Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Christmas Ride

I can remember the day I became 'addicted' to riding.  I was 8 years old, and I'd just been instructed on how to mount a horse.  My instructor looked me in the eye once she'd set my feet properly in the stirrups and said, "Now, this may feel weird".  As the aged gray mare took her first steps with me astride, the joyful feeling that overtook my body was one I will never shake.

I still get that thrill every time I settle aboard my bike.  She hasn't been started since December 2nd ... I don't keep her on a battery tender, and we've had several days in the 20's.  She fired right up at the first press of the button ... and we were off!

Time constraints and a need for a rear tire kept us to a minimum ride today; but ANY wind therapy in December is perfect, no matter what.  Our ride took us through Walland to Foothills towards Wears Valley; and then we whipped around and did it back the other way and ended up in Maryville.  The air was crisp but mild and the sky was a deep, cloudless blue.  The growl of my Khaleesi drowned out all other sound, and the breathtaking mountain views calmed any wayward thoughts. 

I have officially hit 10,000 miles ridden during my 2nd year riding with FOUR more months to go!  I'm at 20,020 miles total on my bike.  I'm pretty sure this number will be my goal for the next 6 more years, until Colton is big enough to ride on the back and go with us.  Projected rain the next 2 days, but we're HOPING to have good enough weather to ride up to Bristol on Saturday so I can get my tire.  Everyone is doing a New Year's Day "Frosty Toes" ride, so hoping to be able to participate!

Love my bike, so blessed to have her and to have the ability to ride and spend time w/ my hubby.  We love riding, and can't wait until our next VACATION! 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Trying new things

So, we have been trying to step slightly out of the "Jen and David" bubble, and try to ride with other people!  It's tough because many of the contacts we've made are several hours from the Knoxville area.  So to "organize" a ride is a little bit of a pain because you try to find an area convenient to "everyone", but then something happens to throw a wrench in the plans; and by "wrench", I mean the weather!  I'm not complaining because it's November 25th, and we just got home from our 4th ride over the last week, but it is very unpredictable right now.  So mainly, David and I just go whenever we feel like it, and ride wherever the bikes happen to take us.

Fun ride with friends!

Last week however, a friend from Murfreesboro had a ride planned for the Cherohala Skyway.  That's less than an hour from us, so I threw our hats in the ring as ready and willing to ride!  The ride hinged more on them because it's around 4 hours from west Tennessee to the Cherohala; and last Sunday was in the THIRTIES.  Um, that's freaking COLD, lol.  And no, I still don't have any heated gear!  But all was well, and we bundled up in roughly 9 layers to head south and meet.  Our friends met up with us, and we hit the road!  Cherohala to the Dragon to Foothills Parkway.  It was cold and had salt residue on the road, but nothing slippery or too dirty.  The Dragon actually had photographers even though the resort and the Killboy store are shut down for the season!  Stoked about that.  It was my little Khaleesi/2 Chieftans/1 Roadmaster ... so I was the odd one out, lol!  190 miles of perfection :D

4 little Indians

For Thanksgiving day, my evil master plan worked perfectly and we were able to have a "Biker Thanksgiving".  There were a few tense moments as we reached the apex of the mountains; there were full on icy patches ... and that road does NOT get salted, it simply gets closed.  So it was deemed passable to cars; I swallowed my trepidation, slowed WAY down, and we made it safely through all 3 spots.  As we weaved our way down into Cherokee, NC, it actually got colder.  I'm happy to say that just my finger tips and my toes got a bit chilly.  We did see Elk in NC, and the ride back home boasted NO ICE, yay!  We did Foothills Parkway for the 3rd time in as many weeks, but this time we did it from Wears Valley towards Maryville.  We like it better TOWARDS Wears Valley, you get better views that way.  But this was the first time we got to ride it with NO stop and go traffic at all.  So beautiful, VERY fun to ride!

Riding into the GSM National Park

Elk in Cherokee, NC

Cherokee has these beautiful bears everywhere

Today was a very educational day for me.  We finally got to meet up with some friends that we met last year, at the Mystery Dinner Ride.  They have a pretty good circle of friends, and had arranged to ride with several other people, and us.  It was around the Big South Fork recreation area.  That is a FUN area, and lots of challenging roads.  The rec area itself has 2 10 mph switchbacks that I've progressively gotten better at.  As those of you that have followed my riding journey thus far know, if there's anything I struggle with, it's right hand switchback turns, especially uphill ones.  Let's just say they're an experienced group of riders.  I mean, we're experienced too in the sense that we've ridden so much in the last year and a half ... but our riding experience IS roughly a year and a half of saddle time.  David did ride as a kid, but not for the last 21 years.  I have NEVER ridden the "steel horse" before 3-17-17. 

Can you see all those CURVES??

Today, I rode on what felt to me to be the very edge of control.  I am not a "hard twist of the throttle" type of rider.  I don't fiddle-fart around, but I don't lay rubber either.  10 over the speed limit is about my comfort zone.  Throw a curvy road in there, and I tend to be more of a 5 over to the actual limit kind of girl.  In fact, David will sometimes get in a forward rhythm through curves and will kind of leave me in the dirt.  But ... you don't LEARN when you never push.  It's important to ride in all types of conditions, and it's important to push the boundaries of your riding so that you can improve and grow as a rider.  I was super impressed with our leaders; They were both on Chieftans; he on a Darkhorse, and she on the gorgeous red Chieftan Elite.  They can RIDE; she stayed right with him staggered slightly just how David and I ride, and she matched her hubby curve for curve.  There were times they both smoked us.  Let me be clear, they did wait for us.  But they had to stop and wait for us, lol!  I tried as hard as I could to keep up, but as we hit the switchbacks, I had to give that up.

Made some new buddies today!

The familiar roads gave way to new ones; we were cruising along soooo much faster than we normally do, and the curves were AMAZING!  They'd rise and fall with a twist and a flick, and it literally felt like we were on a roller coaster; so damn scary!  Haha, I was beginning to have fun, though.  I think the 1st 3rd of my ride, I was terrified.  I was gritting my teeth and having to take deep breaths to keep my arms loose so I could just let the bike follow the road.  The middle 3rd was unreal curves.  The fun rollercoaster road gave way to z shape curves going uphill.  As I approached, I let off the throttle, downshifted all the way to 1st, and turned my head over my shoulder.  For some of the turns, I actually drug my rear brake and feathered the clutch, they were THAT steep.  I felt bad for the guys behind me, as I'm sure they could have stayed up closer with our leaders.  That section was a combination of the Copperhead road and the Devil's Triangle!

East Rim overlook; gorgeous!

The final 3rd, I was finally digging twisting that throttle!  I leaned forward, shoved my heels down off the edge of my floorboards, and breathed deep.  I pushed out my destructive visions of David going down, and I pushed out the news that one of the lady bloggers I follow went down this morning, totaling her bike and breaking her pelvis in 4 places.  That crap messes with your mind!  The road was GREAT, and I looked up past David to my friend in front; I just watched how she didn't even touch the brake coming into the curve and just leaned into it.  So I quit hitting my brakes, concentrated on my lines, and trusted that my girl was going to go around the corner at speed.  Slow.  Look.  Press.  Roll.  I slowed enough to evaluate that I was fully under control, I looked as far through the curve as I could, I pressed the bars at speed, and I rolled harder on that throttle coming out than I ever have.  As we thundered to our final rest stop, David and I kept up perfectly with the leaders.  He too was getting a feel for the new ride, and trusting those tires to grip the road.

Gee, I feel like the baby of the group!

At the end of the day, you HAVE to ride your ride.  But also at the end of the day, if you never step outside your little box, you will never grow and learn and gain experience, either.  So yes, I pushed myself beyond my comfort zone.  At times, I had to tell myself to relax my jaw and stop gritting my teeth.  But my reward was a renewed faith in myself, and in my bike that we can both be aggressive and forward thinking.  I had a BLAST, and we were invited to tag along again, so we must not have lagged too badly!  I was once again the odd one out; 4 Chieftans, 1 Roadmaster, and my Scout, lol.  That's ok, I love her so much, and I love that she's not too much bike for me.  We're about 500 miles away from 20,000, HOW did that happen???  So I will 100% meet my goal of another 10K miles during year 2 of riding.  Again, year TWO.  I have to remind myself that technically, I'm still a beginner with lots left to learn.  I still have plenty of things to work on before I figure out a way to get myself a Chieftan.  I don't NEED a giant bike right now.  I think a minimum of 5 years with the Scout is what I need to gain the necessary experience to graduate up to a larger motorcycle.  As I've said since day 1; I will keep my Khaleesi forever.  I was asked today what my first bike was, and I was proud to say it's my Indian.

6 little Indians

So grateful and blessed to be able to ride roughly 711 miles since last Sunday.  We did a quick ride on Friday up to the Indian dealership so David could demo a Mustang seat for his bike; we did our "test ride" loop, and went right back so he could drop it back off, lol!  Not what he's looking for.  We then took the long way home :)  This upcoming week is going to be miserably cold with temps in the low 40's as the highs.  Not sure what the weekend will look like; if we ride at all, it will be Saturday.  Preliminary forecast looks pretty good, but that can change on a whim.

I'm sorry, was I drooling?

Finally got a NEW FHP pic

Sunday, November 11, 2018

All the things ...

Well.  Life has taken an interesting turn for us.  You know how I've said, several times, how I sure would love to get David's Chieftan before the end of the year?  Yeah, in reality, we had NO idea how that was actually going to happen.  And trade in vs. selling outright ... well, our dilemma was solved by  Mufasa getting totaled.

The prior Monday, we were given the opportunity to do fun, touristy things in Pigeon Forge!  Tuesday, we were in the ER.  And by "we", I mean David.  It was a beautiful day, and he'd decided to take his bike out and about a bit.  I'd driven b/c the morning was just a hair too cold for me, which turned out to be a good thing.  We'd JUST had lunch together.  I was back at work, working, and he called me and said, "So, it seems I've had a little motorcycle accident".  I jumped out of my chair and ran out the door.  He still doesn't know what happened.  He was on a road we've traveled on many times, it was not in a terribly curvy part, and he was in traffic.  His rear end broke loose and threatened his control, so he moved it over to the side.  When he hit the grass, the bike did a 180 and flung him off in a ditch.  He was knocked unconscious for roughly 30 minutes; the cops woke him up.

By the time I got to him, he had been given a provisional "clear" from the ambulance EMT's.  He was most definitely concussed, but not much else was going on.  That day, he was fully dressed in all his gear, gloves included.  We swung by the house so he could change, and made our way out to the ER.  Thankful for a great staff that didn't keep us there all night.  Once the CT scan pronounced his head and spine clear, we went back home.  In the ensuing days, it was determined that Mufasa would be put down.  I think I was more sad than David!  It hurt my heart to see him there in the "boneyard".  Unfortunately, Kawasaki Vulcans are a dime a dozen, and the cost to repair them with the overpriced OEM parts quickly overwhelm the value of the bike.  

He hit on the right side


We'd come to grips that our riding season was over.  Figures, because I'd JUST put the last piece of the puzzle on Khaleesi; pipes.  My friend that sold me her floorboards still had her pipes, and I bought them off her.  David gave me his blessing to ride by myself some, but I was sensing a trend; his dad was riding alone BOTH times he went down.  David was riding alone when HE went down.  So, my thoughts of riding alone weren't so favorable.  But I did go on a short ride, and had a blast.  A week later, we were frantically getting off work and running into Knoxville so we could bring home a new family member; Viserion.

RC Components exhaust!  Soooo loud!

Everything just fell perfectly into place for it to happen.  It wasn't something we were planning, to be sure, but it all worked out.  Viserion turned out to be David's birthday gift; he brought her home the day after his birthday.  Well, almost, lol!  We'd JUST pulled out of the IMOK parking lot, and the check engine light came on followed by a very obvious engine cutting in and out.  We hooked a quick U turn and booked it back to a closed dealership (6:05), but thankfully, we were able to grab our sales guy as he was leaving.  Will unlocked the doors, wheeled Viserion back inside, and said he'd give us a call the next day once they figured out what was going on.

First ride!  Heading down to GA

I can not tell you how much my heart flutters to see 2 Indians in the garage!

Riding the Trail of Tears

Turns out it was just a fouled spark plug, so they replaced both and we were good to go!  My heart was racing as I followed David home; IMOK is off a very busy highway, and the traffic around town right now is so bad with lots of tourists in for the leaf season.  My heart was in my throat until he finally pulled her into the garage.

That gray paint is gorgeous; it's so sparkly, like mine!  NOT a matte finish.

The next day, we left out to ride the beasts down to GA.  It was a lovely ride; very windy and blustery, but we were properly layered up, so no big deal.  David did great; his back was HUGELY bruised up and very sore from his fall, and he did skin his knee.  His jeans were flapping around and irritated his wound on the knee, but other than that, he did great on the ride.  We did 347 miles.  Already, it's time for the 500 mile break in service!  Time flies when you're having a blast!

Yesterday was FREEZING, but today it actually got up to low 50.  We hit the road to ride the NEW section of Foothills Parkway.  They have been working on that 16 mile stretch of road between Walland and Wears Valley since the 1960's.  They FINALLY finished the connecting bridge; yesterday was opening day.  Today, it was sooooo crowded!  We knew it would be, though.  I wanted to do it 1.  Because the weather was ok enough to ride for an hour or so.  And 2.  Because the Fall color is still beautiful!

Foothills Parkway

The missing link series of bridges

Viewing Townsend

We were on the uphill side ... in traffic.  FUN, lol!  Very unique challenge to keep it in 1st, moving along about 2 or 3 mph up a mountain, on an off camber road.  My clutch hand got pretty tired, but I wasn't dying or anything.  We got to the end and came home through Wears Valley instead of turning around and coming back over the Parkway, like our original intention. 

This costume garnered more attention than any other!

We'll have to capture the bikes with the views NEXT time

My thespian acting again!  A Midsummer's Night Dream

The day she came home ... a mini tribe!

The "usual" side of Foothills

We've reached full on "off season".  This week is going to be rainy with highs in the 40's.  We will keep the girls gassed and ready for a ride at a moment's notice.  HOPING Thanksgiving day will be decent; we're going to Harrah's Casino in Cherokee for dinner; it would be awesome to ride the bikes since the in-laws will be available to drive the babies!  We'll just have to see.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Riding variety!

I haven't moved away from blogging of my rides; I've just added another platform.  Sometimes it's just too much trouble to pull out the computer to log everything; I actually have to upload all my pics to Flickr, download to my computer, then upload to the blog.  I added an adventure page to my personal facebook page; you can search "Jen and David Ride", or Indisaki Adventures on facebook and "like" the page if you don't want to miss anything!  If it's not a big, giant, epic ride, it's nice just to upload the photos to facebook along with the synopsis.

The teenager at WORK

Looks like my last entry here was our vacation.  We've had a few fun rides since then, only one long one.  The long one broke our Riding record on day one of the vacation; we rode 435 miles in one day!  It was a fun day; we rode out to Lynchburg and back.

Freshly washed beasts

Sadly, the day after our long ride, my FIL had another motorcycle accident :(  He was riding alone to his brother's house on his bike, and a kid texting on his phone rear ended him as he was turning into the driveway.  It was a pretty devastating impact; he was taken by ambulance to Kennestone Hospital in GA and it turned out he has a pretty severe broken back.  He had surgery to place 2 rods and 8 screws; David had to ride down to GA to pick C up b/c it was his week to hang with the grandparents.  Thank GOD he is not paralyzed; his helmet actually came off his head during the impact, but he didn't even have a concussion.

Night Riding

Obviously, his future wind therapy is in question.  The MIL says she's keeping her bike for now, but won't ride alone.  There's no telling when the FIL will be well enough even to contemplate getting back out there; he's having to get the strength up to even walk again.  So yeah, there's that.

Top of the Dam

Our ride this week was a night ride out to Norris Dam.  We thought about a Cherohala trip, but pop up showers in the area deterred our enthusiasm!  Khaleesi is almost completely perfect; the final piece of my "must have" accessories has been added.  Floorboards!  She now has a Mustang seat, a Freedom Shields flared windshield, reduced reach handle bars, an LED high projection headlight, and Kuryakan mini floorboards.  I love the mini boards because I have the option to hang my heels off the back if I so desire.  My "want" list consists of pipes and upgraded shocks.  Later!

Bottom of the Dam

Let me just say, that if you've never ridden at night, you're missing out!  It is truly an incredible experience, especially once you get beyond the streetlights.  Tennessee has a LOT of area without streetlights.  It's so amazing to look up at the sky and see how vast everything is without all the light pollution; it's breathtaking!

We stuck to mostly main roads and a little bit of Interstate getting there; the harriest part is the "State Park" road because it's not lit, it's 2 lane, it's not well traveled, and it's in the "Park", so lots of potential critters!  God was with us, and even though we smelled lots of skunks and roadkill, we didn't see ANYTHING.  It feels completely different in the dark, and the ride becomes about the FEELING of riding the bike instead of the looking around at the sights; the "sight" part is pretty much cut off.  My next investment is going to be some amber glasses to try for the dark stuff; I feel like I see pretty well with just my eyes, but I'm all for every advantage!  I was sooooo glad I packed my "layers"; I was wearing just a T shirt and my mesh jacket b/c it was pretty humid and sticky last night (got up to NINETY ... in OCTOBER), but once we got moving at a pretty good clip, I got chilly.

Worst selfie on the face of the planet!!

We took the most hilarious selfie, I just couldn't stop laughing!  I feel like the JenandDavid selfie is sort of our thing, and it is the most HORRIBLE picture, it just makes me laugh.  We encountered some teenagers that wanted us to roll on the throttles, and a gentleman at the gas station that I think wanted to snap a pic, but he wasn't fast enough.  We rode around 95 miles I think it was; we were out for about 3 hours or so.  For me, the night rides are "guilt free" because we go once C is down, and the teenager just has to be present in the house; he doesn't have to DO anything.  It'll probably be November before C can go back to stay for "his week" with the grandparents, and that's provided that the FIL has a smooth healing road, and his pain stays under control as he learns to live with the hardware in his back.  We won't have many more nights I don't think, as hopefully the 90 degree days will stop. I'm not looking forward to COLD weather, but I AM looking forward to FALL weather, which means day rides are the BEST ... and of course, I want to ride through the changing leaves.

MUCH better selfie, lol!

Taking each ride day by day.  I try to average at least once a week riding to work.  Found a new way to go that's fun on the bike; keeps me from riding the same ride over and over.  I just thank God for allowing us to own and ride motorcycles, and I'm SO thankful for His protection as we're out and about.  The teenager is learning to drive, and I'm WAY more scared for him out there in the car as a new driver than I am for us on 2 wheels.  FIL's accident has caused us to just add another layer of carefulness to our riding; as we slow down, we use dorky hand signals.  Sitting at a traffic light, we're "split", with each of us having an "out" if the worst happens and someone comes barreling up, not paying attention.  Thanks for reading, and happy riding!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

A day of rest, and relaxation

This morning, we slept as late as we wanted.  Turned out that was around 8:30.  We made our way down to the lobby area and out to the boat dock for a ride on the resort's giant boat around Stonewall Lake.  We were there first, an hour early, and just chilled out.  That was about an hour, and so nice and relaxing.  The lake is secluded and beautiful, without even houses on the shore.

We decided to head to the nearest town for an early lunch, the town of Weston.  We ate cheap, had a little ice cream treat, then decided to head a little further out to a local winery.  Oh, and did I mention that I was the Babe on the Back?  Lol, we have an awesome front row parking spot at the resort and didn't want to lose it.  So Khaleesi stayed put, and I hopped on Mufasa with David. It was REALLY fun, his Mustang seat is the BOMB.  I wish like crazy that MY Mustang seat on my bike felt that good, but it just doesn't.  The ride over to the winery was tiny, windy, and so much fun; I was seriously missing riding my own!  But I just squeezed my honey tight and held on.

After sampling the offerings, we purchased a bottle and 2 glasses to bring home; the lady even gave us a piece of wine cake to eat during our tasting!  Very good, but very sweet.  We got "home", then changed to go to the pool again.  The pool is indoor/outdoor with a hot tub both in and out.  Since today we were in earlier in the day, the sun was out more so we stayed inside more.  The water is heated and feels absolutely, completely, 100% PERFECT. 

Went back to the room to relax for a few, then decided to rent a golf cart to ride around the course.  Yes, they let you do that!  18 holes of golf ... David and I do NOT play, but we can appreciate a beautiful course.  We must have seen about 50 deer; lots of bucks, too.  And lots of geese!  Nothing else, though.  The golf cart tour was like a golf wildlife safari, lol.  So that was great, took up about an hour.

Went BACK into Weston, right across the road from our lunch spot.  We took the best, most fun roads!  We took the "long" way for our evening jaunt and passed about another 50 deer.  Luckily, they all stayed out of the road, and we enjoyed "taco Tuesday" at the local Mexican restaurant.  Came back the interstate to mitigate the wildlife risk, and got packed up for the ride home tomorrow. 

Taco Tuesday!

So, so, so sad to go home tomorrow.  Unbelievably grateful for the time we've had, just thankful to God for a safe and fun trip so far.  Hoping for a slightly more interesting ride home tomorrow in the sense of NOT being on the interstate so much!  BORING in the sense of making it home safe and sound :):)

The top of the golf course