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!

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#BackRoads Musings: Easter Sunday

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Outstanding day enjoying the Easter Sunday weather. Nothing but sun, and some cloud streaks across the Carolina skies.

My “bad boy” biker attire must’ve been convincing this morning. Some elderly man and his wife in a minivan caught me at the red light just up the road from my neighborhood; “Take a right at the next light-we’ll see you in Church”.

Guess my appearance implied I was “lost”. I had a few replies in mind, but time didn’t permit. I just smiled and rode on. Bet I could open their minds a bit on the backroads soaking in some nature vs. a sermon.

Father, brother Dain and I did one of our “short” runs to Morrow Mtn. We were craving pavement so Dain took us the long way in through Hwy 742 to 52. Loved it. Did some “Biker Fellowship” and socializing on top of Morrow, then headed back. About 130 miles total.

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As an “Ad Man” myself, Church Marketing on kiosks along the backroads always make me chuckle on these rides. They try to keep up with Madison Avenue with catchy phrases and cute references.

Two I saw today:

“1 Cross, 2 Nails, 4 Given”

(I think those numbers are a lttle off but hey…)

And the other:

“You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down. Happy Easter”

So creative.

As my brother says…“I’d rather be on a bike thinking about the universe and discovering it than sitting in a pew thinking about riding my bike”.  Or something like that.

Getting Schooled: 11 Business Lessons I’ve Relearned in the Past 60 Days

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No big surprises. Same lessons, different day. Sometimes it just takes a yank on a scab to remind you.

1. “Who you know” really does work. When it does, acknowledge them.

2. It’s really awesome to get acknowledged and an offer to join a big company to do what you’ve gotten really good doing.

3. When an offer comes with very little questioning, qualifying, or seems too easy, be suspect.

4. If it seems too good to be true. It likely is. See #3.

5. When you get a odd first impression about the person sitting on the other side of the table, go with that. Your gut is a great indicator.

6. HR departments and the TSA seem to have a lot in common. Inane RULES contrary to common sense that impedes progress, and not nearly enough HUMAN sense.

7. Corporate people who manage up, and “appear busy” often are annoying and supersede really effective and obvious maneuvers that would actually move a project forward and make shit happen.

8. Sales 101. The longer it takes for the “official” paperwork to come through and close the deal – the higher the likelihood it isn’t going to happen.

9. In the end, the “Who you knew” that got you in can’t necessarily protect you from the corporate bureaucracy, even when they’re a key player in the middle of it.

10. It’s not a deal until it’s signed on the dotted line, the ink is dry, and the money is in your account.

10.25. Relationships and loyalty are only as good as the influence at stake, the available options and price.

10.5. If they don’t have great, creative ideas, they’ll steal yours (with no remorse) from the brainstorming session you allowed them over a 1/2 caf no-foam latte that you had to buy for yourself.

10.75. Everyone thinks they have great ideas. Finding someone to act on them and bring them to fruition is another thing.

11. People lie.

Not bitter. Just business.

Our turn. Joy and pain, like sunshine and rain.

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Her name is Chloe’ von Musehaus. She was the best. She was amazing to our household.

Chloe’ – Greek name for a German beauty…”rustic beauty”.  In keeping with tradition and with the breeders request, I had to name her with a name that started with a  “C” since she was from the 3rd litter of the bitch. Her name has changed over the years with nicknames the boys have given her. Right now we call her “Poe” for some reason.

She was born in June of 1998 to a fine bloodline. Her Mom was a certified “tracker” – her Dad was a Schutzhund 3 ranked bad ass. I’ve had her since she was 9 weeks old. I trained her for a couple of years with a local group of enthusiasts in “Schutzhund” which means Protection Dog. In Schutzhund, the dogs are put through stringent obedience, tracking and protection drills. It is the standard training for the German Shepherd Dog. Many go on to be search and rescue, and police dogs.

Chloe did well with obedience and bite work, but she was too soft. She was more of a Labrador love hound than protection dog. That’s ok. She’s been the best dog ever to our family and to my two sons and all of their friends.

She’s been through a lot with us in 12 years. Numerous “Marley & Me” moments like raiding the refrigerator and garbage-then throwing it all up, lots of dog sports, camping in the mountains, lots of swimming, sitting on the sidelines watching the boys play soccer, show & tell safety classes to teach children how not to get bitten, violent scraps with other dogs and a couple cats …even a copperhead. In the last few years she started winding down; bad back, bad hips, bad breath…great love.

She is a part of our family DNA. We adore her. She adores us. Just like it’s supposed to be.

February 11, 2011: 12 years, 7 months of love. Over the past few days Chloe’ suddenly started showing signs of listlessness and loss of appetite. Blood work and radiology showed an enlarged heart and mass on her spleen. Doctor recommended we let her go. As you know, that ain’t easy. But we did. 

Rest in peace my friend, my companion, my furry daughter. You were the best. We loved you with all our hearts.

The Boldest Thing I’ve Ever Done: My kids

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I was once asked what the boldest thing I’ve ever done in my life was. At the time I wasn’t sure.

Up until today, I’d say it was a decision in 1998 to alter my domestic life. I broke up my family of four. Without delving into the sorted details, I took the kids – she took the house.

One of my biggest concerns over the years as a Single-Dad raising two boys was how they would be affected.  How they’d adjust. Yes, often the concern was how to feed, clothe them and how to keep the power on.

Today my oldest son Austin walks the stage and receives his High School diploma. A monumental moment because it marks the end of his basic training and the beginning of his advanced learning as a young man…more or less on his own.

It’s a proud day for all parents on graduation day but here’s a BIG verbal “high-five” for single parents that have sacrificed, scraped and succeeded to manage a life, career and household on their own. Fortunately, for every single parent there’s often a network of close,  understanding friends, Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents that make the road less bumpy.

The tears rolling down my face today are from the guilt of not being able to provide more over the years and for the things I still feel I need to teach him. At the same time my tears are from the pride and joy I feel for how remarkable my son has turned out without a lot of “those” things. He’s a fine young man. He melts me.

To borrow from the cheesy but true line from Sandra Bullock’s “The Blind Side” I hope we all relate as parents…I didn’t change their life. They changed mine.

My children are the boldest thing I’ve ever done.

Congrats Austin. Thank you for making my life so rich and my job raising you as easy as you have.

You’re going to be just fine.

Love,

Dad