Sad to see it go, but ecstatic about the future… there are many things in life that I am glad I did, this is one of them. I have had so much fun riding with my wife on our motorcycles, and this one has nothing but great memories for me, especially getting to take a long trip down to the Florida Keys.
The weather is finally holding in the mid-seventies this week with sun and mild winds. Perfect weather for a ride. The bikes have been calling and today we finally went out and geocached for a while. I feel another trip to Panama City Beach coming on really soon.
Since I have had this bike for 2 months now I thought it would be a good idea to post the photos of it. In November we were talking about upgrading my bike and the requirements were pretty specific. The rebel was a great bike for me to learn on because it was a 250cc and was lower to the ground than most mainstream bikes. Whatever bike I was going to look at to replace the rebel had to be roughly the same seat height, but with more power. We were thinking that if I had a more powerful bike we would be able to ride longer distances together (see next post) more comfortably and would be able to ride on the interstate more safely.
The bike we decided to look for was a Honda Shadow VLX. We were thinking that it would take a few months to locate one that we liked and that was reasonably priced. Boy were we wrong! Scott was perusing eBay and came across the exact bike we were looking for and it was even being offered by a dealer. This meant that we could trade in the rebel without having to go through the trouble of trying to sell it. Scott called the dealer who ended the auction and the rest is history. Here she is…
What did you do to celebrate American Labor Day, September 4-6, 2006? This year we trailered the bikes to Hot Springs, Arkansas. Apparently, Hot Springs is a Mecca of sorts for motorcyclists. It is one of the more beautiful places to ride and there are several long, winding roads in the area that we had read about. These roads were supposed to be fantastic for motorcycling. They were touted as having some beautiful curves and vistas (See below). We were not disappointed.
We did a little geocaching on the way there and back, as well as during our motorcycle rides. We dropped off several travel bugs and picked up a few more to bring back to Alabama. One thing we enjoy about geocaching is that it takes us to places we never would have ventured into. We crossed the bridge in the below photo on our bikes several times, but it wasn’t until we went to find the cache down below by the river that we were treated to this view.
Headed for a cache just off the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi
One of the bridges we crossed on one of our bike excursions.
Found this one in Memphis, TN on what appeared to be an abandoned golf course.
While we were out caching on our bikes I came across this little guy and decided to go back and save him from squashing. Doesn’t it look like I am giving him a lecture about the benefits of staying out of the road? Even though he wouldn’t come out of his shell, I think he listened to me and will stay in the woods from now on.
The rides we took each day were tons of fun, with lots of winding curves, switchbacks, and mountain vistas. Once I got up next to the sign I couldn’t believe how big it really was. These signs were one after another up and down the mountains. What a blast!
There he goes….
Here he comes…
There he goes again…
As I said this place is no secret to motorcyclists so the roads were filled with them every where we went. We had loads of opportunities to see all kinds of different bikes (and riders). Everything from trike riders with female drivers and male passengers to a man with his dog, front paws perched on the handlebars balancing nicely. We really didn’t know that there would be so many bikes there. It really was a treat.
Two of the many riders we met along the way.
We stopped by Wal-Mart and bought a disposable camera for our rides after we realized that it might be fun to take pictures of each other and anything else while riding. Be sure to check out the last photo in this set. That is Scott in the back of that 1/4 mile long group of motorcycles roaring down the road. I was actually the last rider in the line and it was so much more fun to ride in a pack than I thought it would be. Some of the photos are a little blurry, but hey, try taking photos with one hand and cranking the throttle and steering with the other. YES, mother, we were being careful…
Everyone has to eat and of course we found some of the coolest local places to go. Dwayne’s Bar-B-Q and Grill is located in Dover and their parking lot was full of bikes when we passed by. Since Dover was at the end of our route for the day, about a half an hour later on our way back we decided to check it out. We have learned to never underestimate the ability of bikers to find great food at fantastic prices. The food was abundant and excellent and we got out of there for under $20.
Our hotel was located on Lake Hamilton and there were a couple of resturants on the lake to choose from. Fisherman’s Wharf was located one bridge over from our hotel and we decided to eat there, overlooking the water and the city’s fireworks display on Labor Day evening. There was so much boat traffic going across the lake for the fireworks it was great fun to watch them all. Dinner was so good and the people/boat/firework watching was so much fun that we ended up staying long enough to watch the boat traffic returning from whence they came after the fireworks were over.
At the end of each day we made time to come into town and actually enjoy walking the city of Hot Springs and the National Park that is the heart of down town. I had been here many times before, but Scott had not. So, as we walked the streets I explained how the city had fountains that were piped from the springs and the water that came out of them was super hot, 115 degrees. The citizens of the city and anyone who cares to is able to go to these fountains and fill their containers (containers vary as much as individuals) with all the water they want, i.e. can carry. The water is pure spring water and tastes great once it cools off. He was a little skeptical so we visited one of the more famous fountains so we could fill up a few water bottles we had saved. The water is very hot and under quite a bit of pressure so when you open the spigot the water flows out very fast. It takes some practice to get it in the bottle and not all over yourself. We both got soaking wet, but it was a lot of fun anyway.
The bath houses here are all undergoing intensive remodeling, thanks to the federal government and are slowly reopening to the public. They are quite majestic and were very popular in their day. If you walk up to the windows of the bath houses they have displays behind the windows explaining the history of the houses and the redevelopment plan.
About a month ago, August 18-20, we rode our bikes down to Panama City Beach for the weekend. We were originally going to ride down with a group of riders from Hog Heaven, in Columbus, GA for the Ride to the Beach, an annual bikers trip to raise money for the March of Dimes. We found out about the ride a little to late to garner sponsors this year so we just decided to make the trip ourselves for the fun and sun.
Along the way we took time to do a little geocaching.
We arrived at our hotel just as it began to rain. Since afternoon showers are common here we hung around in the room enjoying the view for a while until the storm subsided.
Once there was a break in the storm we headed out to dinner and to observe the nightlife of Panama City Beach. We decided to eat at a place called Pineapple Willy’s. This place is supposedly famous for it’s ribs that were featured in a Visa commercial some time back. The ribs were average, but the dinner was quite memorable. We arrived at Pineapple Willy’s just before it started to storm again. We were seated out on the far end of the gazebo pier and enjoyed our dinner while it rained heavily, complete with simultaneous lightning and thunder. Apparently we are braver than most because all the other tables in the gazebo cleared out as people finished their dinners and no one else wanted to sit out there in the storms. Eventually we had the entire end of the pier to ourselves. Magnificant!!
Saturday we spent the day exploring the city, marinas, and geocaching. We had lunch at a great little spot called Lime’s that was tucked away and was a bit of a challenge to find. Dinner that night was even more fabulous as we enjoyed the boat traffic and the sunset from the upstairs open air dining area of a place called the Boatyard.
We made our way back home on Sunday taking a few detours here and there to investigate some of the backroads of Alabama. Although the trip was very short it was a lot of fun and we were able to get a feel for how far we can travel comfortably on our bikes in one day (and how much stuff we can take along).
Scott and I decided to take our motorcycles to Savannah for a weekend of geocaching (more about this later), people watching and good food. Savannah is one of many places we like to go and relax. The streets, buildings, and especially the cemeteries are full of history and beauty. It is a wonderful place to just wander around on foot or bicycle. If you go to Savannah, here are a few of the dining places on the river that we recommend.
Scott and I found several caches in Savannah. Many times caches are hidden in cemeteries and that makes Savannah a great place for the game.
One of the beautiful places geocaching took us this time.
Have you ever been Geocaching? Geocaching is a world wide game that is played by using your GPS unit to locate a specific point on the globe where something is hidden. It is a lot of fun and can be done anywhere you travel. A typical (traditional) geocache is hidden in an ammo box or Rubbermaid type container to keep the contents from the elements. They can be hidden anywhere and pretty much are everywhere. Here are a few examples.
Typical hiding place for a traditional cache.
I found it, finally.
We found several geocaches in Savannah and the fun didn’t stop in there. When we got back home we found a few more within 5 miles of our house. During one of our hikes looking for a cache in a state park right down the road we were treated to a beautiful set of waterfalls that we never knew were there. After we did a little rock climbing to get to the cache we climbed back down to the falls and since the temperature was 100+ this 40 year old grandmother didn’t hesitate to take a dip. The wet clothing made for a fabulous ride home on the bike.
My partner in crime and geocaching.
Coming Home From Miami and Daytona
Another thing that Scott and I like to do is go to sporting events. These include, but are not limited to, all major league sports, minor league baseball, and college sports of all kinds. We planned this trip so that we could catch a Florida Marlins vs. Houston Astros game in formerly “Joe Robbie” stadium. This is a stadium that I have always wanted to visit.
It was so hot during the game (mid-day game) that we left after about the 5th inning. You can see from the photo that 90% of the stadium was empty right from the beginning of the game. Heat and a “not so good team” were probably the main reasons for this, but we enjoyed the game none the less.
After we left the game and went back to the hotel to freshen up we found a little place on the ocean to eat dinner called O’Mallys Ocean Pub. The dining was outside, with a live band and the tables were about 50′ from the crashing waves. Magnificent!
While we were on our trip to the keys we decided to get serious about finding Scott a bike so we could ride together. We decided to take the “scenic” route home to Alabama through Daytona in order to pick up new bike bells for each other. There is a legend that goes with these bells and they are supposed to be given to a rider by a friend. We picked out our bells in Daytona at a place called “Hot Leathers” (hmmmm) and purchased them for each other, had a spectacular lunch at Johnny Rockets overlooking the ocean (one last time) and then it was back on the road for home.
After arriving home we wasted no time in finding a bike on eBay for Scott. We picked it up the next weekend and have been riding together almost every day since. Here are some photos of the proud new owner of a Honda Nighthawk 750 in the rare blue color.
Loaded Up on the Trailer
We loaded the new bike up on the trailer after Scott took it around the neighborhood for a test ride. The bike is in great condition and although it has a lot more power than my Honda Rebel, they ride great together.