Dragon Slaying in Virginia. #TilleyRentsHarleys

Every Fall is a rally cry for the beautiful colors the season and our Appalachian region has to offer; NC, SC, VA, TN. It is breathtaking for sure. And a whole lotta fun!

It’s been awhile since me, my Dad, and Brother have taken to two wheels to do a little bonding over greasy spoon diners, backroads and twisties.

tilley harley salisbury road glide rental

Harley Davidson 2016 Road Glide Special

I sold my metric 2000 Yamaha VStar 1100 Classic a few years back, so I reached out to Tilley Harley Davidson Salisbury. Their online rental inventory had some avails for our weekend trip. Much to my surprise, they had a 2016 Road Glide Special in stock and it was in my color ; ) BLACK.

Among motorcyclists and sport car enthusiasts, most references to the “Dragon” immediately mean the “Tail of the Dragon” 11-mile stretch of Deals Gap, North Carolina at the Tennessee border said to have 318 curves. Been there done about 4 times. It’s gotten so popular that it’s too crowded. You have to go on a weekday to enjoy.

An area that’s getting attention in the other direction in Southwest Virginia has been dubbed “The Back of the Dragon“. It boasts 32 miles of elevation changes, curves and spectacular views. From Marion, head north on Route 16.

CLICK HERE to see how our trip went: https://storify.com/nathanrichie/back-of-the-dragon-backroad-zen

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Trump and Hillary. The Right Balance Between Desperation and Fear.

Wendy and I just finished watching the 2001 Series “Band of Brothersproduced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg on Amazon. Outstanding series. Outstanding cast with surprise appearances by today’s best. Only 10 episodes. You owe it to yourself to watch it. Obviously late to the viewing party.
It centers around a company of soldiers in the 101 Airborne during World War II, that go from basic training to storming Normandy, Battle of the Bulge, and the fall of Hitler.

So many intense and touching scenes. A few towards the end shows the characters questioning the reason the United States even got involved in a war on foreign soil. It was then that the concentration camps were revealed…that’s why we were there. Some megalomaniac took advantage of that one moment in time, found the right balance between desperation and fear – and made people believe anything that came out of his mouth. 

The beginning of each episode features very moving interviews with the actual soldiers that were still alive to tell the stories while making the series. Damn. The indomitable spirit and balls on these guys back then. 


At the end of each episode text slides gives statistics and insights. I screen captured the last two in the series. We both had the same reaction at the end with respect to our current political climate. If you take either of the candidates for our Presidential election and replace the stats in the slides – insert the words, biases, and agendas they’ve spoken of – the abuse of power and irresponsibility they’ve shown. The experience or lack thereof. Their character and compassion. Can you fathom history repeating itself in this apocalyptic way under them (foreign or domestic), or do they seem resolute and destined to drive a purpose larger than themselves for the greater good of humanity? 


I’m worried about our remaining choices. This is the best we’ve got eh?

If you care about your future, Vote for it. VERY carefully.

#SaturdayMorningPonder #SaluteToVeterans

Carpe Diem

… we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really.

How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more? Perhaps not even that.

How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty?

And yet it all seems limitless.

 

– Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky

It’s all about the swish

Meandering Miscellanea

Once one learns how, there is no greater joy for a motorcyclist than a well-executed line on a wiggly road. That’s why wiggly roads are so highly prized among the two-wheel crowd.

Photo1A well-executed line is fast, smooth and safe. A celebration of skill. Turns start wide and finish narrow. The line rocks from apex to apex without abrupt or awkward steering, braking, or gear changes. The bike leans without scraping and stays where it belongs, not too close to either the right edge (there be monsters) or the center line (there be bigger monsters). There’s a thrill. There is swish.

From my house, it takes about two hours each way to get to and from the twisties in the mountains. Going and coming, we pay the price in the interstate free-for-all or urban traffic. In hot weather or rush traffic, the last hour home is horrible, no matter how…

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Some folks like to getaway… #backroads #motorcycles

April 2011 was the last time we’d taken off for “them thar hills”. We conquered The Dragon last time we went.

Great Roads of Western NC

This year Dad suggested we head up to the same area to the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge in Stecoah, NC with a bunch of folks from the BMW club (none of us have a BMW, but they tolerated us).

We rode up Thursday under beautiful Carolina skies. At night we sat around the campfire with the rest of the Iron Butt riders (from as far away as Seattle, Ohio, and Jacksonville), and swapped stories and lies.

Friday it rained all day. Even lost power for a few hours. Just as well since four guys in a cabin tend to keep each other awake snoring despite ear plugs. All but a few of us stayed in, ate, took naps, followed the pursuit of the Boston bombing suspects on CNN, told more lies, shot some pool, and discovered how good bourbon can taste out of a styrofoam cup.

Saturday, we took off to run the Cherohala Skyway . It was a very cold run for the first couple of hours until the sun bathed us. We hit the Hiwassee Dam so Dad could get his contest points, and then stumbled upon the Tellicafe in Tellico Plains, TN. for some lunch. I had the soup of the day: Green Tomato & Ham. Let’s just say it was… interesting.

Sunday we headed back to Charlotte by way of the sexy curvy 28 onto Highlands, and then through Chesnee and home.

Hate we lost Friday to rain, but we still logged some mileage and good times.

Total miles 835
Total hours moving: 17; 05
Moving average: 48.9
Max speed 80.8

I sold my 2000 VStar 1100 Classic last summer. Having recently lost his Father, my martial brother – Instructor Jay Jarrell from King Tiger Tae Kwon Do offered his ’99 Special Edition Harley Low Rider for the weekend excursion. How’s that for friendship? Can’t thank him enough for allowing me another great memory bonding with my Brother and Dad. Thanks Jay!

Gun rights. It’s not a White redneck thing.

Courtesy Oleg Volk Blog

Courtesy : Oleg Volk Blog : OlegVolk.net

 

As is the case whenever the gun debate pops up, I keep seeing news clips of rabid representatives from the Right; gun toting goofs straight out of Central Casting sporting NRA hats and thick beards yelling “God & guns…from my cold, dead hands” (Yee Haw!). Thank you media for digging deep and keeping stereotypes alive.

My first reaction is, “God and guns” – what does one have to do with the other? Did I miss something in Bible school? When you look at it from a rights and Freedom standpoint as these gentlemen have pointed out, it’s proof our Forefathers fully understood the ideals they wrote in our Constitution.

Contrary to what you see in the mainstream, gun rights aren’t a White redneck thing. It’s a Black thing…and an Asian, Female, and Gay thing…an everybody thing. It’s about protection of human, civil RIGHTS (hence, when British mouthpiece Piers Morgan rants ad nauseum “Why do you need a 30 round magazine or this weapon or that one…”, well, Piers, It’s a NEED thing. A need to protect RIGHTS).

Black History month was last month, but this is solid. Doubt many have viewed this side of the Black history. The mainstream media hasn’t, however I’d love to see Steve Crump do his documentary justice to the topic.

Some hightlights:

  • “Gun control has ultimately been about People control…and it sprouts from racist soil” 
  • “We cannot recognize the humanity of this individual because he would be able to keep and bear arms” 
  • “History is ripe with examples…direct correlation between gun control and black people control” 
  • “When you touch the 2nd Ammendment, you can’t become more anti-American, because America would not be without her guns…” 
  • “For when they change our Constitution, they will take our guns, and when they take our guns they will also seek to take our God. That’s when Americans will fight back.”

Inspiration Called.

Dain

Dain

My big Brother Dain was enroute to his client meeting in South Carolina. We hadn’t talked in about a week. For 29 minutes we measured and weighed our latest business successes and challenges.

He told me to check out Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech on YouTube for some inspiration.

Good call. I needed it.