went out for a ride yesterday... what a beautiful day for a ride - i don't know if the weather could have been any better. cool, crisp, clean air; sunny skies - simply awesome.
the day started out as usual. got up early to get the sunday paper for my wife - as usual, i jumped on the bike. this was particularly good because the short trip to/from the store would help determine what i should wear for today's ride. i decided it was cold enough for my leather jacket but not cold enough for chaps... with it potentially getting warmer during the day, i decided to also bring a sweatshirt.
had another decision to make before i took off. i was originally planning to head to the ahdra races in rockingham. i had told ellen i would take her to the drag races. she was supposed to go with me last year, but since i didn't know what they were like, i went by myself. this year i was planning on taking her. friday i got an e-mail from jim saying there was a brunch ride on sunday... he didn't say where the ride was going, but with jim the rides are always good. so i asked ellen if she cared if we went to the races or not - she didn't have a preference. so, we decided on the brunch ride to parts unknown...
met up with jim, dave, mary, steve, jeff, jim and his wife at lucky32 for some brunch before riding. after some eating and chit-chatting, it was time to hit the road. jim finally revealed that we would be heading to southern pines via whispering pines and back roads. i wish that i could remember the route we took or even the roads we were on. what i really remember was riding in beautiful weather on two lane, twisty roads.
oh yeah - i do remember almost getting wiped out by a cage right after we started. i could see it happening. we were on the outer beltline; i was in the second to far left lane. we had just passed the six forks ramps and here comes a porsche. from the on ramp he takes the first right lane and then the second right lane without looking around. when get got into the second right lane, he was next to me. i quickly checked the left lane to determine if i could move into it. then i hit my horn a coupe times and revved the engine. it didn't do any good - this guy was in his own world. i'm staring down at his front left tire as i see it start to cross the white line into my lane. i quickly move into the left lane and pull even with his driver side door. i stare him down a bit and then move forward to rejoin the rest of the group. dave and mary were behind me. dave said as he went by the guy wouldn't even look at him - dave said he knew he screwed up. damn, you always have to be aware out there. i'm always riding like others don't see me or know i'm there - i guess this time it paid off.
about ten minutes after taking off, we had to stop for jeff to adjust something. we all just pulled over to the side of the road while jeff did whatever he was doing. when we started again, jeff and his wife must have turned around - don't know why, but i hope everything was okay.
as we're riding, i'm just enjoying the two lane roads, the weather, the scenery. riding on a day like this is just plain good for the soul. you can think about anything, everything and nothing, all at the same time. here i am, riding with friends, we're all together, but we're in our own little worlds. amazing how that works.
we stop for a quick break in sanford. jim asks if i've been this way before. nope. most of my rides have been north and east; this is the first ride south. he jokingly asks if i could find my way back. of course i can - maybe not on the roads we took, but i could get back home.
we jump back on the bikes and start the last leg of the journey to our destination - a coffee shop called frankie's coffee station in southern pines. by the time we reach frankie's, i've put about 110 miles on the bike. sure doesn't seem like it, on a day like that, i could have ridden a lot longer. frankie's is a quaint little place. it looks like an old house that has had the first floor turned into a coffee shop. you walk up some stairs to the porch of the house. there are a few tables and chairs on the porch - all being used by people enjoying their drinks, conversing with each other or reading books. when you walk into the house/shop you in another room filled with tables, chairs, couches, newspapers, books. again, people are talking, reading, playing board games. to the right is another room where the coffee drinks are ordered and made. they also sell snack type food - muffins, pastries, candy... i couldn't decide what to get. ellen had an italian soda. i finally decided on some iced coffee/chocolate milk drink advertised as a snickers. i have to admit, while it was very good, i can't say it tasted anything like a snickers. so our group takes over a room at the back of the house. more tables, chairs and a couch. this room also had a wood burning stove - although we didn't need it today. we must have spent forty five minutes to an hour, sipping our drinks, talking, joking laughing. then we decided to head back.
followed the same route back with one slight modification. on the way to southern pines, we ended up on a freshly paved road that had a lot of loose gravel. we decided to bypass that road on the way back. again a quick stop in sanford. this time dave and mary decided to head their own way. dave wanted to go out to the airport to see if he could maybe fly a little. so we say our goodbyes and head back to raleigh. on the way in town, we stop by susan's to say hi. it was too bad she couldn't ride with us today, but her daughter was in town and she was working on her house.
before we hit the road for the last leg home, i called my wife to find out what the dinner plans were. she decided to leave the up to us. she said when we got closer to home and stopped somewhere, give he a call and she'd let us know what she wanted. ellen and i decided to stop a mcdonalds. i wasn't going to order drinks, but i asked ellen what she thought. i asked her if she thought i could get the drinks home in the tour-pak if i put them in a drink carrier. ellen looked at me like i was crazy and offered to hold the drinks on the way home. hmmmmm - doesn't sound like much of a challenge to me. so in we go to mcdonalds to order food. i call my wife to finalize the fine dining arrangements. after placing our order, a young guy behind the counter starts asking about the bike. we talk about bikes - he seems to know a bit about them. he's about half way through getting our drinks when he turns around to us and asks how we're going to get the drinks home. i point to ellen. he turns to finish the drinks and quickly turns back around and asks how we're getting the food home. simple, i tell him, saddlebags. and the neat thing about the saddlebags is i can keep the food warm!!! so we hope on the bike, ellen with drinks in hand and me with drinks in my back. we made it home without spilling a drop.
what a great ride it was. we over 225 miles on the bike yesterday - sure didn't seem like it. great weather, great friends (as always). but you know, as great as it is to ride, it's always nice to get back home.
these next couple weeks are going to make for some great riding...