How cool is it that we can experience this thing called motorcycle riding?
As Jamie and I were riding along the rolling hills of SW Missouri heading into Oklahoma on Sunday, I felt a special sense of calmness surround us. The weather had a little crispness in the air, the sun was shining and there was not a cloud in the sky. How fortunate for us, that we could be in this moment, at this very time. As the saying goes “life is good”.
While we were enjoying the ride, I started to think about how grateful I was that we could enjoy this great hobby. Being a motorcycle enthusiast is a privilege and I was so very thankful, that I was getting to share this special moment with my beautiful pillion. I think that we take the act of riding a motorcycle and enjoying the world with the air in our face for granted.
So with that thought on my mind, I decided that I would write a blog post outlining the top 5 things I am most grateful for in the terms of riding a motorcycle and what that means to my life. I am sure you may have different thoughts. Leave a comment if you think I missed a big one. There are no right or wrong answers here.
These are my top 5.
1 – The Freedom It is hard to explain to someone who does not ride. The act of throwing a leg over your bike, starting the motor and feeling the rumble. Riding out on a winding road, not another vehicle in sight. Just you and your machine. You feel the stress of the day leaving your body. Not a care in the world. This is the time to relax, recharge and enjoy the freedom that is motorcycle riding. I am thankful that riding my bike allows me a time to enjoy true freedom.
2 – The Friendships, Old & New One of the best things that we love about riding is the friends we meet along the journey. We have made so many friends, that if we had not been riding motorcycles, our paths might have never crossed. That is so cool! You have different economic, demographic and cultural backgrounds all blending together, with one common denominator and that is being a motorcycle enthusiast. We have friends that we met over 20 years ago that we still talk to and ride with. I would challenge you on how many non motorcycle friends that you have, that have played a role in your life for that long. There is a special bond among riders and for this I am truly grateful.
3 –The Stories Over the past 35+ years of riding a motorcycle I have collected a number of stories that still make me laugh or cry. Jamie and I have so many fantastic stories of great rides, harsh weather, some get offs and just chill’in by a fire after a long day of riding. Motorcycle journeys lend themselves to great stories. I am thankful that we have shared so many great stories with friends over the years. We also look forward to experiencing more in the near future.
4- Technology I remember a time when I thought things like a GPS, heated gear, ABS, cruise control and heated grips were for riders that did not want to experience the complete ride! I am admitting now, that I was a complete and utter fool for having those thoughts. Technology has brought our level of riding enjoyment up 100 fold. Going into a corner a little hot?…. no worries… the cornering ABS and the riding controls will help you out of the situation that 20 years ago would have thrown you to the ground. The weather starts to get cold, turn on the heated grips and keep going. Looking for that gas station in the middle of no where. The GPS comes to the rescue! Motorcycle technology is one of the most exciting things happening in our hobby and for that I am so Thankful!
5- Personal Health Jamie and I have been blessed with pretty decent health and have not had to take any long breaks from riding. We have been very fortunate that we can get on the bike, take a long or short trip and do not have to worry health wise if we are making the correct choice. We are so thankful for that.
We have had some friends that have had to stop riding, due to some health reasons. Life goes on and they are very happy in the new chapter of their life. I personally have been riding since I turned 14. It is in my blood and I would have a tough adjustment period if it were taken away from me. So I am very thankful for all of the days that I get to experience all that is mentioned above and more.
So the next time you go for a ride. Take a moment to reflect. How cool is it that we can experience this thing called motorcycle riding? I for one will never take it for granted! Until next time everyone,
For 2019, Kawasaki is introducing the Versys 1000 SE LT+, and it’s alphabet soup in the form of a motorcycle. The core of its popular Versys 1000 tourer stays the same, but it’s now surrounded by new bodywork, and a suite of electronic upgrades that would make Campbell’s jealous. – Motorcyclist Magazine.
Deals Gap, Wayah Rd, Cherohala Skyway on the way to MotoAmerica Races in Birmingham AL.
This trip transformed a couple of times during its inception. It all started when Jeff & Becky mentioned that we should join them in Birmingham for the MotoAmerica races at the beautiful Barber Motorsports Park.
Jamie and I thought this was a great idea so we booked the race tickets and the room in Alabama. I then started to plan a week long journey as I had 6 days of vacation coming. I could pair this with the weekends and I would get 10 days of riding in. Let’s Ride
Well as we all know, sometimes life happens. The following week after making these plans, Jamie was contacted and offered a full time teaching position. She really wanted to go on the trip, but this offer was too good to pass up. Now I had to move onto plan B. I knew I was going to do the trip, but I did have an extra race ticket. I started to think of my riding friends that would have the time to join me. Instantly my retired friend Bob, popped into my head. I told him I would give him the race tickets if he wanted to join me. He was in and the trip was set. I would meet him around Tuesday somewhere in Tennessee as he had a prior engagement for the weekend. Later I found out that my friend David had changed his trip plans and was now available. I contacted him and he said he was in! Awesome… we now had three. I tried to recruit one more friend Rob, but he passed. So it was the three of us hitting the road. It is a small world as David and Bob did not know each other before the trip, however they live within 3 miles of each other, so hopefully this will lead to a nice riding relationship. Funny how things work out!
I arranged all of the rooms and where we would meet up on this journey. We were ready to go.
I rolled out of the garage at 6:30am on Saturday September 14th. My goal was to get to Columbia TN for the evening. That was a good 560 mile day. This would allow for an easy ride into the Deals Gap area on Sunday as it was only 230 miles from Columbia. I took back road highways for the most part as I did not want to ride the Interstate but I also knew I needed to make some time. It was a pretty uneventful ride. It got hot in the afternoon as the bike recorded 94 a couple of times. Not unbearable but warm none the less.
The next day was Sunday and the trip really started on this day. I got up and hit the road. My final destination was Robbinsville NC, located at the base of the famous Deals Gap. The weather was perfect and the ride to the hotel included my favorite road. The Cherohala Skyway is an amazing stretch of road with endless curves and amazing scenery. It is a great way to start any day.
I stayed at the Quality Inn in Robbinsville and it was perfect! Great price, lots of motorcycle parking and a great starting destination for the next couple of days of riding this great area. I checked in and headed up to the Dragon. I was not going to ride it today as the weekends are kinda crazy up there. I just wanted to grab lunch and take in the atmosphere. I was so glad I did. I got to chat with a group from Germany that were touring the U.S. on Harley’s and they were so fun to listen too, as they told stories about the great riding they had experienced so far on their journey. I think sometime we take it for granted on how good the riding is here in the great USA.
I hung out for a couple of hours and then headed back the 18 twisty miles to my hotel. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday. I was smiling from ear to ear as the trip was just starting. Life is good!
I awoke to a very foggy cool morning with temps in the low 60’s. I was getting up early to head out and take some early morning photos but the fog had other plans. I took my time getting around and hit the ride around 8am. I took my time and headed to the Deals Gap Resort to have breakfast and to ride the dragon for the first time on this trip.
There was no one up there and that was fine with me. I rode the dragon a couple of times. It is so much fun, when you do not have to worry about traffic, law enforcement or weather. I then headed down to Wayah Rd. It was more fun than the dragon and it was beautiful. I rode into Franklin to meet up with MSTA member Tommy who lives a few miles down the road. It was great catching up with him. We rode for a couple of hours and then parted ways. its always fun meeting up with other like minded motorcycle enthusiasts.
I headed back to the hotel after Tommy and I said our goodbyes. I was sitting there and decided that I would ride up to the resort for an early dinner and to take some pictures.
That was a great plan. I also planned my route for the next morning. I would be riding to Cleveland TN to meet up with David and Bob. They were riding up from Dallas. This would be their first fun day of the tour. We would hit Ocoee hwy 74 and then Cherohala. It would be another great day of riding.
I took my time and did some sight seeing on the way to Cleveland. This area is so good for the rider who loves to do some sport touring. It has its great roads, along with some awesome sight seeing. I can’t say it enough I love this area for riding.
We had a great dinner that evening and just spent some time catching up. I had not ridden with Bob since the Colorado trip, so it was cool catching up. David had been up to the house a few weeks back, but its always good hanging out with him. David rode so hard he blew out his shoe. haha!
We woke up and rode a few miles to the Ocoee River Cafe. It was a good breakfast, but we were really glad we stopped as the owner showed us his pirate exhibit. It was pretty cool and listening to him, talk about it was even better. This dude was into it for sure!
We rode the Cherohala and headed up to the resort for a snack and some more motorcycle fellowship. It was a fantastic day of riding with good friends. This was a chill day of riding.
We had a great time riding the skyway and doing some exploring. We stopped by Bald River Falls and took a break. We took our time and just enjoyed the roads for the rest of the day.
Thursday rolled around and it was time to start heading south to Birmingham. We were not in a big hurry and had lots more exploring and riding to do. We jumped up to the resort to have our last breakfast at the resort. I would be remiss if I did not tell the story of Alex and his friend. (Sorry, I did not catch his name.)
We first saw Alex and his riding friend the prior day on the Skyway. We all joked as we watched two old school bikes, just getting it! They were haulin ass and leaning those older machines like they were GP bikes. It was very impressive.
After breakfast we were walking around the resort and believe it or not there were the bikes that we saw from the previous day. It was a 650 nighthawk and a 650 Silverwing.. yes I said they were old school. They had vintage tags from Virginia. We noticed that the tires were being tested and the pegs and centerstand had been ground flat.
Alex came out and we started a conversation. he then showed us a video of him and his friend from the night before on the Dragon, dragging half the bike off and shooting sparks everywhere. When I say sparks, that does not do the video justice. It looked like someone was welding! these kids were living life and enjoying the moment. Rode from Virginia on bikes that I might not ride down the road. I was a little envious as they were so down to earth, not caught up in the latest technology, they just wanted to ride! It was a highlight of the trip.
I then took the long way back to show the gang Fontana Dam. We took our time to check out the visitor center and to take some pictures.
Next up was Wayah road … yes again, it never gets old. We then headed down into Georgia to do Wolf Pen gap and take a quick break at Two Wheels only in Suches. We stayed the evening in Dahlonaga. We actually had a good sushi dinner in town, and it was in the same parking lot as the hotel. That’s always a plus after a long day of riding!
Today’s destination was Birmingham and the beautiful Barber Motorsports Park. We left early as we wanted to get into Birmingham in time to visit the museum. If you have not gotten to visit this motorcycle mecca, it has to be added to your bucket list. There is so much to see. We bought the weekend pass so we could take our time and see the entire exhibit without being rushed. We also went and picked up our race wristbands so we could get into the event when we wanted. I love this place. It is a well manicured, almost golf course like. It is immaculate and its a racetrack.. SCORE! You can see all of the pictures from the Museum here.
We spent the entire day Saturday just exploring the grounds and hanging out in the paddock. The weather was warm, but not over bearing. I think we walked every part of the grounds. As I said before this place is beautiful.
We started off by having breakfast at Big Bad Breakfast (Thanks Becky) Then we headed to the track for a day of road racing. It was an awesome day and the racing was very competitive.
I want to take a moment to thank Jeff & Becky for turning us on to this event. We met them at the MSTA – Ozark Escape Weekend that Jamie and I host. We hit it off and truly enjoy their company. they are both so full of life, funny and just darn nice folks!
It was great catching back up with them and we look forward to more adventures together. They brought their little Z125’s to the event and damn they are fun. I got to take it for a spin and now I want one. Thanks again to both of them and we can’t wait to ride with you all soon. Most of the pictures below were taken by them. Thanks for allowing me to use them in this ride report.
Well the day has come to head back home. It has been a great week. I put over 2800 miles on the Versys with no issues. Bob and David headed home via I-20 to Dallas. They stayed in Bossier City on Monday evening and took an easy stroll to big D on Tuesday morning. I on the other hand had to get back home so 630 miles later I rolled into the garage. I hit about an hour and a half of rain on the way home, but nothing more. I can’t complain as the weather was beautiful.
I will post the videos as soon as I can get some time to edit videos. So stay tuned. If you want to view more of the pictures from this trip. Just click on this gallery.
I would like to thank David and Bob for joining me on this trip. It is always great spending time with good friends on the road. Thanks guys.
lastly I want to thank my wonderful wife Jamie for being supportive about this trip. She understands that these trips are important to me and I love her so much for that. I love riding with my awesome pillion and we will have many journeys to come. Thanks Jamie for being so damn awesome!
The bike is cleaned up, the oil changed and I am ready to roll. This will be a 10 day adventure, that will take me into TN, NC and all of those magnificent roads they have to offer. I will be doing the Dragon, Cherohalla Skyway, Wayah Rd, Wolfpen gap and many many more.
We will end up in Birmingham AL, for the MotoAmerica races so stay tuned for more videos and pictures.
225 miles on great Arkansas Roads. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday!
It has been 10 years since I had the opportunity to have a Labor Day weekend off. The retail management field does not offer many holiday weekends off. This one did however and we took advantage of it.
Jamie and I got up and on the road around 7:15am. We were rewarded with a beautiful cool morning. The skies were overcast, but the threat of rain was minimal. We had sent out an invite to some of the social media groups that we frequent, with no response. So we figured we would be on our own. We rode to the departure lounge, had a quick coffee and headed out at 8am.
We took off over the lake and hit a nice twisty stretch to start our morning. The weather looked threatening in the distance. That did not dampen our enthusiasm and we plugged along. We came across some wet roads but never got any rain. I think we just followed it to breakfast.
We stopped in Kingston and took a little break. This is just a little hole in the wall place but it seems to be the cross roads of traffic. We enjoyed a quick 15 minutes and then headed down to Boxley Valley. We got to see some elk and just enjoy the valley. This is just another gem in our beautiful state of Arkansas.
We were both starting to get hungry so it was time to load up and get to Jasper so we could eat. We love the Ozark Cafe and today did not disappoint. We had a good breakfast and just hung out and enjoyed the morning. As we got loaded back up we decided that we would take the long way home.
After a nice little jaunt up the beautiful and scenic highway 7, we decided to make our way over to Eureka Springs. We understood that the holiday traffic would be a little rough in the Springs, but it was not that bad. We stopped and had a little snack at the Cat House. It is a great location to watch the world go by. I think we were the only non cruiser in the parking lot. We spent a good hour just enjoying our day together. Jamie and I need to slow down and do this more often.
When we arrived the lot had a number of open parking spaces. As we rode off, the lot was full of American made motorcycles. I always love hanging out here. It is such a great atmosphere for the motorcycle enthusiast.
We finished the day by riding up into Missouri and taking one of our favorite roads (hwy 90) home. We logged 219 miles and had a fantastic day. We hope that you all enjoy the pictures. You can see the entire gallery here. Thanks for reading the blog. Until next time.. Ride Safe!
8 friends exploring Colorado on two wheels! Fun times and great memories were made. Check it out!
We have been home for almost two weeks now from our trip and I am still thinking about it everyday. We logged over 1700 miles on two wheels, taking in great views, smelling clean mountain air and enjoying the company of friends. We will have many stories to tell and will never forget this adventure. It was an epic journey and one we will not forget.
I have linked all of the blog posts so that you can read about our journey in the chronological order. I will also be doing a video report as well on youtube. This will take a few weeks as we have many hours of video to edit. So stay tuned. Until then we hope you enjoy the blog version of the ride report. Shoot us a note if you have any questions or comments. Thank you.