Friday, March 26, 2010

Sneek Out!

(photo: the author)

The sun was shining, it was 53F and I had the afternoon off from work. Yep, you are right, I fired up Rosie and headed north on GA SR 9. Not a long ride by any stretch of the imagination but I had been wanting to check out Rider's Hill home to: Blakc Mountain Cycles, Tire Technicians, Inc., European Motorsports, Inc.,and Six Gap Cafe


The front porch is surrounded by comfortable rocking chairs, rental motorcycles and ample parking. Walking in you quickly get an eye full of helmets, gloves, boots, and riding apparel, new Moto Guzzi and Aprilia motorcycles, and motorcycles for sale by owner. And I mean this place is chocked full of motorcycles. After looking at the Guzzis and yes, I took a long look at a Moto Guzzi California Vintage that was gorgeous and only $11,395.
(photo: European Motorsports, Inc.)

European Motorsports is the Aprilia and Moto Guzzi Dealer. The dealerships building is nearing completion. Currently it is sharing space with Black Mountain Cycles which handles the for sale by owner used bikes.

The used bikes included a Ridley AutoGlide Sport, a Victory V92C, a Harley Fatboy Screaming Eagle, a Ducati 749 Biposto, and several Kawasakis, Hondas, and Yamahas. I noted a Honda Pottimus and a couple scooters tucked in the back looking for new home. I politely declined adopting either.

My conclusion from my brief but enjoyable visit, Rider's Hill is a neat place to hang out whether heading out on a ride or returning, or just a place to drink coffee and sit on the porch. It also looks like a great place to purchase accessories, rent a bike, as well as sell or buy a bike.

If you are in the Dahlonega area, you owe it to yourself to stop by and check it out.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ladders, Ladders Everywhere!

OK, Here's a little tip from your Uncle Allen. If you are going to haul a ladder, TIE IT DOWN FIRMLY! I am nothing less than amazed how often I read in the paper or hear on Atlanta radio that a ladder is in the middle of one of the interstates in and around Atlanta because it has flown out of the bed of a pickup.

Here are some various photographs of some dangerous looking situations

Da Truck Pictures, Images and Photos

Why should you care?

NC man killed trying to retrieve ladder from highway

Man Avoids Ladder on Highway, Crashes

Ladder in road blamed for crash that killed teen

Let's be safe out there!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Ken Cook, weather guesser, Fox 5, Atlanta (photo -

Errol Flynn (photo -
(20 June 1909 – 14 October 1959)

Flynn wrote the following books:
Beam Ends (1937)
Showdown (1946)
My Wicked, Wicked Ways, ghost-written by Earl Conrad (1959)

Flynn appeared in the following films:
1957 - The Sun Also Rises
1955 - The Dark Avenger
1950 - Kim
1948 - Adventures of Don Juan
1947 - Cry Wolf
1944 - Objective Burma!
1943 - Thank Your Lucky Stars
1943 - Edge of Darkness
1942 - Gentleman Jim
1942 - Desperate Journey
1941 - They Died With Their Boots On
1940 - Santa Fe Trail
1940 - The Sea Hawk
1939 - Dodge City
1939 - The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex
1938 - The Adventures of Robin Hood
1938 - The Sisters
1938 - The Dawn Patrol
1937 - Another Dawn
1936 - Green Light
1936 - The Charge of the Light Brigade
1935 - Captain Blood

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Learning to Drive

When I turned 15 years old, my Mom owned a 1970 ford fairlane 500 army green four door that had to be the most hideous thing I have ever laid eyes on. Only ford motor company could build something so ugly and keep a straight face selling it to the general public. She had bought it second hand and it was in good running order - as good running order as fords get I guess.

1970 ford fairlane 500 - Photo courtesy MSN

This was the beast I took driving lessons from my Pop in on weekends when he was in town.

At the time, U.S. 19 between Camilla and Albany (pronounced Aww Ben EE) was a two lane highway. It has since become four lane divided. One Friday evening, my parents announced that they were going to the Albany Mall which had just recently been constructed and contained a whopping 76 stores.

I saw this as an opportunity to (a) eat tacos at the Mexican restaurant in the mall, (b) get my folks to buy me some new clothes for school, and (c) get some more experience driving. So, with this perspective, I said I wanted to go. My brother was 17 at the time and was focused on being cool and having as little to do hanging out with his Mom and Dad as possible - let alone a little brother. So, he declined.

We loaded up in the puke green fairlane. Me behind the steering wheel of the obscene looking piece of ford engineering, Pop riding shotgun with a King Edwards cigar in the corner of his mouth, and Mom in the backseat.

As we departed town, I had both hands on the wheel and focused on staying in my lane as I met 55 mph traffic coming the other way which included 18 wheel semis. At the time, meeting oncoming big trucks made me a bit nervous, so I focused on staying between the lines and favoring the dew line on the right side of my lane the asphalt.

Several miles north of town as I met a large truck that was heading South. Just as we met, the left front tire of the truck exploded. When the truck tire exploded, I instantly felt something strike the side of the car which gave the car a pretty good shove towards the shoulder of the road. I stiffened my arms to maintain control of the car. Whatever had hit us banged down the entire side of the car. I was so shocked by what had happened, Pop had to tell me to slow down and pull off of the road.

We inspected the damage to the car and then turned around and drove back to where the truck was sitting on the side of the highway with a blown tire.

The truck had spoke wheels like the one in the picture above. These wheels are of multi-piece bolt together construction. When the tire blew, a ring that run around the outside of the wheel separated, and that is what had hit our car. It had hit at the rear passenger door and made a nice long scrape down the side of the car. Fortunately, it did no mechanical damage to the car, and it was still safe to drive. We exchanged insurance information and headed on to the mall.

Once at the mall, Pop headed to a store at the end of the mall while I went clothes shopping. I came out of a dressing room after trying on some clothes and noticed everyone in the store was standing at the store doorway looking out into the mall. When I inquired what was going on, my Mom informed me that there were store employees from another store chasing a shoplifter through the mall. We completed my clothes purchase and proceeded to meet up with Pop.

When we met up with Pop, he seemed breathless. He began telling us that he had been standing near the front of a large department store when he heard a commotion and someone hollering, "Stop him! Stop thief!". He looked up to see several people chasing a man, so me looked down like he was not paying attention. When the shoplifter got about to him, Pop stepped out in front of him and lowered a shoulder. He flipped the shoplifter and dropped him in the middle of the isle way and sat on top of him until Police could take him into custody.

It made for quite an exciting evening. One I have never forgotten. My brother missed a good bit of excitement for a small town.

I continued to drive the ugly puke green ford abomination until I obtained my drivers license and my own automobile. Every time I see a picture like the one above or see a 1970 fairlane rusting in a junkyard, I puke a little bit in the back of my throat and think about the night we went to the Albany Mall.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Little Consistency Goes a Long Way

In April 2002, Kevin Harvick was competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, NASCAR's third highest touring series, in the Advanced Auto Parts 250 at Martinvsville, Virginia when he tangled with the No. 20 truck of Coy Gibbs. NASCAR viewed the incident as intentional and black flagged Harvick and ordered him out of the truck and out of the event. Further, NASCAR suspended Harvick from competition the rest of the weekend preventing him from competing in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Virginia 500.

Read the full story from NASCAR's website

NASCAR state they felt it was a blatant intentional act, and thought it looked like retaliation. The sanctioning body decided it had to step in and respond to the driver's actions, so they suspended him.

This past weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Carl Edwards attempted to turn down in front of Brad Keselowski early in the going but was not quite clear of the No. 12 Dodge. Video replays show Keselowski turn lower to try to avoid Edwards but the two made contact and Edwards spun. The contact caused enough damage to Edwards No. 99 Ford that he spent 150 laps in the garage for repairs.

With less than 20 laps left in the event, Edwards returned to the track. He attempted to ram Keselowski's No. 12 but missed and almost hit the wall. He ran Keselowski back down on the front stretch and turned into the No. 12 Dodge. Replays show his white driving gloves on the steering wheel making a very sudden and hard right hand turn into Keselowski's Dodge. The bright red No. 12 Penske Dodge turned sideways from the contact and became airborne landing hard into the wall and the track surface on its roof.

The damage to the car was so severe some of the 1 3/4 inch .095 wall thickness chromemoly roll cage tubing was mashed flat. Fortunately for Keselowski, the young driver escaped dazed but uninjured.

NASCAR black flagged Edwards and ordered him to immediately take the No. 99 Ford to the garage and then report directly to the NASCAR Official's trailer. Edwards responded by driving down pit road the wrong direction and then heading to the garage.

When interviewed by the media, Edwards said, "Brad knows the deal between him and I. The scary part was his car went airborne, which was not at all what I expected. At the end of the day, we're out here to race and people have to have respect for one another and I have a lot of respect for people's safety. I wish it wouldn't have gone like it did, but I'm glad he's OK and we'll just go on and race some more and maybe him and I won't get in anymore incidents together. That would be the best thing. I'm just glad everybody is alright."

Edwards comments clearly indicated his actions were intentional. A driver 150 laps down crashing another that is running in the top ten with a handful of laps left in a race is a blatant action. So, the NASCAR world waited for Tuesday when the sanctioning body hands down its judgements for anything occurring during the race weekend. Many expected that NASCAR would suspend the driver from competition for one week as has been its action in the past for such incidents.

Instead, NASCAR's Mike Helton announced they would place the driver on probation for 3 events meaning that NASCAR would watch him.

The inconsistency of rule enforcement has been a black eye that NASCAR has carried for years. On Tuesday, the sanctioning body proved that the only thing consistent with its rulings are its traditional inconsistencies.

Perhaps in a period of low attendance and low television ratings, the series has decided that this drama is good publicity and will fill the stands at Bristol in 2 weeks and have the folks tuning in at home to see if Keselowski seeks revenge at Bristol.

For a little history on Carl Edwards, enjoy the following:

Saturday, March 06, 2010

A cold weekend in Atlanta, but nothing cheers me up more during a dreary cold winter than the sound of high horsepower V-8 engines and the smell of high octane racing fuel. Back several years ago after a hiatus from driving short track race cars, I returned to the local track to drive a car for a friend one Saturday night. As I walked across the track, I saw a friend fueling his late model. I walked over to the gas pumps and chatted with them a few. When they asked me if I had missed racing, I stuck two fingers in the race car fuel cell dipping into the sweet smelling racing fuel and then splashed it behind both ears like cologne. I think it sufficiently answered their question.

I have been out of the seat of a race car for the last 9 years, but my passion for racing and motorsports has not died. So, covering the race weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway is always an enjoyable sideline.

Friday night the track hosted open wheel modifieds on the 1/4 mile "thunder ring" short track and it was some of the best racing I have seen in a long time. As I write this the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is qualifying for today's 3pm race. Tomorrow the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars will compete.

Watching it on TV is enjoyable. Sitting in the stands at the track is even better. But, being able to walk thru the garage as teams ready their cars and walking down pit road during the pit stops is the best fix I get since retiring from driving.