Friday, October 27, 2017

Fall Gathering 2017 in Blairsville, Georgia. Days 1 and 2

The MP3 group had another Fall Gathering on September 14 through the 17th.  I decided to join them because they were meeting in Blairsville, Georgia, a relatively short 405 miles of riding for me to get there.  And the mountains around that area provide some fine riding.  I also like all of the riders.

I started at sunrise on Thursday, the 14th, taking the scenic route (no interstate highways).  I headed up 301 to Folkston, took 15 through Blackshear to Baxley, then 1 before turning off to Vidalia, Soperton towards Sparta. A bridge under repair had me go off route a bit before Sparta but I got back on track and headed around Athens to Blairsville.

While riding into the Copperhead Lodge, I heard someone calling my name.  It was Doug (Old As Dirt, even if it is ironic that he is a bit younger than me)  He was staying in a cabin.  I had chosen the bunk room in a stay I already commented on earlier.

We hung out, greeting each rider as they arrived, then had dinner in the lodge.

The next morning we met for breakfast downtown, then headed on a long ride led by Doug.

Lunch was in Helen, a small Georgia village dressed to look like a small town in Switzerland.  It is not even close to the real thing, but I like it anyway.  Lunch was in a German restaurant, so I had bratwurst.

The afternoon ride was a continuation of mountain roads.

Dinner was at a BBQ restaurant approximately ten miles from the lodge.  I was late arriving and ended up eating the extra food that was going to go uneaten.  It was tasty and free.

I chose Rocket for this adventure. 

Doug and Noreen 

The Copperhead Lodge.  I had the bunkroom and wrote about it already. 

Noreen and Kevin with their new bikes 

Stop along the way.  Mark, Phillip, Ralph and the others.

Kenny was getting hot.  Off goes the winter gear. 

Lunch in Helen at a German restaurant, of course.  Also, of course, I had bratwurst. 

Dinner at a local BBQ joint.  I arrived late and ate leftovers.  Not bad at all.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

It Looked Like Motorcycle Parking

Last Thursday, I had packed Razzo and set up the Garmin for a ride to the Unrally.  I was to meet up with Captain Gary in Cottondale, then we were to get lunch at a cool roadside diner along the way to Pensacola.

But five minutes before leaving, Sarah looked at her phone and found messages that my Mother had been checked into Baptist Hospital.  So, still wanting to go on my ride, I decided to stop by for a brief visit before heading out.  I rode over the St. Johns River to Baptist, looked up her room number, and saw that she was actually in Baptist South, , 17 miles south (the wrong way if I was to go west) of where I was parked (in motorcycle parking at the front door to the hospital)

I rode south into darkening skies.  There were patches of light rain as I was getting off the highway onto Old St. Augustine Road.

As I approached the hospital, I headed into a new, almost empty parking garage and parked Razzo in what looked like motorcycle parking.  The stripes were exactly spaced for motorcycles and there was a bicycle rack inside the striped area.

I went up to see Mom.  She was sleeping so I left her alone and called Gary to tell him that, with my father in the nearby Brooks Rehab Hospital, and Mom in Baptist, it quickly became apparent that caring for them just added to the responsibility that had fallen on me and my three brothers.  I had to abandon the ride plans.

He was understanding.

After visiting with her for a few hours I went down to ride over to see Dad, when I saw a small pink paper under the seat strap.  It said I had parked in the handicapped access, and the penalty is a whopper, $250.00.  In looking around, I realized that it certainly looked that way, but the signage was inadequate and I, in my usual way of trying to find, out-of-the way parking, I thought I was in a safe zone.

It ruined my day.

The rest of the week and weekend were spent visiting with both, a circumstance that was very rewarding for me.

Because I always want to do the right thing, and felt like the lack of signage warning riders like me, I sent an email to the CEO of Baptist Health, a former client (I designed a large addition and renovation project for his house several years ago.)

He responded quickly, and positively, saying that he would refund the parking fee if it was a Baptist security that issued the citation, but because it was the Jacksonville Sheriff's office, he could do nothing.

He sent my message to his staff, who agreed and set out to fix the signage.

I called the phone number on the citation, was sent to three different people, the last, the city handicap police, who said that it was a new garage, signage up to date, and that the only way I could be heard would be to set up a court date.

Because there was a good chance of losing in court, and because I can charge dearly for every hour I spend working on my client's projects, it didn't make sense to fight the ticket.

With my Dad having serious mobility issues, I have full respect for the handicapped spaces and access to buildings.  I would never violate these knowingly.

I paid it on line yesterday.  I certainly hope the money goes to something worthwhile in helping Jacksonville.

I received this email today from the CEO of the hospital.  He had the President of Baptist South add signage to make it cleared where motorcycles are to park.  I guess speaking out helps.