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.

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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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NR VIEW : Tamela Rich "Live Full Throttle"

Forecast: Sunshine with high’s near 60 “something”.

That’s all we needed to hear. A small group of us wrapped up 2011 in part this past Saturday, December 31st with a great day of backroads motorcycle riding in an attempt to suck the very last rays of sunshine from our unseasonable North Carolina weather. 225 round trip miles later, we succeeded.

Thanks to Social Media maven, friend, motorcyle adventurer, and author Tamela Rich for putting out the call for a posse. She set the itinerary for Carthage, NC  – the home of Pik-N-Pig BBQ.

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We weren’t the only ones thinking about seizing the day via backroads and motorcycles. When we got to the eating hole (which is seated on some farm land disguised as small craft airport), there were a line of parked bikes.

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Inside, the place was packed with people in biker leather, denim and bright yellow touring jackets.

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We had a total of 6 in our group which included my Dad Stephen Richie, my Brother Dain, Tamela and a couple new friends (to me anyway), Bill and Ken.

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Tamela’s new book “Live Full Throttle: Life Lessons from Friends Who Faced Cancer” dropped back in early December and she’s been out on a promotional tour ever since.

I sat down with her for a quick NR VIEW: 

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