Sunday, March 21, 2010

In Sickness. But Better in Health.

I don't know about your neck of the woods, but there is definitely something in the air or water around here.  I haven't been sick in ages, but was laid low efficiently a couple weeks ago.  Then Mr. Oilburner, who is never sick, was taken down.  And we weren't even bugged with the same thing.  But I wonder if that is also the way of this piece of nastiness.  So many people are sick, but not many people have the same symptons.

What this all comes down to...some beautiful riding weather slipped us by.  The start of my illness coincided with a Saturday.  Of course!  So I prompted Mr. Oilburner to continue on with the plans we had made to ride to dinner with some friends.  I wasn't terribly happy being left to my own devices, but didn't mind the rest or respite from the "I want to ride" nagging.  And I definitely wasn't happy about him finally arriving home about 4 hours later then I expected.  Where was MY dinner after all??  :-)

Sometimes we surmise that karma had something to do with him becoming sick.

No matter.  I slept for almost 48 hours solid on Monday and Tuesday.  And took Wednesday off for good measure.  While he determined that Thursday and Friday was his time to hit the sheets.  When the second Saturday rolled around I was feeling much better and pestering him with the "I want to ride" nags.  Payback's a bitch.

I still don't mind riding alone.  But there is a riding group that I have been keeping tabs on, wanting to ride with.  And this was the perfect opportunity.  I had the hardest time making the actual decision.  And they were OK with me just showing up at the meeting spot.  This was going to be one gor-ge-ous day...with the rain returning tomorrow.  What else is new.

The agenda?  Take the backroads down to Macon to walk around the annual Cherry Blossom Festival!!  NNniiiccceeee!

I was barely on-time at the meeting spot.  Which means to say I was later then some, but earlier then the ride leader.  ;-)  So we waited for the stragglers and I had the chance to meet the ladies I would be riding with.  Did I mention this is an all girl riding club?  Woohoo!!

I volunteered to ride tail.  I can say it is for altruistic reasons like "I tend to sightsee and don't want to hold you up" or "I probably won't ride as fast as you and don't want to hold you up".  But more often then not it is for purely selfish reasons like "I've never ridden with you before and am not sure how you ride and don't want you riding up my tailpipe".  I can usually get away with my first excuses simply because I try to be prepared.  I have a GPS.  And I tend to enter the proposed route into it before the actual ride.  Which is well and good, except rides rarely follow the suggested path.  But that doesn't bother me nearly as much as it used to.  Now, if I become separated from the group, either call one of their cell phones, prepare to just meet up at the end point or go on my own merry way.

So, riding tail wasn't a problem for me.  Except I don't quite stop traffic for the group to ride through at intersections.  That is an acquired skill.  Which some people have honed quite well, I will add.  So I was bumped from my coveted rear position to allow our herder whipping position.  But...I do trust her riding implicitly and didn't have a problem with her behind me.

My biggest concerns at the start of the ride entailed riding through downtown Atlanta, on roads that I have never, ever, ever been on before, and taking them about 10 mph over the speed limit.  I don't mind riding fast.  Just not on roads that I have never been down before.  I managed to keep up.  :-)

We were a little behind and needed to meet a couple more riders south of town.  So those backroads quickly turned into interstates as we rushed to Griffin, GA.  We were to meet these additional riders at a Rite Aid.  And Murphy was having some fun today by throwing us two Rite Aids.  And we were at separate ones.  So our fearless leader zoomed off to corral the new riders while we soaked up some wonderful sun.

We did manage to hit the backroads for the remainder of the trip.  And really enjoyed the scenery of dry farmland Georgia.  But this did put us into Macon about 3 hours later then originally planned.  Then, through some rather poor communication, we wound up with some great parking spots...across town from the festival...  I will maintain that 1 mile is across town in this instance when you are strutting along in leather, mid-calf, inflexible riding boots on what is turning into a very hot day.

It didn't help matters that we had started downhill from the bikes when I managed to slap myself at the realization I had forgotten to lock my top box containing my gloves, GPS, small camera, helmet communicator and sundry other items.  Nope. Didn't lock it at all.  Managed to snake the little combo MasterLock through the appropriate locking hole.  But didn't manage to spin and seat it!  Damn me!  The trek back uphill did nothing to alleviate the heat, my thirst and my burning need to pee!

I will make the hot story short that we walked and walked and walked to the festival.  I managed to relieve myself at one of those lovely comfort stations they set up at festivals for just such things.  And always manage to run out of toilet paper...before you remember to look.  But not that you really want to look anyways because these places are disgusting!  But I was empty.  Now to fix the dry mouth problem.

One of the women in our little group, who can be singled out to be responsible for the walking fiasco, said she had had enough and wanted to go back towards the bikes and just sit in a nice cafe and eat lunch.   So we made it to the festival, but didn't really make it to the festival at all.  And I wasn't complaining.  I wanted some water and didn't have a burning desire to walk around the festival anymore.  So we placed one foot in front of the other and navigated our way back towards the bikes.

Once we finally decided on a suitable place to eat the loads lightened.  And some even removed their boots to cool off the aching feet!  Lunch was wonderful.  Due more to the fun and laughter, but the food wasn't bad either.  There is something to be said for being around a group of independent biker-women that don't need the testosterone around.

So we cooled off, met up with some of the other riders we had been separated from and prepared to head home.  I did espy some little birds making their nests in the hollow bricks behind some broken building facade. 

And this interesting propeller plaque in the sidewalk.  Dated February 18, 1928.  It took some time and prompting, but I did manage to discover the significance.

That little prop embedded in the sidewalk is the only reminder of a terrible airplane crash that occurred Feb 18, 1928.

It would have been a fabulous time in history that Macon was hosting the first Southeastern Air Derby!  Famous pilots were coming in from all over the country.  There would be daredevil stunts, wing walking, parachuting and "dead stick" landings. 

This unlucky plane went up for some last minute promotions of the Derby to release aerial bombs (fireworks) to gain attention. exploded a little too close to the plane and took off one wing.  A couple spirals and a nose dive later and the pilots were killed instantly and fatally wounding an onlooker.  Then, so many people rushed to the scene that women fainted, children were trampled and the sidewalk was overloaded with weight. 

The sidewalks of the time were built over cellars to house coal.  With all of the weight the sidewalk collapsed injuring dozens more. 

Apparently the only reminder is this little other explanation or information. 

A search for Macon air derby crash will yield some interesting reads.

234 miles
1 absolutely beautiful, blue sky day
12 bikes along for the ride
14 wonderful women
10 1/2 hours away from home


  1. I like your photo of smilax on barbed wire - cool shot! Interesting composition and combination of elements.

  2. I think that you ought to enroll in a PhD program, so that you can put your ethnographic research into modern motorcycle-club culture to some good use (and get you into academia, rather than industry). A plan? ;)