A New Battery

[Originally Written 13MAY2013.  Misplaced and forgotten about, then found and published 04FEB2017.]

It happens to all of us at one time or another.  We go out to our bike all excited about the ride we’re about to take, turn the key, hit the start button, then either nothing happens or our pride and joy gives us a pitiful little “help me” whine, then nothing.  The battery is dead.  😦

The normal course of action is simply to go to a local motorcycle shop or dealership to by an exact replacement, or take a cheaper (less desirable) route by purchasing one with the same rating(s) from a discount store.  I decided to “upgrade” this decision a little.  I’ll tell you how, but first I need to give you some background information.

When I first purchased my bike (see “Starting From Scratch“) I had to replace the battery since the bike had sat un-ridden for at least 3 years, and I’m suspecting it was closer to 6 years.  Even with the new battery I still noticed what appeared to be a charging problem, especially when negotiating long stop-and-go traffic jams.  My bike’s built-in voltage meter showed a substantial reduction in voltage, down to 9.5 volts in some cases, when encountering these types of slow downs.  The voltage would gradually get back to normal after an hour or so of riding under normal conditions afterward or when putting it on a charger at the end of a ride.  Knowing the battery was new I replaced the voltage regulator which, according to my voltage meter, had slightly reduced output.  This did not resolve the problem.  Next I searched the online forums for a resolution to the problem.  One theory was it was due to a failing Stator.  I doubted this because the maintenance records I got with the bike showed it had been replaced just before it got parked by the original owner.  A check by the local repair shop showed it was operating properly so I had to rule that out.  After more searching of the forums I found a “remedy” that involved removing and hard-wiring select connectors.  There was a substantial number of favorable reviews by people who had tried this method so I did that also.  It helped the problem but did not completely resolve it.

During all of this time I had a nagging feeling the problem was caused by the battery itself, but refused to allow myself to believe it since the problem had always been there and my battery would hold a charge between rides.  Well, one day while doing some other maintenance work I accidentally shorted out the battery so replacing the still new battery was not an option.  This takes us back to where we started, choosing a replacement battery… again.

While checking prices online I stumbled across what was called a “Glass Mat” Battery.

Having never heard of that type of battery I did some research.  I found out its technical name is Absorbent Glass Mat Battery or AGM battery.  The more I read the more I liked what I was seeing.  Among other attributes AGM batteries have very low internal resistance, are capable of delivering high currents on demand and offer a relatively long service life, even when deep cycled. AGMs are maintenance free, provide good electrical reliability and are lighter than the flooded lead acid type. While regular lead acid batteries need a topping charge every six months to prevent the buildup of sulfation, AGM batteries are less prone to sulfation and can sit in storage for longer before a charge becomes necessary. The battery stands up well to low temperatures and has a very low self-discharge rate.  I also learned that AGM batteries are the preferred battery for upscale motorcycles because since they are sealed there is a much reduced chance of acid spilling in an accident, they lower the bike weight for the same performance, and allow installation at odd angles.

I was sold so I ordered one online and anxiously awaited it’s arrival.  As soon as it arrived I checked to be sure it matched the specs I gave when ordering it.  It did.

 

To install this battery on my bike, a 1985 Honda Goldwing GL1200 SE, I had to first remove the battery cover on the right side of my bike.  The photo below shows a “Battery Tender Plus” which I highly recommend.  I’ve used this model on other bikes, and a lot of repair shops, not to mention tons of bikers, recommend this over other chargers as well.

Next, after disconnecting the negative wire from the left side of the original standard lead acid battery, I had to remove one (1) bolt from the combination swing-arm/hold-down bar that holds the battery in place.  I’ll say more about this later.  Once this bar is released the battery can be tilted out, the positive (hot/red) wire disconnected from the right side of the battery, and the acid overflow tube disconnected.  After this battery removal is pretty straight-forward, just slide the battery straight out and carefully place it somewhere it won’t get knocked over.

I typically take a few seconds at this point to clean the area around and behind the battery since one doesn’t typically have to open the battery cover under normal conditions unless you need to access the primary fuse-able link.  Now is when you have to make a decision if you opted to go replace a standard lead-acid battery with an AGM battery.  Do you remove the acid overflow tube or cap it off and tuck it in for possible future use?  I opted to remove the tube from my bike.  It is not difficult to replace latter should I decide, or for some reason have, to install a Lead Acid battery at some future time.

Next, simply slide the new battery into the box leaving it tilted out slightly.  Attach the positive, then negative, cables onto the top of the battery, then push it into place while being sure there are no wires being pinched behind, or beside, the battery.  Now, while holding the battery in place with one hand, swing the bar into place against the battery and replace the hold-down bolt.  I’ve added an additional step to this on my bike as the picture below will illustrate.

If you’ll look closely at the bar you will see I’ve added a padded strip between the battery and the bar.  In this case I used a piece of non-slip matting from my woodworking shop.  This strip allows a snugger fit for the battery so it does not vibrate so much in the compartment and reduces the chaffing of the battery against the bar.

Once this is completed all that is left is snapping the battery cover back into place.  I recommend taking your bike for a ride afterwards.  Why?  Because it’s fun!  🙂

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Upcoming Events – October 2016

Here are the events I’m aware of for October 2016, primarily occurring in the slightly modified South (basically on/below a line from Kansas to Maryland) since that’s where most of our current readers are located.  I have gone through each of these listings and when possible posted only the actual page the info is on, bypassing any “intro” pages that take up your time and/or only advertise a dealer or sponsor.  Please follow links provided with each entry to determine admission fee (if any), pre-registration information, and any other pertinent information.

If you know of any other events please send me the details, including a valid website link, so I can add them.  Events without their own website, or a substantial information page or flyer, will not be added.  I also do not list “events” that are basically only advertising items for sale at motorcycle dealers or parts stores with only a reference to some brief customer-grabbing event.  I’m not against these retailers, some are close friends, however this type of “event” is considered to only be for the benefit of the retailer.

If you’re looking for an event to attend, but not finding quite what you’re looking for, check back here periodically.  I add new events as soon as possible after I’m informed about them.

October 2016 Events

1st, Sat – Austin, TX – 2nd Annual Remember My Name Ride – Support for victims of domestic violence. – http://www.radv.org/remember-my-name-ride.html

1st, Sat – Panama City Beach, FL – 11th Annual Tickled Pink Poker Run – Breast Cancer Awareness Poker Run – http://thunderangelspcfl.com/tickled-pink-2015.html

1st, Sat – Plant City, FL – 14th Annual Bike Fest – Bike Show with 8 different categories, Competition Games, Crafts, Vendors – http://www.plantcity.org/events/details/plant-city-bike-fest-14th-anniversary-show-10-01-2016-2048

5th – 9th, Wed-Sun – Harbinger, NC – 9th Annual Outer Banks Bike Fest – Five days of Runs, Music, Competitions, Poker Runs, and Beach Fun – http://www.outerbankshd.com/know-our–bike-fest

6th – 8th, Thur-Sat – New Port Richey, FL – Cotee River Bike Fest – Bike Show, Stunt Show, Bikini Contest – http://www.coteeriverbikefest.org/

6th – 9th, Thur-Sun – Harrison, AR – Ride The Ozarks Rally – Bike Show, Guided Rides, Musical Entertainment – http://www.harrisonarkansas.org/calendar_view_custom.php?id=1265

7th – 9th, Fri-Sun – Corpus Christi, TX – Corpus Christi Bike Fest – Rides, Concerts, HD Low Rider S Giveaway – http://www.ccbikefest.com/

7th, Fri – St.Augustine, FL – 8th Annual Think Pink Motorcycle Ride – Benefits Cancer Patients in St.Augustine.  Police Escorted Ride – http://www.thinkpinkinoctober.com/

8th, Sat – Bandera, TX – 6th Annual Texas Hill Country Ride – Benefits Widows and Children Of Fallen SEAL/SWCC Warriors.  Live Auction, 50/50 Raffle, Hill Country Ride – http://texasfrogsforfreedom.com/index.html

8th, Sat – Kingwood, TX – Home Of Hope Ride – Benefits The Home Of Hope, A Home For Girls Rescued From Human Trafficking – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/home-of-hope-ride-tickets-27594907110

8th, Sat – La Porte, TX Annual “Road To Recovery” Motorcycle Rally – Benefits the Wheelhouse, a bare-bones living environment that offers help to men with drug or alcohol addictions. – http://www.thewheelhouseinc.com/2015/10/2016-annual-motorcycle-road-to-recovery-rally/

8th, Sat – Greenville, SC – 10th Annual Ride For The Ribbon – Benefits Breast Cancer Screening, Early Detection Programs & Assists Breast Cancer Patients During Treatment – http://ridefortheribbonnc.com/

8th, Sat – Orlando, FL – Thunder In The Hills Motorcycle Ride – Benefits the Wayne Densch YMCA’s annual scholarship campaign. – http://www.rideforthey.com/

9th, Sun – Amarillo, TX – 5th Annual Pink Bike Fest, Show, And Run – Benefits Breast Cancer Awareness And Research – https://www.facebook.com/116868338333773/photos/gm.1767757820147474/1189188904435039/?type=3&theater

9th, Sun – Fort Worth, TX – Dallas-Fort Worth Ride For Kids – Benefits The Ride For Kids Program, a part of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. – http://pbtf.convio.net/site/TR?fr_id=2647&pg=entry

9th, Sun – Knoxville, TN – East Tennessee Ride For Kids – Benefits The Ride For Kids Program, a part of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. – http://pbtf.convio.net/site/TR?fr_id=2633&pg=entry

13th – 16th, Thur-Sun – Daytona Beach, FL – 24th Annual Biketoberfest – Everything you would want in a motorcycle rally and more! – http://www.daytonabeach.com/biketoberfest/

16th, Sun – Adkins, TX – San Antonio Ride For Kids – Benefits The Ride For Kids Program, a part of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. Escorted ride, rain or shine. – http://pbtf.convio.net/site/TR?fr_id=2649&pg=entry

19th – 23rd, Wed-Sun – Panama City Beach, FL – Thunder Beach Fall Rally – 16th Annual Fall Rally – http://thunderbeachproductions.com/

22nd, Sat – Longview, TX – Rockers, Riders, And Ribs – Entertainment by the Marshall Tucker Band (and others), Massive Rides, Games, Prizes, and BBQ Cook Off – http://www.rockersridersribs.com/

22nd, Sat – Riverview, FL – Operation Dignity First – Benefits The Athena House (The 1st Housing Program For Homeless Female Veterans) and Veteran, Law Enforcement, and Firefighter Memorials in the Tampa, FL area. Scavenger Hunt Ride, Auctions, Raffles, and BBQ Competition – http://vfw8108.us/

23rd, Sun – Ridgeland, MS – Mississippi Ride For Kids – Benefits The Ride For Kids Program, a part of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. Escorted ride, rain or shine. – http://pbtf.convio.net/site/TR?fr_id=2648&pg=entry

27th – 30th, Thur-Sun – Forkland, AL – Bama Bike Fest Fall Motorcycle Rally – * Must Be At Least 21 Years Old To Enter *http://www.bamabikefest.com/

28th & 29th, Fri&Sat – Fairhope, AL – Angel Ride – Benefits the Angel Ride Foundation that provides financial assistance to families of children with unforeseen health problems. – http://www.angel-ride.org/Home.aspx

28th & 29th, Fri&Sat – Ferguson, NC – Rider’s Roost Annual Halloween Bash – http://www.ridersroost.com/index2.html

28th – 30th, Fri-Sun – Mountain Home, AR – Twin Lakes Thunder Rally – Benefits Alpha House Men’s Shelter. Beer Garden, Live Music, Biker Games and more. – http://twinlakesthunder.com/

29th, Sat – Belville, NC – Bikes, Boots, And Barbecue – Benefits Step Up For Soldiers.  Motorcycle Ride, Motorcycle Judging, Rat Rod Show, Contests, Live Music, Food and more – http://www.nbchamberofcommerce.com/eventNEW.html?names=Bikes%20Boots%20and%20BBQ%20%E2%80%93%20October

Upcoming Events – September 2016

Here are the events I’m aware of for September 2016, primarily occurring in the slightly modified (basically on/below a line from Kansas to Maryland) South since that’s where most of our current readers are located.  I have gone through each of these listings and when possible posted only the actual page the info is on, bypassing any “intro” pages that take up your time and/or only advertise a dealer or sponsor.  Please follow links provided with each entry to determine admission fee (if any), pre-registration information, and any other pertinent information.

If you know of any other events please send me the details, including a valid website link, so I can add them.  Events without their own website, or a substantial information page or flyer, will not be added.  I also do not list “events” that are basically only advertising items for sale at motorcycle dealers or parts stores with only a reference to some brief customer-grabbing event.  I’m not against these retailers, some are close friends, however this type of “event” is considered to only be for the benefit of the retailer.

If you’re looking for an event to attend, but not finding quite what you’re looking for, check back here periodically.  I add new events as soon as possible after I’m informed about them.

September 2016 Events

2nd & 3rd, Fri & Sat – Big Flats, NY – 8th Annual Ride For The Red Motorcycle Run – Benefits the Finger Lakes American Red Cross – www.RedCross.org/CorningRideForTheRed

3rd, Sat – Helena, AR – Legendary Blues Festival and Motorcycle Roundup – http://www.force3radio.com/

8th – 11th, Thur-Sun – Northumberland, PA – Rally On The River Fall – ** Must Be 21 Or Older To Enter **http://www.PaRallyOnTheRiver.com/

8th – 26th, Thur-Mon – Starts in Atlantic City, NJ, Ends in Carlsbad, CA (3,304 miles) –  Motorcycle Cannonball Ride – The 8th and 9th are pre-event (registration, instruction, etc.) days. This is a cross-country ride for motorcycles dating prior to, and including, 1916 ** No motorcycle built after 1916 can run for the prize. **http://www.MotorcycleCannonball.com/

9th, Friday – Asheboro, NC –  Motorcycles For Mammograms Ride – Benefits The Randolph Hospital Mammogram Fund. Sheriff’s Department Escorted Ride.  Raffle for 2016 HD XG500 Street – http://www.coxsharley-davidson.com/check-our-events-schedule–xcalendar

9th & 10th, Fri & Sat – Boone, NC – Boone Bike Rally – ** Must Be 18 Or Older To Enter **http://BooneBikeRally.com/

10th, Sat – Bowling Green, KY – Scoot To Boot Alzheimer’s – Benefits The Alzheimer’s Foundation Of America.  Ride is through the South Central Kentucky countryside. – http://christianfamilyradio.com/event/scoot-to-boot-alzheimers-2/?instance_id=1565401

10th, Sat – North Charleston, SC – 13th Annual Pawker Run – Benefits The Francis R. Willis SPCA – http://www.lowcountryharley.com/fckimages/upcomingevents/SPCA%20Pawker%20Run%202016%2011×17%20poster-2.pdf

10th, Sat – Alexandria, LA – Ride To Bear Arms – Ride to show support for the 2nd Amendment and U.S. Constitution. Non-motorcycle vehicles welcome.  Fully Escorted Ride followed by a Meet And Greet lunch. – http://www.renegadehd.com/blog/2016/July/21/ride-to-bear-arms.htm

15th – 18th, Thu-Sun – Miami, FL – Phil Peterson’s Key West Poker Run – Benefits The Diabetes Research Institute and Key West Sunrise Rotary Club. – http://www.petersonsharley.com/poker-run-harley-davidson-miami-florida–pokerrun

16th & 17th, Fri & Sat – Salisbury, NC – 6th Annual Biker Blues And Barbecue – Benefits Salisbury Veterans Hospice House.  Includes Poker Run, – http://www.bikerbluesbbqrally.com/

16th – 18th, Fri-Sun – Clarksville, TN – 35th Annual Leslie W. Watson Memorial Toy Run and Benefit Party – Benefits Camp Rainbow (free camping experiences to children undergoing treatment for, and survivors of, cancer and blood-related diseases and disorders) and BWC Children’s Charities. – http://www.bikerswhocare.org/event/bwctoyrun16/

17th, Sat – Summerfield, NC – 4th Annual Ride To Remember – Benefits The Western Carolina Alzheimer’s Association.  Sheriff’s Department escorted ride. – http://act.alz.org/site/TR?fr_id=9614&pg=entry

18th, Sun – Leeds, AL – Birmingham Ride For Kids – Benefits The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.  Escorted ride rain or shine. – http://pbtf.convio.net/site/TR?fr_id=2640&pg=entry

21st – 24th, Wed-Sat – Fayetteville, AR – 17th Annual Bikes, Blues, And Barbecue – The largest motorcycle rally in the U.S. since the year 2000 benefiting local charities. – https://www.bikesbluesandbbq.org/

22nd – 25th, Thur-Sun – Cookeville, TN – June Bug Boogie Too Fall Rally – Three days of partying on private property.  Free camping.  ** Must Be 21 Or Older To Enter **http://www.junebugboogie.com/

23rd – 25th, Fri-Sun – New Orleans, LA – New Orleans Bike Week – The first rally in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. Three bikes (a HD, an Indian, and a Suzuki) to be raffled to assist U.S. military veterans in need. – http://www.neworleansbikeweek.com/

23rd – 25th, Fri-Sun – Raleigh, NC – Capital City Bikefest – Free Concerts, Parades, and Rides – http://www.capitalcitybikefest.com/

24th, Sat – Collierville, TN – Dixie Thunder Run – Soldiers Helping Soldiers – https://www.dixiethunderrun.net/dtr/event/dixie-thunder-run/

24th, Sat – Manchester, NH – Veterans Ride Home – Proceeds Go Toward Preventing Homelessness For Veterans And Others – http://www.thewayhomenh.org/news-events/2016-05-13-02-28-26

24th, Sat – Natchez, MS – 6th Annual Natchez Poker Run – Benefits Adams County Search And Rescue – http://natchezpokerrun.com/

25th, Sun – Burkesville, KY – Steel Horse Stampede – Benefits Cumberland County Rescue Squad and We Care Of Cumberland County. Home cooked meal and auction with door prizes. – http://www.steelhorsestampedeky.com/

30th – Oct 2nd, Fri-Sun – Bristol, VA – Ride The Line Motorcycle Rally – The very first bike gathering of its kind in the area, – http://ridethestateline.com/

30th – Oct 1st, Fri & Sat – South Padre Island, TX – South Padre Island Bike Rally – Texas’ true beach bike rally. – http://www.spibikerally.com/

30th – Oct 2nd, Fri-Sun – Beaumont, TX – Lace, Grace, And Gears Bike Rally – At least 5,000 women will meet for this rally to set a world record for the largest number of women riders in one location. – http://www.lacegracegears.com

 

Upcoming Events – December 2012

Here are the events I’m aware of for December 2012.  If you know of any other events please send me the details, including a valid website link, so I can add them.  Events without their own website, or substantial information page/flyer, will not be added.  I also do not list “events” that are basically only advertising MC dealers or parts stores with only a reference to some brief customer-grabbing event.  I’m not against these retailers, some are close friends, however this type of “event” is considered to only be for the benefit of the retailer.

If you’re looking for an event to attend, but not finding quite what you’re looking for, check back here periodically.  I add new events as soon as possible after I’m informed about them.

New – When Possible, I Will Begin Including A Link To Charities Benefited By Various Events (if the event link does not explain the charity) So You Will Be Able To Check Them Out.

Also, it seems there are more and more “clothing optional” events now.  I have nothing against these personally, however since I am trying to keep this blog/site either “G” or “PG” rated so our youth can come here to learn about motorcycle related events I will not be posting information regarding these events.

Please click HERE for information about Event Photos.

As many of you already know, December is a slow month for rallies and events.  This list will be updated as I learn of additional events.

December 2012 Events

1st – 4th, Thur-Sun – Lakeland, FL – Roscoes Chili Challenge –  http://www.roscoeschilichallenge.com/

1st, Sat – Orlando, FL – 2nd Annual Toys For Tots Open Show –http://www.highperformancepromotions.com/index.php/events/icalrepeat.detail/2012/12/01/49/40%7C34%7C41%7C43%7C42/2nd-annual-toys-for-tots-car-show.html

1st, Sat – Punta Gorda, FL – Toys For Children Trike Shari Memorial Toy Run – Escorted Ride To Arcadia – http://www.facebook.com/events/485436834814911/

1st, Sat – Tallahassee, FL – Capital City Bike Fest & Swap Meet – http://www.ability1st.info/bikefest

1st, Sat – Calhoun, GA – Annual David Burchett Memorial Poker Run & BBQ Cookoff – Proceeds From Event Benefits The United Way – http://www.smokinupthecampground.com/forms/Poker%20Run%20Information.pdf

1st, Sat – Roswell, GA – Born To Ride Toy Drive And Kickoff Bash – Route Is From Roswell to Helen, GA – http://www.borntoride.com/ga/index.html

1st, Sat – Greenville, TN – Greene County Toys For Tots Toy Run – http://www.greenevillesun.com/Neighbor/article/Motorcycle-Run-Set-for-Saurday-id-322193

1st, Sat – Raleigh, NC – Toys For Tots Ride – http://rayprice.com/activities

1st, Sat – Dallas, TX – 15th Annual Mesquite Santa Cop Toy Parade – http://cmascr4.org/pdf/SANTA%20COP%20FLYER%20COLOR%20revised.pdf

1st, Sat – McKinney, TX – DFW Toys For Tots Motorcycle Run – http://dfw-tft-mr.org/

2nd, Sun – Vacaville, AL – ABATE 17 Annual Toy Run – http://www.abate17.org/calendar.html

2nd, Sun – Webster, FL – Webster Swap Meet & Show – http://www.cyclemeet.com/

2nd, Sun – Lakeland, FL – 29th Annual Toy Run & Skills On Wheels Motorcycle Rodeo – http://polk.abateflorida.com/flyers/2012ToyRun.pdf

2nd, Sun – Brooklyn, NY – Annual Senior Citizens Benefit Party – https://www.facebook.com/events/268836539903607/

8th, Sat – Mayflower, AR – 11th Annual Christmas In The Park Parade – http://www.cityofmayflower.com/

9th, Sun – Clearwater, FL – Quaker Steak & Lube Bike Show – http://thunderpromo.com/dealer-days/

9th, Sun – Fort Pierce, FL – 2012 St. Lucie County Toy Run – https://www.facebook.com/StLucieCountyToyRun

More Event Information To Be Posted Soon

Second Mystery Ride

Here’s the clue for my upcoming (2nd) Mystery Ride.  Any guesses???

You could have a howling good time here.  In fact, it’s more fun than a barrel of Monkeys.  Just don’t forget to pack your trunk.

Have You Seen This Bear

Have You Seen This Bear?

100_4409-Reduced

This is my current riding companion, Smoky.  While he’s likely to show up just about anywhere he’s most often seen in Eastern TN, North GA, Western NC, and Northwest SC.

Drop me a note if you see him letting me know the “when and where” of your sighting.  You’re welcome to pose for a photo with him if you can get him to stop long enough.  He really loves feeling the wind in his fur.  😉

The Mystery Ride – Aka – Cleveland Ride

Well, I finally had time to take the “mystery ride”.  Today’s destination was Cleveland!  No, not the one in Ohio, the one in Georgia.  The thing is, Cleveland was actually the secondary destination.  The primary destination will be revealed below.  😉

All in all the ride was a good one, yet in a small (very small) way disappointing.  I left home early, in the fog… again.  Not really a big deal as that happens a lot here in the mountains.  I just make sure all of my lights are working properly, as I do before starting all rides, and put on my lime green safety vest with wide silver reflective strips.  Perhaps it would be a good idea to invest in a jacket that does the same thing.  😉  All of the weather services, i.e. the local news, Intellicast, the National Weather Service, AND The Weather Channel told me the night before that “tomorrow” would be the best day of the week with sunny skies and absolutely no chance of rain.  It’s hard to pass up a forecast like that when you’re looking for an excuse to ride!

My first waypoint was a tiny “mom and pop” restaurant called the Hollywood Diner.  I’ve seen this restaurant dozens of times before but never had time to stop.  About 15 minutes before I reached this waypoint the fog began breaking off and tiny patches of blue showed through.

Photo From “Hollywood Ride” Post – 14SEP2012

Finally, a gorgeous day with plenty of wonderful views ahead!  Not.  By the time I got to the restaurant parking lot the fog was almost completely gone, and the sky above me was a deep blue, but virtually all of the sky surrounding that patch of blue was covered with dark clouds and thunder heads.  😦  I wasn’t about to cancel the balance of my ride so I just made sure my rain suit was handy, then went inside to have breakfast.

The interior was nothing like what I expected to see, and I’ve been in dozens of small town and/or mom and pop restaurants during my travels to well over two-thirds of the United States.  There is nothing bland about the rustic interior here!  Large inverted water buckets bearing Coca-Cola advertising, converted into light fixtures, were suspended from the ceiling over the counter.  Behind the counter is a glass window with a view into the kitchen so customers could watch their meal being prepared should they wish to do so.  How many restaurants do you know about that actually invite you to watch them prepare the meals?

All of the walls are covered with memorabilia, photos, signs, reproduction serving trays, etc.  The wall to the left of the counter even had the famous classic “Hollywood Diner” retro picture that featured Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, and James Dean prominently displayed among other pictures of these same people, a classic Route 66 advertisement, and my favorite, an Indian Motorcycle picture.  I don’t know if they planned it that way, but I liked the way they took pictures of the people featured in the primary focal point (the retro picture) and placed them around it.  Good Job!  🙂

After enjoying a delicious breakfast, and conversation with a couple of their patrons I had never met before, I paid the tab and returned to my bike.  By now most of the threatening clouds had moved away leaving a partly cloudy sky that would oscillate between almost completely clear to completely overcast during the balance of my trip.  Just before I fired the bike up my waitress came outside and pointed at the bear on the back of my bike.  “I saw that bear from the window and just had to ask… what’s its name?”  Grinning, I responded, “Smoky”.  “That’s a great name for your bear” she said as she turned to go inside, calling back over her shoulder, “Have a great ride!”

A couple of miles down the road I came to a historic marker which gave information about a nearby tiny dirt road that crossed the portion of “old” Historic US-441 that I was now traveling.

Unless one takes time to travel the back roads that crisscross this great nation a lot of history is lost in favor of the high-speed super highways that, in my opinion, quickly become boring routes filled with billboards, concrete walls, and impatient, often irritated, drivers.  These smaller, lesser traveled routes have long been a favorite of mine, and probably will remain so.

After enjoying a few more curves and hills I came to the town of Clarkesville, GA.  It’s a relatively small town to be the county seat, but it’s not tiny like many of the neighboring towns… “burghs” as we used to call them.

Clarkesville is actually an “up and coming” town.  Not only does it have a memorial near the gazebo pictured above to give tribute to those in the area who sacrificed their lives in wars from World War I thru Vietnam, they also have a fair collection of shops and restaurants.

None of the surrounding towns have a tavern…

And another Oyster Bar/Tropical Themed Grille can’t be found for 60 or more miles in any direction.

The owners even want you to be able to find them again.  If you’ll look closely at the Grille sign you’ll see the GPS coordinates.  LOL  There’s even one little shop (now closed and up for sale) that really brings back memories of the 60’s, and a song about a place bearing the same name.

Fifteen miles further down the road is the town of Cleveland, GA, and as you know this trips secondary destination.  Cleveland is also a county seat (for White County), but significantly larger that Clarkesville, at least in area.  Since it was founded circa 1859 it’s had plenty of time to grow.  😉

The courthouse is quite interesting.  Not only does the exterior reflect the architectural style of its era, the inside has been restored and displays many items of interest, especially if you like antiques.

There are also displays of military equipment, uniforms, and materials spanning from the Revolutionary War to Afghanistan.  Where else can you find an original Porta-Potty???

In most of the older courthouses the courtroom(s) is on the ground floor with offices on the 2nd, or higher, floor.  Here the courtroom is upstairs and takes up the entire floor except for 2 offices at the back of the courtroom, one of which is the Sheriff’s office.  Makes sense to me!  I was a little perplexed to have not found some sort of small holding cell attached to, or even near, the Sheriff’s office.  The view from the courtroom must have been magnificent in its day.  Today’s view is nice, but without all the “growth” one can imagine a much prettier view.

After touring the courthouse I headed for the primary destination which was…  The Babyland General Hospital!!  If you have young children, or grandchildren, you probably know this is the home of the Cabbage Patch Kids.

I knew that Cabbage Patch Kids were B-I-G but I wasn’t expecting what I found here.  I assumed this outlet was going to be some store in a strip mall or maybe in some now defunct grocery store.  Instead I found what for all intents and purposes was a huge Southern Mansion.

The front walk is bordered by concrete castings of various Cabbage Patch Kids –

While the interior is, of course, designed for children of all ages, even down to the couches and chairs.

There’s a room set aside for the premature kids, complete with incubators –

A delivery room nursery –

And for the older “kids” there’s even a school bus.

The staff was very friendly and accommodating, and even as an adult I found the “hospital” interesting.  If you’re trying to think of some place to go where the kids can have something interesting to see and do this winter I would suggest that you consider this as a destination.

When I finished my tour I headed off to White County Park to have lunch.  I saw this on Google Maps when I got directions to the Babyland General Hospital.  The park is fairly large, but doesn’t really cater to people who want an occasional picnic.  There are picnic areas, but all of the ones I found were in large shelters with several other tables.  From all appearances this is more of a sports oriented park.  There’s a gym for basketball and other indoor activities, a baseball field, and I think a soccer field.  Since I couldn’t have my lunch out in a field or by a pond or stream I continued on toward my next destination, Helen, GA.

Before reaching Helen I came across the Nacoochee Mound on GA-17 just a couple of hundred feet from where it splits off of GA-75.  This is an Indian burial ground thought to be the resting place of two young lovers from warring Cherokee and Chickasaw tribes, as well as the burial site of at least 75 others from several different time periods.

As the plaque indicates, this site was visited by DeSoto in 1540, however it dates much further back than that.  Tests on items unearthed there indicate it was built circa 10,000 B.C .

From the mound I rode on to Helen, GA, a German/Bavarian themed community, where I had lunch.  I plan to re-visit Helen so I didn’t take any photos this time.  If things go as planned this will be a “destination” city, and photos will be posted about that another time.

After lunch I resumed my trip toward home, crossing over Unicoi Gap on GA-75 about 9 miles North of the center of Helen.

Unicoi Gap is not only one of Georgia’s higher points, it also serves as a road crossing for the Appalachian Trail, a foot path that extends approximately 2,100 miles from Georgia to Maine.

This was the last stop for this trip, other than for fuel.  I already know where the next trip will be.  I’m sure you’ll find it interesting, and if the Fall leaf colors cooperate it will be a beautiful ride as well.