Monday, June 30, 2014

June 2014

The Palm Beach Knights Newsletter

The Knights Table

Monthly Newsletter June 2014


Greetings from your President   Will

The Knights SLAY THE DRAGON !!!
Please forgive the length of this article, but it does encompass 6 days of a very memorable trip.

The night before:
Well Sunday night for me was doubtless the same as it was for the other slayers, a great feeling of excitement and anticipation which was only outdone by the elation that the day had finally arrived. I of course get the additional bonus of speculating if the months of hours spent on the computer planning would pay off. As we all went to sleep that night, I’m certain that everyone was doing an inventory OK?...bring enough underwear? Green Tea?  Etc. 

Day 1:
After a very long wait, the day had finally arrived. We all met at the Pancake House on Northlake where we had breakfast at 7am.
I had planned on the first day to be the most grueling of the trip, 400+ miles of mostly highway. My thought was to get in 100 miles before the first stop as that would get us ¼ of the way there while we still had loads of excited energy. So off we went. Keith rode #2 and Neal tailed.  As we headed down the Turnpike my thoughts were constantly focused on safety. There’re freakin maniacs on that road!! As our bikes ate up more miles, my eagerness grew. Once we exited 75, the ride became much more agreeable.  It was this part of the journey that started to make me feel as if I was back in the 60’s.
We saw older sleepy little towns, Mom and Pop stores, many community Churches and roads that led us through miles of farms and ranches. Nice sweeping curves that took us closer to Southern America and the mountains we sought after.

The evening was spent in Douglas GA. at a Motel 8. We were met by very friendly people and for the most part the rooms were nice
enough (Neal’s was a bit warm at first).  Dinner was had at a restaurant that we could walk to (a big plus after 400+ miles of riding). The meal was less than memorable….except for the waitress who was a cute southern bell.

(On a side note I should mentioned that this day also started our brother Crash’s unending quest for a cup of Green Herbal tea. Little did we realize that this pursuit would go on for days and days!!?)
Then back to the hotel and get ready for another long, but nicer ride the next day.

Day 2:
We awoke to a very pretty day. We checked the weather as we did constantly, and then headed on our way. My GPS system was this, I taped the each day’s laminated directions on my tank,

as we reached each point on the direction, I moved a small magnet to the next point I needed to look for. This way my eyes went right to that street name or highway number. I guess it worked, because we didn't get lost once! These roads were great! It was as if God had laid down a ribbon of asphalt through the very middle of farmland. As we progressed that ribbon started to curve and bend.
At one point I remember looking down the road and it's waviness reminding me of a ridged potato chip. We again saw the many sleepy towns that make up the Deep South. Cool temperatures and sunny skies followed us all day.  Again at every meal we had to watch as our brother Crash endures the disappointment of not being able to have his beverage of choice. (It was just heart breaking. Sob!). We rode through Georgia into South Carolina being witness to the surreal beauty of the landscape. As the miles melted away, my year of stored up tension did as well. The towns all had a plethora of the Norman Rockwell looking Peach stands with their hand written sign proclaiming “fresh Peaches, or Vandalia Onions”. 

As we approached Northern Georgia, the mountains made their presence known. Funny, but having lived in Florida for so long I can't help but getting a slight feeling of claustrophobia whenever I get in that area. It’s a feeling that the ominous mountains are looming above us, but that feeling is soon replaced with an awe of their grandness.  We finally arrived at our destination about 4pm. Maggie valley was a bit more “touristy” than I had thought, but by no means what anyone would call a big town.
In spite of the ad for the cabin stating that the cabin was “motorcycle friendly” the road that led to it was exceedingly NOT!!  First, the road was very twisty. Also, it was at a 45 degree angle and banked very sharply. Next the second ½ of the road was very loose large gravel. Needless to say this caused us many problems and was the biggest issue we had the entire trip. Bikes get dropped, it happens. This time it definitely was the road not the rider. Unfortunately Godfather’s bike spilled what we thought was a lot of oil, so we thought we had better have it looked at. As it turned out it was only ½ a quart. This delayed his doing the Dragon the next day. Neal being a pretty Dam good mechanic took care of any issue he had that night. Both Neal and Paul did take a nice fall, but both being pretty tough guys, just shook it off.
The cabin itself was much nicer than a hotel. It had big comfortable rooms that had great views and a large porch for us to hang out on. The TV could have been better; the Heat game was a bit green.  We made plans for the next day and headed off to bed after a very fatiguing ride and experience.

Day 3:
The day had decisively arrived!! We were to do the Dragon.
Paul unfortunately had to wait to get his bike back, but insisted that we stick with our plans. So Keith, Neal and I headed out. Keith took the lead for the day as he was the only one that had ever been in the area before, and I had the GoPro video camera on my helmet. We headed out after an enjoyable breakfast at one of the local eateries.
We had about a 40 minute trip ahead of us. Jim Parrish who has a lot of experience with the area had cautioned me that there might be delays due to campers and such, but I’m happy to report that none of that happened. While it did take a while to get through some of the small towns, including the Indian reservation, we enjoyed every moment of it. The roads that led us to the dam just before where the dragon begins are so nice and so twisty that I had thought we accomplished it when we reached the dam. I was then informed that was a bit premature.
For those who haven't ridden the Dragon, the approach road can be a little deceiving. The danger doesn't begin right away—you ride through some gentle country before dipping down along Tellico Lake. As we approached what was the real beginning we found well-stocked tourist shops
appropriately named “KILL BOY” before you hit the twisties. It was this part of our ride where I started getting the jitters, in fact.  Everyone remembers their first time. It is always preceded by the tall tales of those who have gone before. About how they cherry-picked the perfect moment when everything was just right, which is how I felt at the end. Of how two forces became one, my bike and the road, in an intimate dance of pure bliss.

What they leave out is how your heart rate accelerates, small beads of sweat form on the back of your neck as you begin to hunt for the perfect rhythm. At first a little slower, then a bit faster, until just before the climax, your sensory inputs become a haze. And then you fall back into a state of exhausted euphoria. In your own mind you know you have reached a crossroads in time that you cannot return to. Because the first time can only happen once, so…we did it again! I really felt that I had now accomplished something that would add to my definition of myself as a man.

On the way home we took some other incredible roads like the MOONSHINER 28, which quickly became my favorite road of the entire trip. As we rode back along the river there was a cloud of mist about 8-10 feet thick just above the water. At time it spilled onto the road and we got to ride through it. It is hard for me to describe the surreal feeling that came over me. While the road had many turn and twists, it was easier than the dragon and allowed time for some contemplation. I found myself feeling happy and gratified all the way back to Maggie Valley.

That evening we celebrated with a shot of some very fine Tequila supplied by our brother Crash. (A Hell of a lot better than some Green Tea!!)

We also found out that Paul bike was OK and he planned on doing the Dragon the next day….way to go Godfather!!

Day 4
We awoke to some rainy weather and decided to have breakfast and talk about the day. At breakfast we decided that the rain was a perfect opportunity to go to wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley.
According to their website:
The Wheels through Time Museum is home to the world’s premier collection of rare American Vintage Motorcycles. The museum houses over 300 of America’s rarest and most historic classic motorcycles, with over 24 marques on display, including the likes of Harley-Davidson, Indian, Excelsior, Crocker, Henderson, and much more. Western North Carolina’s premier museum and tourism attraction features dozens of motorcycle-related exhibits, ranging from board track racers, hill climbing, and original paint machines to American Dirt Track racing, choppers and bobbers, and one-of-a-kind motorcycles.
Founded by Dale Walksler in 1993, WTT has become an integral piece in discovering, maintaining, and preserving American motorcycle history. The collection houses tens of thousands of motorcycle pictures, historic memorabilia, and other motorcycle artifacts, and has been featured in hundreds of motorcycle publications, including American Iron, Cycle World, Cycle Source, and American Motorcyclist to name a few. Needless to say, we spent hours there. We did go for a shorter ride, which is why I know understand when people say up there there are no bad roads!

That evening we got Paul report of his experience doing the Dragon. It appears he had as good a time as we did. We spent a very pleasant evening preparing for our departure in the morning.

Day 5
This day, although long was still a very pleasurable part of our journey. The roads that took us back to the same Motel 8 in Douglas were just as charming going south. Again we got to experience the beauty that this great country has to offer. We were witnessing those perfect rows of planted fields, the never ending reminders of small town America and the one constant that held throughout the trip…my friends.

The Knights that made the trip…made this trip!! I'm so thankful for them being there. They were always pleasant, always agreeable and always had a great attitude.
As we headed further South, The weather was becoming a bit more questionable. The skies blackened and we saw some pretty ominous looking thunderstorms around us. At one point we got very close to a sizable storm. We saw lightening about us and the skies turned very dark. I knew we were headed right into it, and there was no escaping it. For some reason, I didn’t stop. I just kept going. As we got closer my anxiety grew, and then nothing less than a miracle occurred. One moment I’m looking straight into the face of a badass storm, the next it was behind us! I mean we had to have been teleported! We did not get a drop of rain. I have no explanation other than God must love the Knights! We made it to Douglas dry and tired. We decided to try a local buffet, where we all proceeded to over eat as much as we could. (Of course still NO FREAKIN GREEN TEA)!!

We walked back to the motel and tried to rest up for the hardest part of the return home the next day.

Day 6
There is not much to say about this part of the journey as it was mostly highway. We did get hit with some rain, but even that didn't last for long. I should mention that at one point the rain got heavy and I Hydroplaned..this led to a puckering akin to a 3 year old tasting  a lemon for the very first time, (yep thats the image I was going for). I slowed down and was fine.
 Godfather did learn a valuable lesson about applying Sunscreen above your eyes when there might be a risk it could get washed into your eyes by rain. We pulled over and took care of it.

Three roads are consistently on the top 10 motorcycle rides list – The Blue Ridge Parkway, the Dragon at Deals Gap, and the Cherohala Skyway. We got to do it all. Add in the Moonshiners 28 and it makes for an unforgettable time. I should say that we did get a reminder of how challenging the Dragon can be when we were told that 5 people had died this year so far attempting it. That was a sobering moment.
I want to thank the men who accompanied me, Neal, Paul and Keith. I know it was mainly because of their good nature and companionship that the trip was such a success. Look for us to do it again next year!

Hey Knights if you haven't had the chance, make sure to go to our sponsor's restaurant!

Enjoy the very best American Greek Restaurant and sports bar in West Palm Beach, Bull Bar and Taverna, ideally located a few minutes away from Downtown West Palm Beach and Palm Beach International Airport. Taste the incredibly delicious Greek food menu as well as the family friendly atmosphere for all to enjoy. If you’re looking for late night entertainment then take part in our live karaoke and no limit live poker action. And of course, we would’t be the best sports bar in West Palm Beach if we didn’t offer you your favorite team’s game on any of our big screen TV’s. So come on in with the whole family and cheer on your team! Don't forget to mention that you are a Palm Beach Knight and you'll get a 20% discount!! Then tell us, and get 50 miles.

Hey Knights,
Want to look really cool? We have T-shirts,

We have-small patches 
and now a very limited 
supply(only a few left) of
 large back Patches available.


Purchasing any item from the Knights helps support our club and makes you look even better!!




Will June 23rd

We have been having some really awesome rides TIMES:

Ride To Eat At Conchy Joe's In Jensen Beach

Always a great ride. Slick led us through some very twistie roads to a great place. While we did deal with a little rain, it was nothing we couldn't handle. The view and food were perfect.

We also got to meet a new Knight!! Welcome David Rey...he already fits right in! 

Jonathan Munoz Said" today was awesome. just a little wet here and there but the end ride was great. loved the back roads"

Slaying the Dragon

Please see above article. If you would like to see more pictures.

Meetup to Ride-

This ride was "organized" by Slick. I don't have a lot of info of where they went, but I understand everyone had a great time.

Joseph Ciancio Said "What a ride,what a ride, what,a ride? It was grrreat . We went here , we went there ,we went everywhere. No rain,good food and great company....... Slick ,you outdid yourself...."

Club (k)Night

Our club nights are always great!! This time we had the added pleasure of having it at our sponsor The Bull Bar and taverna. It's always good to see family and friends. We also greeted a new member Marc Sultan , who even won the $50 gift certificate we raffled off!! After some delay, the Dragon video was played for everyone to see our trip. 

Tom "ECHOES "Casella  Said "The night was great even if a few issues like rain and a missing dvd tried to put a damper on things, but the Knights prevailed thanks to Sue who unselfishly went back home to get a laptop so we could all enjoy the "Tail of the Dragon video"  and get psyched for the next road trip. The turn out food and drink was great, thank you Mark for the donated gift certificate and thank you to Rob and George our generous sponsors"

Ride To The Key's /Seven Mile Bridge 

Slick took a couple of Knights on an all day excursion to the Keys. As I understand it everyone had a great time and arrived home safe and tired as hell. I know from experience that riding on the 7 mile bridge is memorable. 

Slick  Said" Long, hot, exhausting, and I would do this AMAZING day again in a heartbeat. Wow what a journey. Skip & Tommy, I'd ride with the two of you anytime, & anyplace, you two ROCK-"

Tower View Restaurant - Lake Placid

Well the day started out nice enough. We had a good crowd, and welcomed a new member Leslie! Slick gave us a nice surprise and showed up with a friend and rode part of the way there. He and a couple of Knights opted for one of the clubs favorite places, The Landing Strip in Okeechobee. The rest of us continued on a HOT, but very pleasant back road to Lake Placid to the Tower View restaurant. 

Everyone was riding well and the weather seemed to be holding out for us, so I decided to take the same road back. Unfortunatley this is where we had our first real mishap. Joe "Sax" hit an already dead Armadilio and slid right off the road as we were making a turn. Joe was able to get the bike into the grass, but as he will attest to the grass can be freakin hard!!! All the Knights pitched in and we got things straitened out on the road. I called 911 and they sent an Ambulance and Police. As a precaution, they took Joe to the hospital. I asked Greenie to lead most of the Knights back, which he did through some pretty bad weather...Thanks bro. Echoes and I were joined by our new Knight Leslie as we went to the Hospital to check on Joe. I contacted Joe's son who said he would meet us there. All in all Joe came out lucky. He certainly was banged up, but nothing broken. Joe is a very tough Knight and I'm sure will be back on the road soon. Thanks to all that were there, you guys did a great job!!

Yea I think Sax earned it!!!

Thank you all for your feedback!