MUTHUH's RIDES - Jinx Ride
The Friday the 13th Jinx lived up to its name as we approached the final few days, with not one, but two hurricanes forecast to come up to North Carolina that weekend. Bonnie was gonna blow through on Friday and Charlie on Saturday. Maybe this jinx thing has some merit to it!. Friday morning, though, showed a glimmer of hope as the forecast had them going a little further east than expected and while the homestead here would get slammed with torrential rains, the mountains looked like it would be fair the whole weekend. I had to make the ride solo, some of my riding buds rode up with the HOG group that morning, and another reader of this website bailed out trying to avoid a sloppy ride down from Wash. D.C. - I had work to do til mid-day and rode west in time to catch up with Steve (#01) at The Stations Inn late afternoon. Many of the HOG members pulled up to the covered parking porch right in front of our rooms (that's one reason why I love this place!), locked their bikes, pulled up a chair and uncorked their favorite adult beverage. (For the feint at heart out there, the official HOG sanctioned ride ended the minute they pulled into the parking lot - drinks were now served.) I, on the other hand was up here to do some riding, and snagged a few folks to go for a ride up on the parkway and head into Sparta for dinner... not gonna pass up the chance for an evening ride. (See Pics #02-05)
August 13 - 15, 2004
Friday the Thirteenth never bothered me much, so months before I set a ride date for this ominous date. I don't ride with the H.O.G. groups hardly at all, but a good riding bud of mine, Steve, mentioned their group reserved the entire Stations Inn, right on the parkway for a Friday and Saturday night... I had to come along. Stations Inn is widely known "'round these hear parts" as a great place to gather and crash right on the parkway in North Carolina.
(Hwy 18 / BRP in Laurel Springs)
Most of 'em were still there in their plastic seating arrangements when we got back (#07 & 08 is the daylight version of that evening) and we all sat around and shot the shit til late evening... we had the entire 17-room motel so had no complaints from the neighbors.
Next morning we all split up into several different riding groups, and I joined one heading for breakfast at The Gathering Place (#09), 10 miles south of Stations, right behind the Northwest Trading Post, again, right on the parkway. I had been blowing by the Trading Post for years and never knew this place existed. Nice restaurant and a pretty interesting looking Inn a quarter mile off the parkway. One of the couples in this group was in dire need of a bike repair, and I was the only one who knew where the Wilkesboro Harley Shop was, so we paired up for the 20 mile ride down the mountain. After getting the part for free (they had a used box full of 'em) AND the tool to put it on with - these were nice folks at Crossroads HD - Dave and RaeAnn followed me through the countryside south of Wilkesboro, visiting Moravian Falls (#11), stopping by to visit with Uncle Roy at Rider's Roost, slipping up to Blowing Rock to have burgers at "Cheeseburgers in Paradise" and meandering along the Parkway back towards Stations.
ALong the way we stopped at this little cabin I've seen for years - with time to kill I parked in the gravel pull-off and snapped off some pics of this little homestead cabin, next to the first Baptist Church on the mountains. Not much more than a lean-to, the Cold Spring Church was home to traveling preachers who popped in occasionally, ministering to the mountain folk on Sundays, and generally stayed over at this cabin with the family before heading out the next morning to the next 'church' further down the ridge.
Back atthe Inn, Bruce - the Stations owner, began cooking tonight's dinner for us - Grilled Pork, with slaw, beans, rolls, etc... the typical NC cooker feast. He was showing off his '47 Indian, and after a conversation with him about it, he let it slip he restored old Indians and had a fair collection of them in his garage a couple miles away. "Would you like to go see 'em?" Hehehe - I don't think I ever tasted the pork as it went down, anxious to go take a peak. After dinner was cleared up - he moseyed over to my plastic chair, motioned to his souped up VW beatle, and said. "Let's go!" The ride over was interesting to say the least... this little 60-something VW snapped my head back against the headrest as we squealed tires down Highway 18 towards his garage.
His garage turned out to be several garages and barns abso-fukin-lutely full of old cars, old bikes and about 10 fully restored, servicable and for sale Indians. I found the 1953 I was hoping to see - my birth year and a bike I'd love to buy from him ('cept I am really lookin for a '53 Pan). Bruce introduced me to his ol'man, a former Indian dealer who closed up shop in '53 when Indian went belly up, and saved all his inventory, tools, and miscelaneous parts. This 'garage' was a shrine to Indian and many other brands, and contained floor to ceiling stacks of frames, tires, wheels and bins of parts. They plan to start a restoration business next year. My '53 Indian is the one in the foreground in Pic # 24...whatcha think?
Back at the Stations, the crowd gathers for the Boat Races and.... huh? you don't know about boat races?... well, get a crowd together, reserve the entire Stations Inn for a night, and Bruce will demonstrate for you - he's quite the entertainer for large crowds. Finally, Pic #28 shows the HOG group signing the welcome banner Bruce had done up for them, and they even allowed me to sign it as an honorary HOG for the weekend. Thats Buddy - the ride organizer, bellying up to sign his name last.
The ride home was fairly uneventful. Steve led the way through the backroads of northern NC... got a little wet as we approached home, but nothing much. All in all, not a bad ride at all, stayed really dry all weekend 'cept for the last, in spite of the forecast torrential rains - even back home wasn't too bad. Two hurricanes couldn't dampen the ride, and nothing too terrible happened on this Jinx Ride...at least nothin I'm gonna admit to. "What happens on a Bike ride..." well, you know how that goes.
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