifully.  I was doing a great job turning my head and looking through my turns, and the bike was just following.  I'm also doing better with the whole pat my head/rub my stomach!  ie; downshifting and applying brakes without just holding in the clutch the whole time!  With David back in the lead, he rolled nice and hard coming out of the curves, and I stayed right there with him.  By the time the 20+ breathtaking miles were completed, we were back down into lower elevations and now warm again.  Re-lost our layers, then hit 411 back home.

The Cherohala Sky Coaster!

We had tentative plans to hit the Mystery Dinner ride for this month, but David was suffering from a sinus attack, and the wind was just killing us.  We decided to cash in our poker chips and call it a day.

Our entire crew at lunch time!  3 Indians, 3 Kawasakis, a Spyder, a Harley, 3 Hondas, and 2 Yamahas

GREAT ride with zero issues.  No awkward turns or curves or herky-jerky maneuvers.  In laws stayed up with us, and they had a great ride too.  Thankful a "virtual" friend reached out to become an "actual" friend.  I'll definitely call her next time we're up in her area!  Her bike, Girl Scout, treats her just as well as Khaleesi treats me :)  We love our Indians!

This baby can't WAIT to ride on his first ride!

Not sure what this week holds.  Hurricane Irma is bearing down on FL, GA, and even TN!  So most likely it will be a week of a Parked Motorcycle.  My prayers are with all my friends and family over the next few days!