Back to Dad’s again…

04-05-13 Given the moderate stress of the whole truck breakdown, the late time in the day we got moving, and the distance to be traveled, my family invited my friend to stay over in GA. He accepted and since his family and my family are equally awesome but goofy, he fit right in. The day’s ride was productive but mostly uneventful. I did have to stop at Wal-Mart to Ben Gay patches as my shoulders were really giving me grief. There were several times when I felt as if I had no strength or control in my clutch hand particularly. I was rather crabby this day, but I guess this will happen.

04-06-13 Since he was my tour guide in FL, I wanted to show Mike a little something of the place I call home. He didn’t have a lot of time, so I was only able to take him to Stone Mountain Park. We weren’t there very long because my family was coming over and having a big meal.

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Stone Mountain Park

Stone Mountain Park

Ya know, sometimes it’s not easy to join in a family function when you don’t know anybody. But I have to say, Mike fit in just fine and my family harassed him just like they would anybody else. Two of my nieces and one nephew showed up with their folks. Now Everett just loves fire, as do I and my friend. So we built him a fire and had to watch him closely because he’s all boy and a dare devil. My Dad joined us at the fire and was telling us about the natural spring that runs behind his property. My nieces were very excited to see it so we made our way through the woods. Now remember, this is GA; famous for red clay. We got down to the spring and it was really quite lovely. The water was crystal clear and freezing cold. Auntie Ursula just loves a great adventure and I soooo miss having a boy child.

I helped Everett descend a steep slope into the spring and told him how to test a root and dig his heels in so he doesn’t slip. I got such a kick out of watching this boy climb up and down the slopes holding onto roots and trying to keep his footing. Needless to say, he was a dirty boy.

Everett and Auntie Ursula

Everett and Auntie Ursula

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Mike and the calmer niece Chasity stayed up top. Kelsey climbed down a different path and joined Everett and me. I put Everett on my back and was going to climb up a system of large exposed tree roots. Only thing is, I got up one and as I hoisted our weight up to the next Everett tightened his hold on my neck and I knew he was startled. I didn’t want the boy to be scared and make a wrong move, so I told him Auntie Ursula was too old for this and stepped back down. My niece Kelsey wanted to try. She got on the first root just fine, but her little legs were a bit short for the next one. I stepped up and pushed her up by the butt until she grabbed the next one. Mr. Mike was able to help her on the last couple of feet by grabbing her hands. And needless to say, she was muddy.

On the walk back Chasity said they were gonna get fussed at for being so dirty. Wise-guy Kelsey said, “We’ll blame Mike, PawPaw won’t fuss at a visitor.” And so it began; anything and everything the rest of the night was Mr. Mike’s fault. He was a true champ in accepting his undeserved guilt. HeHeHeHe – Mr.Mike had gone to bed earlier than most of us. Finally about 1AM the girls and I crawled into my bed. Girls being girls, they didn’t want to shut up. I told them the rules were: no snoring, no farting and no stealing the covers. Little Ms. Kelsey said, “Well, I can hear Mike snoring…” We laughed so hard and then decided to pick on him some more. We went out to the living room and made a special sign that simple said, “MIKE DID IT”. However, our diabolic plan was thwarted. I suppose as loud as we (they) were, we obviously woke the man up and he busted us.

Mike Did It

Mike Did It

04-07-13 The next day my friend had to make his way back to IL. But like his family said to me, my family said to him, “you’re welcome here anytime.” I have said time and time again that I have been very blessed to meet wonderful people. Actually I’ve met wonderful and not so wonderful people, but I believe I have a decent perception of humans and try only to maintain association with the good ones and to try to inspire as best I can the others. I’ve done many things in my day that would make me not so wonderful but I have learned and continue to learn and I try to embrace and be thankful for all the good in my life and the lessons that have helped me. I rode down I-20 for a few miles with my friend and stopped at Stone Mountain Harley Davidson to find a new shield for my helmet. They didn’t have it and the Mountain Motorsports store was closed on Sunday.

Being as I was only a few miles from my Grandparents, I decided to stop by. I had their address and email but not their number; so surprise surprise – my Pepaw opened the door in complete delight. He told me that Memaw was upstairs under the hair dryer. When I walked in the room her mouth dropped open. I spent nearly two hours catching up with them. They are aging of course, and I had to talk quite loudly, but both are still sharp as tacks. Memaw showed me her latest cross-stitch projects (one of which is a Christmas stocking she’s making for my granddaughter). Pepaw asked me a ton of questions about my journey and I was extremely shocked and touched that he has read nearly every one of my blog posts. I haven’t seen them in nearly 5 years so it was a great catch up session.

04-08-13 My folks left to visit Ms. Patty’s Dad in Pensacola. BB Girl was getting all excited because she saw my folks getting dressed and loaded stuff into the car, as I was getting dressed and asking her if she wanted a scooter ride. As soon as I put her backpack on the floor, she jumped right in. BB Girl and I spent the day doing errands and visiting family. I turned in the change I collected for $32 in cash because it was getting quite heavy. I bought a wee tiny glass bottle at Hobby Lobby for the pearl I found in my Daytona oysters. I bought a box of hair color and also went to Aldi for the $1.89 bacon wrapped filet (it’s pretty good if you don’t overcook it and it’s a perfect portion for me). I eat a lot of good beef when I can because the protein helps rebuild tired, stressed muscles – and oh boy have the muscles been that a lot lately.

The Pearl from Daytona Oysters

The Pearl from Daytona Oysters

Hair Dye - Oh No

Hair Dye – Oh No

I went to my Uncle Archie’s shop and chatted with him a while. We put the timing together for a ride the next day out to my cousin’s in Jefferson. I also stopped at my Aunt Angela’s and was able to see my Cousin Candice and her baby bump, her husband Trent, and their 2 beautiful horses. Following that I visited my grandmother’s grave. Ms. Leah Mae Ballard was a true inspiration in my life. She was a USN Nurse during WWII. She was a very smart and very strong woman. She always told me I could be anything I wanted to be. As cliché as that is, how many of us have really had a special person drill this into our head? My Dad and his brothers said she was a very tough mom, but every memory I have of spending time with her is nothing but gentle, warm, and full of smiles. I guess she was totally squared away in her roles as a Mom and a Grandmother. I miss her so very much. I wish she could see what I’m doing. I know that she would be so proud of my courage, but I also know she’d worry herself crazy.

My Grandmother <3

My Grandmother ❤

When I returned to my Dad’s house, I had an immediate feeling of loneliness. This big house is usually filled with at least my Dad’s and Ms. Patty’s antics and often my brothers and sisters with their kids; or even my son on visits. But this day and the next couple days, I would be here all alone. But the next day will be a great day to ride with my Uncle and my cousin in North GA. And with that, I finally got current on my journey blogs.

04-09-13 This day was a very special day for me! Ya know when I was a kid, little girls dreamed of being nurses, teachers, mommies and the like. I never dreamed of being a biker that would ride Harleys with my Uncle and my younger Cousin. I didn’t dream this ever before, but I wish I had. It was a rather short day despite over 200 miles. Short because I didn’t want to let them go. I’ve seen my Uncle several times in short verse over the past many years. However, I haven’t seen my Cousin since my wedding in ’98. At that time he was just a young man not even old enough to drive. Since then he has become a successful business owner and a father twice over.

I met my Uncle at a gas station in Oxford, the town where I spent much time as a child. From there we went to my cousin’s house in Jefferson. The ride was lovely and the sun was warm. We only chatted briefly at stops but I was so very proud when at one stop my Uncle says to me in his warm and southern drawl, “Dern girl, you ride good.” There are no words to tell you how that made me feel. My Uncle has been riding his whole life and he was proud of my skills…

Uncle Archie and the Springer

Uncle Archie and the Springer

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We got to my cousin Bradley’s house and he showed us around. I’m very pleased at the hard work he’s put into his life and he’s made a lovely home for his boys. At 4 and 5 years old, they ride quads, minibikes, help drive the boats, and even have their own little .22’s. I haven’t met them yet, but it seems they are off to a respectable start. We talked about bikes and caught up a little on Bradley’s years we missed. After about 30 minutes of catch up it was time to ride. We were bound for Helen, GA as I had really wanted to go there and the boys obliged. Bradley took us on some lovely roads; dern I wish I had my GoPro on the windshield.

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Bradley's Fat Boy

Bradley’s Fat Boy

When we got to Helen we were all hungry so we pulled into the Hogpen Gap Grill. There were several motorcycles outside and the porch dining was great for watching other bikers pass by. The Helen, GA area is not only beautiful but provides great mountain riding. The town is ALL designed in a Swiss style; right down to the Subway, gas stations, drug stores and everything else you can imagine – and I mean the ENTIRE town. The food at Hogpen Gap Grill was very good and the service timely and pleasant. Across from us were 4 bikers that sat down during our meal there. I could see and hear that they found interest when I was telling my cousin why I was on this journey and where I had gone thus far. At the end of our meal, I excused my intrusion to the 4 bikers and gave them my Rider’s Claw postcard. They mentioned they had overheard my story and wished me luck. 

My Girl at Hogpen Gap Grill

My Girl at Hogpen Gap Grill

We took a slightly different route back that was equally beautiful. My cousin Bradley showed us around his business and then my Uncle and I were off again.

Cousin Bradley and Uncle Archie

Cousin Bradley and Uncle Archie

My Uncle and I agreed to catch up later regarding our date for Saturday to attend a Bike Show / Swap Meet.

I am very much looking forward to riding with my boys again and hopefully if not sooner, we will join up in May when my son brings his bike and comes to GA to visit the family.

And I can certainly say that I am going back to Helen, GA when I have a few days to be a tourist.

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2 Responses to Back to Dad’s again…

  1. Sytze Nauta says:

    Another beautifully written article Miss Pippi! Glad you enjoyed my sugestion of Helen and hope you get your chance soon to go back.

    • The BROAD says:

      Thanks for the kudos. And I’m trying to decide if I’m going back to Helen Sun/Mon or hit it when I leave Leesburg to go to TN. It’s awesome but I wasn’t there long enough to enjoy it.

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