Tuesday, November 16, 2010

First Ride on the Dragon..Lived to Tell About It!

You may have noticed from a previous post that I was a tad nervous about riding on the Dragon. Had heard several horror stories, including one from my own brother-in-law who had to drive off the road to avoid a head-on collision with a truck.

On our drive over, about 2 hours from our cabin, I'm thinking 'did I tell the kids I love them?' or 'if something happens to us both, our kids will be parent-less'....ya know, all kinds of nice thoughts. And then we come across this, a few miles from the dragon ===============>>>>

Now this pic is after the bike was removed from the tree. It was actually upside down, several feet off the ground, stuck in barbed-wire. We happened upon this only minutes after the crash, just in time to witness the driver, thankfully, walking out of the woods. He was banged up, in full gear, but with blood on his face and walking with a limp. Speed limit in this area was 55mph so he was probably going pretty fast and came upon a patch of gravel that had spread across the street. Not sure he had a chance to see it or avoid it...anyway, thank god he was okay...bike was not, but it can always be replaced, right?

While we are waiting for EMTs and trucks, I'm thinking 'man, this is an omen....turn around while you can'...'it's not too late to chicken out', etc. Have you gathered yet that I am a worry-wart? I mentioned my concerns to my husband and asked if we should just skip it...'Eff no' he said. Well, not his exact words...but something like that. You get my drift.

So we left the emergency personnel to do their thing and road on.  We entered the Dragon, at the end where most finish, I think, so there were not any signs indicating we were on the road.  I thought I heard my husband say something like 'this is it' or 'here we go'...can't hear too well with my full helmet and half the time I just nod in agreement having no idea what he is taking about. I sit and wonder...

I notice the road is a bit windy and I think I am on the Dragon but not quite sure. Lots more turns so I finally ask 'hey, is this it?'. 'Duh' he says.  I breathe a sigh of relief, somewhat, and decide to enjoy the ride. I was in good hands.

Now, there was not a lot of traffic, it was a weekday afternoon, and my husband was being nice to me...we took it pretty slow,  not slow enough for others to pass but not fast enough for me to lose any skin on the pavement. Just fast enough for this anxious first-timer to be okay. And I was...at one point I was going to tell him to speed it up but didn't want to get too carried away.  Still have lots of livin' left to do...

This tiny piece of metal is what separates bikes from a sheer drop off the side of the mountain. Although, I didn't notice too many of these along the road...where would the excitement be if a piece of metal was there to stop you from driving off a cliff? Hmmmm...

Lots of sports bikes on this road and man, I bet it would be fun to ride the Dragon on one.  See how my confidence has grown? I was originally going to chicken out and now I'm ready for my own crotch rocket. Nah...I'll leave that to the young'uns...thanks.

These two were pretty tame compared to several I saw...some were blurs as we passed each other.

Still have a lot to learn...thought this was the top of the dam where The Fugitive was filmed. Apparently, it is not...oh, well....it is still pretty.

Caution...windy road ahead 

Can get a bit of a feel for the road..I'm thinking lots of pegs are lost at this curve

The guy did a Peter Pan, right off of this dam, right here ~Fugitive

So there ya have it...not only did I survive, I actually thoroughly enjoyed myself. Would I do it again, you ask? Abso-freakin-lutely!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hey Chattanooga...where are all the biker bars?

On our recent trip south, we decided to spend a day in Chattanooga to visit some biker bars. Admittedly, my only research was going to a few BikerBar sites and copying down addresses. Not well prepared.  I was very disappointed to find several closed, or perhaps the addresses were wrong? I especially wanted to check out Uncle Stumpy's Pig Sty and Saloon and it appeared to be shut down. Boo! I wanted to meet Uncle Stumpy...so sad it was closed. Victims of the economy? Not sure, but we carried on...ended up in a tourist area and stopped at the first interesting, non-chain place we found.

Cute bartenders with 'special recipes'

Sugar's Ribs Downtown is newly opened this Fall and is the second location for this restaurant.  Situated on the corner of Broad Street in the old Buffalo Wild Wings location, Sugar's has transformed the space into a Whiskey Bar/Blues Venue. We did not get a chance to go to the original location but from what I understand, this new location is a bit more upscale. I have since heard the other location has goats on property so will make that a stop the next time in the area.

We arrived on a Monday, late afternoon, so the place was virtually empty. Grabbed a seat at the full bar and were waited on promptly. Staff was very friendly and helpful with their suggestions on what to order since neither of us are too familiar with southern BBQ. Although I have never eaten them before, I decided to try the ribs. Not too fond of meat on bones, but when in Rome...

Delicious ribs and corn bread

Finger lickin' good, this place...

Smoked chicken

Sugar's sends the meat out 'naked' and offers several varieties of sauces to choose from ranging from mild to sweet and spicy to hot lips. I tried 'em all and they were delicious.

Being a whiskey bar, they do not offer foo-foo girlie drinks as explained by one of the bartenders.  Although, she said she is creative and can use ingredients on hand to make some fruity concoctions. And, she did offer up a recipe for an interesting drink that I will paraphrase...called the 'Wet kitty-cat'. Insert another name for cat here...lol. Hope the shock on my face was not too apparent. I can be a bit prudish, at times. :-)

This was a fun place. Prices were reasonable.  Beers were a couple bucks, each day a featured whiskey is offered at $3.00 per shot.  There is plenty of on-street parking as well as several public parking lots and garages in the nearby area. Staff were kind and helpful, even offering suggestions for a bar across town geared more towards bikers. We would definitely visit again if in the area.

And, for an after dinner treat, this little gem is directly across the street. Chattanooga Cupcakes serves only that...cupcakes, in several varieties.

One Spice cupcake and one PB& Chocolate cupcake with a LOT of frosting...too much really. They did not travel so well in the saddle bag, but were still quite tasty.

From Sugar's, we drove across town to Bud's Sport's Bar on Brainerd Road, which was recommended as a local hangout for bikers. Since we had already eaten, we sat at the bar and had a quick beer.  Place is huge inside, lots of widescreen TVs...everywhere you turn, there were games, races and sport shows on. Few bikers, lots of locals and people just getting off work.

There is a large patio on the side of the building with a full-bar and several tables. Looks like it is a happening place in the warmer weather.

Lots to do at this bar...Wing Night, Taco Night, Karaoke competitions, live music and various food and drink specials on certain nights.

Bud's Sports Bar is located off a major road with a large paved lot and ample parking. There is a traffic light on the side of property for easy entrance/exit. Don't make the mistake we did and try to exit without the light. Intersection was very busy at rush hour and made it nearly impossible to make a left hand turn out of lot. Now we know...

Although our trip to Chattanooga was not as expected, we found a few nice surprises and enjoyed the city. We'll be back and next time, we hope to find the real divey biker bars...where they at, Chattanoogans?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The DRAGON 318 Curves in 11 Miles...

In the midst of a road trip, our stop today is going to be the 'Dragon' located in Deals Gap, North Carolina. Sounds scary...

Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap claims to be America's number one motorcycle road with 318 curves in 11 miles.  Yikes!

 As a BackSeat Rider, I must say I am a tad nervous. Not having control has always been an issue for me, whether I am in a four-wheel vehicle or on the back of the bike. Admittedly, I tend to do a lot of driving from the passenger side and my imaginary brake gets a lot of workout. 

So, with a bit of trepidation, I am putting my trust, and life, in the old man's hands and hope to join the ranks of 'Dragon Slayer'. Although, not sure if BackSeat Riders can call themselves one? Maybe the club is only meant for those that actually drive the road , but if I make it through, without jumping off the bike and walking my way down, I will make myself an honorary member.

A few pics from the last boy's trip...piece of cake, eh?

Friends on the Dragon

My nephews on their crotch rockets! Speed demons :-)

Okay Dragon...ready or not, here I come! Be nice to me....