Unfortunately, this has turned out to be a hit & miss riding year for myself and fellow riding partners. I have mentioned it in another thread (or two), how we have encountered various health issues, and for me, I had begun to question my confidence in my abilities to keep my bike upright in my own yard?
Add to my personal woes, my friends were encountering health issues, and conflicts of schedule with their "personal managers," (AKA wives
If those were not enough convenient excuses...add a few weeks of horrible heat and frequent thunderstorms.
Finally...this past Wednesday
, my best friend and I met up on the "Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway." We have reached the point in our lives where we are privileged to schedule our riding times when most people are not on the road. We rode our RT's to https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...Ckam2kgZG3rZZg
Christa's is just off the Parkway and a fun welcoming place for food, conversation and a "Pit stop," regardless of whether you are on two wheels, afoot, or arrive in a cage. According to google maps, it is an 87 mile ride from my driveway. Thanks to a little creative motorcycle "short-cuts," we managed to stretch the ride to approx 100mi.
Up the hill from Marion, NC on hwy 221 we encountered a couple of loaded down 18wheelers chugging up the mountain with their four-ways flashing to let us know we had become participants in an impromptu parade. In my younger days I would have been impatient, but now that I'm a GEEZER...I think of it as divine intervention to keep me from over-driving the curves and killing myself.
For those experienced bike riders familiar with this area, you know that the Parkway offers a pleasant ride, but that there are other alternative roads much more challenging. In fact, you need to know your limitations as a rider and your machine before attempting some of these roads. It is one thing to encounter a parkway construction zone where fresh gravel, or resurfacing is being applied, but another thing entirely when you find your self rounding a hairpin curve to find the pavement ends and you are suddenly on a steep washboard rock strewn rutted path and the curves continue as you climb. In this region, there are roads like this that actually have official state highway numbers (Highway 90 between Globe, Mortimer, and Collettsville), and you wouldn't want to find yourself trying to negotiate such a highway on your Luxury Touring Indian, RT, LT, Goldwing, or Harley Road king. (At least...not me!)
Anyway, very little of our ride was on the Parkway, but we had a blast. During the trip we had a conversation (Scala 9 radios) about how blessed we are to be riding at our age. We parted company within about 40-50 miles to reach our homes. I was having such a great time that I had failed to pay much attention to my fuel gauge. Blissfully enjoying my chosen "off the beaten path" semi challenging return route, I was suddenly alerted with this bright yellow triangle on my instrument panel punctuated with an exclamation point in the center
... Then, the gas pump symbol started to blinking next to my gas gauge. Unlike my old bike, this RT has a gas gauge, but no "reserve" valve. I'm ashamed to admit this, but I have not read the owners manual thoroughly enough to know how much gas is left once the warning light comes on?
Fortunately, I was only about 8 miles from a store that sells Premium Non-Ethanol gas. That few miles was the most anxious part of the ride. As it turns out, there was no need to worry, and I made it to the pump with fuel to spare. After filling up, the remaining 20 miles was just as enjoyable as the first mile ridden earlier that morning.