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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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.”

We Need Bullies. Our Success Depends On It.

Christmas-story-movie-facts-9

Bullying and peer ridicule has been around since the beginning of time. One either succumbs or overcomes.

Look at the history of our existence and you’ll find the reoccurring theme of adversity among the short, fat, tall, skinny, talented, successful and afflicted. It’s what makes our stories so great. Hell, where would Hollywood be without bullies to inspire the content we digest? Most have succeeded through the motivation of vengeance and determination to prove their worthiness and capability. They were driven because of insecurity and the need for acceptance. They learned to dig hard through the dip, get up over and over again, suck it up, and fight through.

Our society has bred a generation or two or three of people that think everything must be fair. It’s not and can’t be. If everything is fair and balanced, nothing happens. Imbalance causes movement. There is however Justice…eventually.

I’ve been bullied by a few – and guided by many (Parents, leaders, teachers, and role models). Both sides left an impression. The wise ones who led experienced and endured to come out on the other side. That helped to keep me grounded and taught me to focus on the things that mattered. Over time I learned to take the bad with the good.

Do I still yearn? Yes. Have I succeeded? In some areas. Am curled up in a fetal position begging for everyone to stop picking on me? No. Everyone has to find their own way, and through that we are victorious. 

For those that are begging… Parents, Teachers, Coaches – do your job!  Lead, teach confidence, self worth, proper self esteem, perseverance, and indomitable spirit. Help them embrace the bullying and convert it to empowerment.

The bullies of the world will never go away and they shouldn’t. We need them actually – to keep us motivated and focused to achieve. 

“…it ain’t about how hard ya hit.” ~ Rocky Balboa inspirational speech.

Rocky Balboa

Still one of my favorites. 

“…it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

“You ain’t gonna believe this, but you used to fit right here.

I’d hold you up to say to your mother, “This kid’s gonna be the best kid in the world. This kid’s gonna be somebody better than anybody I ever knew.” And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great just watching you, every day was like a privilege. Then the time come for you to be your own man and take on the world, and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow.

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that! I’m always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens.

You’re my son and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, ya ain’t gonna have a life. Don’t forget to visit your mother.”