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Fall and Things


    It's been a rewarding day so far---a day of thanksgiving. I think that it was Mr. Furman Bisher, of the Atlanta newspapers who filed an annual "I'm thankful for" column each Thanksgiving.
    ITF the beauty of the weather of this past week. Yes, the wind was rowdy for part of the week, but then warmth returned, along with sunshine. Great motorcycle riding weather. An extra layer kept me comfortable during the morning ride to Woodstock yesterday, and Ethan's last soccer game of the season.
    ITF morning walks with Harlow---the grand-dog----this time of year. The moon was full and silence filled the air. The clear skies make the stars seem extra bright. Even the sound of the train rumbling through town was comforting--from a distance. As we walked back towards Booger Bottom, Harlow suddenly turned around. A deer was crossing the road. The moon provided enough light to see the outline as the animal fluidly moved silently across the road. Why were its' hooves not making a sound? Possibly advancing age has dulled such sounds?!!
    ITF being able to sit in the library, with the curtains open, and looking out into the woods. Rays of sunshine are flowing onto the ground here and there. While most of the trees still have foliage, newly fallen leaves make for an attractive carpet in the woods. Why is it that leaves fall onto the driveway too?
    ITF looking out the window, watching the squirrels and chipmunks scamper in the woods. There seems to be an urgency to the scampering. They know that winter follows.
    ITF the correct brand of cat litter. The grand-cat is here too---and is still indoors---for now. Huey has always been an indoor cat. The purring of a cat has been a comfort since days of childhood on the farm. Like most farm kids, we had many cats. As soon as I found a new litter, I felt that it was my job to introduce them to the human world. Once they felt comfortable enough to let me hold them, the motor started running. Sitting in the sun also seemed to help them purr better. Of course, they were outdoor cats. The proper cat litter seems to greatly help keep odor down inside.
    ITF the challenges of life. There have always challenges. Learning to ride a bicycle seemed to be a difficult one. Turns out that I had been riding alone for some time without knowing it. Then I looked back and Billy was not there!!! Going off to college was a challenge. This farm boy found comfort in the corn fields behind the dorm building. God knew the fields would provide comfort and He put me there in that room. Coming to Atlanta was a challenge. The bright lights and the life style was almost an overload. The practice of law was a challenge, but a rewarding one. After all, I knew everything. Ha!
    ITF getting an invitation from Greg Brezina, a former Falcon linebacker, to join him and some acquaintances for a meeting on financial wisdom at his home. That's the night I was introduced to Dan Cathy. A few years passed before another friend told me about this meeting of bikers at the Rock Ranch. The Rock Ranch? Hey, free BBQ and talk about forming a new group of bikers. There was Dan Cathy sharing a vision of bikers helping others while enjoying the sport. Sounded like joy to me with a capital J.
    ITF the blessings of Moo Cow Bikers. New friendships have been formed, new roads have been ridden, new charities have been assisted, all while riding motorcycles. Can't beat that.
    ITF family. Yes, we all face challenges in this arena, but oh, the blessings. Children, grandchildren, no great grandchildren yet. We all have stories to share in this area.
    ITF facebook!! More friends. More discussions. I choose to delete some friends, just as some delete me. It's hard to judge character in snippets, but you do what you have to do.
    ITF the wisdom attained through the years.
ITF the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, for knowing that the Trinity has always been there for me, for knowing that the Holy Spirit is in charge of me now.
    ITF Good Sunday Morning and for the blessings that you say you receive from these writings.
    ITF blessings. They are many.
    Be a blessing to someone today.

Sometimes Ask


    Saturday's ride was not billed as a "Fall Foliage" ride, as the peak season for beauty in the mountains has passed. The ride was put into place at the last minute and was specifically billed: not for beginners. The ride would be ambitious for this time of year and in excess of 400 miles in north Georgia.
    Randy E., Howard, David J., Ricky, Richard & Candy and I braved what was to be a cool, cloudy day and departed The Dwarf House in Fayetteville pretty much on time. As promised, Wayne S. met us as we headed north out of Riverdale. This time we spotted each other with no difficulties. Randy E. and Howard each had new bikes, for them, to break in. There is no better way to accumulate to a new bike than to ride it in varied atmospheres for a full day.
    Leaders of a pack of bikes must not only be familiar with the ride route, but must try to keep the group together. With only one CB in the Herd, all contact with other bikers would have to be in the rear view mirrors---not the easiest thing to do when there are more than 4 bikes. Traffic light sequences had been favorable, so when we approached a light south of Jasper, I looked in the mirror and continued on the route. Within a few seconds, I saw no Moo Cow Bikers in the rear view mirror. Surely, not everyone was caught with the light. I slowed, and pulled off the road. After waiting three light change sequences, I proceeded to an intersection and headed back down the road. There, at the traffic light interchange, were six bikes pulled off to the side of the cross road. 
    Randy E. had lost power and concluded that the battery in his bike was dead. He said that the speedometer had spun erratically, then all power was lost. Wayne S. brought out his tool box and removed the battery. Meanwhile, Randy contacted two auto parts stores in the area before finding a replacement battery. We put the old battery in a saddle bag and headed north to the auto parts store. It took a while to find the promised battery, but it had to have acid added and charged for a time. That battery was only $50.00, but we did not have time to wait. We wanted Randy to enjoy the day with us rather than leave him alone. Another battery was found, though it was an inch wider than the original and cost an additional $50.00. Still a bargain. A customer and both store clerks were very helpful. Loaded the new battery, headed back to the group, installed the new battery, and the cover still fit the wider battery. Fired right up.
    Well, something else might have caused the two year old battery to die. We stopped in Ellijay for fuel. Randy called an auto parts store which was within sight to see if they would check his electrical system. Yes, come on over. Everything checked out fine.
    On the one block ride to the auto parts store, we saw Wayne S. go on by. Maybe he sees something we don't see. In a while, we see, Wayne S. make a pass on the main highway. Well, I'll call him just in case he pulled off the road. He answers! Thankfully, he had his phone connected to his music system. Wayne rejoins us.
    It's now noon and bikers like to eat. We had planned to eat at the Dillard House, but we were too far behind schedule to eat there. After inquiring with our friendly electrical man, we head to a place in Ellijay that the Herd had been to before. It's not the Dillard House, but it is much cheaper and it does serve country cooking. Two buses had pulled up and the line was rather long, but the waitress allowed us to pull two tables together and put our coats there so that the tables would not be used by others.
    Our waitress and the three line servers got Be Our Guest cards. Great service and good food too. Good use of the cards.
    Well, the plan was to travel SE on #52 out of Ellijay, then NE towards Blue Ridge Lake, join #60, to #180. The path was entered into the GPS on Friday night. I told the group that I had not ridden the proposed route, so just be patient and enjoy the ride. Left onto Roy Road, right onto Doublehead Gap Road. The pavement runs out. We proceed and come to pavement again. Pavement runs out, U turn, try another route. Pavement runs out. David's bike is still shining from a recent wash and waxing. He suggests that we stay on pavement. We see beautiful farms, streams, pastures, animals, but we keep running out of pavement. Finally, we come to an intersection with a smalltime store. The proprietor comes from somewhere outside the store. David says, "don't ask for directions--it's not biker like. Well, I ask: "is there a way to get to #60 without having to ride dirt roads?" The lady smiles and says: "yes." I go into the store and she has maps. We were dangerously close to our desired location---sort of!
    We did not get to Morganton, then ride south on #60, but we did get back to Doublehead Gap Road and eventually to the intersection with #60. This was followed by an uneventful ride to Suches and #180. The daylight hours were diminishing, so we headed for home, though Wayne S. did point out that his bike had a headlight.
    We will have to try this route again. The riding day was a venture for sure. We overcame the dead battery, had a good lunch, practiced emergency stopping, U turning, all while maintaining good attitudes and experiencing some real country riding. And we did not lose any riders.
    We were blessed. We asked and we received.
    Be a blessing to someone today.

Friends and Things

    Bikers ride. Some "lone wolf" types enjoy the solitude of riding alone. When riding alone, there is only one opinion to consider. The only discussion on where, when, how, why, how long is with self. Some would call that type of riding joyful, others would call it very selfish. Some would say that it's a safety issue. Some would say there is nothing safe about riding alone. Reality says that it's a combination.
    Some riders enjoy the comradery of fellow riders striking out together headed for a destination of common choice with others whose style of riding is similar. Those persons tend to belong to a motorcycle club, or a motorcycle gang. The word "gang" might still recall images of "less than desirable," but it all depends on the fruit of the vine.
    Yesterday, the Moo Cow Bikers had a Covered Bridge ride planned, but Ricky, our designated Road Captain, exercised wisdom and changed the ride to a Turtle Ride for something that every biker enjoys----BBQ and ice cream.
    For those who are not familiar with "Turtle Rides," that would be a ride of shorter distance and at a more relaxed pace. The Vice Cow still has a reputation of enjoying "Rabbit Rides." Those rides tend to be longer in distance, and at a faster pace. Admittedly, over the twelve years of riding with the Moo Cow Bikers, Rabbit taste has begun to evolve to Turtle pleasure.....but don't tell anyone. Image is a valued commodity to a biker. :) 
    Here in the southeast, we have been exposed to 100 + degree days for a time. Once 100 degrees is reached, one can actually feel the heat beating down, especially when riding slow or when stopped. Lower temperatures are noticed, but the magical triple digit numbers bring on an imagined, and real, change. One who rides in such weather needs to take extra precautions. Drinking lots of fluid -preferably water- helps keep the body hydrated. David even had a "wet vest" on yesterday to help cool the body core. (David is our latest technology rider) Long sleeves help protect the skin from burn and actually help to keep one cooler.  
    Yesterday eighteen bikes began a relatively short ride to Where There's Smoke in Mansfield, Georgia. Did most riders exercise extraordinary care in clothing protection? NO!! So much for safety in clothing attire. One rider wore full coverage AND a glowing green vest. David had his wet vest and full armored jacket on. Most of us wore short sleeves and gloves. I like to wear the fingerless gloves with the open back. The tan spot on the back of the hand is always a giveaway of a biker, though it does take much longer to take such a glove off. Some riders even wore shorts! So much for adding to the Moo Cow Biker image in safety apparel.  
    Years ago, I asked an acquaintance why he wore leathers when riding in the summer. His response was that any extra layer helps save the skin when skidding along the pavement. That is a response to remember when dressing for a ride. Speaking to self and others here.
    Our biker club prides itself (don't you hate to use the word "pride," as it goeth before the fall) on welcoming all types of bikers. When Dan Cathy started this group, one of his goals was to include all bikers and all makes of bikes. We have succeeded in that area wonderfully. We have the true bikers, who ride HARLEYS, we have the Japanese bikes, European bikes, and now we have a growing number of trikes (we are not a young group, but don't tell anyone).
    When we have monthly meetings, when we ride together, when we socialize together, all these riders have commonality separate and apart from bikes. Most of us are family oriented, with children and grandchildren, maybe a great grandparent or two, some single, but we all love the sport of riding the open road and spending time together. I couldn't help but think yesterday while we sat at the long table exchanging tales, there was no mention of make and model of bike---other than Randy and Linda's new trike. The conversation was about life and experiences and how good, might I even say great, the BBQ was. Later, at the DQ in Madison, the conversation included Southern Gospel music, denominations, and salvation.  WOW. That's good conversation.
    "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine dresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit." John 15: 1-2.
    Moo Cow Bikers is a Christ centered motorcycle gang. Those who do not have common interest in Jesus Christ come and go. Those who have the common interest in Jesus Christ and in riding get pruned and bear more fruit. We welcome all. We know that church denomination does not determine salvation, but we know the truth when Jesus Christ says "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me." John 14: 6.
    When you think that you are suffering and being tested in life, stop and ask yourself: "am I being pruned, or am I being taken away?"  As long as you have breath, there is time to be pruned.
    Be a blessing to someone today.