"It's not the destination, it's the ride!"
My 2017 Indian Chief Classic, Metallic Burgandy and Thunder Black 111 cubic inch Fuel Injected Thunder Stroke V-Twin motorcycle that I purchased from the good folks at Atlanta Hwy Indian - It’s the rider that completes this beautiful art and engineering work. There is nothing better than cutting through the highway wind with the sense of spiritual freedom that this awesome machine brings. Plus, there's the occasional sidebar bonus from airborne insect protein... Long may I be riding and smiling!
Image credit: Indian Motorcycle
feathers to the wind
feeling my spirit ascend
past our clouds beyond our star
bound by earth but only so far
leans and greens
riding with angels
feathers to the wind
Dahlonega 2 Step
October 13, 2018 – Nope, not a new dance but the name of our Indian Motorcycle Riders Group, Atlanta Highway Chapter, Saturday ride. There were six of us... Brad, Jerry, and Ken whom I’ve ridden with before plus Greg and Jim who I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time. We could not have asked for better weather conditions or a better group of riders. We enjoyed a quick ride from the dealer to Dahlonega for a tasty lunch and some good conversation at the Bourbon Street Grill. Then Jerry and I continued on to Suches, Wolf Pen Gap around Vogel State Park back down to the Dahlonega Chic-Fil-A for some coffee and ice cream then back home. The other guys rode back home after lunch.
Our next rider group Chapter meeting is Saturday October 20, 10:00 AM at Atlanta Highway Indian, Alpharetta, Georgia. There will be a group ride after the meeting weather permitting.
September 30, 2018 – Fall is a great time to ride a motorcycle, especially in the mountains on the curvy roads amidst the “getting sleepy” forests and busy critters. You just have to watch out for the critters and be ready to brake at all times. I get lots of enjoyable moments on my Indian and today was no exception. For the first time in my life, I witnessed a red tailed hawk attack almost head on from very nearly the victims vantage point. The hawk was targeting something at the roadside with his eyes focused and talons extended. The hawk’s attack and my approach put my head (helmet) nearly in his direct flight path such that I got a view of what his prey would see if his prey were to see him coming. It was so cool! (Cool for me that is, not the hawk)… I knew there were no vehicles behind me so I quickly braked and the hawk veered off so it was just an awesome view for me and an unfortunate distraction for the hawk. I was sorry I interrupted his potential meal. I know how I feel about food so I expect the hawk would kind of like to have had some as well. This time of year you have to be especially aware of critters while riding and driving. I see more flattened critter bodies on the road this time of year than any other. So we should all ride and drive with a sharper awareness of the busy animals since they don’t have a natural awareness of mankind’s creations. Deer for example, will run right into your bike or automobile path as if blind. But always use good judgment when it comes to critter encounters on the road. Many years ago, I think it was 1967, I had a friend die in an automobile crash dodging a critter on the highway. I still wish he had made a different decision. While as many know, I am not very good about keeping in touch, it doesn’t mean I don’t keep friends close in my thoughts. Ride safe, drive safe and enjoy the great fall weather!
Leaping Bear Encounter
July 4, 2018 - It all happened so fast!... As I rounded a GA 136 curve near Burnt Mountain, there was an SUV coming from the other direction and a bear running across the road just in front of the SUV into my lane. Fortunately my approach was from far enough away that I had plenty of time to react. (Keep in mind that when riding a motorcycle, you have to concentrate more on the road and what's in front of you than details about the scenery... oh you do get views of the beautiful animals and greenery all right... but riding focus is primarily on the road)... I expect the SUV startled the bear and I'm pretty sure my thundering Indian approach was worrisome also such that the bear was running at a pretty hefty clip and jumped the guardrail onto a steep bank. He cleared the guardrail easily but I worried about him jumping what appeared to be so blindly onto what appeared to be such a steep bank. But since I know nothing about bear CPR and the possibility that he may have made that jump before (maybe he knew what he was doing)... I decided not to stop... Besides, I've heard that bears eat people.
Riding with Angels
I ride the speed limit on the two lane highways and back roads. On the multiple lane highways I ride with the traffic flow. On the two lanes and back roads, when I know someone behind me wants to
go faster than the speed limit I slow down to let them pass when it’s safe to do so. That reduces stress for me and them. Many times I’ll catch up with them at a traffic light… which I call the
“equalizer”. If we were on a race course I’d likely never see them again once they’d passed me. As for me, I don’t belong on a race course… especially since I managed to get “old” (I put “old” in
quotes because it’s so relative). I consider me “old” in experience but was once a wild fresh child... like when I bought my first motorcycle… It’s a miracle I didn’t die. I was 17 and it was a six
year old 1962 Triumph Thunderbird 650 that I bought from a Hispanic gentleman. I was attracted to the high rise handlebar he had installed and intrigued by what promised to be roaring great fun! Well
the first thing I did was ride to Interstate 75 and open it up… I mean full throttle… to see how fast it would go!... Well, when the speedometer approached 100 (it registered 0-120) it had begun to
bounce so wildly that I couldn’t really say how fast I was traveling. There was so much vibration it was impossible to tell but I suspect I was doing at least 90… then the cool high rise handlebar
(they call them ape hangars) spun in its two mounting brackets lurching me backward! A little scary… so I slowed down below the speed limit and gently pushed the handlebar back to an upright
position. My first thought was… what if it had broken free at 90 mph? I figure angels were riding with me… Jesus’s helpers! The angels saw me and said, “That boy needs help… lots of help!”. People
die on motorcycles… mostly because of riding too fast for conditions. I think that incident was meant to be a lesson for me… It did make a strong impression but the lesson wasn’t over yet. With the
handlebar back in position I rode precariously the rest of the way home. I made it to my driveway and as I leaned into the driveway the left side of the handlebar broke at the mounting bracket.
Fortunately, I was able to control my stop. Turns out the handlebar was a bicycle handlebar which has a smaller diameter than the actual motorcycle handlebar and had been rigged to fit in the Triumph
brackets with shims (strips of thin metal to take up the slack). I presume that the handlebar had rotated many times and discovered that the homemade metal shims had sharp edges and had been cutting
into the handlebar weakening the area where the bracket clamped the shim finally breaking in my driveway. The fact that I've made it to be this old credits my ability to learn from my generous God
Please always use proper riding gear and only properly engineered accessories for your ride. And above all, please ride safe and that goes for all you cage dwellers as well… please drive safe!