A late winter ride, not so cold

Got a new phone and wanted to see how it would work in the mountains. This seemed like a good excuse to burn some gas on the bike. So I broke some plans,  and got ready for a Saturday ride, ‘cause Sunday promised to be colder and rainy.

As usual the icon of Milwaukee steel started with a roar and calmed to an impatient rumble.   I got the stuff on I needed to stay warm and legal and the engine smoothed into the lopped sided hypnotic rumble so enticing to me.

My plan was to ride through Brevard and see if the phone signal was still good and then continue to Cashiers and on to Highlands. At all stops the phone was receiving a good signal, better than then last, so it passed my test. I guess I’ll keep it and cancel the Evo. It turns out that with T-mobile I can get lots of talk time and gads of texting and two gigs of internet for sick money. Almost half what I am paying with Sprint.

As usual the bike was like having smooth butter spread over cinnamon toast. It is such a pleasure to ride. The acceleration and handling on it are so smooth. The clutch pull is heavy yet just right. When I finally got to the twisty part of the road, I just fell into each turn and curve as naturally as a stone skipping across a smooth lake at sunset.

There is a BBQ restaurant just outside Highlands. It is called The Smokehouse. I found it making a beer delivery last summer. I liked the location and building, staff is easy to look at too. The inside is all wood, the floors are wide old planks. I was working, so I could not stay and taste the food that smelled so good, they were smoking something outback and my tongue was flooding my mouth. Later during the weekend I went back to try the food and some of the beer I had delivered. It was worth the trip. I have been back a couple of time since and have not been disappointed.

When I got there I circled the place to see what their business was like on this chilly March afternoon. There were a few cars parked. When I got off the bike I checked the signal on the phone. It was strong. I have not gotten a signal there before, or at the most one bar and no data with other phones. However, when I go inside the signal went to zero. Lead walls maybe? But I was able to find a WiFi signal the place had, so I was able to connect.

The Smokehouse has a great beer choice and a full liquor license. I was cold from the ride up, so I just wanted soup or chili to get the core going again. I ordered Brunswick stew. For a smoke/BBQ house, I think it is a good indicator of the kitchen. They have a great kitchen! The stew was thick with food; corn, tomatoes, potatoes that were not too soft, and their pulled pork. The broth was thick with flavor and golden. The pork had sunk to the bottom of the massive bowl and was delicious.

I ordered a beer, Levitation, I think. It was OK, but not to my taste. The brewer is trying out the new idea of making beer fruity in taste. I like the more traditional beers. Julia, the bartender, was gracious and asked me what I normally like in a beer. They had a brown ale that just needed me to try it. Glad I did.

It looked like there was only a waitress and the bartender and they both seemed busy. So I enjoyed the stew and finished my beer and left. The signal came back when I left the building. There was a text message waiting for me and I returned it with no problems. The phone had passed its test!

On the ride back I did not have any traffic to deal with but was in no hurry either. I let the bike take control and cruised along. The curves and twists flowed under the Dunlops. I would come to a sharp turn and lean into it then open the throttle. My mind wandered ahead if the bike to the next turn, or maybe something would wander around the catacombs between my ears. I did not settle any national issues. I did not even settle things that bug me on a daily basis. At times I realized my shoulders needed to relax and I would roll them and feel the cartilage crack. Yet I felt the release that only comes from a good ride.

The beer inside my tummy was beginning to need to be released. I could have made it home, but I did not want to think about peeing for the next hour or so. Brevard was coming up and there is a Sonic there…let’s just say the rest of the ride was a big relief. The open road between Brevard and home is long and bordered by farms. Ridding open farm country is uneventful and fast. Some may say boring, but to me it is OK. A nice run-down from the twisty mountain roads I had just been on.

When I finally made it home, I ran the carburetor dry and there was the Runtyun on the porch, “Hi Daddy!” I gave my daughter a big smiling hug.




O yeah, I’ll get something on the phone and service I got from T-Mobile in the next couple of days.


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