Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day Camping

Just "the guys" went camping last weekend....very low-key.
We went to a primitive National Forest area called Boggs Creek about 20min north of Dahlonega....no electricity or running water (unless you count the creek) and only a vault toilet.
We had a blast....laying in a field watching stars, riding bikes, playing in the creek, hiking, playing catch, etc.


Built a little fence for AnnaBelle a few weeks ago...Jason helped....

Also installed "invisible fence" system to keep her away from the fence/digging while we are gone during the day....can't see it here.
More pics later when it's all painted and finished.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Gainesville to TN trip April 3-5

It's been months since I've posted...guess I finally have something to talk about.....

....since spring break seems to be bringing the family in from 3 states to meet at the cabin in TN, and I had a few days of vacation, I decided to load up the Soma and ride up to the Cabin...here's the basic info:
- 3 days solo on the bike...all 60+ lbs of it!
- 52-67 miles per day
- 3 states - lots of climbing...lots of it! :)

I started on Friday at about noon heading to Clayton...mistake #1...it was VERY windy...gusts up to 25mph...I should have left earlier. This was my longest planned day (more about that later) at 62 miles and the elevation was constantly up and down. Mistake #2...I broke the cardinal bicyle rule...never ride something on an important day that you haven't tested previously. I changed how I packed the panniers and have more in the front ones than I have tested previously. As I head out of the driveway onto the hill down Mt. Vernon Rd., I realize that this has changed the handling of the bike and I have a shimmy in the front end of the bike. I immediately think, "I can't ride this thing like this!" and contemplate turning around to adjust...then I remember the last trip last summer and decide to "deal with it" and adjust in Clayton....glad I did. After 5+ hrs on the bike and 2 short breaks along the way in Cleveland and Batesville, I roll into Clayton. I decide to stop at the McDonalds for a snack and a break. I eat a cheeseburger, chocolate milk and a cone. This ended up being dinner! I decided to use the MickeyD's "shower facility" before rolling over to Grandma and Papa's old house for the evening.
Here is my first nights stopping point:
I figured this would be a great no-cost night and asked permission from the family...they obliged, even though I'm sure they thought I was crazy... I pitched my tent on the sheltered side of the house (winds still howlin at this point), had a snack and turned in by 9pm. At some point in the night one of Rhonda's cousins had driven by the house to dutifully check on it and saw the bike on the porch which triggered an alarm to him. He and the Clayton PD came bangin on my tent tellin me to come out! In my slumber, I apparently told them to "leave me alone"...the cop "asks" me to come out again and I say, "it's private property, I have permission, leave me alone...I'm sleeping"...at this point I hear Jonah say, "Craig???"...I was pissed to have been awoken, but never got out of my bag....it was freakin cold outside! Apparently everyone in Clayton with a scanner knew what was going on...it was a source of amusement for everyone at the ball-field the next day....glad I could spice things up in Clayton for the weekend!

After sleeping too late (Mistake #3), I get up and pack and go to the BK in town for breakfast.......yeah, I know, I'm soft for not cooking. While eating, I looked up at the flag on top of the power poll and realize the wind is dead into my face for the whole days ride at what has to be at least 20 mph...ugh...oh well, gotta get movin or it'll just take that much longer!

Here's me going across the state line....great self-portrait, huh?

Day 2 had the climb that worried me the most right in the middle of my mileage...Flowers Gap, between Franklin, NC and Dillsboro...it goes to a 9% grade for about 1 mile of the 5 mile long climb. I was really worried that my 34X28 gear wouldn't be enough with the bags...well,it barely was but you can be sure I never stopped or walked! I made it but payed for it! The descent was a little unnerving since I had to ride the brakes more than I wanted to (remember that shimmy??... I never completly got rid of it, FWIW) due to the extra weight and was worried about over-cooking the rims and blowing a tire...stopped 3 times to let them cool...it was a good idea...they got HOT at one point.

Note to self: disc brakes would be a good idea on a touring bike for the mtns!

By the time I got to the bottom and Dillsboro I was hot and decided to pull into town for something cold to drink.

Here's where I had a root beer float...Mayfield w/ A&W!

That may have been the best float I ever had in my life...at least it seemed like it at the moment.
Oh, well, had to get movin...still have to make it to Cherokee and I have no idea where I'm going to stay at this point.

Between Dillsboro & Cherokee, an old lady nearly creamed me...I coming up to an intersection w/ the highway I'm on and she pulls up to the stopsign to enter. I make eye contact w/ her and shout to make sure she notices me but something seems odd.........then she looks right at me and pulls out anyway. As she gets in my "space" I swing the 60+ lb beast I'm riding out into the lane to avoid becoming a hood ornament on her little truck. As I ride along, leaing into her front fender, I slammed my fist on her hood and yell again. She actually was yelling at me and shaking her fist at me. She slowed down and I ended up in front of her truck, so I did what any rider would do........I stopped and put my feet down. Yeah, I know....stupid.
I rode away unscrapped.....
As I roll into Cherokee, I made a stop at the Cherokee War Veterans Memorial...Rhonda's Papa served w/ Gen. Patton in WWII and is listed on the memorial...he was born and lived for a while on the reservation...Wallace W. Carter.

So, I get to Cherokee and check around for someplace to stay and realize there are NO cheap places, even this time of year. Most of the legal places are booked solid, you don't wanna "free camp" in the Cherokee Reservation (BAD consequences for getting caught) and the Natl. Park campground was almost $20 and had no hot water (I wanted a shower); so I find this ratty place called "Bradleys". It's on the river (not my fav. spot due to cold temps) and has a hot-water shower-house for $20....OK. I decided to ride around and check some other things out...ended up riding around for about 15 more miles...just 'cause I wanted to :) That made for about 67 miles and some big climbs for the day!

Here's what night 2 looked like:

These were my visitors from the river....

Here's the new K-12 school they are building on the reservation.......it's the biggest freakin school I've ever seen!!
....I guess the casino is treatin' em pretty good these days!

So on day 3 I had this little climb to get over before getting to the cabin....bad news for me is that it's 17 miles long worth of climbing!!!
I had to go over HWY 441 and Newfound Gap at over 5000 feet.

The first half went pretty well.....and then the weight of the bike started to catch up w/ me and the 34X28 gear started to feel a little short for my needs! The last few miles were tough, to say the least. I started to bonk and the loaded miles were beginning to accumulate in my legs all at the same time...ugh. I was determined not to stop til the top, so I just kept peddalin' :)
I made it to the top and hung out w/ some AT through-hikers from FL for about 30 minutes. We sat in the grass and soaked up the sunshine and chatted about FL since they were from the same little town my dad was from...small world, huh?
They took this picure for me....

....and I then I headed down the 14 mile descent to the bottom of the Hwy near Gatlinburg.
After getting to the bottom, guess what I got to do again.......
....that's right; CLIMB!
After another 30 minute climb, I got to the top of the ridge and got to follow the river road down to Metcalf Bottoms picnic area where I exited the park and headed into the valley and the cabin.

Here's me at the top of the 13% climb to the back of the cabin!

I dodged a bullet w/ the weather for this little trip....it was very nasty for days before I left and here's what happened the day after I arrived...abut 3 inches of snow and 30 degree temps:

So, inevitably, after doing a trip of any length, you'd better have learned a few new things:
- never second guess yourself...just keep going and deal w/ your issues as you can
- don't come out of your tent for ANYONE!
- wool is your friend; it's warm, it's dry, it doesn't feel slimy after the first ride in it and it doesn't seem to EVER stink :)
- you can never have too low of a gear when your on a loaded bike
- disc brakes would be good on a loaded bike for in the mountains
- I have a new respect for the people who do the full-on touring out in the Rockies!
- look out for old ladies in trucks...they're ALL crazy
- stop and enjoy the ride; you've got plenty of time

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Take me out to the ball game!!!

Actually, it was Monkey's first game, ever!

Long story, but Mom & Dad were supposed to be here this weekend so I bought tickets for PopPop, Monkey and myself...short part of the story is that they couldn't be here due to a medical issue w/ my uncle and since I couldn't get the tickets sold (whole other story there!) RAB, Monkey and I went...Here are the pics to prove it!!!

More bug info soon!!!!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday "Dub-Date"

Engine was going back together today when I stopped by...All the tin was on; heat exchangers & exhaust looked to be in good shape.The doghouse/alternator went on as I was leaving...things are progressing nicely!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Part III

Heads came back looking real good...new exhaust valves and guides. Rockers installed...they look good too.

87mm pistons and cylinders installed.

Talked to Joey at All Around Restorations today and he tells me should be finished late next week.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

dub pt. 2

Pics of the engine tin and hard parts in the paint booth waiting for spray and of the crack in the spark plug hole on the #3 cyl head (look carefully, its fuzzy).

Hope to have the heads back tomorrow so the engine can go together Wed/Thurs and the new tank painted and ready to go in by Thurs.
Carb should be rebuilt already.
Might be on the road by Friday (fingers crossed)

Race update...
6 hour race on Sat. didn't go as well as the last two...
I did the first 3 hours wheel to wheel w/ 4 of the top 5 guys...
I bonked about hour 3.5 and slowed down alot...apparently so did the others!
Ended up finishing 6th but was only 13 minutes off of the podium after almost 7 hours of racing.....
I'm currently in 2nd overall in the 3 race series, so all isn't lost.
.......that's racing.........