​Just Ridin' Around

​I'm often asked how I find time to ride 4 bikes.  Semi retired, it's not really difficult.   I'm addicted to riding, no question about it.  I ride almost everyday.   I love the sensation riding gives me, the speed, the freedom, there is nothing like moving through the air on a sleek, agile bike.  I enjoy the solitude and the mental time also.

​I thought I'd post what a typical day around here is like.  The last few months I've spent a lot of time on BamaRider, as I continue to migrate the old site over to the new.  It is painstaking work, but I can see the light at the end.  That task usally takes up my morning time.  I treat it like a job, only its a labor of love.  I tell myself to just move a page or two a day and eventually I'll get it done.

​Finished that, I'll take one of the bikes out, find a place to eat lunch, and then go for a ride.  I'll ride anywhere from 50-150 miles to satisfy my addiction.  Lately, I've spent a lot of time on the new CB 1100, but on this day I was in the mood to ride the RT.  I have trip out West on the horizon for the RT, so I've been sure to get more saddle time in on the BMW.

​On this morning I ate lunch at home with D, and wheeled the RT out of the garage and rode West on my favorite loop.  No matter how many times I ride it, I never tire of it.  Today was a good ride on what I call the "hill loop."  Depending on the variants it can be anywhere from 50-120 miles.  The basic no frills loop is 80 miles, which is what I did on this day.

​​​​​Short video on today's ride over the "Hill Loop" on the BMW RT.  I'm addicted to the  feeling of speed and freedom that riding gives me, and have been for 45 years or so.   About 90 seconds long.  Best example of why I do it I know of.
 ​Returned home about 3 pm, and went back in the office to work on a few other projects.  My brother (Gus) and I had arranged a late eveing ride in Montgomery (10 miles south on I-65).  He owns 5 bikes including a 2014 Kawasaki Concours, and 2003 ZRX.  We agreed this would be a ride for the smaller bikes.  We wanted to visit a few of our old haunts from back in the day.  It had been many years since I'd seen many of those places, and wasn't even sure I could find them.  Gus works in Montgomery and his job takes him all over the city, so I'd need his expertise.  ​​

It is June in Alabama, the heavy and hot sport touring bikes would be out of their element on such a ride.  Traffic, narrow streets, neighborhoods, and U turns galore are no fun on a sport touring bike.   In steps the CB 1100 EX with its narrow profile, short turn radius, and light steering, and NO radiator to make my legs feel like hot dogs.  Besides, its a lot of fun to ride.  He advised he'd be here at 6pm.

Our plan was to get some riding in and eat supper on the way home (seafood).  And that's exactly what we did.  It was alot of fun.  Pics below tell the story of the ride. 

​A quick jaunt south on I-65 where we took the first exit into the city.  This is the mostly abandoned North side of Montgomery.  Once a thriving industrial area of the city, it is presently a ghost town of rotting mills, stockyards, metal shops, and fabrication sites.  The Alabama River less than half mile away.  In the late 60s my family bought a small, but thriving cafe here.  That's it in the (well what's left of it) pic above.  My parents sold it in 1977, just in time before a long and serious recession set in.  The new owners lasted about a year. 

Behind those doors my mom fixed some of the best burgers and fries ever, also hamburger steaks, fried chicken, pork chops and steaks.  Just good old fashioned diner/cafe food.  She had a good business for many years.

​The building was bought by a diesel motor shop. It stayed in business for many years but closed about 10 years ago, and has remained empty since.  We were lucky enough on this afternoon to find a man cutting and trimming the sidewalks who still does odd jobs for the owner.  He confirmed what I told my brother, "the roof has fell in I bet."  He advised the building was set for demolition, but not sure when.  He seemed good people, and told us he'd tell the owner he met the previous owners of the small cafe that once did business on the corner.  He said he was fascinated by such things, but noted his boss health wasn't good.

​I'm glad we got the picutre above before the building is gone.

​We left the cafe and rode to the old Highland Gardens area of Montgomery.  Back in the day Highland Gardens was lower middle class area of hard working factory, waitresses, retail, and plant workers.  The kind of people that make the country work.  Currently it is not much.  Mosts homes are not well kept, old cars sit in yards, with many empty houses rotting in the wind.  For the most part it is not a good place.  Most of the occupants trapped here have little options, and remain for the cheap rent.  Every once in awhile we'd come across a house that benefits from occupants who have a pride of ownership.  My guess the house is paid for, and they live on a small fixed income so they hang in there.

​In the late 60s I had 3 aunts and 3 uncles, and many cousins that lived in Highland Gardens.  In the carefree days of summer I'd spend time with my cousins roaming the streets of the sprawling neighborhood.   A number of churches were located in the perimeter of the HG.  Most of them are now closed and boarded up.  We stopped by the house where my Aunt Peggy and family (RIP) once lived.

We once played with our cousins all over this yard.   Like many of the houses in Highland Gardens;  it's empty.

​A short walk down the street takes a guy to this community center, still in operation.  My cousin was the best ping pong player in HG, I destroyed him, and though I lived in Prattville took his crown.  He was PO'ed about it too. 

​Our shiny motorcycles stood in contrast to the area, and the local populace stopped what they were doing and pointed at us when we idled by.

​We picked up the old Atlanta Highway to take us back downtown.  Atlanta Highway was the road everybody "cruised" in the 60's and 70's and into the early 80s.  We'd ride our Z1's over on the weekend to check out the action.  You would NOT want to sit in a parking lot here nowdays.

​Our intent was to ride down to the river to eat supper at a local oyster house, but on arrival we found it closed.  Only open Wed-Sun.  So we decided to ride back to the shiny and mostly new suburb of our hometown-Prattville, to eat supper at a local place.  It was a great way to cap a nice evening ride.  What summer is all about.

​Rides end. Great Catfish meal, and time with my brother, on our special bikes.  Hard to beat.  Couting the early ride on the RT, it was a 160 mile day. 

June 27, 2017