Saturday, April 29, 2006

Ride to Maggie Valley, NC

Today I rode up to Maggie Valley, NC. I rode I-26 to Greenville, SC, then took US276 through Brevard, NC to Maggie Valley. I stopped at a favorite coffee shop of mine in Brevard, Quotations, for a cup of joe. They have excellent coffee and good sandwiches and quiches as well.

I absolutely love US276 heading over Caesar's Head and going north out of Brevard. Great twisties and excellent scenery. I passed Looking Glass Falls between Brevard and Maggie Valley.

My plan was to eat at Butts on the Creek in Maggie Valley; it was recommended to me by my buddy Daryl. It was not meant to be, though, as it turns out they've thrown in the towel.

I rode through Maggie Valley looking for somewhere else to eat, but nothing really caught my eye, so I decided to wait until I passed back through Brevard. I hopped on the Blue Ridge Parkway, another favorite road of mine, and rode if for about 50 miles back to US276.

In passing back through Brevard, I found my restaurant, a place called Hawg Wild on US276 right after leaving the Pisgah National Forest. Excellent barbecue, sides, price, and service; I highly recommend it.

I was gone for around 10 hours and covered about 450 miles. I was exhausted at the end, but it was that really good exhausted feeling. Needless to say, I slept very well last night! More Photos

Monday, April 24, 2006

AMA Superbike Races in Birmingham, AL

This past weekend I rode my Ninja 250 to Birmingham for the second round of the AMA Superbike races. Tom and Brent from the Ninja forum also rode in, and the three of us stayed with a fourth forum member, Bo, who lives in Birmingham.

Tom and I arrived around noon on Friday, so the two of us and Bo headed over and met another Ninja forum member, DJ, at Old Smokey Barbecue, just down Hwy 78 from Barber; I had found it during a previous visit to the Barber museum. The food was every bit as good as I remembered it being, but the staff seemed to have not a clue as to what was going on; it was pure chaos, and they weren't even busy! :/

The three of us spent the afternoon at the museum; this was their first visit and my third; you could visit it a dozen times and still highly enjoy it each time and see something new each time. For dinner we ate at Frontera Grill, a Mexican restaurant that Bo recommended; it was very tasty, and as soon as you took a sip or two of tea, someone was over refilling it. Their service was directly opposite that of Old Smokey.
Some pretty heavy rain moved into the area later in the evening, and unfortunately Brent was pretty soaked when he arrived around 11:00pm.

We made it over to the track Saturday morning and enjoyed alternating between wandering around the vendor displays, the paddock, and watching qualifying. We hooked up with my friend Pat and his son Tony later in the afternoon and watched the Superbike race with them over on the straightaway hill. A pretty good battle between Mladin and Spies ensued, and when Mladin and another rider bumped, that sealed Spies' victory. It was an exciting race.

Me with Jessica Zalusky, a racer in the Supersport and Formula Extreme classes

Miguel Duhamel

Later in the evening Brent and I swapped bikes for about 20 miles, and I found that I really liked his Bandit 600 S. I found the ergonomics and power delivery to be really nice. I shall have to start researching this bike.

The Mexican place was so good that we decided to go there again for dinner, and once again, it was superb, and nary a tea glass approached the halfway mark. Until the check came. Apparantly that signifies "end of meal" and you need to get the hell out. :-)

Sunday morning before we all began our journies back home we rode out to 29 Dreams motorcycle resort, which is on Hwy 25 off of Hwy 78 heading out of Leeds. 25 was a fantastic road; I was quite surprised to learn that such a good road is just right outside of Birmingham! 29 Dreams was a neat place, and they offered an excellent breakfast buffet. Anyone who lives anywear near Birmingham really needs to go check this place out.

All the photos I took

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Don't try to spit out gum while wearing a full-face helmet

As I was riding this evening I decided I no longer wanted my gum. I'm generally very much against littering, but my options were pretty limited, so I pondered whether I could launch the gum over the chin bar of my helmet and decided to give it a go. I lifted the face shield and shot it out, half-expecting it to bounce off the chin bar and hit my face, but I was pleasantly surprised not to have that happen. Karma, however, caught up with me when I made it to my next stop; after getting my helmet off I found some goopy crap all over my riding pants, right around the crotch, as well as on my bike's tank and seat; sure enough, that's where the gum ended up! When I got home I must have spent 20 minutes trying to get it all off; I got most of it, but there are still traces. Lesson learned. ;-)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Rode to Albemarle, NC

Today I rode to Albemarle, NC with my friends Mike and Pam; Pam's Aunt Bill and cousin Bobby and his wife Gail live up there, so we rode up to visit and ride a bit. They're cool folks; I was the lone non-Harley, but they were accepting. :-) I noticed Bobby kept looking at my VFR, and he finally asked to sit on it; I think he secretly wants one. :D We had both lunch and dinner at the Log Cabin Barbecue, though I followed Bobby's advice and didn't have their barbecue. The hamburger topped with chili and spicy red slaw was quite tasty at lunch, and the hamburger steak and baked beans and slaw for dinner were excellent. We all rode out to Morrow Mountain State Park and enjoyed the cool breeze (which was very welcome on this 90 degree day) and nice vistas. Lots of bikes were up there, almost all of which were Harleys, but everyone was cool. We left at 9:00 and got home around midnight, covering around 325 miles. Very fun day.

Morrow Mountain State Park Overlook

Harleys and a lone VFR at Mount Morrow

89-year-old Aunt Bill; she's a hoot!

VFR at Aunt Bill's

Friday, April 14, 2006

Introductory Post

Everyone's blogging these days, so I figured I'd give it a shot. I'll probably mainly ramble about motorcycle-related topics and trips I take.