Monday, May 24, 2010

Wedding Ride--Branson--April 2010

My fiance was never really sure about what I was excited about the most when I got home--getting my new bike or getting married. I'll never ever say that I was more excited about the new bike. I was very happy to be getting married to my true love and soul mate. I was really glad that we bought the Victory Vision together and we both rode on it together first on a test ride. It was truly our bike and we were riding up to Branson to get married.

We sent off Shelley's dress and my dress clothes by Fedex to the Hummingbird Inn in Reed Springs, a little community just north of Branson. We packed everything else in the trunk and hard bags of the Vision. We managed to stuff it all in there with little room to spare. We wore our red helmets that matched my Jackpot, but they didn't look too bad. They are very comfortable Gmax helmets.

As we started off, we rode the interstate up to Conway. Shelley hates the interstate, but we didn't really want to dilly dally on the way up there. The weather prediction was showing some rain in the late afternoon or evening, so we didn't want to waste time. The interstate ride was not too bad and Shelley wasn't as nervous as she was on the Jackpot. She said that she was very comfortable.

We exited in Conway and headed up Hwy 65. I really waited too long to write this so some of the ride is sketchy due to my poor memory. I do remember the weather was great, we didn't have a bit of problem. Until we got a little farther up north toward Clinton, then the wind started blowing. Shelley gave her special signal for me to slow down (dig her nails into my ribs or shoulders). The bike was solid, but we did get blown around a little. No problems with other traffic, just a little blustery.

Shelley and I made it up to Reed Springs. I spotted the sign for the turn off a little late, and didn't see the guy behind me that almost rear ended us when I came to a sudden stop. Whew, that would have really screwed up our wedding plans. God was looking out for us.

The road was off the main path, then a light gravel driveway to the B&B. What a gorgeous place. You could tell that the owners really took care of it. I think Shelley was ready for a break by the time we got there. We got unpacked and went up to our room.

Our room was fantastic. Two person jacuzzi, beautiful view, awesome place. We hopped back on the bike to go into Branson to pick up some crackers and cheese and mustard for a light dinner. The store was a little Amish bakery place. On the way back, we stopped for gas. I got into a conversation with a guy about the bike. Nice guy, a little talkative, but friendly. It started getting a little chilly on the way back, but no problem. Put the windscreen up a little, turn on the butt heat and no worries.

The next day couldn't have been any better. We slept late in that marvelous bed. The weather turned out to be absolutely beautiful and the wedding went spectacularly. Shelley was absolutely stunning in her dress. She was and is the most beautiful woman I know.

So the next day we decide that we want to ride back along Scenic 7 through Jasper, Booger Hollow, then on to Russellville. The GPS helped us make it where we needed to go to get out of town. The weather was perfect and the ride was great. Northern Arkansas is spectacular and no matter how many times I ride there, it's always just as fantastic. We stopped at the Arkansas Grand Canyon and took a couple of pictures. A nice lady took our picture there.

We rode past Dogpatch, USA which has been shut down for years. I have some fond childhood memories from there. We planned on stopping in Booger Hollow, but it was also closed down. What a shame, economy is being felt all over.

Still a gorgeous ride. We were both very comfortable and the Vision handled like a dream. I only got the secret signal a couple of times when I forgot Shelley was back there and took a few corners like I was solo. Sure was fun, though. :)

We got to Russellville and went to the original Feltner's Whataburger. I remember eating here when I went to college in Conway 20 years ago. They have huge burgers and a huge order of fries. Shelley and I shared a single order and it was plenty. The burger is still one of the best I've ever had. My mouth is watering as I'm typing this.

We get back on the bike with plenty of time and plenty of day light. Shelley wants to get off the interstate, so I get the GPS to route us the back way from Morrilton to Benton. That was a pretty ride as well. We were probably in the saddle about 6 hours that day and neither of us were uncomfortable. I was glad to get home , but the ride was great.

As we go into the house, it kinda hits us that we are now a married couple, husband and wife. What a great feeling. The last three days could not have been more perfect. It was obvious that God had smiled on us.

Monday, May 17, 2010

First Rides

For someone who doesn't know me and is reading this from a totally outside perspective, I should cover a few bases. I work on an offshore drill ship overseas, 28 days on/28 days off. However lately, I've been working a lot over. This time especially I did almost 5 weeks and the ship was in the shipyard. Very busy. I was glad to get out of there.

When I got home from work, I had motorcycle and marriage on my mind. Shelley and I were going to go to a place just north of Branson, Missouri and be married. I was excited about that and getting my new bike. Shelley thinks I was more excited about the bike, but that's not true. We were purchasing our new Victory Vision. We had test rode it last time I was home and we both really enjoyed it. So now it was time to pick it up. I wanted to go by the shop on the way home from the airport, but we had more important things to do. :) Plus we were going to Dallas for the weekend. So it'll be next week. Oh well.

So I go to the bank and they tell me that it can be up to 48 hours to get a loan. 48 HOURS!!! I wanted my bike that day! Well, the lady was very nice, everything was in order and she could probably get it done by late that afternoon. Too late to get the bike that day, but I could pick it up the next morning. The Gregory brothers at Bryant Polaris made me a really good deal, taking my Victory Jackpot as a trade. They've always been great to deal with.

The next morning I go get it and they have it shined up, sitting out front ready for me to take it. So I get on it and ride it through town. Wow, what a great riding bike. Got the stereo going. I made a Ride playlist on my mp3 player, so I was blasting the tunes out. What a great day.

The next day, I pick up Shelley at her work. We run some errands and end up at Wal Mart (how did that happen?) We bought some stuff and were worried about room in the trunk and bags. No problem. Plenty of room. Even a trip to Walmart was made better with the Vision.

So the next weekend Morgan (my 12 yo son) comes for a visit. I promise to help my best friend's brother move, so Morgan and I ride out to his house. Morgan loves riding with me and he always wears the proper gear. We had a great day, rode about 120 miles round trip, beautiful weather.

These little rides were good, but the whole reason I bought the Vision is for big rides. My first big ride is to get married. How appropriate--starting a new life with a great woman on a great bike.