follow the leader

The weekend was good but went by in such a blur that I can’t even recall what we did Friday evening. I think the weather was good – a bit cold and I came home and changed clothes and Charlie and I sat out on the porch – which, is usually what we do on a Friday night.

Saturday, I rode up to this motorcycle swap meet with Katherine and Yvonne. Mary Ann and Charlie followed in Mary Ann’s car. This swap meet was for Mary Ann’s benefit, mostly, because she wanted to look at bikes. It was also for Yvonne’s benefit to break in her bike and have a first long ride.

It was kind of a stressful, long ride for a newbie, I admit. But, Katherine has her planned for a couple of upcoming rides that are just as big so this experience was good -if not necessary as she has to learn sometime – what better way than to do it with us and Mary Ann and Charlie providing car support.

I ended up taking the Triumph because it was cold that day and I wanted to plug in my heated jacket. (I do plan on getting the plugin attachment for the Harley just that’s not a huge priority right now). Katherine asked that we ride up Buford Highway until we got to 985 so Yvonne wouldn’t have to get on the highway right away.

By the time we reached 985 I was starting to feel like I did that one time when I rode that 50 mile funeral procession with the Patriot Guard my clutch hand was killing me. Once on 985 it was very windy and I was initially glad we only had a few miles on that before we got to Gainesville. For some reason – despite not knowing where we were going I ended up leading the procession.

I took the second exit to Gainesville and when we pulled off the exit I swung into a gas station so we could regroup and figure out where we were going. We gassed up, had a snack and Mary Ann had mapped out the location on her phone so to my relief we followed her. When she stopped to turn left into this almost deserted strip center with the Honey BooBoo-like yard sale in the front I thought she had missed it and was turning around. To my concern we wove down into the parking lot and parked next to some Harley’s that had seen better days.

This has to be a joke, right?

I pulled off my helmet only to be met with a cloud of cigarette smoke. Waving my hand in front of my face I said to the group, I guess we should have just followed the smoke.

There was every bad biker stereotype there. Leather vests with confederate flags, long scraggly beards – like Duck Dynasty goes Hog Chapter. Unfortunately, we all paid $10 to get into some disserted warehouse that only had a few bikes parked inside – one a John Deer chopper that had seen better days. (Hmm, that deer don’t run…) and some lady who was in dire need of dentures sewing on patches to the likes of “Gun control – use both hands” [actually, I liked that one but I’d never wear it]. Katherine slapped down a ten and had her sew on her chapter patch. I was mortified that we had to hang out there long enough for the woman to sew it on. Some guy was revving an old Harley and I was tempted to go over and tell him to stop doing that but realized that I was outnumbered and probably wouldn’t win a fight against these people.

Let’s get out of here. This place is so redneck.

Hon, we’re rednecks if you think of it.

HON. We’re inside-the-fruit-loop-of-Atlanta-gays-who- own-a-CAMPER-redneck there’s a difference – these are scary rednecks. These are string-you-up-rape-you-and-set-you-on-FIRE rednecks.

Much to my relief, we left after that. I walked back to my bike hoping that the girls would follow my lead and start getting dressed again to ride. Unfortunately, one of the rednecks was checking out my bike. I thought for the 9th time in that hour that I should have been packing. Why don’t I pack when I ride, why, why, WHY?! Gun control use both hands….

I like Triumphs!

Thinking, that’s great, so do I, wow who would have thought we had something in common.

Er, great!

What’ll you take fer her?

Uh, she’s not for sale.

Thankfully, he wondered off after that. I went over to Katherine and Yvonne’s bikes. We took a few pics and I said, Let’s get out of here!?

We discussed where to go to lunch. I threw out Mexican because there is a large community in Gainesville and the little hole-in-walls are supposed to be great. Mary Ann pulled up Yelp on her phone and threw out some Spanish name that we agreed to and hopped on our bikes. We pulled out of the shopping center, went up to the first light, hung a right, lost Katherine, went through another light and pulled over in a parking lot to wait for Katherine, Mary Ann exclaimed she was lost, Katherine pulled in, we took off again around through the projects of Gainesville – past dilapidated houses with people sitting on the front porch that I felt safer around than the bikers I needed to wave to – until she pulled back up to the original road and gestured through window which way. I pointed right because there was no way our procession was going to make a left turn onto a 4 lane road. Once back on the road she was gesturing again through the window and I pointed to the Chinese buffet. We pulled in and parked and I no more pulled off my helmet when-

-everyone was like, Noooo we don’t want Chinese.

Well, where do we want to go?

We don’t know.

Freaking women.

Mary Ann was supposed to be leading us there and at this point her little post-breakup mind had shut down. I almost suggested Charlie drive.

Pulling out my cell phone I brought up Yelp and said, There’s a Wild Wings right up the street on the right.

Yes, let’s go there.

Leave it to the project manager to figure shit out. And, I thought I wasn’t working this weekend.

Again, I led the way and swung into the parking lot and parked. I think everyone needed the fortification of chicken wings at that point. After wings and salads we headed out. I wasn’t looking forward to the cold, windy ride home. Once again I felt like I needed to be in charge since I was with women who couldn’t read a map or Yelp I told everyone that 985 was going to be up the road and it would eventually turn into I-85 and at that point I was taking I-285 once I got to it that anyone else could choose how they wanted to go but that was the route I was taking. I was done with clutch-in-clutch-out all the way down Buford Highway. I figured Katherine and Yvonne would pull off and Mary Ann would follow them and I’d be on my own – which, was fine. I’m a big girl and can ride highways just fine by myself –done it for years. Everyone decided to follow – again, I was the leader. I felt like, Ok, I’m the leader you need to keep up and put it on 65 mph and held it.

Once home, Charlie said – You were going so fast it was hard to keep up.

Y’all needed to keep up. I was only going 65 – any slower and we would have had people running up on our butts. As it was it was 5 mph under the speed limit. I mean, it was kind of a tough ride for Yvonne but, hey, you have to learn some time and they could have turned off on Buford Highway again. I was letting everyone know that they didn’t have to follow me but they did.

Sometimes it’s hard always being the leader.

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